The Democratic Party Launches Its First 2020 Ad Campaign Targeting Trump

The spot assails the president on several fronts, including his trade wars and his responses to COVID-19 and police brutality protests.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has been rising n the polls in his bid to unseat President Donald Trump.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has been rising n the polls in his bid to unseat President Donald Trump.

The Democratic Party is on the airways in its offensive against President Donald Trump, running its first TV ad in this campaign cycle to help propel former Vice President Joe Biden to the White House.

The Democratic National Committee on Tuesday launched a six-figure television ad campaign, first reported by NBC, called “Descent,” that opens with Trump’s descent on the Trump Tower escalators in New York to announce his bid for the presidency in 2015. “For the last five years, he’s taken America down with him,” the narrator intones.

The ad offers a laundry list of attacks against him, from his efforts to dismantle Obamacare and his push for sweeping corporate tax cuts to the administration’s child separation immigration policy and slow response to the coronavirus pandemic. It also assails Trump’s comments about the deadly 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and his reactions to the recent demonstrations against police brutality.

“The entirety of his presidency, he’s been dividing our country, letting down workers, rewarding the rich, and caving to China. He pledged to fix our problems, but instead he took us backward,” DNC Chair Tom Perez said in a statement about the ad.

The DNC did not specify a price tag for the ad campaign.

In line with Biden’s core campaign message — that he wants to “restore the soul of the nation” — party officials have been emphasizing the chaos of the Trump administration, especially during the ongoing health pandemic. The ad includes scenes of hospitals with COVID-19 patients, takes note of the disease’s rising U.S. death count and replays Trump’s now-infamous mid-March comments that, “No, I don’t take responsibility,” when asked about the administration’s slow response to the pandemic’s early stages. 

The minute-long ad also includes footage of undocumented immigrants detained at the border, scenes from the Charlottesville rally, when a white nationalist intentionally drove into a crowd of anti-racism protesters, as well as law enforcement deploying tear gas and rubber bullets on peaceful demonstrators against police brutality outside the White House earlier this month.

Biden and the Democratic Party raised a combined $80.8 million in May, a significant jump from their $60.5 million haul in April. That fundraising increase came in tandem with a rise in the polls for Biden, who now sits with an advantage of eight percentage points over Trump in the aggregate of polls listed by the RealClearPolitics site.

Trump’s campaign has not yet released its May fundraising numbers, but the president, the Republican Party and aligned super PACs have built war chests exceeding the fundraising numbers for Biden and the Democrats.

Biden’s campaign last went on air in March, when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was still in the race for the Democratic nomination. Biden’s campaign has focused its investments on social media so far — outspending Trump on Facebook. Democratic political action committees, like Priorities USA and American Bridge, have been on the air in Biden’s place, focusing on Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump’s campaign has invested almost $19 million in TV advertising since mid-March, according to the Kantar/Campaign Media Analysis Group’s data. 

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