October 16, 2020


Trump Places Campaign's Fate on Oppo Research Hail Mary (Hanna Trudo & Maxwell Tani,  Oct. 16, 2020, Daily Beast)

Political opposition research is more an art than a science. At a technical level, it's the act of finding out damaging information on an opponent and introducing it to the public. More colloquially, it's mud-slinging.

In that regard, the stories in the New York Post have been oppo at its purest, most dastardly form. The original piece reported that Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and the obsession of some of the president's most fervent fans for over a year, may have provided a board member of a Ukrainian company a chance to convene with his father, hinting at (but by no means proving) a possible pay-for-play set up between the then-vice president and the business.

The biggest article came to be through highly suspect channels. As the piece recounted, Hunter Biden (or someone who appeared to be him) dropped off a damaged laptop at a store that repairs computers, after which the repair man found suspicious and incriminating data on the hard drive, decided to make a copy of it, and then passed it to an associate of Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer. Along the way, the FBI got involved.

Naturally, it made a splash. But that didn't mean it would prove effective, Democrats said. Hail Marys can be completed, but often they aren't.

"If this is the only thing they've done and this is the October surprise they were holding it's a little unimpressive," said Steven D'Amico, a political consultant who led the 2016 research team against Trump for American Bridge. "The fact that it's in the Post is evidence of that."

In some respects, the entire episode was reflective of how limited the president's ability to manage news cycles has become. Up until the publication on Tuesday (and the subsequent publication of other items), Trump-aligned GOP operatives had seemingly abandoned prior behind-the-scenes efforts to convince reporters at major mainstream publications to write stories spotlighting negative information about Biden and his family. Instead, they'd opted to work with ideological allies in the media (of which the New York Post is one) and blast out snippets from their own platforms.

Even worse for Donald, this is the entirety of his case against Uncle Joe.

Posted by at October 16, 2020 8:19 AM