Nothing Populist About Trump’s Campaign of Character Assassination

Bill Scher

You can say this for Donald Trump; he doesn’t delegate the job of attack dog. He likes to scorch his own earth.

In what has to be an unprecedented interview, Trump gleefully shared with the New York Times his innermost thoughts on how he plans to rhetorically fillet his opponent:

Donald J. Trump plans to throw Bill Clinton’s infidelities in Hillary Clinton’s face on live television during the presidential debates this fall, questioning whether she enabled his behavior and sought to discredit the women involved.

Mr. Trump will try to hold her accountable for security lapses at the American consulate in Benghazi … And he intends to portray Mrs. Clinton as fundamentally corrupt, invoking everything from her cattle futures trades in the late 1970s to the federal investigation into her email practices as secretary of state…

…In a telephone interview, he noted that women did not like seeing Mrs. Clinton insulted or bullied by men. He said he wanted to be more strategic, by calling into question Mrs. Clinton’s judgment…

…“Just getting nasty with Hillary won’t work,” Mr. Trump said. “You really have to get people to look hard at her character, and to get women to ask themselves if Hillary is truly sincere and authentic. Because she has been really ugly in trying to destroy Bill’s mistresses, and she is pandering to women so obviously when she is only interested in getting power.”

This is not the strategy of an economic populist looking to build a grassroots mandate that will deplete corporate influence in governmental decision-making.

If Trump is going to win, and surpass Mitt Romney’s 2012 performance, he needs to win Obama ’12 voters in swing states. And the best pool of potential voters are Bernie Sanders voters.

But Trump doesn’t swim in that pool. He calls Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” and says Sanders “could be beyond a socialist.”

He says such things because he swims in the right-wing talk show pool. So it’s no surprise his campaign strategy is to regurgitate the greatest anti-Hillary hits from the right-wing fever swamp.

Rush Limbaugh, predictably, is over the moon: “If Trump’s the nominee and if he does unload on Hillary Clinton as he’s promising to do, let me just tell you something: You do not know how many gazillion Americans are going to be delirious and orgasmic with delight and support.”

I’m sure there are a “gazillion.” It’s just that the “gazillion” are not a majority, and the voters Trump needs are not part of it.

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