Rubio created demand last night by attacking Trump over this so here comes the American Future Fund to provide some supply. The new ads are embedded below.
The new ad campaign isn’t Internet-only either. It’ll be a “multimillion-dollar” TV buy, according to the Times, although they haven’t announced which media markets yet. One Twitter pal scoffed at the idea that a few disgruntled students suing Trump University would matter to anyone. A few students? Two class-actions have been brought and a third suit was filed by New York State demanding $40 million. Ian Tuttle argues convincingly today that it was a straight-up scam. This is part and parcel of the “Trump doesn’t care about average Americans” attack being pushed lately by Rubio and Cruz using eminent domain and his H-2B practices as ammunition. Even if it goes nowhere in the primary, you’ll be seeing it again in the general election — assuming Hillary has the nerve to remark upon someone else’s legal troubles, that is.
It’s interesting watching the Twitter reaction to these clips by Trump critics who are still holding out hope that there’s a chance to stop him. Rubio’s had a good 24 hours and now Trump University is becoming a thing and — hey, you never know. I’m not among the crowd who thinks there’s a realistic chance of reversing his momentum at this point, but I’m also not among the eeyore crowd who thinks ads like this are “too little, too late.” I’ve ascended to a purer state of eeyorism: Increasingly, I think even if you had rolled out ads like this three months ago and really pounded them on the airwaves, we’d still be more or less in the position we are now. If that’s true, then “too little, too late” isn’t the problem. My suspicion is that some righties, desperate to believe that their party can’t possibly be choosing Trump full in the knowledge of what they’re getting into, have fallen back on “too little, too late” as a way of rehabilitating the GOP base’s judgment. It’s not that Republican voters are fully and freely choosing Trump, you see, it’s that they’ve lacked the crucial facts they need to see the error of their ways. Could be. The other campaigns certainly have failed egregiously to make the case against Trump. And there’s no denying that a heavy barrage of attacks ads would have peeled off some of Trump’s softer supporters. How many, though? What reason is there to think that Trump fans wouldn’t have shrugged off everything thrown at them? Remember, Trump’s favorable rating has taken a hit from his last two months of war with Cruz. One poll of Texas this week had him underwater on favorability but still competitive with Cruz to win the state. Voters do seem to have become more aware of his problems. And yet, as his favorables have dipped, his ceiling of support seems to keep climbing.
Here’s a radical theory for the “my party would never knowingly condone this” crowd: Maybe the Trump’s-a-dirtbag attacks would never have worked because his fans like that he’s a dirtbag. His sales pitch, after all, is that he’s going to do for them, and America, what he’s been doing for himself for the past 70 years. Fleecing innocent people of their savings via a bogus real-estate “university”? Sure, that’s scummy … but what if he puts those skills to work fleecing Mexico by getting them to pay for a wall? Some core part of the anti-Trump argument boils down to “this is ruthless and immoral” and some core part of the response seems to be “we need someone ruthless and immoral to make America great again.” If that’s the case then the ads never would have worked, regardless of when you released them. As it is, you’ve got less than three weeks for these to move mountains.