—By Harold Hutchison
This is the 5th installment in an ongoing series.
When it comes down to it, the 2020 election should never have been close enough for fraud and certain states’ failure to follow the law to make a difference. Sadly, through bad personnel decisions, a failure to plan, ignoring the importance of preparing the battlefield, and an inability to anticipate and prepare responses to likely attacks on the part of Team Trump, we’re in a desperate fight for the republic.
One of the big reasons we are in such a desperate fight is that President Trump, for all his fighting spirit, all his determination to get things done and all his energy, ended up shooting his own message in the foot. While millions of Americans rallied around his message in 2016, and millions more did so in 2020, it is fair to say that he unnecessarily alienated others.
President Trump got a lot right during the last four years. He showed us what a fighting spirit looks like when far too many purported Republican and conservative leaders folded or failed to stick up for the people who voted for them. He managed to accomplish much, despite the machinations of career bureaucrats and the establishment holdovers who were undermining him from day one.
But there was a price for Trump’s pugnaciousness. As a necessary form of political chemotherapy for a cancerous conservative movement and Republican party too willing to unilaterally disarm in terms of political combat, it had some side effects that proved detrimental.
Trump has a history of getting nasty and personal with people he's disputing in the political arena. See John McCain, who had his own streak of self-righteousness and preening for the press, particularly on campaign finance “reform” and enhanced interrogation. Trump’s feud with McCain arguably made Arizona close enough for irregularities in Maricopa County to matter.
It didn’t have to be that way. After McCain’s death, all President Trump had to do was admit he and McCain didn't like each other but express his respect for McCain's service and offer condolences, nonetheless.
Simply doing that would likely have kept Arizona from flipping to Biden, or at the very least, would have put Trump on the high ground in legal fights from a close election.
Similarly, with the coronavirus pandemic, Trump struggled to deliver the necessary facts to the American people in a way that addressed everyone’s concerns. When the lockdown protests began in May, after “two weeks to slow the spread” was becoming indefinitely extended, Trump again was needlessly confrontational and gave a hostile media ample room to paint him as a bully.
Instead, he should have been focusing on the need to get Americans working again because high unemployment leads to suicides and drug overdose increases, while highlighting the damage being done to those suffering from addiction and mental health declines due to the lockdowns. Again, as was the case with the white supremacy issue, he had a family connection that would have helped drive the point home (this time through the death of his brother Fred) and effectively neutralized one of the primary attacks the Lincoln Project used against him.
This might not have had an impact on news reporting, given the fact that the bulk of the national media seems to be either stenographers for the Beltway establishment, activists for left-wing causes or some combination of both. But in the daily press briefings, the American people could have seen for themselves that the press was lying.
One big takeaway from all this is the old adage that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. If you were packaging Trump’s fighting spirit with the charisma of Marco Rubio or the personal comportment of Mitt Romney, neither 2016 or 2020 would have been close, and there would have been massive coattails.
Have you ever been convinced by the rants from the Left? When they pretty much say that if you don’t go along with them you’re racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/xenophobic/a child-killer/domestic terrorist? The Left has tried that sort of tactic for years, and it has not worked out for them.
The same can be said for some conservatives/Republicans who often make statements that tend to be as useful for the Left as they are in motivating a political base. Worse, in a day and age when most of the media and Big Tech are actively siding with the opposition (the Hunter Biden laptop), those messages may not even get to the people.
Here is the harsh reality: How a message is crafted may matter as much as the content of the message. In essence, skill in crafting the message is something that candidates and strategists need to have at all times, and when they fail to do so, they can make a difficult task impossible.
Harold Hutchison has nearly two decades of experience covering a variety of topics, including politics, national security affairs, foreign policy, Second Amendment issues, and sports. He has been published in numerous media outlets, including National Review, the Daily Caller, the Patriot Post, Ammoland.com, and the Washington Examiner.