A lot of great thoughts here, but I would ask you to consider two more.
First, that Trump’s attempts to become a dictator were very real and damn nearly succeeded. A Democratic Party response that assumes this was all about marketing is truly insufficient to need.
Trump and Barr really succeeded at breaking the foundational principles of our country: freedom from tyranny of a king, freedom from state endorsement of religious laws. Congress must remain more powerful than the executive. It must remain possible to remove him. The demands of loyalty from political appointees were a bridge too far. The Republican Senate refusal to impeach on treasonous criminal activity was a bridge too far. We don’t have a strong rule base anymore, and it’s just a matter of time until a more polished dictator is given a chance by the voting public. So we now have an existential threat to defend against. It’s not just marketing.
Fundamentally, we must now have major political reforms. Mandatory voting, ranked choice, proportional representation. The two-party system must be altered now, in defense. There will be a 2024 election (whew!), but the dynamics of party positions and campaigning now must be substantially different. Let the Progressives break away. It’s necessary to do whatever it takes to destroy a two-pole universe dominated by conservative media. Political and voting reforms must be had, and they must ultimately change the marketing dynamics that you are treating as the normal state of things.
Which brings me to the second thing. The conservative media notion has always been that “news with perspective” is still news. Only it isn’t, when the half-truthing and disinformation and anecdotal truthing and out-of-contexting and fear-mongering gets so intense and ubiquitous that people are wholly divorced from reality. Brainwashed. Incapable of critical, rational perception. What do you make of millions of deluded and damaged minds? They aren’t coming back. They believe a lot, lot, lot of stuff that just isn’t real or true. They are damaged, harmed. This isn’t marketing. It became a conservative media war, a propaganda campaign, an information war, in 2008-2012, the it went into hyperdrive since 2016.
Fox News and Brietbart, OANN and America One, and their Republican Party enablers….are at war on American citizens’ minds. They are aggressing, attacking truth and reality. They have hurt people, and their loved ones. This isn’t about winning elections or swaying votes anymore. It’s about altering reality, deluding, converting, and controlling minds. Way beyond marketing.
So we will need to restore the Fairness Doctrine and achieve other media reforms to protect the mental health of Trump supporters. And perhaps concerted efforts to recover them to reality, and maybe even compensate them for the damage they’ve suffered. You can’t just overlook the mass delusion achieved by propaganda.