Stormy Daniels, Karl Rove Hold Clues to Beating Trump

Attacking strengths can be more effective, Jack Shafer writes
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2023 4:42 PM CDT
Stormy Daniels, Karl Rove Hold Clues to Beating Trump
Adult film actress Stormy Daniels attends an event in Berlin in 2018.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

There are many strategies that won't beat Donald Trump, in a political race or elsewhere. Pointing out his flaws has little effect, Jack Shafer writes in Politico column. But there are people who have the right idea, and Ron DeSantis could learn from them. Karl Rove, a longtime Republican strategist, has instead diminished the qualities the opponent portrays as strengths. He did that with Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, casting a Vietnam War veteran as a weakling. Trump's primary rivals in 2016 pointed out Trump's "racism, misogyny, sociopathy," Shafer writes. It didn't work. "Trump’s vulnerabilities reside in his positives, and that’s where DeSantis should probe for cracks and fissures," he says.

The master is Stormy Daniels, Shafer writes in quoting scholar Jennifer Mercieca. Daniels' public exchanges with Trump haven't been tempered by threats from him or his lawyers. She's used humor, with one tweet mocking his manhood ending with, "Game on, Tiny." Trump foes have plenty to work with, Shafer says: They could skewer his "great, great wall" that Mexico was going to pay for, his North Korea policy that resulted in not much more than sweet-smelling letters, and his inflated populist credentials. "Sometimes people's strengths turn out to be really big weaknesses," Rove once told Fox News. “We tend to—you know, people tend to sometimes in campaigns accentuate things that they think are big and important, and they exaggerate them." Shafer's full piece can be found here. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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