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His Own Words

No, not Trump’s words. The group Republican Voters Against Trump has released a new ad using only the words of South Carolina Republican senator Lindsey Graham to attack Donald Trump and praise Joe Biden. The ad is being run in both South and North Carolina, and also on Fox News in DC (likely to poke Trump in the eye).

Most of these quotes are from less than five years ago, but after Trump was elected, Lindsey Graham started tightly hugging Trump, a flip-flop turnabout that is reportedly already hurting Graham’s popularity in his home state.

The ad not only attacks Trump, it attacks Graham by showing his abject hypocrisy and lack of any backbone. So it works not only against a bad president, but also against a pitiful Republican senator. And winning the Senate is crucial for reversing the damage already done to our country. Besides getting control of Congress, it is the Senate that confirms judges, including the Supreme Court justices. And Graham is up for reelection this year.

Even more brilliantly, the ad features Graham effusively praising Biden. This is especially important because a new study shows that ads that are just about Trump are no longer effective:

People have already heard a lot about Trump, and neither pro-Trump nor anti-Trump ads are very effective at shifting people’s perceptions of him.

By contrast, despite his 48 years in national politics, Joe Biden is not as well known. Both pro-Biden and anti-Biden messages can move the needle: People who don’t like Trump can still be convinced to dislike Biden, and people who do like Trump can be convinced that Biden is okay.

There are very few voters who are undecided about Trump. If someone is a Fox-news-watching Trump lover, an ad attacking Trump is unlikely to convince them to vote for Biden. At best, it might make people who hate Trump happy, but they already plan to vote for Biden.

But an ad that says good things about Biden can convince former Trump voters to switch. And if these good things about Biden are coming from a (now) Trump-loving Senator, that makes them even more powerful and believable.

And it looks like there can be more ads like this. For example, I just found an article that quotes Mitch McConnell publicly saying to Biden on the Senate floor, “You’ve been a real friend, you’ve been a trusted partner, and it’s been an honor to serve with you. We’re all going to miss you.” (The ad should end with “Joe Biden, someone you can trust.”)