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Speaker 1: (00:00)
This is the Thomas guide your roadmap for navigating a world with your guide, John Thomas, political savant, world-class analyst and culture critic. No need to Google directions. Just buckle up and enjoy the ride. This is let Thomas guide with your host, John Thomas. Now that it’s a two man race, what is Joe Biden going to do and what’s Bernie Sanders plan defeat Joe Biden. I’ll lay it out. I’ll lay out the strategic paths, both campaigns in this episode of the Thomas guide.

Speaker 2: (00:44)
Welcome back to another episode of the Thomas guide. I’m your host, John Thomas. Before I go any further, if you haven’t already, go to the Thomas sign up for my email list. It’s F. R E E. do it if you’ve already done it, thank you. And if you’re looking for something else to do to help grow the show, one thing you can do is if you do listen on iTunes or whatever platform you listen on, you can leave me a review. The algorithms boost the show so that other people can see it. If you leave reviews, so good, bad, indifferent, I don’t care, but just leave a review. That would be very helpful. Um, alright, let’s do this podcast slightly differently. Um, there hasn’t been a ton of breaking news politically and uh, everyone knows what happened on super Tuesday. I don’t think I need to beat that up anymore.

Speaker 2: (01:42)
So one of the things that’s different about me and this show then other podcasts or cable news punditry or cable news hosts is that I’m an actual political strategist. This is what I do for a living. And so I’m able to look at campaigns and sort out what’s working, what’s not, what campaigns are truly intending to do. And I’m also a mesh messaging expert. So campaigns fundamentally are about storyteller, right? If a candidate does it well, they tell a story and they have a, there consulting team has a message arc and they know from before they even pull the trigger of running where they want to begin and where they want it and what their fundamental brand promise is because they’ve done research and polling. And then sometimes you get thrown a loop in a race where something shifts fundamentally. Mmm. And you may have to tweak your message, but if you’re really, really good at selecting your message, which good campaigns are, you have the same message from beginning to end.

Speaker 2: (02:58)
That’s the Mark. Have a good brand and a good campaign. Bernie Sanders has had very disciplined messaging throughout, quite frankly, his whole life. So it’s made it a little bit easier because he is who he is. But he’s been very clear from the outset of this campaign, which is you starting a revolution. He’s not beholden to the special interests and um, and he’s authentic, can’t be bought. And he’s really stuck to that. He’s a far left liberal socialist. I see democratic socialists, whatever that is. That all sounds like a socialist liberal to me. But, um, he doesn’t, he doesn’t flip flopping, isn’t shy away from it.

Speaker 2: (03:46)
Joe Biden, on the other hand, has had mixed messaging throughout. He thought going into this, that the number one, the main reason was that he could beat Trump. And that was his justification for running. And again, the problem with that argument is, number one, it doesn’t give you something to believe in. It’s not aspirational. Mmm. Even though every Democrat primary voter, most do want to beat president Trump. But that’s a given. It doesn’t give you something to believe in. It doesn’t, it doesn’t give you something to, it doesn’t, it’s not a leader. And of course it sets a false expectations. So the second you look like you’re not a winner, whether you have a bad fundraising quarter or a dip in polling, uh, gaffs debates, well then your brand promise of the, the fact that you’re the most, the strongest to be Donald Trump might not actually be true.

Speaker 2: (04:45)
And so you and begin to implode. So Biden’s started out with that. Then he shifted to John McCain’s message, which is noble art used to be John McCain’s message for 2000 when it was the straight target, straight talk express. And Joe Biden does Nobel Archy, which was weird. Um, just sounded odd. Uh, then he shifted toward a saying called restore the soul of the nation, which was better. Mmm. A little bit odd in the sense of elections should be about moving forward, not moving backwards and restoring the soul of the nation is an argument to move backwards. [inaudible] here. Let’s let this late 70 year old, perhaps early onset of dementia, Alzheimer’s establishment, Democrat candidate move us backward. Does it restore us to when times are good? Uh, it just, um, juxtapose that to Barack Obama’s inspirational message of hope and change. No red state, no blue state. Uh, everybody’s going to be, we can get along.

