I’ve worked on a Presidential campaign and know it can be a tough slough, but I’ve been watching in amazement as the Republican Party has not only discarded but shredded the standard PR and media relations playbook.
Yes, I know, as the saying goes, politics is a blood sport
The 1776 campaign between Adams and Jefferson, was not a pretty sight. Jefferson’s camp accused President Adams of having a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.” Adams side in turn called Vice President Jefferson “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.” And that was the civil part of the campaign.
Richard Nixon learned everything he needed to know about dirty tricks after his race with John F Kennedy in 1960. And in Dukakis versus Bush, Lee Atwater redefined blood sport for the 20th Century.
But, that said, the current infighting and public enmity within a party is something I never recall seeing. As I mentioned, public relations as we know it has been completely disregarded. Some would say that’s a good thing. The candidates aren’t playing by the rulebook they’re speaking their mind. In the world as we commonly know it I’d agree, but somehow the GOP of today has morphed into DC Comic’s “Bizarro World.”
To illustrate my point, the following is a quick thumbnail account of about one week in this race for the Republican nomination for the President of the United States of America.
Donald Trump took exception to an ad by a super PAC said to be unaffiliated with Ted Cruz which showed a risqué photo of Trump’s wife, Melania, a model. Trump in turn, threatened to reveal information about Heidi Cruz.
Then Trump went on the offensive, tweeting an unflattering picture of Cruz’s wife Heidi next to a glamourous shot of Melania.
Cruz then accused the Trump campaign of being behind a salacious report published in the National Enquirer that alleged Cruz had multiple extramarital affairs.
Florida police charged Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, with simple assault in connection with an incident earlier in the month involving a reporter. Trump said he was standing by his aide and mocked the reporter who brought the complaint.
Ted Cruz was repeatedly asked to justify his call last week after the Brussels terror attacks for greater surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods in the United States.
Asked Wednesday by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews whether a woman who got an abortion illegally should face punishment, Trump said yes. “Yes, there has to be some form of punishment.” He also added that men involved in an unwanted pregnancy that led to an abortion should not face any type of punishment.
But, perhaps most shocking and divisive of all, at least politically-speaking, was that the three remaining candidates in the race no longer stand by their previous pledges to support the eventual Republican nominee.
And, former candidate, Marco Rubio, is taking the extreme, and, as far as I know, unprecedented, step of seeking to keep control over the 170-plus delegates he won before dropping out of the primary.
We’re talking a week here.
The party is now careening towards what could very well be an open convention where the floodgates could open wide.
Someone once said:
All publicity is good publicity.
Someone was wrong.