In the 1980s, Dry Idea anti-perspirant had a series of commercials where celebrities gave advice, always culminating with “Never let them see you sweat.” Here’s one featuring fashion designer Donna Karan:
She ends with, “Feeling tense is understandable. Looking tense is unfashionable!”
Someone needs to share this advice with the Democratic National Committee, whose convention is sending a message that Donald Trump is making them sweat.
Here are a four examples.
(1) They Changed Hillary’s Tagline
In his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, Donald Trump said,
My opponent asks her supporters to recite a three-word loyalty pledge. It reads: ‘I’m With Her.’ I choose to recite a different pledge. My pledge reads: ‘I’m with you — the American people.’
He went on to describe the ways he would be with voters. It was a really smart line that made Clinton’s tagline seem cold and entitled, out for herself. It made Trump seem like he was for the common man. “I’m with her” was used to great effect during the campaign. But all of a sudden the line conjured up negative feelings.
The Clinton campaign responded by changing her slogan. Or not changing it so much as adding to it. Now, on the backside of signs that say, “I’m with her,” there’s an additional tagline: “She’s with us.”
His criticism got to the campaign.
(2) Their Mockery of Trump Is Obsessive
There are advantages to being the second party to hold a convention.
You get to react to the first convention by presenting a more appealing message. You get to react to things you thought were negative.
But at no time should you build an entire joke or lengthy bit around something as narrow as the way your opponent … walked onstage.
Somehow that’s exactly what happened when Elizabeth Banks took the stage on Tuesday night.
Here’s another angle:
How many people watching this entrance even understood that it looked similar to Trump’s entrance last week? Are many Americans watching both conventions that carefully? Unlikely.
I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong, but this does nothing other than look like obsession with unimportant details. And that’s a sure sign someone is in your head.
(3) Policy Changes
Here’s yesterday’s lede from the Detroit Free Press:
PHILADELPHIA — UAW President Dennis Williams reiterated Tuesday that presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has promised him that she will try to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to better protect workers.
Promised him she’d rewrite one of her husband’s signature policy achievements.
Also, when Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said yesterday that Hillary Clinton actually supported the Trans Pacific Partnership, Hillary for America chair John Podesta shot back:
Love Gov. McAuliffe, but he got this one flat wrong. Hillary opposes TPP BEFORE and AFTER the election. Period. Full stop.
John Podesta (@johnpodesta) July 27, 2016
That could be seen as nothing more than an attempt to tamp down the Bernie Sanders troops, but Politico Pro reported that Clinton surrogate Ed Rendell is crediting Trump’s attacks on trade agreements. He says Trump’s trade message is resonating in the important swing state of Pennsylvania:
Trump’s attacks on trade agreements and promises to uphold ‘law and order’ are attractive to many Pennsylvania voters, putting the state’s 20 electoral votes in play in the upcoming presidential election, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (2003-2011) said today.
‘It resonates. There’s no question about it,’ Rendell, a Democrat, said during an interview with POLITICO Playbook hosts Mike Allen and Anna Palmer.
Rendell said the amazing thing to him is Trump’s practice of outsourcing jobs to manufacture his brand name products ‘doesn’t seem to matter’ to many older white voters drawn to his message.
‘The toughest task is to get those voters to listen,’ Rendell said, adding that even attempts to tie Trump to unpopular policies of the Republican Party have not been particularly effective in changing minds.
(4) The Change-Maker?
During his acceptance speech, Donald Trump sold a message of the need for radical and urgent change.
Big business, elite media and major donors are lining up behind the campaign of my opponent because they know she will keep our rigged system in place.
They are throwing money at her because they have total control over everything she does. She is their puppet, and they pull the strings.
That is why Hillary Clinton’s message is that things will never change. My message is that things have to change — and they have to change right now.
So what was the big takeaway from last night’s keynote address by former President Bill Clinton? He said that his wife would be a “change-maker.” Over and over and over again, that’s what he said.
Trump says, “Hillary Clinton’s message is that things will never change,” and Clinton’s response is “she’s a change-maker”?
This has the feel of George H.W. Bush in 1992, who responded to Bill Clinton’s call for change by saying he wanted change, too. As Twitter user David Held pointed out, he even put it into his TV advertisements:
Everything about the Democratic convention seems to be a response to Trump. They’re trying to position him as immoral, his positions as extreme, and his style as gauche. They’re listening to his criticisms and letting them get in their heads.