Former adviser to President Obama Dan Pfeiffer has some solid advice for Democrats on "pandemic politics" and holding Trump and his party accountable. Having witnessed the way after 9/11 Republicans savaged Democrats for being soft on terrorism, even after they supported (to their later regret) the Bush regime's Iraq war, Pfeiffer doesn't want Democrats to make the same mistakes again. Here are a few of his points, greatly condensed:
1. Hold Trump Accountable for his failures: ... The Democratic critique of Trump on Twitter and cable news has been largely stylistic. These critiques are legitimate and well deserved. Trump has refused to abide by proper social-distancing practices, downplayed the seriousness of the disease, and repeatedly passed along incorrect information that has endangered lives. His tone has been dismissive and self-congratulatory, and his tweets have, as always, been evidence of his unfitness for office. [snip]
[However] Previous polling from Crooked Media and Change Research indicates that the most effective arguments against Trump are based on specific, factual information previously unknown to the public and delivered without hyperbole. Therefore, Democrats should focus on specifics instead of optics...There are more points at the link, so please take a moment or two to read the full piece.
2. Don’t Count on the Media to Carry the Message: The media’s coverage of Trump’s response has been objectively brutal. Trump’s sloppy, dishonest press conferences and other public statements are typically followed by morose panel discussions of his errors. It is enjoyable to watch and feels like karmic retribution for all the uncritical free media he’s been given since 2016. But ultimately, it’s all empty calories. The voters who will decide this election are not watching cable news or mainlining the mean tweets about Trump... If Democrats want voters to know that Trump is the one who screwed this up, they have to tell them in paid advertising and other native digital content. [see Bonus, below]
3. Use Congress to Highlight Different Visions: ... As a party, we owe it to the country, our voters, and ourselves to be constructive and reasonable, but we have a political and moral imperative to drive a harder and better bargain—and to make sure people know we drove it... we must offer an alternative. Democrats should put forward a large-scale economic package that is much more progressive and populist than what Trump wants... we must use the legislative debate to show that Trump is ultimately a plutocrat in populist clothing. Bailouts are about as popular as the coronavirus itself. The final legislative package will include hundreds of millions of dollars in bailouts for industries. Unlike the Wall Street bailouts, the airline, hotel, and other industries bear no responsibility for this situation and may need to be rescued for the sake of the economy and their workers. But Democrats can be the ones fighting to make sure these packages benefit workers and not just executives and shareholders... we must demand Congress require states to implement vote-by-mail. There is a very real possibility that pandemic conditions will persist through Election Day in November. We cannot force Americans to choose between exercising their civic duties and protecting public health.
This is not about benefiting from the suffering of others. This is about making clear that that suffering has been a direct result of the incompetence of the dangerous Republican dolt in the White House and of the long- held Republican philosophy of government, summed up by the rancid Grover Norquist: "I'm not in favor of abolishing the government. I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."
The folks waiting for coronavirus testing and those waiting for ventilators would love to have a word with you.
BONUS: Here's why Democrats absolutely can't leave it to the media to hold Trump and Republicans accountable.
BONUS II: Please read Jamelle Bouie's op/ ed on the same topic. Also,
Weirdest thing about this week is how the likely Democratic nominee has basically vanished and how the Democrats have basically ceded the fight for public opinion to the GOP.— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) March 20, 2020