Don Jr. and the Hyenas

In June of 2016, Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer and possibly a Russian spy to try and get dirt on Hillary Clinton.  

While this seems obviously sketchy and possibly illegal, not everyone seems to know why this is wrong.  Don Jr. and Donald Sr. seem to think this was standard practice and Sean Spicer is still coming down from whatever pain killers he took to make it through another day to answer honestly.

Since Don Jr. appears to have so much trouble discerning right from wrong, I thought I could look at his foibles through the lens of something he could understand. Something that he’s probably familiar with from still having bunk beds with Eric.

Disney movies.

As we open this tale, we head to the plains of Africa where we find Scar and his whispy, thinning mane lounging around Scar Rock with his much younger lionesses while admiring his crumbling kingdom. The massive budget cuts he put in place have sparked a famine and his refusal to acknowledge climate change has brought extreme drought to the savannah.

As the Scar Administration continues to try and ban leopards and giraffes from entering their land, suspicion among the pride grows that Scar and the hyenas may have colluded to oust Mufasa and Simba.

It had longed seemed strange to the pride that from the day he arrived and blinking, stepped into the sun, Scar has praised the Shadowland and expressed admiration for the hyena’s strong leadership and defense of the elephant grave yard.

In addition, patterns have started to emerge between the movements of the hyenas and those of the wildebeest on the day of the stampede. Scar refuses to denounce any hyena other than Ed and appears unconcerned with their increased hunting of the lions prey.

As news leaks out that Mufasa actually fell while trying to escape the hyena induced stampede, Scar mocks him for having a “weak grip” and despite the fact that there is more to be seen than can ever be seen and more to do than can ever be done, he keeps regularly sending flocks of birds to remind everyone that Nala and Rafiki once ran into each other on a hunting trip and who knows what they may have been conspiring to do.

Not to mention, maybe if Simba hadn’t been strutting around singing about how he was going to be king, Mufasa may have done something about the hyena’s plot.

Eventually the elephant herd and Bob “The Trunk” Mueller start combing through the outtakes to see if any further scenes yet revealed to the audience exist. As they work they realize there’s far too much to take in here, more to find than can ever be found, but one day, with the sun rolling high through the sapphire sky, they find a deleted scene where Scar’s eldest son, Scar Jr. makes contact with the hyenas.

In the previously deleted scene he is lounging around Scar Oasis when noted hyena sympathizer Zazutskaya comes flying in with a message from the Shadowland.  The hyenas want to meet. They know of a sure-fire way to make certain Simba doesn’t become king of Pride Rock and they want to run it by him before bringing it to Scar.

Oh, and if anyone asks, this meeting is to discuss “zebra access” due to the lion’s restrictions on the hyena’s hunting grounds.

Zazutskaya returns to the Shadowland to share Scar Jr.’s exuberance at the idea the hyenas could help stop Simba from becoming king and instead put Scar in power.

While the remaining scenes haven’t been found, the audience knows that the hyena’s ended up carrying out the plot that killed Mufasa, exiled Simba, and put Scar in charge.

Oh… and Scar knew about the entire thing all along.

Now, Don Jr., I realize that it still may be a little hard to understand how what Scar Jr. did was kind of wrong and lead to the ruin of his pride – and downfall of his father – but I’m sure Eric could explain it to you in terms you can understand.

Follow on Twitter @EighteenthandU

Picture credit: Disney

Why I am forever hopeful.

Last spring, at age 25, I boarded my first plane destined for overseas. With the exception of a couple trips to America’s hat up north, I had never left the country.  My parents believed that I needed to see my own country, and all the natural awesomeness it had to offer, because I went abroad to marvel at man-made castles and paintings.  

So in high school, we packed up the family van and spent 6 weeks over the course of two summers staying in motels, eating roadside PB&J’s and stopping at every national park and baseball park along the way.  I’ve spent hours watching prairie dogs pop up from underground mazes, stained my shirt with BBQ in Memphis after walking through the hotel room where Martin Luther King Jr spent his final hours.  I’ve seen the glory of a sunrise in Yellowstone and the despair of gutted apartments and desolate shopping centers that lined the freeway for miles leaving New Orleans, years after Katrina.

I’ve seen the greatness every corner of this country can offer. I’ve seen hope in a small town waitresses in Fargo who told us about her night classes and the ambition in a hotel manager who works at night to avoid the oppressive heat in Phoenix while making ends meet. I’ve seen the kindness in a mechanic who helped us with a flat tire somewhere between El Paso and nowhere and the humor in bikers in West Virginia who showed my brother that men in with beards and leather jackets aren’t automatically scary.

