Saturday, October 8, 2016

Finish Him Off, Hillary!


It is a sports axiom that when you have your opponent down you keep him down. That axiom applies to politics, as well. Hillary Clinton scored a huge victory over Donald Trump in her first debate and that resulted in a significant bump for her in the polls. What was beginning to look like a dire outcome in November, now looks considerably more promising. As of now, the RCP no tossup poll has her winning with 322 electoral votes. Each day that passes brings Hillary closer to the finish line.

This Sunday, when Clinton takes to that debate stage, she has an opportunity to deliver a knock-out blow to Donald Trump. And based on how this race has gone, she'd be wise to take advantage of that opportunity. Trump will, no doubt, do his best to hand her the debate, just like he did in the first one. The man has shown zero interest in preparing and, in a town-hall forum, where questions are submitted by the audience, his responses are likely to be as comical as they are fatal.

But that doesn't mean Hillary can coast. It won't be enough to watch Trump stick the knife into his own chest, she has to push it all the way through. After Sunday night, she must remove all doubt within the hearts and minds of the electorate that a) this man is simply unfit for the presidency, and b) she is. I have a sneaky suspicion the latter might be a bit more difficult for her. And that's because she's bound to get a couple of questions concerning her email server and the Clinton Foundation. How she handles both will determine whether she routs Trump or merely edges him out.

So here's my advice to Mrs. Clinton, for what it's worth. Since you know those questions are coming, own your part. You were wrong about having the email server in the first place. Admit it. Avoid saying that James Comey said you didn't lie; instead just stick with, "I was wrong, I've apologized for it and I apologize for it again. And that's a lot more than my opponent has ever done. As far as he's concerned, he's never made a single mistake or done anything wrong." You also might want to add that there's been no evidence that any of your emails were hacked and then remind the audience that your opponent was imploring Russia to do just that.

Regarding the Clinton Foundation, here's what you say: "My husband and I are very proud of the difference the Foundation has made in the lives of millions of people around the world. Not one policy of the State Department was affected by the Foundation's activities, nor has my opponent been able to come up with any evidence to the contrary. And to make sure there are no conflicts of interest in the future, if I'm elected my husband will step down and our daughter will take over the reigns."

Then pivot and go after the Trump Foundation as a slush fund for Trump's cronies that was recently fined for making an illegal campaign contribution to the Florida Attorney General. You might want to turn to Trump and ask him, "How's that muriel of yours look, Donald? I hear your foundation paid quite a pretty penny for it."

The important thing is to not deflect when asked a tough question. These aren't moderators, which means they know how to frame a question. We know Trump will deny and obfuscate all over the place. The best way to expose him is to let the American people know you're not only qualified, but that you're human. The latter has always been your biggest challenge. It's the reason this race is still close.

And last, but not least, the first chance you get, use the leaked tape of Trump's lewd remarks about women. Don't be afraid to go there. Millions of women will be tuning in and now's the time to drive home how repulsive and offensive his comments were. And if he hits you with Bill's indiscretions, remind him and everyone watching that he isn't running for president; you are. And then, for good measure, say this: "The last person on earth who should be preaching about morality is you, Donald."

This Sunday you can go along way towards allaying any remaining doubts the voters may have about you. You'll never be warm and fuzzy or even endearing. Face it, it's not in your DNA. But you can at least try to make a connection with the voters. All they want is to know you give a shit. Hell, if your husband was able to feel their pain, the least you can do is acknowledge that they have some. Against the most self-absorbed, ego maniac on the face of the planet, a little empathy is all you need.

The good news is that this format is right up your alley. Town halls are your forte. Without a teleprompter and his minions in front of him, Trump is lost. Your job is to make sure he stays that way until November 8. With the polls showing that you're starting to pull away, now is the time to keep your foot on the gas pedal and bury this creep.

This is your moment, Hillary. Finish him off.

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