In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well under way.
Alex Isenstadt at Politico:
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has sent campaigns a detailed, 57-page memo authored by a top Republican strategist advising GOP candidates to address the coronavirus crisis by aggressively attacking China.
The memo includes advice on everything from how to tie Democratic candidates to the Chinese government to how to deal with accusations of racism. It stresses three main lines of assault: That China caused the virus “by covering it up,” that Democrats are “soft on China,” and that Republicans will “push for sanctions on China for its role in spreading this pandemic.”
“Coronavirus was a Chinese hit-and-run followed by a cover-up that cost thousands of lives,” the April 17 memo states.
The document urges candidates to stay relentlessly on message against the country when responding to any questions about the virus. When asked whether the spread of the coronavirus is Trump’s fault, candidates are advised to respond by pivoting to China.
“Don’t defend Trump, other than the China Travel Ban — attack China,” the memo states.
...The memo provides a clear, real-time example of how consultants provide talking points and anticipate questions:
The NRSC memo shows that Republicans are also eager to make China an issue in down-ballot races. It was distributed by the Senate GOP campaign arm, though it was not explicitly drafted by or for the committee. It was authored by the political consulting firm of Brett O’Donnell, a veteran Republican strategist who has advised Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton.
Answers To Likely Arguments:
Q: Isn’t this Trump’s fault?
Note - don’t defend Trump, other than the China Travel Ban -- attack China
● This is China’s fault. The virus came from China and China covered it up. Because China lied about the extent of the virus, our public health officials acted late.
● I wish that everyone acted earlier -- that includes our elected officials, the World Health Organization, and the CDC.
● I’m glad that President Trump acted early to ban travel to China -- that’s something my
Democratic opponent did not support and that Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi criticized as
xenophobic and racist.
Q: Aren’t you being racist by blaming China and causing racist attacks against Chinese Americans?
● No one is blaming Chinese Americans. This is the fault of the Chinese Communist Party for covering up the virus and lying about it’s danger. This caused the pandemic and they should be held accountable.
● And no one has suffered more from the murderous Communist Chinese Party dictatorship than the people of China. We stand with them against their corrupt government that caused this pandemic.