I also have seen where the worst of our country still survives.  I remember feeling confused and befuddled in neighborhoods littered with Confederate flags only miles from Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, home of the famous “Little Rock 9.” I remember asking and learning about these communities that were still clinging to a depressed vision of America, left behind by the spread of compassion and tolerance.

And for a long time these communities were just that, relegated to displaying Stars and Bars bumper stickers and putting “Don’t tread on me” signs in the rear window of their Silverados.  Republicans by default, they were forced to vote for Presidential candidates who ran on platforms of “compassionate conservatism” and paid little heed to the the true nationalist wishes of these communities.

And then 2016 descended down an escalator.

Donald Trump gave these people a voice they didn’t have before. He made it okay for Americans to group themselves by caste and align against those who they didn’t share in Bud Lights at the dive bar on Monday night. And worst of all, he allowed a small minority of this country to feel empowered to spread their antiquated way of life.

But I remain forever hopeful.  This vision won’t – and can’t – succeed.  There is too much good in this country, too much pride in our schools, our service members, our states, and our baseball teams.

Trump is a singular figure and without the bully pulpit of a fawning, ratings starved national media the incessant lying and hatred that has permeated our national dialogue will quiet. And without a singular ideology to defend, his echo chamber minions like Rudy Giuliani will no longer be given an outlet to lob grenades into civil discussion.

But it’s more than vanquishing the vitriol that Trump brought with him.  It’s about the remembering what has made America great already.  

Wealth is no longer a barrier to healthcare. Gender is no longer an obstacle to the legal definition of love.  Families will soon be united by by love, rather than divided by borders.  Ambitious students will no longer be burdened by loans, but boosted by learning.  Women and minorities can look at pictorials of our presidents and envision themselves seated in front of the flag.   

Standing in Philadelphia last night, President Obama stated that he still believed in hope because “in my visits to schools and factories, war theaters, national parks, in the letters written to me, in the tears you’ve shed over a lost loved one, I have seen again and again your goodness, and your strength, and your heart.”

I have my whole life to see the Coliseum. It has been there for 2000 years and I assume it’ll be there for 20 more. But in 2016, as our national fabric has been stress-tested repeatedly, I’m glad that I can share in Hillary and President Obama’s experience in having seen the goodness in every corner of our country. From Acadia to the Grand Canyon, there is not a country on earth that can match the awesomeness of the United State of America.

Choose hope.

Follow on Twitter @EighteenthandU

7 Days in November.

So here we are. One more week. Seven more merciful days until we can put this freakshow election behind us. With conflicting polls and the FBI leaking like a $20 yacht in a hurricane, the only sure bet at this point is that there will be a library’s worth of books written on how in the hell Donald Trump managed to almost (knocking on everything wooden in sight) become president.

I’m a political junkie, but his race has just about done it for me.  Every day I see a headline that makes me furrow my brow and shake my head.  I wouldn’t ever fall for the clickbait if it weren’t for the need to stay informed and literate in political discussions at work.

Ever since CNN poured $50 million into political coverage a year ago, facts and rationale have taken a back seat to ratings and drama. But it goes beyond “reality news” stations like CNN and Fox. Just the other day The Hill ran a headline that said “Ex-FBI official calls the Clintons a crime family.”  I mean good God, The Hill is supposed to be a sane policy rag and even they have succumbed to reporting comments that shouldn’t be repeated outside of the parlor.

When people say that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have run the nastiest election in modern memory, they’re wrong.  Donald Trump has run the nastiest election in history.

Trump normalized “loser” as a political adjective. Trump made it so that we’re no longer shocked by headlines that say “A 5th accuser comes forward.”  Trump created a toxic environment where in the land of the free he calls for his opponent to be jailed and openly uses the word “criminal” to describe her.  Remember, this is a contest where the loser goes back to their house, not to the gallows.

Here we are, America, and a week before the election and you have liberals wearing shirts that say “Nasty Woman” and conservatives changing their Twitter handles to “Deplorable Dan.”  The thing is, I think Clinton is right that a good handful of Trump supporters are deplorable people, but the fact that it is a phrase used by a candidate for president about another candidate’s supporters demonstrates what a sad state of affairs this is.

