Hillary’s Issue-Free Campaign
The Clinton campaign staying in attack mode because it has nothing to defend
Hillary Clinton is running a campaign devoid entirely of any message other than “don’t vote Trump.”
With the aid of a complicit media, the Clinton campaign is successfully turning the entire 2016 campaign into a referendum on Donald Trump’s personality. Most campaigns at least make some effort try to convince the public to vote for their candidate, alongside hitting their opponent — however, the Clinton campaign is putting all of its efforts into convincing the public not to vote for Trump.
Promising to continue this sorry status quo is hardly a general election vote-winner.
Aside from the usual progressive platitudes about free stuff and the same tired talking points the Democrats have abused to the point of utter meaninglessness, Clinton’s mediocre nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention was little more than an anti-Trump tirade.
She used the phrase “I will” a grand total of four times — Obama promised “I will” do something 18 times in his 2008 acceptance speech at the DNC. Of course, Obama’s legacy is in large part why the Clinton campaign has made attacking Donald Trump, rather than promoting Clinton herself, its main focus.
By making no concrete promises other than a vague one to “continue Obama’s legacy,” Clinton has put herself in a bit of a bind.
The promise of Obama's third term may excite the progressive wing that hasn't aligned with Bernie Sanders, but as far as most regular folks are concerned Obama's is a legacy of an anemic economic recovery, executive overreach, the shocking rise of Islamic terrorism across the West, and the speedy decline of American influence around the world.
Promising to continue this sorry status quo is hardly a general election vote-winner. Moreover, as Clinton has flipped and flopped back and forth on almost every important issue — from free trade deals, to American interventionism, to income inequality, to Wall St. regulation — there are few claims and cases she can make to the American public that cannot be challenged using her own words.
Indeed, the only effective option she has is to attack Trump mercilessly, and recent polling showing a Clinton surge suggests her campaign's efforts to turn Trump into America's big bad boogeyman may be having some success.
But in this, the Clinton campaign has provided Trump with an opportunity. A general who puts the bulk of his forces into an attack will have little left behind to mount a successful defense should the need arise, and in launching an all-out attack on Trump the Clinton camp has left its flanks exposed.
Recent polling suggests Americans by and large trust Trump more on the key issues of the economy, terror, and controlling the federal deficit. Trump must start hammering his own positions on these issues into the minds of the electorate, and must increase his attacks on Clinton's terrible record and the mainstream media's refusal to expose it.
Trump must also start to exercise self-control regarding his propensity for off-the-cuff remarks. Each Trump gaffe only increases the likelihood of Clinton's strategy succeeding.
If Trump can stop providing the Clinton campaign with more ammunition, its anti-Trump arsenal will eventually expire and Clinton will have to start campaigning on her own miserable and uninspiring record — and not against Trump's.