Speaker 2: (05:59)
We can be progressive and bold, get things done just completely 180 degrees apart from one another in terms of not just our message, but the feeling that their messages deliver. So, um, Biden change his message again and he finally found, I think, what is the best fit for him? I don’t know that it’s the right message to win the presidential race, but I think it is the most authentic to who he is, which is restore decency. Mmm. That Joe’s a nice guy. It’s time to bring back decency into the oval office. Well, that seems to ring true to who Joe is. I think he’s a nice guy. I think he’s very swampy. Um, I think he’s like every other politician. It, his, everybody, all his family around him had been a ridging themselves off of Joe Biden’s access to Joe Biden, uh, lobbying Joe Biden, uh, that he’s beholden to your standard special interests? I think so.

Speaker 2: (07:08)
I mean, other than that, I think he’s probably a nice guy around the lunch, the mess hall. Uh, but I was actually asked this question, Oh, let’s see. It was, was it last night I did a panel at Chapman, my friend Brian Chi, it’s his class. He invited me to come, uh, it panelists with a few other Democrats and the room was pretty much filled with demo. Young students mostly who appear in liberal. And the questions seem to be mostly geared toward me and the kid. It’s students, not kids, the young adults. Uh, we’re trying to do gotcha moments. And by the way, I recorded the whole thing and we’re going to send it out, but you got to subscribe to my email list and you’ll get it for free. [inaudible] you’ve got a, we’ll send it out in the email. So it’s actually, it’s a really, I thought, interesting conversation.

Speaker 2: (08:01)
But anyway, the students were trying to catch me because I support president Trump. They were trying to get me in a gotcha mode. And one of the students brought up, I thought was in interesting question where he referenced the presidents, um, insults that he insults people that he’s a big fat meaning, um, and said that, you know, how, how is that a role model for today’s youth? You know, how are we supposed to, uh, is that behavior that you want reflected with your children? And so on and so forth. And where are we supposed to have a role model if president Trump does it behave presidential. And I thought it was actually an interesting attempts to put me in corner.

Speaker 2: (08:57)
Actually. You know, I’m just going to pull the audio clip and play the extended clip because I think, uh, the exchange, well I couldn’t have said it better myself cause I did say it myself, but also it’s interesting to hear there was a presidential scholar, uh, as part of the panel, a professor from Chapman and I thought she actually had an interesting take on yeah, this idea, this concept of quote being presidential and uh, it was, I think she [inaudible] she’s right on. So I’m going to roll the extended portion where a student, uh, attempts to pigeonhole me, uh, about president Trump’s tweets and behavior. And then we’ll go into the professor’s remarks. Uh, and then we’ll give a quick wrap up on this, on this particular clip. Here it is.

Speaker 3: (09:51)
And so the bar is set really hard. And then when we see presidents go into office, we get really disappointed cause nobody ever lives up to that. Yeah. My professor puts a very big focus on social media presence. I F I M I feel like if I acted and use the words and kind of like demeaning way that president Trump tweets to others on Twitter, it’s like a job. A recruiter would never hire me. Right. So I think it’s when you’re encouraging people to vote for Trump, do you believe in the way that I, you know, you can disagree. I personally think he belittles people. Do you? Yeah. Do you support that? And I think that is a presidential quality that we should seek after and moving forward. Well, I think there’s two parts to your question. Uh, first do I support that note? I know, um, I do like the fact that I think Republicans get steamrolled by the liberal media and it’s refreshing to see him be like your fake news and call hype.

Speaker 3: (10:50)
That’s, that’s uh, I’ve watched prior Republican administrations just take it in the chin. And, uh, so it’s nice to see the pushback. Um, I don’t think that, uh, again, I look at a president as I wanna if I can get 80% of what I want, I’m pretty happy. I don’t think, uh, Trump as a role model is somebody that we should be looking after. It would be nice if you were, but he’s not. And again, for all the other qualities that I’m looking for, Supreme court, economic growth, deregulation, like I’m getting all of these things, especially when I look at a juxtaposition of an AOC, a worldview, and others, it’s very clear cut. But I also love the worldview that it would be nice if our politicians could be very quarterbacking quarter vacuole but I don’t look towards my politicians to be my role. Robots. It’s like I drive my morals from other places, not the phoneticians.