We are all flying the same flag, right?

Remember when everyone freaked out in 2012 because Romney called half of Obama supporters poor?  Is it wrong that I yearn for a time when closed door, off-the-cuff comments about voting patterns based on economic status was the worst gaffe a politician could make?

Trump created this new environment. Opinions used to have to be vetted before they made it to a national audience. Uncouth comments used to get a candidate banished. Now they’re paraded across the screen in promos for The Situation Room.

No matter how many fact-checking chryons CNN employs while they air Trump’s comments, the damage is done just by sharing them.  People see “Clinton is a criminal” in quotes next to a CNN logo and boom, now they’re telling their neighbors that Clinton should be in jail. Sounds too simple? Talk to some of the people in Kansas, Florida, and New York that I have over the past year.

Yes, the media has an obligation to report the day’s events, so of course there is the argument that even if Trump says something crazy, they need to air it.  That is wrong.

If Trump says “my opponent is a criminal who should be jailed” then airing that quote is making that sound like it could be true.  A recent poll showed that 40% of Georgia Republicans think Hillary and Bill were legitimately involved in murders to hide criminal activity.  Trust me, Washington is way more VEEP than House of Cards.

But alas, I digress.  After the dust settles on this mess we can discuss the media’s culpability in this disaster until pigs fly.  We probably won’t even be done by then.

What I really want to understand here, is were these nationalist feelings and hate always present in America and we just never knew it?  How can a process usually dominated by lifelong public servants debating issues devolve into a grade school food fight with one candidate shouting “no you’re the puppet!” over the other during a debate in front of 70 million people.  If I did that in front of 10 people I’d be mortified, much less 20% of the entire country.

How can 40% of my fellow Americans be duped–willingly or blindly–into supporting the single worst candidate for president, ever.

Never have so many conservative papers endorsed a Democrat. Never have so many papers made their first ever endorsement. And never have so many papers dis-endorsed a candidate before.  This isn’t because Hillary is the Messiah, but because Trump is a fear mongering moron with no respect for anything but himself.

This election and its tired coverage has reduced our nation to two even more divided camps than we were before. But, it’s no longer about Democrat vs Republican but rather sane folk vs Trump supporters. How can someone vote for the sober, Mormon Romney and the war hero McCain and then suddenly side with Donald “grab ‘em by the pussy” Trump?  Have our national morals been corrupted that badly?

Back in January before the Iowa caucuses I wrote in my original blog for this site that Trump was running a campaign of fear and had galvanized those who feared “the other.”  I wrote how this was a powerful, terrifying message, but that in the long run, hope always dominated over fear and despair.

With 7 days remaining, and polls that require me to put new sheets on my bed each morning, I can only pray that I’m right.

Follow on Twitter @EighteenthandU

Photo credit: HILL STREET STUDIOS VIA GETTY IMAGES

The Best Jokes You Didn’t Hear At The Al Smith Dinner

The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner is an annual white-tie affair held in New York City to raise money for Catholic Charities. It features the who’s who of the New York elite and since John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon first spoke at the dinner in 1960, it has been a light-hearted rite of passage for presidential candidates heading into the homestretch every four years.

Usually candidates take a self-deprecating approach to their speeches and the roast is more Kiwanis Club than it is Comedy Central. This year, however, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump took quite a few liberties with that theme and traded barbs loosely cloaked in often poor humor. Trump’s performance even elicited boos from the crowd, which was probably a first for the dinner.

Here are the best jokes that you didn’t hear, but perhaps should have.

Trump:

  • “Most of you had to pay to be here tonight. But as a guest of honor my invite was free.  This is good, because I didn’t want to break my streak of not giving money to charities.”
  • “If you can’t hear me in the back, it is because they borrowed this microphone from the first presidential debate.”
  • “My running mate, Mike Pence, wasn’t able to make it. He declined the invitation, saying he would need at least two full days preparing for the Sunday shows to explain what I really meant in this speech.”
  • “You may not know this about me, but the only thing that stopped me from becoming a Cardinal was those hats. I mean, what a sin it would have been to have this covered up my whole life.”
  • “I’ll admit, I was a little confused when the waiter earlier asked if I wanted fish or chicken.  I told him it’s actually pronounced ‘Long John Silvers’ and ‘Popeyes.'”
  • “I was a little nervous when I heard the dress code for tonight was ‘white tie.’  Jake Tapper, if you’re listening, ‘I disavow.'”

