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“Trump is so saturated”: Anti-Trump attack reports could actually help him, believes the democratic group


The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump super PAC formed by a platoon of MSNBC-famous Republican advisors, has become the object of fascination with the elite. His slashing ads – mocking the president’s corpulent body, mental acuity, and flattery with dictators – have sparked an avalanche of gossip emojis on social media and praised by people like Joy behar and Cher. His attacks are deployed on Twitter and cable messages where Donald Trump she is guaranteed to see. The founders of the Lincoln Project were open to the goal: triggering the snowflake in the White House. “The fact that we can use his mental weakness and television addiction to freeze and manipulate him serves a broader purpose for the entire campaign of keeping him off the news, disorganizing and disorienting him,” co-founder Rick wilson said the Washington Post last month. By throwing the kind of haymakers many Trump opponents long avoided, the group has dug its way deep under Trump’s skin and gained the admiration of #resistance types who happily share their videos and donate money to the cause, which is now, too the victory over Republican senators as heard Lindsey Graham. But does the Lincoln Project change any minds? Or is it only fueling the party political divisions that it is trying to condemn?

For nearly a year, a group of tech-savvy Democrats have been quietly studying these issues, hoping to develop a promotional method that will actually win over voters – and keep the Democratic Party away from the cartel of seasoned advisors who charge maximum evidence for evidence – free wisdom about how persuasion should work. The outfit, called Fellow Americans, was launched in early 2020 without public attention to develop a data-driven test model for campaign advertising – to prove which messages are actually moving the needle against President Trump among key voter groups. In the spring and summer, as the coronavirus pandemic stifled the economy and racial riots spread across the country, one lesson from the tests became abundantly clear: ads that attack Trump directly, with his voice, news clips, or even just his face, cause that not only convincing voters, but also democratic voters who Joe Biden November needs. “The scary, dark, negative campaign spots you normally see in an election year not only don’t work with the people we want, they create backlash among the people we need,” said Jess McIntosh, a seasoned democratic communications strategist. “Trump is so saturated. You can do the case you want to do without saying its name. The point of ads that seem to work is not the focal point, either audio or visual. And so people seem to be the most receptive, which is exactly the opposite of what you saw in 2016 and even 2020. “

McIntosh is a member of Fellow Americans, a 501 (c) (4) founded in December 2019 by a trio of Democrats drawn from the digital side of. come Barack Obamas political operations. In June, at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, Americans posted a digital ad condemning Trump’s now infamous march through Lafayette Square. John’s Church. According to test responses from various voter subgroups, the spot changed almost no opinion about Trump or the protests.

“We figured it was going to be a mover spot, but it just wasn’t,” said McIntosh. The negative effect of the video was that it not only ousted moderate voters but also many democratically based voters, especially young people, who find politics tiresome and irrelevant to their lives. “The people who are younger are more skeptical. They’re often just like: Oh, I haven’t had the best luck in life. You don’t make a lot of money. You don’t have a college degree, ”said Samarth Bhaskar, an advisor to the group. “With these groups in particular, we’ve seen that if you put something in front of them that looks like a political ad or video, they are immediately deactivated. So we tried our best to find other ways to talk to them about these issues. ”

What was popular? A spot called “Protest & Vote”. The video featured upbeat music, colorful graphics, and images of nonviolent protests, with former President Obama urging activists to both register to vote and take to the streets. Trump and Biden were not mentioned in the ad. The spot worked, its creators said, because it captured a range of subjects and images that have been shown to resonate with young people, African Americans, and a subgroup of disengaged voters they call “struggling skeptics.” It was optimistic, showed different faces, combined current struggles with historical struggles and avoided the political debates on the Beltway, which consume a news medium that is increasingly distancing itself from the electorate. On Twitter, the video about Trump in Lafayette Square received just 194 views. “Protest & Vote” reached over 12,000.

These number of views are of course negligible compared to a reputable paid media campaign. But Fellow Americans was not created to reach a broad political audience on its own. Instead, through a contract with a for-profit company called Incite Studio, it is able to distribute its top performing content and insights across the liberal spectrum to larger democratic organizations like Priorities USA, NARAL and NextGen America, as well as state-run progressive groups like Alliance for a Better Minnesota and Progress Michigan. Fellow Americans was created by Nate Lubin, the former director of digital strategy for the Obama White House; Lindsay Holst, the former director of digital strategy for Vice President Biden who has since joined Biden’s campaign; and Shomik Dutta, a former Obama fundraiser that runs the political mutual fund Higher Ground Labs. The group, its founders said, was not invented to replace other outside groups or party committees. It was designed as a creative laboratory to answer a question that not many people in the Democratic Party have addressed over the years, despite obvious advances in data collection and online research: what messages are actually changing people’s minds? “When we do persuasion in politics, our goal is to change people’s minds, which, unlike conversion metrics, is very difficult to measure,” said Danielle Butterfield, Priorities USA’s paid media director who works with Fellow Americans and has developed his own “creative testing” strategies to prove which messages actually work when people see them.


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