What would successful attacks on Trump’s positives look like? Anti-Trump Republicans who started the Lincoln Project, a political action committee, released a commercial spot this week that went after one of Trump’s most positive positives—his promise, stated in the 2016 campaign and reiterated in his acceptance speech, to keep America safe. Safe? the spot asked, when we’ve passed 178,000 dead from Covid-19; when Trump has adopted no coherent plan to defeat the contagion; and with tens of thousands more projected to fall by year’s end? Such a line of attack might persuade older voters, who tilt toward Trump and are more vulnerable to the virus than the young. “A vote for Trump is a vote for death” might overdo it, but its gist would not.
Trump has boasted endlessly about building the greatest economy in the history of the world, making it one of his most positive positives. Even if that were once true (and plenty of experts would step up to dispute it), it no longer is. Thanks to Covid-19, the economy is proceeding at a stagger. Millions remain out of work, thousands of schools remain shuttered, restaurants face extinction, thousands of small businesses have closed, and economic and social uncertainty prevails. If Biden can’t cancel this Trump positive by November, he doesn’t deserve to be president. Every time Trump dispatches economic adviser Larry Kudlow to brag about a V-shaped recovery, Biden should portray Trump as our generation’s Herbert Hoover.