Clinton:

  • “You may notice Bill isn’t here with me tonight.  If he were he would’ve sat right there next to me and Donald, but I decided I could wait 3 more months to hear Donald say “Hi, President Clinton.”

    Mic drop. HRC out.

Follow on Twitter @EighteenthandU

Photo Credit: JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS

Washington Ain’t Local to Nowhere.

A wise man once said “All Tweets leave from D.C.” Or maybe it was “All roads lead to Rome?” Something like that, anyway.  

In an age where rural America is revolting against the established order, the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Senate hopefuls everywhere have continued to craft their messages in glass walled conference rooms in the shadow of the Capitol while the pulse of the people beats in diners and dive bars in towns you’ve never heard of.

Washington D.C. is not like the rest of the country. Like many other major cities, it exists on an island of blue among a sea of red.  But in addition to being relatively liberal, it is also an intellectual capital for members of both parties.

All of the law firms, consulting firms, policy shops, political agencies that occupy the thirteen story buildings across Washington require college degrees and enough internships to ensure you’re broke as a mere conversation starter, so rarely will you find yourself on the Metro next to someone still knocking manure off his Stars and Bars emblazoned boots.

It is why Marco Rubio and John Kasich each took ~35% of the vote to Donald Trump’s 13% in D.C.’s primary.  They were the establishment choices, seen as smart, sensible, and capable of being president. But, it also is emblematic of how far removed D.C. is from the rest of the country considering Rubio and Kasich each only won one other state.

Former Speaker Tip O’Neill is famous for saying that “all politics is local.”  Yet, many national campaigns feature talking points fashioned in broad strokes discussing general platitudes that have been focused grouped by a $500 an hour paid consultant.  Obama is often critiqued as being out of touch because during visits to the Rust Belt he still touts the return of the auto industry and 75 consecutive months of job growth, but fails to realize that none of those metrics matter much when the fridge at home is still empty.

In March, I traveled to Topeka, Kansas, for the Democratic Caucus.  There, I grabbed a clipboard and walked through neighborhoods and apartment complexes, knocking on doors to gauge interest in the political process. The conversations I had there would have never occurred on Connecticut Avenue.

One young man, dressed in an American flag t-shirt and blue jeans, went from polite to vitriolic at the mere mention of Hillary Clinton. “Man, f*ck that bitch. She belongs in jail! Can I vote for handcuffs?” he exclaimed, quickly slamming the door in my face. Keep in mind, this is months before Trump would first declare “lock her up” as a policy position.

Then last week in Bradenton, Florida, a women spent a considerable amount of time expressing dismay at everything Donald Trump has ever done.  When it was implied that meant she would be voting for Clinton she stopped and said “Oh no, I could never do that. She has had people killed and paid off the media to cover it up.”

What.

These anecdotes are exactly why every time a crowd on a D.C. rooftop has predicted a Trump demise he has instead proven resilient. Trump isn’t speaking to avid readers of Roll Call, he is speaking to the person who glances at CNN as he flips between Duck Dynasty and the Steelers game.

Running national campaigns from Washington is how Republicans failed to stop Trump in the first place.  Rubio, Kasich, Cruz, and Bush all ran campaigns with a D.C. mindset. “Focus on policy, decorum, and talking points and everything will turn out okay, right?” Wrong.

Time and time again, polling from red states showed that traditional branding wasn’t working and yet the political class refused to believe it. Conservative lifers like George Will, along with every veteran of the Bush Administration predicted the end of Trump every single time he said something outrageous, not realizing that rebellion was exactly what made him stronger.

Politics may affect everyone, but it isn’t for everyone.  If you’re reading this, you’re probably into politics and will do your homework if you read a headline that says “Hillary Is A Serial Killer.” But there are plenty of people who were raised conservative in parts of the country where they may never travel to D.C. to see the Capitol in person. The prevailing opinion in those communities is that D.C. residents are bringing drugs, bringing crime, they’re rapists crooks and liars and gosh-darnit, Hillary very well may be a serial killer.

This is not to say that future campaigns should stoop down to the lowest denominator, but there does need to be a counterbalance to running a campaign targeted at people who understand how the sausage is made versus people who vote with their gut.

