Ask yourself about Trump’s most reliable phrase. It’s the omnipresent qualifier concerning many outcomes, facts and situations. We speak of the catch-all: “Everybody knows...”
“Everybody knows” is a hint that if you didn’t know something, upon hearing it, you might feel left behind. In other words, it’s FOMO (fear of missing out). This device puts the lazy listener/viewer on the defensive: “Well, yeah. I knew that!” But they don't check to see if it's true.
Trump has used this phrase when it comes to many subjects -- the Mueller investigation, the impeachment proceedings, the wall, as well as Kanye West (“And what people don't know, Kanye -- everybody knows, right?”). You name it.
Turns out, it's harder to use when you are talking about a new virus that no one has experienced before. So if Trump says: “Everybody knows the virus will go away,” you might think. Hmm.. Do I know that?
Apparently this phrase -- right now -- isn’t ready for prime-time political advertising. Instead, the Trump campaign, in releasing a couple of new TV commercials, focuses on attacking presidential competitor Joe Biden as a tool of the “radical left.”
Attack political advertising can work well because, really, who has the time to check stuff out? Take the former TV messaging from the Trump campaign, that Biden wants to “defund the police.” It's not true.
On the CBS Evening News, Biden said he doesn’t support defunding the police. But he does support “conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness.”
The new TV campaign comes on the heels of Trump's low 41.3% favorability score, according to FiveThirtyEight’s survey of national political polls. Given these numbers, he has changed campaign managers.
The Trump campaign is looking to find something that sticks. Perhaps it's no time to put potential voters on the defensive.
Linking Biden to the “radical left” may seem like a stretch. For many, he won out over many potential Democratic contenders precisely because he was more mainstream, less progressive, and -- shall we say -- a predictable Democratic official/politician.
In one new, no-voiceover Trump TV campaign commercial, called “Cards,” a woman sits on the edge of a bed holding a white poster cards on her lap where her inner thoughts are revealed.
This includes messages that Biden “is weak; “Biden embraced the policies of the far left” and Biden “deals have emptied our factories.” The ending card: “I’m afraid to say this out loud... I won’t risk my children’s future with Biden.”
Does everyone know that? The ad didn’t say.