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'Doom-and-gloom' ads attacking Trump are backfiring, Democratic strategist argues

Political ads that attack President Trump, like those produced by the Lincoln Project, tend to go viral, but Jess McIntosh, a veteran Democratic communications strategist, told Vanity Fair that's not the way to go if Democrats (or, in the case of the Lincoln Project, anti-Trump Republicans) want to prevent the president's re-election.

McIntosh specifically criticized "scary, doom-and-gloom, negative spots" that use Trump's voice or even just his face. She said they "not only aren't working with people that we want, they're causing backlash among the people that we need."

That doesn't mean McIntosh and others want to ignore Trump; they just believe, she said, "you can make the case that you want to make without even saying his name. The point of ads that seem to work is not centering him, either with audio or visually."

McIntosh learned from experience, having overseen a digital ad earlier this year condemning Trump's march across Lafayette Square during the George Floyd protests. Testing reportedly showed the campaign changed almost no minds about Trump or the demonstrations. Subsequently, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, McIntosh's non-profit ad agency Fellow Americans, took Trump out of a lot of its content, opting to challenge his response to the crisis "in more creative ways." Read more at Vanity Fair.