Speaker 3: (11:49)
I think it’s a bipartisan issue. I mean, I drive my morals from other places, not in the connotations. I think it’s a bipartisan issue. I mean, yes, Trump is very vocal about it, but, uh, hypocritical, uh, slimy politicians is a bipartisan, is a bipartisan issue. So, no, I don’t like that about him. But do you, can I ask a quick follow up? Do you, do you think that, because I think young Democrats like look at people like, um, Barack Obama that’s made a discussion tonight that the image he held was a sign of hope and young Democrats probably attached to his leadership skills. Do you think young Republicans attached to the way that Trump treats others and thinks that’s okay? How, how do you think his core voters that are young, um, rationalize the way he treats her? This is a much bigger question, but I hope I’ll try to, and maybe the professor here can, can put some meat on this bone.

Speaker 3: (12:49)
I think being, it gets more, and actually there’s a fundamental difference in foundational framing between conservatives and Democrats. Conservatives are based upon more of a family values, strict father model. Liberals are more of a, it takes a village to raise you that everybody else plays a broad part. So the liberal, perhaps we relied more on examples of others outside the family for their morality. Um, I think conservatives rely on their family and their faith to give them that. Frank. I don’t know. I don’t know if you want. No, I know. But what I was going to add is that, so my area of expertise is actually presidential communication. So there’s never a dull moment while all Trump was president. Um, having said that, Barack Obama was a very inspirational figure. Not every president is going to be like that unfortunately. So I think that Donald Trump is forcing us to do, and I actually present as a presidency scholar, I say, I hope we are going to do this, which is I think we need to rethink the whole thing about what it means to be presidential.

Speaker 3: (13:44)
And maybe we shouldn’t have our kids aspire to be president. And why I say that is because, and why I say that is because, you know, we put presidents up on a pedestal. Certainly, you know, the early ones or we weren’t obsessed with president or greatness. We just had president’s day. Why do we celebrate that day? Because if you, if you know the full history of the 45 men, 44 men, uh, who have held the office of the presidency, there are some really despicable people in their category. You think Trump is the worst president we’ve ever had? I’m here to tell you he’s not, honestly, he’s not one of the most heroic president of all time. John F. Kennedy. I want you to compare his personal life to Donald Trump. Right? Okay. So I think there’s, there’s a problem with how we frame that. Um, but it’s great when we do have a president who can be inspirational, but we’re asking presidents to be that kind of a person in no, no offense and put in a profession that doesn’t exactly, you know, thrive on those kinds of qualities. So we want, so I think we know we need to reframe it and maybe will give us that.

Speaker 2: (14:50)
I thought it would, the professor to say was very insightful,

Speaker 2: (14:54)
uh, in the sense of, first of all, uh, if you’re a liberal and you’re feigning outrage about trumping the worst president ever from a temperament standpoint or his language is offensive or his, uh, uh, his personal life is offensive. There are, I mean, Trump is a choir boy by comparison to some of the presidents we’ve had in the past. So hope you enjoyed that. All right, let’s get into the roadmap for Bernie and the roadmap. Four Biden going forward here. Mmm. The roadmap is a little bit easier for Biden in the sense of the party. The establishment is coalescing around, uh, around Biden and there’s momentum or some say Joe mentum around him, uh, at this moment and he’s, it shows, it shows that he’s winning Florida. Uh, he’s, he’s up in Michigan. Um, so right now Bernie has to makeup some delegates cause he’s down after slightly down after Tuesday against Joe Biden and, uh, and he’s got a, when a place like Michigan where he’s one before, but he’s not winning right now.

