Hillary Clinton’s announcement video that kicked off her 2016 presidential campaign will go down as one of the great works of political advertising and strategy in modern history. Decades from now Poli-Sci majors will be writing papers about that piece and what it meant to the 2016 election.The candidate doesn’t even appear in the ad for the first 90 seconds. The visuals are a snapshot of very likable people, your fellow Americans, going about their daily lives. The mix of people is diverse, middle class and represent broad archetypes that will resonate with the average viewer. The characters depicted are real, approachable and totally believable. These people are your friends and your neighbors and they slip Hillary Clinton, someone who is most definitely not middle class, into this river of average Americana. Yet, for all its technical perfection, that’s not the real brilliance of the piece.

The real brilliance of this piece is that it’s inviting Republicans to stick their head in a noose. It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Republicans will respond with attack ads. By being so consistent, the GOP has made themselves predictable and this ad is calculated to capitalize on the contrast.

Instead of coming back with their own positive vision for America and actually arguing issues, Republicans will come back with attacks. That will be a strategic a blunder of monumental proportions and the announcement ad is engineered with that response in mind from the very first frame. The great thing about Republicans as an opposition is they can be counted on to shoot themselves in the foot and the extremist faction of the party, which can’t keep their mouth shut on a good day, will rise to the bait starting on Monday morning. Instead of talking about the issues, Republicans are going to spend all of next week talking about Hillary Clinton.

What the ad did is put Clinton in the midst of a crowd of Americans and makes her campaign about them. So when Republicans start attacking her, by extension, they’ll be attacking their fellow Americans.

The ad is also overwhelmingly positive so the contrast between Clinton’s positive message and the Republican response will be immediate and glaring. Part of the handicap Republicans are faced with is they have no positions to run on. Gutting Social Security and Medicare isn’t much of a platform and the public is finally catching on, after only 40 years, that supply side economics is a sham and tax breaks for billionaires don’t buy us anything. Bombing Iran is not going to play well next to that ad.

Since they don’t have any issues to run on, the billionaire’s club that the GOP has become will almost certainly go negative in a big way. They can’t help themselves and don’t have a lot of options in either respect.

The smart response would be for Republicans to ignore Clinton altogether. Acknowledge she’s in the race and go back to their business. That would be smart, so there’s no real threat Republicans will do that. They’ll stick their head in the noose and climb over the rail because that's who they've become.

Whether you like Clinton or not your choices in this election are not going to be between competing policy ideas. Your choice in the 2016 race is going to be between crazy and not crazy. You can vote for the nice lady in the Clinton ad or the nutcase behind Door Number 2. For the overwhelming majority of Americans that choice is going to be a no brainer.



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