You are well aware that I am not enamored with Donald Trump’s campaign for the Republican nomination for president. But I have to admit that the best part of his presidential campaign are his Instagram ads that clobber Jeb Bush. Whereas his stump speeches are meandering, stream-of-consciousness tears that rhetorically slaughter his opponents, The Donald masterfully uses the 15-second limitation of the social media platform to kneecap the former Florida governor.
On Aug. 24, Trump used the words of former first lady Barbara Bush from a 2013 “Today Show” interview to clobber her own son in a video. The comment accompanying it reads, “Even Barbara Bush agrees with me.”
On Monday, in the “karma’s a b—-” category, Trump did to Bush what Bush’s father did to his Democratic opponent in the 1988 presidential race. In an ad reminiscent of the infamous Willie Horton ad that helped to sink the Michael Dukakis campaign, Trump made Jeb sound like he was a defender of murderous illegal immigrants.
Interspersed between the mugshots of two undocumented immigrants charged with murder and one convicted of murder, Bush is shown at an event for the 25th anniversary of his father’s presidency last year saying, “Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love.” It’s a horrible distortion of what Bush said. But it is an incredibly effective slam against the establishment candidate geared towards those in the GOP primary base incensed about illegal immigration. Bush released a good response today. Unfortunately, it is an attack more suited to 2012 than it is to the nanosecond culture of 2016.
Bush uses Trump’s own words in support for a single-payer system of health care, abortion rights, raising taxes on the rich and praising Hillary Clinton as someone he knows, likes and thinks should be negotiating with Iran. Bush even has a clip of Trump saying, “I have no idea” when asked “Why are you a Republican?” The actual ad is just one minute and 11 seconds. What Bush’s team should have done was turn it into at least three, 15-second Instagram ads. Each one could have been dropped on the Big Apple billionaire with the same effectiveness as Trump’s posts on him.
Bush’s attack ad is traditional warfare. Trump’s ad is guerrilla warfare. And considering the polls of late, the guerrillas are winning.
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