This is what Obama understood and why he was so successful. In 2008, he ran on “hope” which is in no way a policy position. Looking back on his candidacy it is this message that stands out, not his policy positions.  Sure, he mentioned how people need healthcare, but during the campaign that was about the idea of healthcare, not the nuts and bolts of how it gets passed.  Even now Clinton’s campaign keeps saying she has “detailed policy proposals” on her website. People are as likely to click on those as they are to get into a windowless, rusted, Chevy van with a cardboard sign saying “free massages” taped to the door.

Most Americans probably couldn’t come within 50% correctness of detailing the process of how a bill becomes a law and would stare blankly if you told them that most bills that pass the Senate start moving with the “Rule 14 process.”  Detailing a policy is good if you’re pitching yourself to an editorial board or to a union leadership. But when speaking to the average 2016 voter, all they want to know is how their life is going to get better.

This is why Trump still maintains his 40% floor despite being a horrifying mashup of Richard Nixon and Anthony Weiner. Like a talking doll with a pull string, he just continually repeats that he alone can fix anything and everything. Trade? He can fix it. ISIS? Dead. Common Core? Wharton. Nickleback? Banished.

Even though he’s more full of shit than trash can in a dog park, he knows his story and he’s sticking to it.  At some basic level he understands the “all politics is local” mantra and tells people what they want to hear in every situation. He may never be able to deliver, but in the short term it works.

It is still too early to tell if the nationalist pillars of Trumpism will survive this election to permanently soil our politics, but the disgust with insider baseball is likely here to stay (especially during a Clinton presidency).  As such, campaign gurus would be wise to start crafting their message on cocktail napkins in bars in Roanoke, Lawrence, and Evansville instead of on whiteboards in Chicago, Washington, and Boston.

Follow on Twitter @EighteenthandU

Photo Credit: Getty Images

A Debate Primer For Your Sanity

I sat down this weekend with the intention of writing about tonight’s debate and what to expect.  But let’s be honest, its simple.  Trump will say whatever comes to his mind, whether right, wrong, fictitious, or absurd and Clinton will be hamstrung to defend herself. Democracy!

Instead I bring you this preview to what will inevitably increase attendance at AA meetings across the country next week.

Early prediction (based on CNN advertising):

  • Trump and Hillary will each arrive in sequined robes. Trump will decline to weigh in and instead declare that “My weight is phenomenal, truly tremendous.”  Gary Johnson will then rush the stage and bite off part of Clinton’s ear.

How Clinton will win: 

  • She must do the oral equivalent of walking across a Vaseline soaked tightrope, in a hurricane, while wearing ice skates, and after taking 10 shots of Trump Vodka.

How Trump will win:

  • He must not vomit, defecate, or die on stage.

What Clinton will wear:

  • Black suit.  Red power tie.  Flag Pin.  Frank Underwood’s cuff-links.

On fact checking:

  • CNN will fact check, but will then allow Ana Navarro and Corey Lewandowski to debate each “fact.”
  • Fox’s fact checking will be done by Rudy Giuliani.
  • MSNBC will stop fact checking after their team resigns due to exhaustion 10 seconds into Trump’s opening statement.

Drink whenever Clinton says: 

  • “We are stronger together.”

Drink whenever Trump says:

  • “I’ll hire the best people to look into that.”

Finish your drink if: 

  • Someone in the audience shouts “RIP HARAMBE!” during a pause in the action.

You know what, just start drinking now.

If you’re seeking accurate information:

  • Skip this debate and wait for the SNL version next weekend.

How we’ll be saved:

  • CNN’s countdown clock will freeze at 0:00:03 and no activity shall ever commence until its CNN countdown clock has hit 0:00:00.

Late prediction:

  • The Commission on Presidential Debates will have a person whose sole job is to cover Lester Holt’s mouth when Trump declares that “Hillary Clinton not only founded ISIL, but she actually piloted all four planes on 9/11.”

 

Follow on Twitter @EighteenthandU

“Hillary Clinton, meet Don Draper.”

This election has been the darkest in my lifetime. Gone are candidates of hope and from Hope. Gone too are the traditional norms of campaigns. The Republican candidate has bought less air time than companies who sell catheters and the Democratic candidate seems fixated on running a traditional campaign come hell or high water.

The most effective ad of this cycle was the Hillary Clinton ad titled “Role Models” which featured many of Trump’s vociferous soundbites paired with images of impressionable doe-eyed elementary schoolers seemingly watching in paralyzed awe.  The ad was brilliant in its ability to elicit emotion from the viewer, and without stating the obvious put in context what it would be like if Oval Office addresses basically turn into an oral YouTube comment section.

