Peter Hamby's on-point article in Vanity Fair examines the messaging war being waged largely by demagogue and con artist Donald "Rump" Trump against an ineffective Dem establishment. Through social media and his tactic of flooding the zone in each news cycle, Rump dominates news coverage, even when it's negative "fake news" about him. Hamby cites the recent event at which Dems tried to highlight higher gas prices:
"On the same day this week that President Donald Trump was tweeting about the F.B.I.’s fictional SPYGATE “scandal” and the special counsel’s WITCH HUNT into the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia—lies that were splashed across the country’s television and mobile screens in short order—Senate Democrats held a photo-op at the most expensive Exxon station on Capitol Hill. Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, was joined by three other suit-wearing Democrats to make the case that Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal would drive up gas prices. It was a definitional middle-class “pocketbook” argument, one that Democrats hope to make part of their 2018 economic message. Schumer, waving a sheaf of paper, stood behind a sign that proclaimed, rather impotently, 'Senate Democrats Demand Lower Gas Prices.'” (emphasis added)That's discouraging. In contrast with President Obama's eight years, when Rethuglicans seemed to be everywhere on TV and in print, Dems are having difficulty getting their voices heard over the carnival-barker-in-chief's bellicose lying. Some is due to the Beltway media's obsession with the horse race and shiny objects. Some is due to the fact that Dem leadership is ossified and reading from a script that worked in the early 90s. Some is due to the fact that Dems seem reticent to confront Rump's corruption and unfitness, and that's resulted in his poll numbers creeping up:
"Still, that Trump 'owns the news cycle' is almost taken for granted at this point—and that’s a source of vulnerability for Democrats. The Russia investigation isn’t going anywhere, and most Americans still support it, but Trump has been ruthless about framing it the way he wants. It’s starting to have an impact, and Democrats are letting him get away with it. A poll out this week from Navigator Research, a Democratic firm, found that Americans are having a tough time seeing through the fog. While a vast majority of Americans were familiar with the investigations into Trump and his associates, a full 59 percent of Americans said they weren’t aware of the investigation uncovering any crimes." (emphasis added)This is not to say that Dems haven't had success this past year in advancing candidates that reflect their districts / States with solid messages. But the energy for 2018 and beyond won't be in hammering Rump on gas prices, or taxes, or infrastructure jobs:
"But the undercurrent to all of this Democratic energy is Trump, and it would be folly to ignore the mounting evidence of crimes by Trump’s allies and the ongoing investigation into the president’s own conduct. It is the biggest story in the world! Democrats are showing up in primaries and special elections in numbers that well outpace their performance in previous midterm elections. Talk to any Democrat you know in real life: they are ready to crawl over broken glass to vote in November. You don’t need a poll to tell you this. And it’s because of Trump—his policies, his recklessness, his personality, and yes, his scandals. 'Anti-Trump sentiment is what’s going to drive the midterms for Democrats, in part because Trump will own the news cycle and in part because we are the opposition party,' said Tom Perriello, the former Virginia congressman and progressive activist. 'That’s just how it works.'” (emphasis added)Yes, let's campaign fiercely against his despicable immigration policies, his attempted gutting of Medicaid and the ACA, and his subservience to the NRA. But let's remember who brought us to this point: an unhinged, lying sociopath that must be confronted -- loudly and vigorously -- at all times, and less by "waving a sheaf of paper."