In 2008, Obama repeatedly touted McCain’s heroism (his strongest selling point) before linking it to McCain’s unwavering support of Bush. His opponent’s patriotism was connected to Bush and the Iraq War, inoculating independent voters against the GOP’s flag-waving veteran campaign. This year I think the biggest shift has been white independence acknowledging racism and supporting #blacklivesmatter. The reason is simple: Trump is the most toxic model of their latent beliefs. By having the prez act in the most blatant ways in supporting Nazis and the Confederate flag, he has unknowingly vaccinated many passive suburban racists against their own deeply held beliefs. Their unspoken bias can’t exist in silence like in the past. The best thing Dems can do in 2020 is to continue instigating Trump to turn white suburbanites against their own racism.
The other thing we learned was the Oprah Book Club Effect: how ppl make low-stakes decisions based on peripheral processing: appearance, style, and tone over substance. Ppl didn’t read Oprah’s book selections because Americans developed a sudden love of novels. They bought books because they liked Oprah. And reading books made them feel closer to her.
Biden is a peripheral processing candidate. His platform is that he's not vulgar. Conversely, in 2016 Trump’s vulgarity was seen as a plus because the media vaccinated Clinton’s professionalism by linking it to her being phony and lying...so vulgarity was the higher quality over competence. Any time Clinton did anything sane it was labeled as phony and lying...which fits perfectly with the public's general mistrust of women seeking power as being Lady Macbeth monsters. She was undone by her best quality.