In addition, in this hyper-saturated political climate, ads also serve as a discussion topic for the morning-afternoon-evening-night shows.  An ad may only be played durng commercials in Ohio, but CNN will replay it countless times in order to ask their army of commentators to err, comment.

With that in mind, there are three ads Clinton needs to run to change the game, and namely the conversation.  First, she needs to take a fun, light, and unique approach.  This election has become overly serious and the mere mention of “Clinton” or “Trump” is enough to make most people wish they had taken a Dramamine. Second, she needs another hit like “Role Models” to contextualize Trump’s unfitness. And third, she needs a raw emotional appeal to the Rust Belt.

  • “Everywhere”

The spot opens with the required “I approve this message” bit so that the end effect isn’t ruined. As the federally mandated portion fades out, the opening notes of Johnny Cash’s version of  “I’ve been everywhere man” begin. dum dum dum DUM dum DUM.  

As the lyrics start, quick (¾ second) images of regular plain Jane Hillary Clinton smiling with folks of every color in the rainbow at county fairs, malls, fields, rallies, and little league games all across the country flash on the screen to the beat.  The images would appear match the cities being named, if only to bait the Washington Post into assigning a reporter to fact-check each image.

The ad finishes with a 3 second shot of her lone campaign bus driving on a two lane road through corn fields with “Strong Together” branded across the screen.

This ad is effective because even back when Choice Hotels ran an ad with this song, I would always turn my head when it came on in almost a Pavlovian response to the infectious guitar.  Once eyes are on the screen, viewers will be barraged with a fun and lively Hillary, in contrast to the dark and ominous Donald we have come to know.

  • “Legacy”

This ad features short clips of presidents from FDR through Obama during impactful speeches they made. The run of show would open with FDR and continue chronologically:

    1. FDR: “This day, will live in infamy”
    2. Kennedy in Berlin: “Ich bin ein Berliner”
    3. LBJ’s “We Shall Overcome” speech
    4. Reagan: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”
    5. Clinton speech to families of the Oklahoma City bombing victims
    6. Bush after 9/11: “I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and soon, the people that knocked down these towers will hear from all of us.”
    7. Obama at the memorial service for the Charleston shooting victims: “As a nation, out of this terrible tragedy, God has visited grace upon us, for he has allowed us to see where we’ve been blind.”
    8. Donald Trump: “blood coming of her ears, blood coming out her whatever.”
      1. Screen cuts to snow, rewinds, shows last second of Obama then…
    9. Hillary Clinton finishing her remarks at the DNC

This ad is effective because the first 7 clips illustrate the immense power of the presidential bully pulpit.  They remind people that their choice as president is not only a choice on policy but a choice for the face of the nation.  American presidents have enormous consequence on the world and they often do so through addressing the nation in times of crisis or doubt.

The final clips featuring Trump after President Obama’s remarks in Charleston contrasts a president who bears the responsibility of healing and empathy so personally with someone who shoots verbal bullets from the hip and cares not who he offends.

  • “Hands”

Two workers nearing retirement age, dressed blue jeans and a tucked in shirt, with just enough belly to make you picture them sitting on a porch swing, address the camera through a black and white lens. In between full body shots of them talking, the ad focuses on their hands, calloused and worn, evidence of a lifetime of work.  They explain how contracts for buildings were their lifeblood, how it paid for their kid’s college tuition and for the roof above their head.  Then they raise the point that businessmen like Trump who voided contracts or failed to pay brought businesses like theirs to ruin.

The ad ends with a closeup shot of the man’s hands in his lap going from clasped to open as one does in defeat as his voice can be heard saying “When you trust someone and they stiff you, as the little guy, what can you do?”

Each of these ads are effective in a different way.  The first as a lighthearted interruption, a song that everyone recognizes will certainly make heads turn as it begins. The second would be widely played on CNN and spark conversations about how Trump is viewed as a symbol of America. And finally, the third will remind voters of the little people Trump has made pavement out of on his march to celebrity.

Ads don’t win elections, but they have the power to change conversations and drive narratives.  The infamous “Windsurfing” ad against John Kerry in 2004 devastatingly cemented him as a flip-flopper and made him a target of mockery.

After an especially bad week, where Clinton is on the defense for her own errors and those out of her control, a well crafted, clever advertising campaign could shift the conversation back to where she wants it.

Follow on Twitter @EighteenthandU