PR Primer for the Trump Convictions: Make Voters Understand Who the Real Monsters Are

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“Beware that, when fighting Monsters, you yourself do not become a Monster” — Friedrich Nietzsche

Because of a lone New York state courthouse, the 2024 presidential election will now come down to a single question: What scares the average American more – “convicted felon” Donald Trump winning a second term or a Biden administration that weaponizes the judicial system to destroy its political enemies?


The election will ultimately be decided by who controls, defines, and owns the post-conviction narrative: Democrats or Republicans.

Right now, it’s a toss-up.

Traditionally, Democrats have outcompeted Republicans on visceral, emotionally driven issues (reproductive rights, race, homelessness, poverty, healthcare), whereas Republicans tend to prevail on ideological issues (tax rates, limited government, national security, personal liberties). That’s not to say that one side always wins on these issues, but because of how their base(s) absorb and digest information, Republicans and Democrats have built-in advantages on certain topics.

Unfortunately for both sides, Trump's convictions are both emotional and ideological. They straddle the line, creating a jump-ball opportunity for crisis communications professionals.

Crisis communications is one of those vague, nebulous terms that means different things to different people, but at its core, crisis communications is the art of superseding a negative story with a more positive one. For the new story to succeed, it must be believable, comprehensible, and consistent with how your target audience already consumes media and understands reality. You can’t force an audience to think the same way you do, but you can redefine the narrative in credible, consistent, and comprehensible ways to their preexisting perceptions.


The Democrats want to make this story only about Trump: He’s a monster! He’s a rapist! He’s a felon! He’s colluding with Russia! He wants to overthrow the government! He’s an existential threat to democracy! Trump is the Devil! Therefore, our actions are justified.

Agree or disagree, it’s logically consistent: It’s certainly appropriate to demonize the Devil (even if you must, ahem, reinterpret old legal statutes in new and novel ways). 

Republicans, however, must make this entirely about precedent: If we normalize the charging, convicting, and jailing of Biden’s political opponents mere months before an election, then we simply don’t have a democracy anymore.

Furthermore, what happens next? Could, perhaps, an all-white Alabama jury now decide that Joe Biden colluded with the media to bury stories of Hunter Biden’s laptop (“It was Russian misinformation!”) and then charge the president with election interference? Or for a MAGA prosecutor in South Carolina to determine that Kamala Harris and other leading Democrats conspired to aid and abet the Black Lives Matter riots that killed 19 people and caused $2 billion in damages?

But a never-ending tit-for-tat isn’t even the scariest prospect. What if the Republicans do… absolutely nothing?

      Related: Nothing About This Is Normal

Sure, the Democrats hate Trump with the burning passion of a thousand dying suns. But they also hated Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II. If you are old enough to remember, in the eyes of the Left, they were ALL the Devil Incarnate – and if the GOP nominates Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2028, believe me, they’ll compare him to Satan, Hitler, Hannibal Lecter, and Darth Vader, too. Republicans must make it clear that the weaponization of our judiciary wasn’t a one-off anomaly by the Radical Left. It's the Democrats' new normal – and thus, the death of our Republic.


If the Republicans roll over and Democrats conclude that this was a winning strategy, is there any question whatsoever that they’ll do it again?


So, this is an existential election – but not because of Trump. It’s because of his enemies.

It wasn’t long ago that Trump was “just” a TV star and celebrity businessman. Funny how he was never targeted by state and federal prosecutors back then, hmm? The American people are smart enough to understand that Trump was singled out by the judiciary for his political beliefs and presidential ambitions: If Trump had never entered politics – or if he had hopped aboard the Hillary Clinton Train and donated to her campaign – there is absolutely no chance he would’ve been hauled into court. If anything, he would’ve been made an ambassador!

Question: Why is Donald Trump a convicted felon and Hunter Biden isn’t? Answer: Hunter Biden is a Democrat, and Donald Trump is a Republican. If Hunter Biden were Hunter Trump, he would’ve been incarcerated years ago.

They’re not “Democrats” anymore because they no longer believe in democracy. They only believe in outcomes. And they’ll torch the Constitution if it stands in the way. The very same liberals who led the BLM protests and screamed about the systemic unfairness of our judicial system are now insisting it’s not only legitimate to lock up Donald Trump, but it was perfectly fair for the presiding judge to donate money to Trump’s opposition – and for the judge’s daughter to be raising money to stop Trump from ever returning to D.C.


It’s corrupt as Hell. It’s dangerous and gross. And if Biden wins, this will be how elections are run for the next 50 years.

Remind the American people that there’s only one reason why Trump was charged, and Joe Biden wasn’t: The prosecutor decided that President Biden was too senile and feeble-minded to testify. That’s a rather dubious legal standard: If only Trump had been more senile! Under the Biden precedent, he would’ve skated.

You don’t need to be a legal savant to recognize this is BS.

As polarizing and as divisive as Trump is, most Americans – including the great swath of undecided voters who broke for Biden in 2020 – still love America far, far more than they hate Donald Trump. They may never wear a red MAGA hat, but they don’t share the radical Left’s bloodlust for political vengeance. Even if Trump’s haircut is weird and his tweets annoying, they don’t want to fundamentally dismantle democracy just to win an election. That’s not how they view the world.

To them, Trump might be a lousy politician. Perhaps he’s also a dishonest businessman. He’s probably a terrible husband, too.

But they don’t see him as a monster.

Yet, that’s how the Left views the world – and the biggest mistake that marketers make is marketing to themselves and not to their target audience.

As the Left preaches to itself on MSNBC, CNN, and the rest, the Right must frame this as a big-picture, ideological debate that’s accessible to conservatives, moderates, and independents. This isn’t about Trump, but the future of our country – who we are and what we’ve become – and it’s a winnable argument.


Because the American people know a real monster when they see one.


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