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Assault on America, Day 565: Trump must pound the facts, law and emotional appeal to win

Trump Border Wall
2020 campaign: should Trump focus on facts, the law, emotion… or all three?


There’s an old saying in the law that all law students learn in their first year: “If the facts favor you, pound the facts; if the law favors you, pound the law; and if neither are in your favor, pound the table.”

Regarding the third alternative, oftentimes a little emotion is very effective in conveying a point even if you realize you don’t have much substance underneath to make your case. How many times have kids gotten the cookie dough they begged for at the supermarket or an ice cream cone before dinner by crying their eyes out about something that is inherently their fault? Or what about a woman weeping her way out of a traffic citation because the arresting officer felt sorry for her despite going 20+ miles per hour over the speed limit? (In case you think this is sexist, I’ve heard the same story from numerous women about their strategy to avoid tickets.)

In this sense, politics is a lot like the law. Democrats play the “emotion card” all the time in their tireless pitches to voters, tugging on heartstrings to encourage wavering lawmakers to vote for legislation that would never otherwise pass. If you don’t believe it, check out one of Nancy Pelosi’s press conferences where the eighty-year-old Speaker of the House uses every emotional plea in the book to advance her cause. Remember when she talked about her grandson’s birthday party (during her arduous filibuster-like 8-hour floor speech on DACA) where the lad allegedly said, “I wish I had brown skin and brown eyes like (friend) Antonio.” She called it “beautiful” that her own flesh and blood wished he were someone else due to skin color.

Or how about “Chucky” Schumer actually shedding tears when dissing President Donald Trump’s “extreme vetting” immigration order? The president said Schumer isn’t “a crier” and the Minority Leader’s stunt was the result of acting lessons.

At any rate, with the presidential election now three and a half months away, all sorts of advice is filtering in as to how President Trump should conduct his campaign down the stretch. Some suggest pounding the facts, some think he should pound the law (and order) and others surmise he should include more emotional appeals. Maybe all three at once? Or perhaps just the facts?

In a piece titled, “Trump needs to articulate a clear second-term agenda,” the Editors of The Washington Examiner wrote, “On the most important story of the year, the public disapproves of Trump’s response to the coronavirus by 67% to 33%, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll. Among independents, just 26% approved.

“That’s why, in addition to improving his performance on the handling of the coronavirus, Trump needs to do a better job of laying out what he wants to do with four more years…

“So far, Trump’s attacks on Biden have fallen flat because Biden is not as viscerally disliked as Clinton was four years ago. Simply mocking Biden’s many verbal miscues is not going to be enough. Instead, in the closing months, Trump has to give the public an affirmative reason to vote for him by outlining a positive second-term agenda.”

Numerous conservative commentators have argued precisely the same thing, including myself. While most of us fervently support Trump -- and even like his unique, confrontational personality -- through conversations with family and friends and reading copious amounts of news, we gather that the president’s rather strong personality turns some people away. Think of it this way: some folks love pickles and eat them by the jar full, others find them pungent and wouldn’t dream of having the green slimy things slither down their throat.

Trump isn’t exactly akin to a jar of pickles, but the analogy works. His campaign simply needs to convince more people to give his candidacy a (another?) try, and he can do so because he has accomplishments (facts), experience with keeping the country safe (the law) and millions of enthusiastic backers who would not only walk through fire for him, they’ll contribute money and time as well.

And it’s not like the campaign lacks plenty of fodder for an issue-based battle. From day one of his presidency, Trump has worked feverishly to keep his promises. The same set of assurances he gave in ‘16 on numerous topics will provide all the material he’d ever need for a fine speech, and he’ll be able to transmit the message via conservative media, paid advertisements and social media. Plus, avoid the personal off-putting stuff like the plague (forgive the reference).

The longtime real estate developer and reality TV celebrity boasts 83.5 million Twitter followers and over thirty million on Facebook. And it doesn’t cost him anything.

Not all of them truly “like” Trump but the vast majority do. There are people out there ready to vote for him, they just need to hear that he’s the same substance-filled leader he was in 2016. The establishment media is fond of portraying Trump’s victory four years ago as a citizen rebellion against the awful person of Hillary Clinton, but it went much deeper than that. His win was due to his anti-establishment message and willingness to put uncomfortable subjects front and center.

Trump must do it again. The sooner, the better. For whatever reason, Trump’s poll numbers on the COVID-19 response are not where they need to be. It’s obvious this issue will be around at least until Election Day and likely far beyond it. It’s easy for Grampa Joe Biden to snipe from a distance, but when push comes to shove, Trump was the one giving the orders. First and foremost, Trump must constantly reassure the nation that everything’s being done that could possibly be tried and he needs to exercise more than his usual share of humility and restraint in candidly admitting that the virus is mysterious and there are millions of capable people battling it. “We haven’t won yet but we’re doing everything we can to beat it.”

Trump should also probably stop bashing Anthony Fauci, the “face” behind the government virus response.

All of this, and Trump should keep the focus on China as well. Perhaps Trump should deliver another major speech laying out the evidence on the Chinese Communist Party’s complicity in the global pandemic and appeal to Americans’ sense of patriotism to set aside negativities and concentrate on the problem rather than trying to assess who did what to combat the crisis.

