President Trump built his political brand by stoking the nation’s culture wars, but search data is showing us how much harder it’s been for him to replicate that success while running against another white man in his 70s — and while there’s a coronavirus pandemic.
The big picture: Google Trends data shows Trump’s “Sleepy Joe” name-calling isn’t generating nearly the buzz “Crooked Hillary” (or “Little Marco”) did in 2016. Base voters who relished doubting President Obama’s birth certificate aren’t questioning Biden’s.
Other factors are working against Trump’s playbook. Tech platforms are increasingly moving to shut down hate speech and flag misinformation, killing the sources of some of Trump’s favorite conspiratorial material.
The New York Daily News reports:
Americans are searching for “Sleepy Joe” at just about a third of the rate that they searched for the negative moniker aimed at Hillary Clinton during the same period of 2016.
The data suggests that voters are not latching on to Trump’s negative campaign to make Biden more unpopular. That’s a cornerstone of Trump’s effort to win reelection in November because his own unfavorable ratings have been remarkably high throughout his presidency.
Four years ago, Trump’s trademark attack on Hillary Clinton drew scoffs from political analysts who considered it juvenile and ineffective. They said the same thing about his broadsides at GOP primary rivals “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz and “Lil’ Marco” Rubio.