The media breathlessly reports EVERY utterance of President Trump….
Foot in the mouth?
All of the above….
But to Trump & Co?
The above has NOT stuck on Joe Biden….
And people are numb to Trump’s grandiose chaotic attacks…
They don’t work anymore….
President Trump won the White House in no small part by seizing on Hillary Clinton’s missteps and using them to turn many voters against her. But after three unsteady months, and with the Republican convention six weeks away, Mr. Trump is struggling to define Joseph R. Biden Jr. to similarly devastating effect, a critical task at this stage of a presidential race.
By a combination of design and circumstance, Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has managed so far to deny Mr. Trump the sort of damaging offhand remarks, campaign clashes and clumsy encounters with voters that he used as weapons against Mrs. Clinton in the last general election, as well as his Republican opponents in the 2016 primary.
This is partly because Mr. Biden has run such a low-profile campaign during the pandemic. He has had few public appearances and news conferences, which can provide the unscripted moments opponents can use to shape the public’s perception of a candidate.
But there are other obstacles for Mr. Trump that have become clear since Mr. Biden effectively won his party’s nomination in April. Mr. Biden, the former vice president, is viewed more favorably by voters than Mrs. Clinton was in 2016. He is a moderate Democrat who lacks a history of harsh partisanship or scandal. And he has long appealed to white working-class voters, who are part of Mr. Trump’s base.
“It is going to be more difficult for the Trump campaign to go after a man who really is a centrist, has dealings with people across the aisle and knows how to talk to people who disagree with him,” said Priscilla Southwell, a professor emerita of political science at the University of Oregon. “And 2020 is a different kind of year. Donald Trump can appeal to his core by being negative, but it’s such a difficult time for everybody. I don’t think negativity is going to sell as well as it used to.”
Defining an opponent — putting them on the defensive with caricature — is a crucial and proven tactic for candidates in competitive races. There is a graveyard of failed contenders — names like Kennedy, McGovern, Romney, Gore and Hillary Clinton — who found themselves branded by an opponent in portrayals, often unfair, that ricocheted across the political playing field and the media.
Mr. Trump had been adept at this. But the kind of attacks that seemed so effective when he was a new-to-politics outsider in 2016 also appear to have less resonance coming from inside the White House. Four years of tweets by Mr. Trump have numbed many voters….
image…Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Glamour