Last month Donald J. Trump issued a his first general election campaign ad, focused on the issues of immigration and the role of Hillary Clinton, titled “Two Americas“.
The thirty second clip revolves around the idea that a Hillary Clinton administration would be similar to the last eight years under Barack Obama. This strategy effectively establishes Trump as a challenger style candidate. The ad goes on to list several issues that are perceived by Trump to be headed in the wrong direction including immigration, welfare and security. The narrative continues that Hillary Clinton’s America would continue to struggle with these issues, while Donald Trump would go on to “Make America Safe Again”.
Trump has frequently established through his branding that a Democratic executive branch would be more of the same, while he is running on change. In contrast to this, while Trump is running as a change candidate, his version of a transformation is actually going back to traditional approaches to these issues. Although it is not unusual for a challenge candidate to run on tradition, it may be unusual to call regression change.
Through the “Two Americas” ad, Trump continues his narrative that the Democratic party as an incumbent had a negative record, while he as a challenger would fix things through traditional values. This campaign ad is direct, and establishes a clear message. However, Trump is known for his colorful campaign style, while this ad reflects a more reserved approach to political media. There is one exception to this, with the accusation that Clinton will “keep the system rigged” which calls into question the legitimacy of the election. This will likely grab the attention of voters in the same manner as other Trump attacks.