As many legitimate reasons as liberals and progressives have for bashing Donald Trump’s presidency and the modern-day Republican Party, the fact remains that Republicans can be incredibly effective with their hardcore base when it comes to messaging — however deceptive that messaging might be. And journalists Alayna Treene and Jonathan Swan, in a December 3 report for Axios, describe the ways in which Republicans have turned impeachment into both a fundraising tool and a fire-up-the-base tool.
“The Republican base is fired up by impeachment,” Treene and Swan explain. “It’s driving fundraising to pro-Trump groups, which pump that money back into ads to get the base even more fired up.”
So far, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives haven’t actually indicted Trump on articles of impeachment, although they have presented an abundance of compelling testimony to show why Trump deserves to be impeached. Despite all the evidence, Republican strategists have been insisting to their base that the House impeachment inquiry is total nonsense — and the base is buying it.
“Pro-Trump groups are flooding the airwaves ahead of this month’s expected House vote on articles of impeachment, spending millions to pressure Democrats in swing districts to vote no,” Treene and Swan report. For example, the Axios journalists note, the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action is “dropping $2.26 million on ads” and “targeting 27 Democratic House members the group sees as most politically vulnerable in the impeachment fight.” And Kelly Sadler, a spokeswoman for America First Policies, told Axios, “The goal is to make the impeachment vote as hard as possible for them.”
In America First Policies’ melodramatic ads, a male narrator ominously declares, “The radical left will stop at nothing” and goes on to demand that House members “end the witch hunt, oppose impeachment, put America first.” And each ad, according to Treene and Swan, is “personalized to target individual lawmakers, all of whom are in districts Trump won in 2016.”
Democratic House members targeted in the ads range from Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia to Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan to Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois. The ad aimed at Spanberger declares, “Call Congresswoman Spanberger. Tell her to end the witch hunt, oppose impeachment, put America first.”