Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been massively outspending Donald Trump on advertising since the beginning of this election, including in several key swing states. According to one report, as of July 13th the Clinton campaign and pro-Clinton PACs had booked more than $111 million on TV and radio ads through the election, while Trump and his PACs had booked a little over $650,000, due in part to GOP megadonors’ hesitance in supporting him.
This week, however, one pro-Trump super PAC is trying to start closing that gap, with a $1 million ad buy in several swing states. Politico reports that the group, Rebuilding America, will be airing two new ads in a number of swing states, including ad time in Pennsylvania during the Democratic convention next week.
The two new spots focus on the outsourcing of American jobs. One attacks Clinton’s paid speeches, outlining what the ad describes as a willingness to outsource American jobs for money. The second, a rare positive ad for Trump, depicts a bright future for “craftsmen and tradespeople and factory workers” under a Trump presidency. Focusing primarily on American steelworkers, the second ad draws a sharp contrast to the economic message of Mitt Romney four years ago.
Skilled craftsmen and tradespeople and factory workers, have seen the jobs they love shipped thousands of miles away. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can turn it around.
It will be American steel, just like the American steel that built the Empire State Building, that will fortify America’s crumbling bridges. It’ll be American steel that rebuilds our inner cities. It’ll be American steel that sends our skyscrapers soaring. It’ll be American hands, American workers, that remake this country.
We’re going to be working again. We’re going to have great jobs again. We’re going to make America great again for everyone. Greater than ever before.
This ad does what Romney’s 2012 campaign never seemed able to do: talk about jobs in terms of those who have them rather than just in terms of those who create them. The Romney campaign, fatally, seemed almost entirely incapable of even feigning empathy for anyone who did not own a business. When they mentioned the steel industry, for example, they were far more likely to do so in the style of this January 2012 ad, which briefly brags that Romney invested in a steel mill once. Or compare Rebuilding America’s ad to this ad, from July 2012, in which Romney empathizes with the public’s economic plight by explaining that he too understands the difficulty of hiring someone you might have to fire eventually.
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It’s certainly no wonder Romney easily earned the support of megadonors, but it’s even less surprising that Romney lost the election. If Donald Trump wants to win, abandoning Romney’s economic message is certainly an excellent start.
Danny Cannon works for the American Principles Project.