Treat him as a traditional candidate? Doesn’t work. Get in the gutter with him? Little Marco learned that doesn’t work. Call him uninformed? Been there, done that. Republican primary voters didn’t care.
Now, though, we move to a wider audience.
So what does she do? There are some who believe stealing the script from the Lyndon Johnson-Barry Goldwater race of 1964 could work. Reinforce the fear people perceived from Goldwater. If you don’t remember it, watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDTBnsqxZ3k.
Certainly, Trump has given the Clinton folks lots of fodder: He wants to see South Korea and Japan develop nuclear weapons; he wants to, in effect, start a trade war by backing out of international agreements and slapping huge tariffs on China; he’s called women names ranging from “fat pigs” to “dogs”; he’s said he won’t beg money from big donors, but he’s doing that now; he’s said he gave $1 million to his own benefit to raise money for veterans, but it took a Washington Post investigation to force him to do it; he claimed his failed Trump University got an “A’ from the Better Business Bureau but the Bureau actually gave it a “D-minus.” There’s more…lots more.
Show the logical effects of a Trump presidency based on what he’s saying.
Maybe the best way is for the Super PACs supporting her to run such ads, pointing out his inconsistencies/lies and have Mrs. Clinton reinforce some of those charges in her speeches and interviews – while mostly focusing on her proposed policies and her experience for public office, especially her foreign policy chops. When Mrs. Clinton goes on the attack herself, she sounds contrived and it isn’t effective. Let others take the lead.
Many folks see Trump as a danger to national security and relationships with other countries. Many see him as the enemy of the Constitution and American values: He wants to keep Muslims out of the country, contradicting a primary reason the United States was founded – freedom of religion; he wants to order the military to kill non-combatants; he wants to change the First Amendment to suit himself.
Reinforce what some folks already perceive by highlighting his own proclamations: showing he isn’t what he says he is and his comments are dangerous to our national security. Because, they are.
Getting in the gutter with Trump is just playing to his strength. It’s been tried and it’s failed, repeatedly. It works for him but it won’t work for Hillary. She’s perceived as a “politician” and “untrustworthy” so would anyone accept that she isn’t just playing another role in her quest to meet her ambition?
Using someone’s own words against him is always an effective attack. Trump claims to be a non-politician but he is as politician-y as anyone else and more than most. He speaks out of both sides of his mouth at the same time – a neat trick that Paul Winchell would admire.
You are not going to steal Donald Trump’s voters from him. You have to aim at those voters who haven’t made up their minds or don't like either candidate and the constituencies that he’s alienated (“the” Hispanics, “the” African Americans,” and maybe even some of “the uneducated” that he loves so much, he says), and those Democrats that will vote for Mrs. Clinton, the Bernie-istas who may not love Hillary but they hate Donald Trump and need a reason to come out for Hillary. Even many Republicans who said they couldn’t bear to see him as their standard bearer are falling in behind him against the true enemy of the Republican Party – Hillary Clinton.
It’s time for people to stop trying to figure out why he’s been successful. We know already: his supporters think he tells it like it is and he is not a politician. You have to show that both those perceptions are false to those on the fence. You can’t co-opt his message, as Mrs. Clinton has tried to do with Bernie Sanders. And you likely are not going to convince his voters to switch, especially not to Hillary Clinton.
You have to target constituencies already ticked off by him. You have to show why she’s the better choice. Many of these are voters who prefer not to elect Hillary Clinton but fear a Donald Trump presidency.
She may not be the best choice to those folks, but may be the best on the ballot.