Bob Dylan (“Subterranean Homesick Blues” music video), “Cards” ad, Love Actually (Universal)
Trump may be slashing environmental regulations, but he remains a firm believer in recycling. His “Make America Great Again” slogan was first used by Ronald Reagan, his current focus on “law and order” is cribbed from Richard Nixon, and his new campaign ad rips off the old silently-flipping-cards trope popularized by Bob Dylan and Love Actually. The 30-second spot is called “Cards”, and is targeted at the so-called “silent majority” — another Nixon coinage.
Dylan popularized these oversized cards in his 1965 video for “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. It’s been parodied loads of times since, notably by “Weird Al” Yankovich’s “Bob”, INXS’ “Meditate”, and Tim Robbins’ “Wall Street Rap” in the 1992 satire Bob Roberts. The cards took on new life in the 2003 holiday classic Love Actually, where they managed to wring romance out of a creepy Christmas stalker. While SNL were hardly the first to take shots at Love Actually, they may have been the first to do so in a campaign setting with the Trump-aware sketch, “Hillary Actually”.
Humans seem hard-wired to find profundity in spaced-out words, even when those words don’t have much to say. So it is with Trump’s new attack ad “Cards”. One piece of poster board claims in stark capital letters that “Biden’s trade deals emptied our factories.” Actually, outsourcing began in earnest under the Reagan administration, although the process certainly continued through the ’90s, ’00s, and ’10s. Besides this one obvious falsehood, the spot also engages in some half-truths, claiming that Biden will raise taxes (his plan would lower taxes for many, and significantly raise taxes on people making over $400,000 a year) and that he would “Give amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants” (Biden proposed creating a path to citizenship, not amnesty, and his plan is much more conservative than policies outlined by Julian Castro and Bernie Sanders.) The ad ends with the Trump supporter showing the words “I’m scared to say this out loud… I won’t risk my children’s future with Biden.” There’s actually no evidence of “shy” Trump voters, in 2016 or now, and in fact this is contradicted by the gleefully loud trolls who like to fill up our comment section whenever we cover the President (thanks as always for the clicks!) Check out “Cards” and several other inspirations and parodies below.
Trump gets a bad rap for his sluggish study habits, but he’s a diligent student of some previous politicians. In May of this year he said he “learned a lot from Richard Nixon,” including not to tape his conversations or “fire people.” He’s also an earnest believer in the culture wars. Last month, the White House lied about Paw Patrol getting cancelled, as Trump sided with the former host of The Love Connection over the world’s foremost epidemiologists.
— Ken Farnaso (@KLF) August 3, 2020