Trump-lite is flavour of the month

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL November 4, 2021

Photo by Pau Casals on Unsplash

Axios said it the days of the Virginia gubernatorial election. The Atlantic said it the day after. A lighter form of Trumpism, both said, was working very well for the Republican Party.

Trump-lite is a winning strategy. Virginia has gone red. New Jersey has barely managed to stay blue.

Trump-lite, or at least the Glenn Youngkin formulation of the drug, has a pretty distinct flavour.

Axios spoke to Republican strategists and summed up its unique taste in five easy takes:

  • Embrace Trump tactics: In terms of sustained and merciless needling of the opponent for their least well-judged words.
  • Softly embrace Trump himself: Don’t talk about the big man. Don’t talk against him.
  • Say it’s not you but the opponent who is close-minded: The culture wars provide fodder, what with mask requirementstransgender bathroomsand teaching on race.
  • Paint the opponent as too powerful: The Democrats have control of Washington. That can seem like a bad thing if they’re shown as too far left.
  • Don’t say crazy things: If independents and suburban women find your words or sentiments incendiary or insulting, that’s bad.

Trump-lite works as a template…so far. It remains to be seen what will happen in swing states in the 2022 midterms.