• Dan Pfeiffer in The Message Box, paraphrased: We need to talk about Tr*mp’s authoritarianism, but we should be careful not to reinforce the strongman image he wants when we do so. “The key,” Dan says,

    is to emphasize that Trump operates from a position of weakness, not strength. I have seen versions of the below message that test very well with the swing voters — independents and soft Republicans — most drawn to Trump’s strongman persona.

    “Trump pretends to be strong, but he is too weak and insecure to be President. His incompetence is why the U.S. is one of the only countries in the world that can’t get COVID under control. He talks a tough game, but Trump has never stood up to anyone in his life. He bows down to dictators, gets his marching orders from CEOs, and hides in his bunker when things get tough. Trump simply isn’t up to the the job of President.”

  • That makes a lot of sense to me, but I’m worried there’s also some sense in which we do damage by playing the strongman game. Ideally, we could shift our values so that strength (or some cartoon notion of strength) isn’t what really matters in an election. Ideally, we could push forward other traits like patience, humility, and egalitarianism. But I guess that’s long-term work, and right now we have to deal with the world as it is.