The Way Trump Wins

Eight issues and Clinton scandals the GOP nominee should drive home in the first presidential debate

The topics for Monday’s crucial first presidential debate are “achieving prosperity,” “securing America,” and “America’s direction.” This is a gift to Donald Trump, because under the Obama administration, of which Hillary Clinton was a part, America is not achieving prosperity, it’s not secure, and it is headed in the wrong direction. And Trump’s policies are specifically designed to reverse the country’s direction.

Trump, famously averse to submerging himself in policy detail, need not “get into the weeds” to debate the wonky Hillary Clinton. Instead, by relentlessly pressing arguments for just a few of the issues that have driven his candidacy from the beginning — while highlighting Clinton as a corrupt beacon of the Establishment that got us in this mess in the first place — he can win the encounter.

Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction because the culture is being yanked out from underneath them by liberals like Hillary.

No need to turn Hillary Clinton into political Cuisinart bait with ad hominem attacks, like he did Jeb Bush. Trump need only aggressively work these eight lines of attack to eviscerate his opponent:

1.) Clinton has already failed to make America secure
The debate will be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, less than 30 miles from the latest in what has become a ceaseless stream of terrorist attacks under President Obama. Clinton steered Obama’s foreign policy for four years. Why would the nation give responsibility for America’s security to the very person who helped make it insecure? There is no end in sight to the escalating incidents of Islamic terrorism striking the United States, and Clinton is not the person to stop it.

2) Refugees
To many normal Americans, Trump’s logic of curtailing the entry of people from Middle East and African nations spawning terrorists is undeniable. And yet Clinton wants to go even beyond Obama in ushering potentially dangerous new populations into the country.

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“I think the United States has to do more, and I would like to see us move from what is a good start with 10,000 to 65,000 and begin immediately to put into place the mechanisms for vetting the people that we would take in,” Clinton said. Who is going to vet them, Trump should ask — the same people at Homeland Security who just accidentally gave citizenship to 858 people from countries that pose national security threats?

Trump can argue we are a compassionate people, but nobody remembers the Founding Fathers bringing the Barbary Pirates into the country. We should help relocate refugees in the Middle East.

3.) Immigration, immigration, immigration
Let’s say that three times, since it applies to each debate topic. The open border that Clinton would leave unprotected is an entry point for terrorists. A flood of immigrants who do not necessarily share our values — and many whose first act here is to break the law by entering illegally — is also a national security threat.

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Unchecked mass immigration is threatening prosperity by providing cheap labor coveted by the Chamber of Commerce and taking jobs from struggling Americans.

And part of the reason Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction is that the culture is being yanked out from underneath them by liberals like Clinton. America is not historically a nation of immigrants — it is a nation of assimilated immigrants, and endless immigration doesn’t allow for assimilation.

4.) Trade
Hillary Clinton has supported NAFTA and just about every free trade deal that came before it. She is only a recent convert to opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and clearly flip-flopped only to curry support from Bernie Sanders supporters. Trump should note that these deals have harmed the prosperity of millions of Americans who were put out of work by cheap labor from overseas. And they threaten our security by putting the United States at the mercy of global governance institutions.

5.) Guns
Is there anything more basic to one’s personal security than a firearm? Trump should say, “Yes, happiness is a warm gun. Bang bang. Shoot shoot.” Clinton is threatening the security of Americans faced with escalating violent crime and the potential for terrorist attacks by vowing to limit their gun rights. Every American these days needs a concealed carry permit so they can take their children to the shopping mall. Trump should note that if an off-duty police officer hadn’t been carrying, he couldn’t have put an end to the terrorist who was stabbing people in a St. Cloud, Minnesota, shopping mall Saturday night.

An Aug. 26 poll conducted by Pew Research found a majority of Americans think it is more important to protect gun rights than to implement new restrictions on gun ownership — Trump is on solid ground to take the issue on offense.

6.) Emails
One of the underemphasized points about Hillary Clinton’s failure to use a secure email system as secretary of state is that it shows she does not put the nation’s security above her own selfish needs. Hiding her communications outweighed, for her, the risk that they would fall into enemy hands. If sources, methods, or operations were exposed, she could have gotten American operatives or our foreign spies killed.

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That kind of attitude can be hammered as disqualifying.

7.) Benghazi
Americans were left to die at an outpost that was under Clinton’s stewardship as secretary of state, even though Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens had repeatedly requested beefed up security. The excuse that she didn’t see his pleas is no excuse at all: She should have had a system in place where such an urgent matter would get her attention. The woman who wants to be in charge of the nation’s security couldn’t even supply it for her own employees at the State Department, and then couldn’t arrange to save those who died more than seven hours after the attack began.

8.) Economic growth
Many Americans may not be aware that the economy is currently nearly in a recession, growing at just 1 percent, and that at around 1.5 percent over seven years, Obama has the worst economic growth record of any post-war American president. Clinton plans to double down on his policies.

Trump has a golden opportunity to have a debate victory delivered to him on a silver platter. He just needs to stick to the issues that have been so winning for him so far.

Keith Koffler is the editor of the website White House Dossier and the newsletter Cut to the News.

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