Speaker 2: (16:06)
At least he wasn’t winning a week ago with, uh, prior to even Joe omentum. He wasn’t winning against Biden in Michigan, so he’s got to turn things around. So Ernie who has been here too for, uh, try to stay other than about Trump, he pretty much has tried to be anti negative campaigning. Oh, that’s not how I want to do this. It’s a revolution. It’s aspirational. Now he’s getting in the gutter. He’s going after Joe Biden and it’s clear he’s figured out using polling and research where he thinks the contrast is the, I want to, uh, read a quote from Bernie’s a pollster. Ben told chin, Ben’s a very good pollster. And he said, uh, about the state of the race. He said this quote, it’s a reset. This is the first time this has turned into a two person race between Bernie and Biden. We believe we’ll do well with that contrast.

Speaker 2: (17:03)
Biden spent his career trying to cut social security. Ernie has fought to expand and protect it. Um, so that is where they see their lane to hold on or recapture the working blue collar working class against Joe, who’s Joe’s lead message right now is he’s a decent guy and that he’s leading the fight and they’re trying to transition back into let’s coalesce against me cause I’m the, I’m going to beat Donald Trump. So what I also did was I pulled the ads, uh, that each campaign has been running since super Tuesday and uh, uh, this, I’ll explain the ads first. I’m going to air the positive Bernie ad where he repurposes a mishmash of things that Barack Obama has said that’s positive about Bernie over the years as if Barack Obama is almost endorsing Bernie. Let’s, let’s roll the clip.

Speaker 4: (18:03)
Bernie is somebody who has the virtue of saying exactly what he believes. Great authenticity, great passion, and is fearless. Bernie served on the veterans committee and gotten bills done.

Speaker 5: (18:16)
People are ready for a call to action, may want honest leadership who cares about them. They want somebody who’s going to fight for them and they will find it. [inaudible] Sanders and I approve this message.

Speaker 2: (18:33)
So funny thing when the end where they cut to another speech and Barack Obama saying, that’s where I’d feel the burn. It almost looks like in the ad. It sounds like Barack Obama is leading a rally for Bernie. Bernie Sanders. In actuality it’s from 2016 when he was arguing from the DNC convention stage to coalesce, he was making the argument to the Bernie bros to coalesce around Hillary Clinton. But uh, sounds good the way they mashed it up in the ad. All right, let’s get to the negative campaigning they’re going after Joe Biden and sometimes the most effective advertising you can do is simply using the actual words of your opponent. And that’s what they did here. Let’s listen to the ad.

Speaker 6: (19:19)
When I argued that we should freeze federal spending, I meant social security as well. I’m meant Medicare and Medicaid. I met veterans, but I met every single solitary thing in duck govern. And I not only tried it once, I tried it twice, I tried it a third time and I tried it out.

Speaker 5: (19:38)
Well, we’ve got some bad news for them. We are not going to cut social security. We’ve got to expand on Bernie Sanders and I approve this message.

Speaker 2: (19:50)
That’s a very effective ad. Um, some pensive, a little bit somber music with a, it has a still picture of Joe Biden. Um, and uh, I mean you don’t really need to say anything else. And particularly in democratic politics, pulling, pulling away entitlements is a PO, you know, [inaudible] it’s a poison pill, especially issues of social security with blue collar workers as we are going into Michigan. It’s very, very good spot. Is it going to be enough? I’m not sure. Um, but they’re playing the card. They absolutely need to play. I’m sure it’s an effective spot, but we’ll see if it’s enough. Uh, next, next spot is a Joe Biden spot. He’s running two ads now. Remember Biden is being flooded with cash right now. So he’s really his campaign from the ground up, both in actually doing ad spend because he has money to do that as well as hiring top level campaign, people building out staff, all of these things. Cause he’s got money to do it. He’s running this spot. I’m dubbing. It’s called, I’m calling it decency. Uh, and that’s this essential message is he’s using Amy Klobuchar, um, who is popular in those rust belt States to make the endorsement argument that chose a decent human being. Uh, and that’s, that’s Joe’s core message right now. So let’s, uh, let’s listen to the clip

Speaker 6: (21:27)
I want all of you to do is phone for Joe. It is time to turn back the division and the hate and the exclusion and the bitterness. And it is time to work together for a decency, vote for dignity, vote for our heart, for our country. That is what he will bring to the white house. And I approve this message.

