Axios to Trump on Castro ad: It's a trap

In more ways than one, actually. Julián Castro’s new ad might not be terribly newsworthy on its own, but it’s the ad buy that promises some fireworks. What will happen, Axios’ Alexi McCammond wonders, when Donald Trump catches Castro’s accusations while watching his favorite show on television?


The prediction: Tweets will be made, my friends, tweets will be made:

Why it matters: The ad is a way for Castro to show voters he’s not afraid to directly take on Trump.

  • “Julián isn’t afraid of Donald Trump or his bigoted agenda, and will continue to expose his racism and division until he defeats him next November,” Maya Rupert, Castro’s campaign manager, said in a statement.
  • If Trump responds to the ad on Twitter, it could also help Castro’s campaign with exposure and fundraising.

The state of play: Castro is placing a small ad buy — just $2,775 — for three spots throughout the day on Fox News in Bedminster, N.J., where Trump is spending the week at his private golf club.

It’s a brilliant strategy, both in its concept and its frugal application. If Castro can get just one Trump tweet out of this ad buy, the ROI rate would challenge the Venezuelan inflation rate. It’d bring days of earned media to a Castro campaign that is very much sucking wind in the Democratic field at the moment. His RCP average at the moment is below 1%, and the last time he hit 2% or better in a media-sponsored poll was at the end of June in the WaPo/ABC survey. He needs a miracle to get into the next debate.


To paraphrase Die Hard: “You asked for a miracle? I give you @. Real. Donald. Trump.”

It seems doubtful that it would be enough to raise Castro in the field. Trump has gone directly after Robert “Beto” O’Rourke too, and it hasn’t done much to lift his fortunes. Both men might need to start thinking about Plan B for 2020 at this point, especially if neither of them makes the stage for the September debate. That August 28 deadline for qualification has to be what Castro has in mind for this Hail Mary; if he can’t make that or the later deadline for October’s debate, it’s over anyway. Why not put some petty cash on a Roulette wheel and see if you hit the jackpot?

The ad itself is also a trap, but not one that will snag Trump. Castro accuses Trump of inciting the El Paso mass shooting with his rhetoric, but that same logic might apply in reverse to another shooting at an ICE facility overnight:

A man was taken into custody after he allegedly fired shots into an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, San Antonio Police said.

The incident took place around 3:15 a.m. Tuesday in the 1700 block of NE Loop 410 at the Jefferson Bank building.


It’s not the first violent attack on an ICE facility this summer either. Last month, police shot and killed an Antifa supporter who firebombed an ICE parking lot in Tacoma. Castro’s fellow Democrats have been hyperventilating for months about ICE being Nazis who run “concentration camps.” If Trump’s rough rhetoric about immigrants is responsible for the El Paso shooting, Democrats are responsible for the violence directed at ICE facilities and employees.

That’s a trap Castro sets for himself and his party. Don’t be surprised if Trump springs it on them, maybe from his Twitter account.

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