On September 2nd, Jonathan Ladd and Josh Pasek, authors of the recently-published “Words That Matter,” joined campaign operatives for a discussion about campaign narratives moderated by NBC News Senior Washington Editor and former GU Politics Fellow Rebecca Sinderbrand (C ‘99).
Hosted in conjunction with the McCourt School’s Massive Data Institute (MDI), the conversation featured perspectives from Alex Conant, Communications Director for Marco Rubio’s 2016 campaign, and Karen Finney, Senior Advisor and Spokeswoman for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, on how campaign narratives are created and why some stick while others don’t.
Ladd and Pasek’s research drew from surveys conducted in partnership with Gallup, where voters consistently associated Hillary Clinton with the “email scandal” narrative while no single story dominated what people heard about then-candidate Donald Trump. According to Finney, this difference was exacerbated by foreign actors on social media pushing the same narrative.
When asked whether President Trump’s campaign strategy would work as well in 2020 as it did four years ago, Conant said that while “there was something about [Trump] in 2016…that was very appealing,” his unpopularity outside of the Republican Party could negatively affect his reelection chances this November.