In May of 2012, the Obama campaign began running “Steel,” an ad featuring a steelworker who was laid off after Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital acquired and dismantled the steel mill where he had worked for decades. Romney had just collected the nomination and wasn’t yet prepared to fight general election battles. In June, an Obama-affiliated super PAC unveiled another devastating ad featuring another company Bain dismantled. When Mother Jones acquired audio of Romney’s “47 percent” comments in September, the narrative that destroyed Romney’s candidacy was already in place.
Clinton is hoping that she can do something similar to Trump. Her campaign recently committed to a massive ad buy in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Colorado, and Nevada. The buy was expected to be in the eight-figures, but it’s even larger than many expected. With the Trump campaign low in cash-on-hand and in disarray—there’s both infighting and conflict with the RNC, apparently—Clinton’s campaign is hoping it can end the race before it even really begins.