Speaker 2: (21:57)
A decent spot, a right messenger. It’s authentic to who Joe is. And it could, Mmm. I don’t want to say that it’s the world’s greatest message even for a democratic primary. But when Joe, the consolidation of the field, Joe, uh, has momentum on his side and just kind of has to keep the good times rolling. Um, I do think it’s a mistake that they’re not running issue based ads at this point. Uh, they’re leaning into, uh, that Joe’s a decent guy. Okay. Uh, but I would be pressing the issues buttons. What is Joe going to do? Uh, two, make your life as a democratic primary voter better than it is now. Bernie’s making that argument. Joe isn’t now let’s roll this next ad. Uh, this, this is cut in a very theatrical cinematic style. It’s well, very, very well cut. Encourage you to, uh, to Google it. Cause it the, the production values are quite good and you’ll notice the, the tone it, it feels patriotic. It feels like a rally. Uh, and it’s the idea of con, it’s basically consolidation. It’s time to consolidate and unite behind Joe Biden. It’s time to get behind Joe Biden. And that’s what they’re trying to push that momentum and consolidation. So let’s listen to this spot.

Speaker 6: (23:28)
We can build a more perfect union because the American people in the last three and a half years have seen the alternative president who not only has horrible policies, but the way he mocks makes fun of other people. This is a battle for the soul, the United States of uniting America, not sowing more division and anger. It means not only fighting, but healing the country in a way. Are we doing this is by bringing Americans together. Very race, ethnicity, gender, economic station, democratic public is independence. People of every Stripe. The days of Donald Trump’s to visit this will soon be over. Here’s the deal. Let’s get back on

Speaker 5: (24:15)

Speaker 2: (24:30)
Uh, good spot, objectively good. Um, as an uplifting tone toward the end. It’s a 62nd ad, which is expensive to air. Uh, you don’t get a discount when you buy in bulk, so they’re expensive. But the Biden campaign is now flush with cash. Now that they’ve become the, uh, they, they’ve gotten momentum on their side. Bundlers and donors from all over, uh, establishment donors from all over the country are throwing cash at Joe Biden if nothing else. But just to stop. Bernie Sanders is not actually pro Biden. It’s more anti Sanders. So, Mmm, they’re not worried about being frugal. Normally we only buy 30 thirties, maybe even fifteens because a 60 is just so darn expensive that advertising is less about duration and more about repetition and frequency. But, um, good spot. Um, it is interesting how, well, I don’t think Joe’s message really is that strong.

Speaker 2: (25:34)
Uh, but given the nature of where we are in the primary, it probably does the trick. Uh, so if Bernie doesn’t win Michigan, it’s over. I mean, that’s, that’s kinda how I look at this at [inaudible] this race at this point. Uh, now what will Elizabeth Warren da do? Da does she, does she throw in behind Bernie? Well, maybe, but today she was completely punting, uh, making her inaction and in decisiveness into an issue of sexism. She told the reporters that were asking her, she said, well, the, there’s the only, why is it that you’re only grilling the woman, the woman who’s exiting the race, that who she’s going to endorse? Why are you giving passes to all the men who have dropped out? Well, the press Corps didn’t give passes to the men. Everybody got asked the same question. It’s, this is not an Elizabeth Warren thing.

Speaker 2: (26:28)
It’s just, it’s logical. We are going to endorse. What are you going to do? So Elizabeth, uh, is not endorsing yet. I think she’s going to read the tea leaves and um, and then see what to do. What’s in her best interest for her. Next boobs or inclinations are probably too go with, uh, Bernie who aligns with her on a policy level, but her instincts are, are probably, or her political savvy is saying, don’t do anything or throw in with who you think the next winner is. It’s just important to back the winner so that they owe you something and you can leverage it into your next gig. So hope you enjoy the messaging. Look in this episode of the Thomas Guy. You can tweet me at the Thomas guide, go to my Facebook page or the Thomas Write me a note. I’ve been getting a couple, we’ll do a mailbag, uh, on Monday’s episode. I’ll go through all of the questions, so let me have ’em all tally them up and we’ll get to the best questions and, and kind of go through that process. Thanks so much for listening and have a great rest of your week. We’ll catch you on Monday on another episode of the Thomas guide.