Democrats’ lone answer to the health panic is simply to shut everything down again, pass additional “relief” bills and send out checks to the unemployed in amounts beyond what they’d earned if they still toiled away at the job. Trump could express sympathy for the unemployed while championing the cause of small businesses and keep pounding the need to reopen safely. If it means wearing a mask during certain campaign stops, that’s what he should do. Don’t provide the enemy with the ammunition to attack you.

In addition, Trump must continue to emphasize the good work his administration has done in combatting illegal immigration. The border wall is the most visible aspect of policy, but the president could feature, once again, the stories of Angel moms and dads (parents who lost children to illegal alien murderers) as well as the accounts of law enforcement officers who were killed or injured by illegal perpetrators. (Note: Trump did this very effectively in this year’s State of the Union Address.)

The election will be about more than COVID-19 deaths and wearing of personal protective equipment

If the danger from the coronavirus is real, so is that from illegal immigration. Everyone realizes there’s an impact on jobs, but the community safety angle is where the real heart lies. Democrats, including Joe Biden, want to cut (or eliminate) funding for police departments and dispense with ICE, which in most years would be considered crazy.

Last Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “Joe Biden and the Radical Left want to Abolish Police, Abolish ICE, Abolish Bail, Abolish Suburbs, Abolish the 2nd Amendment – and Abolish the American Way of Life. No one will be SAFE in Joe Biden’s America!”

This is an excellent message, but it must be consistently employed. This will take discipline from a candidate who isn’t used to being told to ease off the attack accelerator. But someone within Trump’s sphere must convince the president that he must make the election about his winning platform and not himself. Whenever the media asks him a dumb question, answer it with a substantive response. The facts are on Trump’s side. Pound them.

Other topics Trump should heavily reinforce for his second term are, a fierce defense of the First Amendment, including freedom of speech (i.e., against censorship) and worship. Religious leaders have said many times that Trump has done more for their cause than any of his supposedly more personally committed predecessors. The Trump administration has advocated for freedom of conscience in numerous instances and continues to fight for the rights of individuals to worship as the please.

The Supreme Court/federal courts is another area of strength. Trump’s two high court appointees have been fairly strong in most important cases, though Justice Neil Gorsuch disappointed everyone with one recent decision. The good news is Trump (with the help of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) has had over 200 judges confirmed. Another four years of appointments would help ensure lawmaking remains in the legislative hemisphere and not from the unelected federal bench.

Steve Bannon recently said Trump should spend every day acting like a president. That’s sage advice, and there are more issues Trump could use to bludgeon the foundationless effort of Joe Biden. How about the economy and tax cuts? Biden’s already said he intends to raise taxes, something no one in the productive class wants to hear, especially when the money will be devoted to government waste and more nauseating political correctness.

How about the Second Amendment? Gun sales have gone through the roof in recent times. With Democrats (literally) screaming to lessen the power of law enforcement, Americans need to be assured they can protect themselves if/when thugs show up at their front door. Then there’s foreign policy/national security. Trump promised to keep the country out of major wars, and he’s kept his word. Joe Biden? His bellicose ego will most certainly result in American servicemen and women being sent to some blighted country to hand out food and sanitary supplies, risking their lives in the process.

Would Joe Biden be tough on China, or bow to them? Will Hunter Biden be Joe’s secretary of state?

Summing up, President Trump has plenty to work with for his second term. This is what he should be talking about, not digging into people who don’t matter, personal feuds that distract from his message. It needs to end, now.

Joe Biden’s tax increases would reverse all the positive gains from the Trump tax cut

If the American public can be persuaded that this year’s election is about more than what Trump or Andrew Cuomo or Anthony Fauci said about the coronavirus a few months ago, they might return to looking at real life issues that impact everyone’s wellbeing beyond the immediacy of a health pandemic. Trump advisor Larry Kudlow said last week that hiking taxes now would devastate domestic businesses at exactly the wrong time.

Jay Heflin reported at The Washington Examiner, “Biden has called for tax increases on businesses and individuals totaling $3.8 trillion over the next 10 years. His proposal includes increasing the corporate income tax rate to 28%, from its current 21%, a minimum tax on corporations with book profits of at least $100 million, and doubling the tax on certain profits earned by foreign subsidiaries of U.S. firms, from 10.5% to 21%.

“The former vice president’s plan is projected to reduce Gross Domestic Product by 1.51%, shrink wages by 0.98%, and kill more than 500,000 over the next 10 years, according to the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax think tank…”

Naturally, Kudlow isn’t wild about the prospect, saying, “You can't buy American if you create an inhospitable business and investment environment with tax increases across the board,” he told Fox News @ Night, adding that “how can you buy American if you're repelling American business? They will stay offshore.”

This is simple economics and a huge difference between the parties. Biden’s typical reaction to troubled times is to boost tax rates to theoretically raise more money for government programs. Policies don’t occur in a vacuum, however. Corporate leaders will move their operations to more favorable environments to preserve profits. People lose jobs as a result.

Trump is correct in his tax and business approach, which generated real economic growth and brought the economy to near full-employment before COVID-19. Biden’s plan would make an already difficult scenario -- getting business started again -- that much harder.

The 2020 election will be heavily influenced by the coronavirus pandemic, but Americans want to see the big picture as well. President Trump has a lot going for him in the issue realm if he would simply drop the personal stuff and focus like a laser on promoting policies that make people realize the world’s not coming to an end.

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