People are still enjoying some tunes from Trump’s first album, but that doesn’t mean they’ll buy his difficult second.
Team Trump have been running the ad below for two months, spending $5.6m for 17,067 airings (data via Advertising Analytics).
What can we learn his campaign’s sustained investment in this ad, alongside the fact that the themes within it have been repeated in other more recent ads (below)?
It tells us that messaging around Biden’s length of time in Washington and support for historic trade deals are moving the dial in Trump’s favour in battleground states.
Two barriers for Hillary Clinton in ‘16 were (1) her perception of being an establishment candidate when many voters wanted change (2) her support for trade liberalisation when floating voters in key states wanted economic protection.
It looks likely that these arguments, which were salient in ‘16 against Clinton, remain persuasive in ‘20 when deployed against Biden.
But Trump’s problem this time around is that he is not just running against the establishment and previous Democratic policy decisions, he’s also defending his time in office.
And for most of the audience, his performance on the current most salient issue has struck the wrong chord.