One of the party’s top think tanks has been privately encouraging lawmakers and candidates to attack the president for failing to deliver on the promises he made because he’s too consumed by social media. It is, undoubtedly, the first case of a campaign tactic geared towards turning a president’s online behavior into a liability; though rarely has a president’s reliance on—and use of—a media bullhorn been such a defining personality trait. Those pushing it have offered new polling data to bolster the idea that the argument will move voters.
About two months ago, the Center for American Progress commissioned the firm Civis to test messaging that framed Trump not as corrupt or unethical but as “ineffective”—and to attribute that ineffectiveness to his being absorbed by his Twitter feed. The results were notable. Of the six messages tested on Trump, the idea that he was “more focused on his Twitter account than on delivering on his promises” was the only one that consistently moved the vote towards Democrats, including among Obama-Trump voters.
Soon after the Civis study was commissioned, top officials in the party began pushing the line.