In a scorching column for the Daily Beast, conservative Matt Lewis -- who left the Republican party specifically because of Donald Trump -- ripped into a new ad created by the president's re-election committee, saying it glosses over his many failures that threaten to swamp his chances of remaining in the Oval Office after November.
He also claimed it likely may not work no matter how well-produced.
In the ad, which can be seen below, Lewis wrote, "Donald Trump is casting himself as the hero of the pandemic. That’s right, not only is he not culpable for mishandling the deadly virus; he’s the comeback kid. At least, that’s what you’ll believe after seeing this very good ad created by the Trump campaign."
"What is clear is that Team Trump realizes the message they hoped to run on (a great economy) will no longer fly, and they have found a plausible new story to tell. It’s unclear whether it will work, but you would be hard-pressed to find a more flattering way of casting Trump’s predicament," he continued before admitting the ad is "... visually dazzling. Aesthetically, it’s just superb."
But, as the conservative notes, it is also highly deceptive.
"Trump’s team employs a particularly disgusting maneuver: the use of what I think could fairly be described as 'hostage videos' of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and California Gov. Gavin Newsom saying complimentary things about the federal government’s response," he explained. "Never mind that they might have been under some sort of duress when, realizing ventilators and masks and tests are doled out by a guy who loves to be praised, those words were uttered."
Heaping praise on the technical production of the ad, Lewis wrote, "Along the way, Trump’s ad-maker deserves credit, also, for shoehorning every possible positive thing Trump has done this year into one spot. For example, he wants to make sure to remind you that Trump shut down travel from China early. This was probably done to please an audience of one: Donald Trump."
"One thing is for sure, an accurate recounting of Trump’s 'accomplishments' won’t win this re-election. That’s why this is such an impressively devious messaging strategy," he explained before pointing out that, no matter how good the ad is it may not salvage the president's re-election hopes.
"It’s worth asking whether ads even matter. TV commercials do not exist in a vacuum. If the world still seems to be falling apart in November, no amount of spin or propaganda will fix that. Additionally, for better or worse, earned media has supplanted paid media. Trump’s ability to generate buzz by virtue of his Twitter feed and rallies has proven to matter a lot more than any ad that goes up on TV or is served to us on Facebook," he wrote. "But what happens the next time Trump suggests that ultraviolet rays can be injected into a person’s body—or attacks 'that woman' in Michigan? When it comes to garnering attention, Trump’s biggest competition is himself, and his insane comments and tweets threaten to cannibalize his scripted lines."
He then closed with a warning, " It’s unclear whether ads selling Trump’s alternate reality will be enough to overcome his real reality. What is clear is that Democrats should not bet against the power of propaganda. They should not take Trump’s re-election chances too lightly."
You can see the ad below and read more here (subscription required).