Brought to you by your friends in the GOP
There’s a good chance that the Republican Primary will essentially end on Super Tuesday and people will stop pretending that Marco Rubio was ever winning by losing.
Since Donald Trump easily won the Nevada Caucus, America has been wandering around, bumping into things, wondering if everyone else is in the same dream.
As low of an opinion as many of us had of the Republican Party, the idea that bigoted charlatan could commandeer the party, while using the last Republican president and last Republican nominee as a urinal, seemed far fetched.
Clearly, we had too much faith in GOP voters. Now we have to wonder if the rest of America could fall prey to the same wacky egoism that’s inspired by a man whose policies all involve some sort of figurative sodomizing of his enemies.
The Clintons have began the effort of reassuring supporters that they have a real plan to defeat Trump. It involves taking him very seriously, something Republicans never really did until Nevada. From there the early attacks include pointing out that he’s a sexist racist, undermining his business record and questioning his ability to competently serve as commander-in-chief.
Will their plan work?
The last two strategies sound suspiciously like what Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are doing now and Jeb Bush tried to do before he faded into a cup of Earl Grey tea, right?
All we know for sure is that they can’t do any worse than Republicans have. Let’s review what Republicans taught us about how not to defeat Trump.
- Don’t kiss his ass for half a year.
Ted Cruz tried this and was shocked to discover all it did was give Trump credibility. And Trump used that cred to go birther on him. Don’t legitimize him in any way and use everything he does to make it possible for people who don’t think February is “Why is there no White History Month?” to support him.
- Don’t call him “Mr. Trump.”
You sound like a C-list celebrity begging to make it another episode of his reality show. And Chris Christie found that this sign of respect and an endorsement earned him this:
- Don’t call him a “jerk.”
That was Jeb Bush’s plan and all it did was remind Republicans what they like about Trump — he gets to bully rich fools in public.
- Don’t promise to cut billionaires’ taxes.
Trump has vowed to go after the votes of working white men, who tend to vote Republican anyway, and his biggest weakness is that his tax gives the richest .01 percent a $1.3 million-a-year tax break. Republicans couldn’t attack him for this because they’re all promising to do nearly the same — even eliminate all taxes for some of America’s richest people. Trump may defend himself by pointing out that he’ll actually be increasing his own taxes because he likely doesn’t pay any taxes at all despite claiming to be worth $10 billion, which makes him so relatable!
- Don’t just point out that his companies went bankrupt.
He’s prepared for this attack. Democrats have begun to connect it to his willingness to inflict pain on others. It could also be part of a larger argument that he’s willing to play games with your retirement.
- Don’t expect him to self-destruct because he’ll always be saved by his not-so secret weapon — media saturation.
Trump successfully stepped on stories about his tax returns by seeming to welcome the support of white supremacists. You can’t ask the press not to cover this mania, because it’s crack and they are fiends.
- Don’t expect to be able to define him or win by only going negative.
Nearly all Americans have an opinion about bacon, pizza and Donald Trump. Most don’t like him. That was true in the GOP primary too, but he was able to turn his approval numbers upside down. He sustained no true negative attack thanks to cowardly GOP funders. Instead, was able to offer the closest thing to a positive vision as his opponents struggled to land some blow on him. Along with a clear and relentless attack on everything he is, you need some coherent vision that’s matches up favorably to “Make America Great Again.”
- Have fresh attacks ready.
When Trump changes the subject, it’s a sign of weakness. He’s trying to bring the discourse down to a level he’s comfortable — and the lower the better. In the last debate, Cruz and Rubio finally surprised him and he got a little weary. Luckily for him, he had John Kasich and Ben Carson on stage to bore America into submission.
- Don’t play his game.
Trump turns his unease into an anger that Republican voters at least find very attractive. When he lashes out, engaging him personally feeds his strength. Jeb got better at fighting back and his numbers only got worse. America is amused by Trump. They love to watch him trade insults. If you can make him boring, he loses much of his appeal.