As the 2016 presidential race has finally begun to take final form, it is clear that Donald Trump will represent the GOP, barring a miracle or apocalyptic event (still a 20% chance of this) in Cleveland, and Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination, despite the fuzzy, faith-based math of Bernie Sanders’ supporters. People are correctly predicting this match-up will produce a truly disgusting level of discourse, 99% of it probably coming from Donald Trump. But as a Clinton supporter (but I also donated to Bernie Sanders too!!!!) I am worried by her stump speech. She is clearly more competent, experienced and even-tempered than Trump, but then again so are Bobby Knight, Mike Tyson and Bruce Banner. But Hillary is too scripted and uninspiring in her stump speeches and when she does attack it often feels uninspired. That is why I am offering my advice (and services) to the Clinton campaign. Donald Trump is an Internet troll with a $10 billion budget and who better to battle trolls and a cash deficit than a struggling comedian with a “solid” YouTube presence?! So here is my real advice for Hillary Clinton on how to approach The Donald and how to engage and debate The Donald.
1) Stop The-Ro-bot-Like-Way-You-De-Liv-er-Strong-Rhe-tor-i-cal-Points
Although your crowd liked your “If playing the woman’s card means equal pay, control of our bodies (paraphrasing here)… THEN DEAL. ME. IN.” I cringed. Not because it wasn’t a good line, but because I knew you would use it 30,000 times in the next two weeks in the same robotic cadence. Good lines take good writing and good delivery. This is why the GOP voters hate Ted Cruz. he may be smarter than Trump, but he debates and speaks like he is trying to win high school student council while Trump sounds like a guy holding court at a bar. Secretary Clinton, you are a policy wonk, tough and smart. Embrace that. Stop trying to come up with Larry The Cable Guy catch phrases (because they seem stale when you deliver them). Be strong and smart and leave the catch phrases to TrusTed Cruz.
2) If a voter is “undecided” between you and DONALD TRUMP… fu*k ’em; they’re already lost
You have one mission from this point on – robust endorsements and campaigning from President Obama and Bernie Sanders. If someone is actually “deciding” between you and Trump then count them as Trump voters or non-voters. On this point I think you are doing well. His voters are like a racist version of Leonidas in the film 300, minus the abs and honor. “Racist… racist? THIS IS TRUMP!!!!” You just need to focus on minorities, women and as much of Obama’s coalition as possible. Don’t try to “win” support from Trump people or “on the fence people.” Please. It will probably end up looking gross to people on the left who may be on the Bernie-Hillary fence, which is a group you can still court with some success.
3) Do not engage in Trump’s game
Hollywood is in love with nerds right now, but in politics and Middle America, the rich jock is still king. So do not try to engage in insults with him. Everyone who has tried has failed. Not because Trump is so quick, but because he has no moral basement. Jeb Bush had the single best line in a debate to insult Trump when he suggested that Trump got his foreign policy knowledge from Saturday morning cartoons. Unfortunately, by then it was after 8 weeks of brutal beatings at the hands of Trump and too late to do any damage. Rubio went insult comic and he dropped out 2 weeks later. Though I have one exception -if he goes after your marriage hint at his 3 marriages. If he goes deeper than say your marriage is not perfect, which is well documented, but you were committed to working on it. This turns a weak personal moment into a narrative of never giving up and commitment that clearly Trump doesn’t possess, but you would never have to explicitly go after Melania Trump.
4) Debate like Trump Is Irrelevant
Al Gore got into trouble for sighing and being dismissive of George W. Bush in 2000. I know this is dangerous, but Trump is not and will not be competent or informed enough to actually debate you. Turn “debates” with Trump into discussions on policy and experience with the moderator(s) and American public. If he insults you in an irrelevant way, treat it like a child farted. An unpleasant hiccup during an adult discussion. Draw the contrast to people to know that if they don’t vote for you, an angry, bloated child will have his fingers on the button. You are not trying to win over Trump voters. You will simply highlight that one person is competent and knowledgeable and one isn’t. If insults are his best points, your insistence on being issue driven will make him look more and more absurd. Remember, Trump has not been in any 1 on 1 debates and you can expose him easily if you treat them like policy seminars. You cannot win the personality match with him, so don’t try with catch phrases or overly-prepared quips.
5) Admit What Some People Don’t Like About You AKA The 8 Mile Technique
Admit you aren’t likeable to some people. Admit that 25 years of being a target of the GOP has made you guarded and sometimes off putting. Not as some “people don’t like strong women” talking point, but as a reality of your personality and life. But emphasize that those flaws are not a reason to vote for a blustery carnival barker and caution does not make you a liar or “crooked.” In other words, do the 69 year old white politician version of B-Rabbit:
6) Share This Donald Trump Infomercial:
My fee for this excellent advice is to simply help my Trump video go viral. You’re welcome.