“Did you see him? He was stuttering through the whole thing,” Trump said to a chuckling crowd in Sioux Center, Iowa. “He’s saying I’m a threat to democracy. He’s a threat to d-d-democracy,” he continued, pretending to stutter.

In the real world, a bully calls you names and worse. It’s not enough to take the problem to the library for careful examination or the principal’s office. A bully has to be dealt with directly. You can’t pretend that you’re better than them when you’re in a fight to beat them.

Sticks & Stones

From a messaging perspective, I recommend that Biden and Dems leave the academy behind and enter the fray. Treat Trump as he treats all others, with the same kind of sensational disrespect that he uses for anyone who challenges him. Call him “Dirty Don” or worse and hammer away at the facts in the case.

Here’s a fact that can’t be ignored: Only Trump has been charged with 91 felony counts in four separate cases for allegedly mishandling classified information, obstructing justice, conspiring to overturn the 2020 election, and falsifying business records.

When you’re handed this kind of material by your opponent, use it. Illustrate what it’s like to live with a bully—show a bully at school, a bully at home, a bully at work—and conclude that we already have enough bullies.

More than anything, make it personal. The loss of democracy is an abstraction. Democracy isn’t best revealed as a flag-waving issue, it’s about the loss of personal freedoms. And when you put that lens on it, the possibilities (for powerful documentary-style ads) are endless.