I’m thinking that Trump’s “I [heart] auto workers” stunt, planned for this evening, could end up being a big miscalculation on his part. Here’s how the Biden/Trump visit to auto workers is being covered in Detroit local television news:
This is a good look for Biden, and Shawn Fain is all over Michigan media being quoted that Trump “serves the billionaire class” and that UAW officials will not be meeting with him. That Trump’s “rally” will be at a non-union facility also speaks volumes. I fully expect Trump to blast the unions and blame the UAW for the workers’ grievances. And that’s not a message that’s going to win him any new voters. It may be that the old ones are still so besotted with him that there’s nothing he could do to lose them, but if he doesn’t expand his base he can’t win in the rust belt the way he did in 2016.
It isn’t clear to me who Trump’s audience will be tonight. It’s a non-union plant. I am reading that there will be UAW members or former UAW members in the audience, but we’ll see.
And now I see the Biden campaign is following up with a television ad that I believe already is running in Michigan:
Meanwhile, Trump’s visit to Michigan is giving a lot of news outlets an excuse to review Trump’s 2016 promises versus what he actually did in his one term, but how much of that will reach the standard low-information voter is hard to know.
Even so, Trump should be nicely wound up after yesterday’s judgment against him in New York. In today’s New York Times, by Maggie Haberman and Alan Feuer:
But a ruling on Tuesday by a New York State judge that Mr. Trump had committed fraud by inflating the value of his real estate holdings went to the heart of the identity that made him a national figure and launched his political career.
By effectively branding him a cheat, the decision in the civil proceeding by Justice Arthur F. Engoron undermined Mr. Trump’s relentlessly promoted narrative of himself as a master of the business world, the persona that he used to enmesh himself in the fabric of popular culture and that eventually gave him the stature and resources to reach the White House.
Then the story reviews Trump’s current other criminal and civil cases and notes that his poll numbers and donations continue to go up.
Whether the effect of Justice Engoron’s ruling is any different remains to be seen. But his finding imperils both Mr. Trump’s public image and his business empire. The former president now faces not only the prospect of having to pay $250 million in damages, but he could also lose properties like Trump Tower that are inextricably linked to his brand.
Of course, he and his lawyers will just bluster and say the judge is crooked. And the true believers will accept this. But he’s going to Michigan today with this on his mind, and he’s not famous for being chill in the face of adversity. If he ever totally blows a campaign event, it’s likely going to be this evening.
See also Amanda Marcotte in Salon, President Drink Bleach says what? Trump now claims he beat George W. Bush and Barack Obama. There may be signs that Trump’s limited cognitive abilities are imploding. She points to this episode —
a confused Trump seems to think Jeb Bush was president when the US invaded Iraq pic.twitter.com/je7U1EaPLx
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 25, 2023
— in which Trump clearly is confusing Jeb Bush with George W. Bush. He also recently claimed to have “beaten” Barack Obama in some election, somewhere. Of course, if Joe Biden had made a gaffe on that scale the right-wing media would be screaming about it from the rooftops, and soon the mainstream press would be writing more headlines about how everyone is concerned about Biden’s age. With Trump, everyone politely looks the other way. The mainstream press isn’t even covering many of his speeches and rallies.
But tonight’s speech will get some attention.
In other news: Same old same old. We’re still hurtling toward a shutdown, and I don’t see any way out of it.