Former vice president Joe Biden is out with his first television ad, a feel-good opener that stresses electability:
Like Biden, it’s not flashy but gets across a basic message.
That, however, is not the best 2020 ad I’ve seen. In fact, the best 2020 ad isn’t from any presidential campaign. The group Republicans for the Rule of Law is out with a bunch of ads airing in various red states pushing Republicans and in particular Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring election-security bills up for a vote. Here is the Kentucky version:
This is a good ad against McConnell’s inertia, but when you think about, this is an outstanding ad against reelecting President Trump.
It reminds us how disloyal to the United States and how unfit Trump is. He has refused to admit Russia interfered with our election and he still would take (despite some subsequent walk-backs) information from an enemy of the United States.
This is the trap of impeachment. We focus on the threshold for impeachment. We argue about the politics of impeachment. We debate how effective Robert S. Mueller III was. But wait: This president absolutely refuses to defend the United States. Forget removing him for a second; why in the world would we reelect someone so patently clueless, who puts the United States last behind his ego, his wallet and his pocketbook?
Democrats’ message should be as pointed as the one espoused by Republicans for the Rule of Law. Again and again, Trump has proved that he is just a rube (e.g. buying Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plea of innocence about the murder of Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi), or that he’s too interested in feathering his own nest (perhaps his son-in-law’s as well) or simply in getting lathered in praise by brutal dictators. The result, time and again, is a victory not for America but for autocrats, and a reduction in U.S. prestige and power.
You could make an entire ad of Trump saying it’s a matter of love between him and the vicious Kim Jong Un, cooing over a letter from Kim, taking Kim’s side by claiming the leader of the most totalitarian country on the planet was in the dark about Otto Warmbier’s case.
Likewise, we should see an ad reminding us of Trump’s white-nationalist rhetoric, his denial that white nationalism is a problem and his “very fine people” remark — followed by a sickening reminder of the killing sprees allegedly by those who have been incited by his rhetoric.
It’s powerful to call out Trump for being a racist or for making money off the presidency. However, it is frightful to state — plainly and unequivocally — that Trump is so self-deluded or so malicious (both, likely) that he’s already sold out the United States’ interests and the interests of the West more generally to snuggle up to our worst enemies. He has shown himself entirely incapable of defending the country from enemies foreign and domestic. That’s not “winning,” and that’s not “America First.” It’s betrayal of his country, plain and simple.
And if he were reelected, does anyone think his betrayals would cease or he would suddenly put ego and wallet aside? Reelection would convince Trump he can literally try anything. We cannot allow the United States to become another casualty, another victim of Trump’s cruelty, dishonesty and narcissism.