Ads u.s. election and COVID-19: no quarter for the president

Publicités électorales américaines et COVID-19: pas de quartier pour le président

The crisis of the sars coronavirus is still young and its worst effects in the United States have not yet been felt, but the opponents of Donald Trump are already starting to acknowledge the tragic failures of its management of crisis in their advertising, pre-election.

The election year 2020 is already shaping up as a vintage without precedent for the election advertising because of the existential importance that the two parties agree to the choice of the voters and the unprecedented scale of the financial resources that will be deployed by the candidates. While the crisis of the COVID-19 there is increasingly severe, the issue of the treatment of the crisis in the advertising arises and the opponents of Trump did not hesitate to respond by putting his miserable management of the crisis (on this, see my last blog) at the heart of their election advertising.

The tone had been given even before the big day of primary elections democrats 3 march, when Michael Bloomberg was delivering a message to a sober three minutes to an hour of great listening on the 29th of February to criticise the inaction of the president in the early days of the pandemic. It has not worked very well for him, but he should expect that he will return to the charge with great blows of millions by November.

The majority of the ads that proliferate on television channels and social networks come from Super PACs, these organizations of private campaigns parallel that can spend as much as they can during a campaign provided that it does not explicitly call for a vote for a particular candidate. The best-established of these Super PACs is Priorities USA, which was introduced in 2011 to support the re-election of Barack Obama. The advertising is relentless.

Click here to view the advertisement from Priorities USA.

We didn’t finish to see this response from Donald Trump to a journalist who asked him if he took responsibility for his decision to abolish the structure created by his predecessor to handle this kind of public health crisis. A more recent Priorities USA presents the problem of the leadership failed to Trump in terms even more raw, relying exclusively on the words of the president himself.

Click here to view the advertisement from Priorities USA.

This ad from Priorities USA is particularly efficient and has a budget of mailing of six million dollars, but it stretches the truth a bit by failing to put the quote from Trump that speaks of a hoax (hoax) in context. This is not the virus itself that the president described as hoax, but the partisan use that he accuses the democrats of having done. The campaign Trump has gone to court to demand the withdrawal of these ads in the media, that some networks were made voluntarily (including, obviously, Fox News).

Another Super PAC, American Bridge, released on march 20, an announcement which says that all the warning signs of the crisis were present, but that Donald Trump has not taken the measures needed, with a budget of diffusion to 850 000$. The announcement does not mention that the president had ordered the limitation of inputs from China, but it was clear from the very first day that this measure was far from being sufficient. The implementation in contradiction of the words of the president with the facts is particularly effective.

Click here to see the advertising by American Bridge.

The group Republicans for the Rule of Law, that actively campaign against Trump, emphasizes the many liberties that the president has taken with the facts in the context of this crisis. Here’s another theme you will hear often here in November : how do you trust in times of crisis a president who lies like he breathes?

Click here to view the advertisement from Republicans for the Rule of Law.

For its part, the campaign of Joe Biden did not hesitate to exploit the crisis to highlight the shortcomings of the leadership of Donald Trump and establish a striking contrast with the attitude demonstrated by the democratic candidate. The means are limited for the time being, but Biden has a vested interest in not making too much of it for the moment and leave the criticism of the president to others. In this message intended for social networks, the most effective in this sense is the one where a journalist asks the president what he has to say to Americans who are afraid of the effects of this pandemic, and it responds by attacking the journalist. Biden, for his part, is a response to a similar question by showing empathy, which Donald Trump seems to be obviously incapable.

Click here to see the advertising campaign of Joe Biden.

This other announcement of Joe Biden aired on Twitter are also worth to be seen. The themes it contains, would surely be at the heart of its tv commercials to come.

As for the president himself, his campaign is ubiquitous on social media, but a topic is curiously absent from these messages : the crisis of the sars coronavirus. According to The Guardian, since the beginning of the month campaign, Trump has devoted to $ 1.38 million to broadcast thousands of announcements that reached an estimated 58 million users on Facebook only, but these ads go noticeably silent on the pandemic to focus on the themes of populist usual campaign of Trump.

In place of political advertising and rallies supporters that Donald Trump loves so much, the president chose instead to campaign through its television appearances, day-to-day to realize the state of the situation of the pandemic. In fact, the speech he held during such briefings can be mistaken to that it reserve usually to their audiences admiring in arenas filled to capacity. This superposition of the statements of Trump at these points of the press and of the passages of these rallies, by comedian Trevor Noah on the Daily Show is all that you need to see to be convinced.

Click here to see the clip of one minute on Facebook.