Nothing hurts Teflon Donald, but this TV spot released today is probably the strongest attack ad I’ve seen on him, via his strongest rival, Sen. Ted Cruz. Of course this “New York values” thing is a little dicey; Trump deflated Cruz at the last GOP debate by invoking 9/11. Cruz started slow clapping in appreciation with the pursed-lip smile of a man who’s just been fed his own manure, so I’d say Trump got the better end of that exchange. That said, this ad does a pretty good job of trying to do a little damage to Trump’s brand. Trump is an unlikely populist, but his schtick has worked so far. Let’s say for the sake of argument that Trump is playing on the tribal instincts of identity politics. Cruz is trying to beat him at his own game, telling Iowa conservatives that Trump is not in the tribe, that he ain’t one of us.
Trump meanwhile has been saying that Cruz ain’t one of us — he’s a dirty Canadian. Trump has pulled back into the lead in Iowa according to the latest polls released this weekend. The caucuses are a week from today.
Trump also has a new ad out today, an online video that’s kind of boring (see below).