Before all you Democrats start hooting and hollering; before you thank your lucky stars that Donald J. Trump will be the Republican presidential candidate, you need to press the pause button.
Yes, Trump is an intellectual and political lightweight compared to Hillary but as we have seen before, the smartest kid in the class doesn’t always come out on top. The bookworm is almost never the most beloved classmate.
If Hillary and her handlers think they can beat Trump by attacking his lack of political experience, his lack of policy chops, the absurdity of his proposals, or his overall lack of gravitas, they better go back to the 2000 Bush v. Gore election and do a little boning up.
Could the Republicans have come up with a more intellectually uncurious, academically challenged presidential candidate than George W. Bush? A “gentlemen’s C” student at Harvard never given to deep thought or deep knowledge of anything other than perhaps oil and baseball. Yes, it was going to be a sure win for the scholarly, politically experienced Al Gore and the Democratic Party.
We all know how that went down.
The turning point in that race came during the first presidential debate. As Bush answered questions in less than a clear and intelligible manner, the camera kept focusing on Gore and his facial expressions. Gore was caught rolling his eyes, shaking his head, frowning and sneering. He was deemed the clear loser of the debate not on the content of what he said but on his body language!
Gore came off at that first debate as the intellectual snob who only has condescension for the less gifted competitor. A veritable Mr. Goody two-shoes. Certainly not the type of guy you’d want to have a drink with! Now Georgie… there’s a guy who can relate to the common folk! Gore tried to change his style in later debates but it was too late. The mold was set right then and there.
What Hillary has to understand is that Trump supporters, many involved in presidential politics for the very first time, are excited and motivated. They have shown themselves to not care a whit about policy positions or realistic proposals. If she goes too hard on asking exactly how he would build his wall or deport 11 million illegals, she is playing into Trump’s hands.
Today’s voters are anti-establishment, both Republican and Democrat. They do not want a Washington insider to occupy the White House. And can one be more of an establishment insider than Hillary?
Voters favor Trump because he is not a politician corrupted by political experience or lobbyists’ money.
Hillary, more than Trump, is the candidate who needs to rebrand herself. It will be a tough task, for sure. You can bet Trump will paint Clinton as a crooked political insider, bought and paid for by big money. He will go where Sanders has tried to go but in a more Trumpian (ruthless) way. “Why won’t you show us the transcript of that speech you gave to Goldman Sachs for $250,000, Hillary? What are you hiding?”
If Hillary comes off as the next Al Gore, Democrats will be in big trouble. We just might be looking at President Trump.
Photo | youtube.com