Michael Wolraich's picture

    Hillary, Choose Your Trump

    Inquiring minds want to know, which Donald Trump will show up to the debate tonight? The name-calling bully? The xenophobic scaremonger? The misogynist jerk? The entertaining clown? The pathological liar? The dog-whistling bigot? The reckless lunatic? The shallow narcissist? Or some new incarnation of softer, smarter Trump who uses big words.

    Chris Matthews doesn't know. Mark Halperin doesn't know.  Ed Kilgore doesn't know. Some editor at the Atlantic doesn't know. Hillary Clinton doesn't know.

    She literally said, "I do not know which Donald Trump will show up."

    Well, she better figure it out, quick. Because if she hopes to triumph at the debate tonight, she can't wait and see which Trump shows up at the lectern. She must choose her Trump.

    When Trump debated Jeb Bush, he didn't wait for the "weak" Jeb to appear. No matter what Jeb said, no matter how clever or boring or angry Jeb was, Trump's response was always the same. Weak. Weak. Weak. He didn't just call Jeb weak. His tone said, "Weak!" His expression said, "Weak!" His body language said "Weak!" There were other Jebs out there on the stage--Jeb the Conservative, Jeb the Compassionate, Jeb the Competent--but only one Jeb emerged from the debates, the Jeb that Trump anointed, Jeb the Weak.

    Now it's Hillary's turn to trade lances with the notorious Mr. Trump. There won't be just one Trump out there on the stage tonight. They will all make appearances: the bully, the xenophobe, the liar, the bigot, the clown, the lunatic, perhaps even a sliver of statesman who tosses out some big words.

    But Clinton can't wait for the voters and the pundits to decide which Trump they see. She must choose the one and only one Trump. From her opening statement to her summation, in her rebuttals, her "zingers," her tone and her body language, she must make the audience understand just who this Trump guy is.

    My suggestion: Clinton should forget the asshole, the bigot, the ignoramus. These words are most meaningful to those who already hate Trump. Choose a word that resonates with every demographic in the nation. It's a word that Clinton has used before to describe Trump but which has been lost in the jumble.


    Trump will say anything, do anything, sacrifice anything--or anyone--to sate his voracious ego. As President, he would destroy all that we hold sacred and hold the American people hostage to his megalomaniacal fantasies.


    Not "Dangerous Donald." Nothing cute or silly. Hillary must be our Cassandra, staring straight into the camera and warning the nation of our peril. Her tone should be earnest, her posture erect, her mouth firm. When Trump lies, she should explain how he manipulates people. When he is evasive, she should tell people what he is trying to hide. When he taunts, she should accuse him of debasing our political system. When he speaks from ignorance, she should attack his competence as Commander in Chief. When he blusters, she should criticize his volatile temperament.


    This characterization of Trump will work because it's true. He is a dangerous megalomaniac. We all know it. Even his supporters know it, though they may pooh-pooh the risks or declare his destructive impulses to be virtuous.

    But even if most people know it at some level, Trump's essential dangerousness has been obscured by the noise of the election. In this debate, Hillary should take the opportunity to drive the point home with a sledgehammer so that nothing overshadows it.

    If she succeeds, then one and only one Trump will emerge from the debate tonight. The Trump she chose.



    Michael, you act as if the dangerous Donald hasn't been obviously on display a year, with much of the former Republican foreign service, security annd administration figures publicly tilting her way , and yet nearly half the electorate seems to support him. I expect somehow she'll have to emasculate him hard - yes, a Nurse Ratched not as harsh bitch but one of those "oh Billy, what would your mother think?" that sucks all his energy out or makes him lose it. Maybe something less dramatic, but as long as they keep talking about him he wins- no such thing as bad publicity for Donald.

    Where is Donald's mother anyway? Maybe put an effigy of her with scolding finger in the front row instead of Mark Cuban. "Donald, would you talk about your mother's breasts and rear end like this? Oh you poor Lost Boy still living in your Neverland dreams"

    One thing we can be assured of with Hillary's track record is that she'll show up ptepared, anticipating multiple Donalds, trying to control the flow and get in some zingers. Whether that is enough is another question. Her "Between the Ferns" appearance was barely passable, and sadly the modern "debate" is probably as quirky and unfocused as that. 40+ years of policy wonk will largely be useless.

    It's been out there, and Hillary made the point quite clearly in June. But I feel that it's been overshadowed by an avalanche of commentary on Trump.

    PS If she can emasculate him, I'm all for it, but it may be tough to pull off and could backfire

    Exactly - she's been through so many lose-lose situations where for other folks there'd be an upside

    Emasculate him by pulling it off?  Nasty!

    100 million folks (in US alone?) are preparing to watch a seasoned eighth grade teacher debate a first grader with a c average. ( I wrote this somewhere recently, but I think this assessment will prove correct)

    I predict that half the time Hillary will just ignore the sombitch.

    I just saw on Meet the Press? that Obama 'lost' the first debate because his side did not play the tweet promoters.

    Well, that was the end of that crap. Obama's team just filled tweetdom with assessments pro Barry as the second debate continued.

    So we must all somehow follow tweets and watch the debates.

    Anyway, tell me here whether you have a live blog set up.

    If not I might start one at six or so tonite. 

    The pundits are ridiculous but they have to SAY something to promote ratings.

    So I guess I will watch Chris 1 & 2 on MSNBC along with Rachel and the team.

    If Trump fails, I will switch to FOX for fun following...


    Set it up whenever you're ready, Dick. We entrust the live debate blog to your capable hands.

    At some point, I think it was yesterday, I decided to take a break from reading/listening to anything about the debate.  It just seems to me that it makes a lot more sense to wait for it to happen - then let the fun begin!

    Good advice, but I couldn't resist.

    Well ... if that's what it takes to get you to write here a bit more often, then I'm all for it!

    Oh Missy you got this right for sure!

    These idiots on cable are stuck will SAYING SOMETHING! hahahaha

    Well what if Trump's zipper is down? What if Hillary swoons? What if Trump dies.......?

    So, like you say, we shall see.

    It aint over until it's over and....

    If Hillary falls down, metaphorically or otherwise, well....



    I'm sorry, I'm getting really tired of hearing how it's all on Hillary and it's up to her to win or lose this.  It gives Trump a pass he doesn't deserve while making this night impossible for Hillary to win.  How about, since it's okay to let Trump be Trump, we let Hillary be Hillary?  There is nothing wrong with Hillary as she is.  And it's not up to her to figure out which Trump will be up there.  She's ready for all of them.  Or none of them.

    I predict if Trump is on his best behavior tonight the short-sighted will gush and gloat and all will be forgiven.  Because, yes, it's gotten to that point.

    I think it would be powerful to take on the whole "politically correct speech" meme head on.
    The Trump supporters I have met in meat space and on the internet consistently dismiss his extreme remarks as a kind of theater where only he is not wearing a costume.
    I say lean into it: "Donald, you want to be the truthy one. Explain how these things work?"

    The right Hillary showed up. 2 debates to go.

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