Facing a New Hill
For the past month or so, I've been listening to pundit -- mostly Republican, but not always -- talking about the difficultly that Hillary Clinton will have in dealing with Donald Trump, since none of the Republican contenders could handle him, and Trump picked them off one-by-one.
If only TV was a two-way communication device. Because I've been screaming at the TV that "You don't know what you're talking about!!!"
The problem with the analysis is that it overlooks the reality of the Republican debates which were the core foundation of why the Trump challengers had such difficulty fending him off. It wasn't because Donald Trump (R-Trump Towers) was SO sharp and insightful (or inciteful....) and masterfully undercut them all. It was because the outlandish things that Donald Trump was saying...weren't all that different from what all the other leading contenders believed, as well. Yes, Trump was more outlandish and over-the-top, but at the foundation, the core positions he was taking about women and Muslims and Hispanic and torture and Barack Obama were, at heart, exactly what the Republican base believed. Trump was only different in degrees, not in message. So, his GOP opponents really couldn't disagree with him. Anything they might say in contradiction, even in shading, would come across like they were abandoning conservative positions.
But, I have said, once Donald Trump faced a Democratic opponent, all that would change. Suddenly, for the first time, he would face someone who would not only say that he was wrong, but why he was wrong, and how much he was profoundly wrong.
Which brings us to Thursday's long, pointed, and substantive foreign policy speech by Hillary Clinton. But most accounts, it was her best speech of the campaign. And, most notably, it not only was a withering and detailed attack on Donald Trump, but for the most part it was scathing by using his own words against him. Something no Republican opponent during the primaries could do.
I'm not saying that this means Hillary Clinton is guaranteed victory in a walk. I do think she'll win, and win solidly. But what I'm saying is that anyone who thought that the general election would play out exactly the same as the GOP primary did -- that person and all such people are very much mistaken. And on Thursday you say only the first barrage.
And it's all related, as well, to one more reason why these early polls are utterly meaningless. Not only are they SO early. And not only do we not elect a president by general popular vote. And not only do we not yet officially have one, let alone two nominees. But up until now, Donald Trump has not had an opponent take him on point-by-point to criticize him. And that can't be said of Hillary Clinton and her campaign against Bernie Sanders.
Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump "Dangerously incoherent." And "not just unprepared, but temperamentally unfit." And that was only the starting point. The specifics were layered on.
Dorothy, we're not in Kansas anymore.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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