Friday, June 3, 2016

Clinton Campaign Stealing A Page From LBJ Playbook


In 1964, one of the tactics Lyndon Johnson's campaign used, and quite effectively, was to paint Barry Goldwater as unfit and unstable. The now famous "Daisy" ad in which a little girl is seen picking a daisy against the backdrop of a nuclear bomb going off, proved to be devastating to the GOP nominee. Throughout most of the campaign, Goldwater had made numerous, outlandish statements which called into question his preparedness for the office of the presidency. As a result, Johnson ended up winning in a landslide that November.

While no one is suggesting that the 2016 election will be quite so lopsided, it's quite clear that the Clinton campaign is stealing a page out of the LBJ playbook and plans on running with it. Hillary Clinton gave a blistering speech on Donald Trump Thursday that was the first of what will likely be many salvos thrown in his direction. It was one of the best speeches Clinton has ever delivered and it hit Trump right where he lived.

It's clear the Clinton campaign has no intention of repeating the same mistake the GOP made. Throughout all of 2015, Republicans dismissed Trump as a passing fad, some even comparing him to Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain. By the time they figured out he was for real, he was already unstoppable. Then, to make matters worse, when they decided to take him on, their attacks played right into his hands. The exchanges he had with "Little Marco" Rubio underscored how inept the GOP was.

Give Clinton this much: she's no Rubio. Her attacks on Trump were biting but thoroughly professional. She didn't stoop to his level by engaging in name calling. She stuck to what will undoubtedly be the central theme of this campaign: Trump's erratic and unpredictable behavior. It's clear that calling him out on the racist comments that come out of his mouth and the way in which he vilifies the press have had no effect on him so far; but in a general election, the thought of a mad man with the nuclear launch codes will give a lot of voters pause. While the Trump campaign wants to make this election about "Crooked Hillary," the Clinton campaign wants to make it about "Crazy Donald." Right now it's Crazy Donald by a nose.

It's still way too early to see if this line of attack has any legs. But one thing that we know from past experience: Trump has a thin skin and he can't handle strong-willed women. The only candidate that was able to put him in his place during the Republican primaries was Carly Florina. When she went after Trump on the debate stage he had no comeback for her. Remember what happened when Megyn Kelly challenged him on his misogynist views? He went off on her for weeks.

Imagine a ticket of Clinton and Warren double teaming Trump on his bullshit day in and day out. I mean the man's head might explode. We can only hope, right?

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