Friday, April 29, 2016

The Clinton Strategy for the Fall Campaign

Interesting long article in the Times on the Clinton team's preparations for a battle with Trump:
Several Democrats argued that Mrs. Clinton, should she be her party’s nominee, would easily beat Mr. Trump. They were confident that his incendiary remarks about immigrants, women and Muslims would make him unacceptable to many Americans. They had faith that the growing electoral power of black, Hispanic and female voters would deliver a Clinton landslide if he were the Republican nominee.

But others, including former President Bill Clinton, dismissed those conclusions as denial. They said that Mr. Trump clearly had a keen sense of the electorate’s mood and that only a concerted campaign portraying him as dangerous and bigoted would win what both Clintons believe will be a close November election.
Trump confuses everything. A lot of political insiders think he will be a horrible candidate, but then they also thought he would do terribly in the primaries. On the other hand the sort of politicians and strategists who focus on how the candidate and the campaign perform (like Bill Clinton) are very impressed by Trump. In a normal sort of year political scientists say they can predict the winner of the election based on economic data and a couple of poll numbers, but this year will be different because Trump is not an average Republican. He will drive away many who normally vote Republican but may attract many who might otherwise vote Democrat. The Clinton strategy taking shape is, in essence:
  1. She stays calm and presidential and refuses to be drawn into insult duels;
  2. Firing back is done by surrogates like her husband; 
  3. Meanwhile her campaign and allies attack Trump savagely with ads based on compilations of the most outrageous and insulting things he has said;
  4. And their opposition research people comb through Trump's business record looking for information they can use to make ads attacking him as an unreliable partner and no friend to working people.
In conclusion, we are in for:
a matchup that operatives on both sides predicted would be an epic, ugly clash between two vastly disparate politicians.

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