Monday, April 18, 2016

General election: Tyrannical Trump v Corrupt Clinton?

Donald Trump will be a candidate for president, whether he is the GOP nominee or runs as an independent. . Both Hillary Clinton and Trump are pivoting to the general election and Trump is trying out a technique of name calling that so far has destroyed the opposition: .  His newest slogan against Hillary is to call her Corrupt Hillary, based upon her close ties to Wall Street  and the fossil fuel industry and corporate support of her. He is capitalizing  on Bernie Sanders' charges of the same.

 No one listens to facts much these days but only 2% of Clinton's  campaign funds so far comes from the fossil fuel industry.Open Secrets, the independent follower of contributions, shows sources of her campaign contributions, and Wall Street contributions are only a part of her funding sources; she is not dependent on it.  In the Brooklyn debate, Sanders could name not one vote when she was senator that helped Wall Street that was tied to a contribution.  Those points are logical rebuttals to charges from both Sanders and Trump.

Perception is more important than truth and facts  in politics so Clinton must counter this more  vigorously than with just logic and she must begin now. Repetition has a way of becoming accepted fact.

 However, while she should not indulge in school yard name calling, others may. Sticks and stones may break bones, but in politics words hurt, too, and Trump is a master of the  word technique... 

On issues, Hillary and Trump are not that far apart, though polls show Clinton has the edge over Trump and is close to him on handling the economy..  The general  election will not be about issues, except on foreign policy where Trump seems determined to reinstate a nuclear arms race and upturn alliances established  and carefully nurtured since World War II.  In fact, it may not even be about qualifications and experience and judgment.  

The general election  will be about demographics, and no retooling of messages will help Trump out live his earlier anti Hispanic,anti immigrant, anti women.pronouncements and his flirtations with racists,   .By the way, Ted Cruz is volnerable with all of those same demographics, though so far it is not as obvious since his positions have been couched in less inflammatory language and more subtle policies.

 It will  also be about character. Trump calling Hillary a liar is one that we have not heard since earlier in the campaign season, mostly because all fact checkers named Trump the liar of 2015 because of his  twisting facts to make his anti immigrant points.Next to Trump, Hillary looks good. and the pot calling the kettle black is not a winning strategy. Calling her unlikeable will not work either because in polls he comes out worse than her in that category. Calling her weak with little stamina has not worked for him so far because it appeared to be sexist, that women are de facto the weaker sex.In fact, Hillary Clinton's vigorous campaign style and strength in debates has put to rest that line of personal attack.

 Now he is trying out Corrupt Clinton. No doubt he will be coming up with every bit of dirt and nuance, truth twisting  and insinuations he can to make this tag stick.  This sadly portends of the level of the upcoming campaign season, pretty low down and dirty, and a diversion from his weaknesses on issues and personality. That is a page from " A great offense is always the best defense" school of thought.

 Trump's appeal has also been about his perception of being a strong leader, though polls show Hillary ranks right up there with him.  The question becomes what kind of a strong leader. Is it one who leads with facts and advocates for policy and understands  and can use the legislative process?  Or is it  Trump's strong man methods of bullying and extortion , firing generals and subordinates who do dare to opine against his self conceived policies, and twisting the truth when it suits him? That is his art of the deal that  also  makes him  vulnerable to attack. 

Calling him a fascist or a Nazi has not worked ...but there is a tag to his name that might ring true in a name calling kind of campaign.  Calling him Tyrannical Trump might work as a way to attack his personal fitness to be president.. Apologies: I could not resist a bit of fighting fire with fire.

 He may have put his finger on the corrupt poitical system run by the political establishment because it idoes not reflect the grass roots.  When it comes to democracy,though,  he is hardly its torchbearer. His leadership style is the kind of strong man anti-democrat demogogue  that put fear into the founding fathers.  They constructed a Constitution to check and balance against that leadership style. A Trump presidency would mean years of gut wrenching conflict and power struggles, both constitutionally and with demographic groups he alienates.


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