Thursday, August 18, 2016

Breaking the Media Narrative

In his speech in Charlotte, North Carolina today, Donald Trump continued to try to shift the media narrative of his candidacy.  In remarks in Wisconsin earlier this week, Trump emphasized reconciliation and national unity:
I will fight to ensure that every American is treated equally, protected equally, and honored equally. We will reject bigotry and hatred and oppression in all of its forms, and seek a new future of security, prosperity and opportunity – a future built on our common culture and values as one American people.
I am asking for your vote so I can be your champion in the White House. We will once again be a country of law and order, and a country of great success.
To every parent who dreams for their children, and to every child who dreams for their future, I say these words to you tonight: I’m with you, I will fight for you, and I will win for you.
Charlotte continued this theme.  He also apologized for some of his past remarks.  As Byron York noted, Charlotte represented a considerable break with many of Trump's past speeches.  This might represent a strategy on Trump's part to cast his candidacy as more inclusive, disciplined, and cooperative.

One can argue about whether this branding will be effective and whether it is too late to be effective.  But, if it's to have any hope of success, it will require incredible discipline in the coming days.  The branding of Trump as an angry bomb-thrower is set fairly deep.  The only way to reset this branding is to not give the media anything that could be construed as part of his old brand.    The media likes covering the circus and it likes Trump as the ringmaster.  It will do everything it can to keep him in the circus (and thereby help Hillary Clinton into the Oval Office).

With one crude off-the-cuff comment by Trump, the media will flood the zone.  A dismissive remark about another Republican--wall-to-wall "GOP in civil war" coverage.  With any slip, the media will be cackling over a failed "pivot."  If it wants this rebrand to be successful--from "I alone" to "we together"--Trump's campaign will have to be hyper-vigilant.

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