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But It Ain’t About Trump

September 21, 2016

“Trump” is an image, an SOS call from millions of Americans who are in distress because of the stupid economy, stupid, that has been put in place by Rs and Ds from Reagan through Bill Clinton to Bush 2 and even Obama (whatever his initial intentions). A strong economy, producing for all, would even blunt fear of demographic change.

Trump supporters are crying out for their story to be heard and for somebody powerful to talk with them.

Hillary must convince them that she hears their call, that she cares, and that she has what it takes to help them. She must assure them that with their help, she will put in place an American economy that gives them a chance to make themselves whole.

That’s going to be harder to do, now that they have been told that she considers all of them “deplorable;” but she must find a way.

Re. Trump himself, people keep writing about him as if, hey, it’s an American election campaign, it’s just an unusual one, the Trump strategy can be reasoned out, etc. The essential fact, though, is that Trump isn’t just idiosyncratic, nor is he an idiot; he’s a crazy person; he’s a sociopath (at best), a mad dog racist, and an egomaniac with ambition to world power and glamour, who has succeeded in getting the presidential nomination of a party that is opposed to democracy. The rest is tactics.

T’s main tactic is what he calls, “unpredictable, always.” (I’m thinking that’s his the way that he has found for coping with his constant inner imbalance, inability to hold focus, and lack of impulse control. It has worked for him, along with his constant lying.)

Hillary must transcend strategy and tactics, and her tendency to be overly self-controlled. Many voters now think of her as a privileged, opportunistic oligarch, and a power hungry deal-maker (who can not, however, trump Trump, who is the best there is, he “wrote the book”).

By being a person who takes electoral risks to do what is right, and who will sacrifice self-interest for the national good, she could become a national image of what it takes to rise above both adversity and self-interest, in order to restore what is best in us (what we like to call the “exceptionalism” of our values).

She needs to be a whole person, not a politician running for president. She needs to get down on the ground, and that ground should be southern Ohio and central Pennsylvania. Spend a week or more there. Take Tim Kaine along. Look people in the eye, talk with them in front of the local media, outdoors, the way John Kennedy did in West Virginia, and say, “I see you. I’m here for you.” She needs to, at the least, start building the famous Clintonian warm relationship with them (Kennedy, however, had started long before the crucial primary).

Be a mensch.

I understand that that is a tough thing to ask of her. If she allows herself to be vulnerable, if she lowers her guard—removes her mask of steal, she will come under unrelenting, vicious attack, as she has already fought off for decades.

No woman has been without a “credibility problem” since Eve before she talked with that snake.

Furthermore, asking for the help of financially struggling white folks might risk the trust of her supporters such as Dem oligarchs and African-Americans; but it would not alienate women, and it would attract progressives.

She must become a counter-Trump image, not just a slogan, of a “whole” America, a flesh and blood America that takes care of its own, including rust-belt working class white folks, and including people of color, immigrants, native Americans, anybody who needs her help, our help.

I would like to see her let down her guard and show her people-strength in the face of adversity. I believe she can help people transcend their resentment. Be bigger than Trump. Forget him. Who needs him, when we’ve got each other, we’ve got ourselves?

Appeal to people’s better natures, as we did in the Civil Rights movement ( because those better natures are there). Even quote the great national documents, as JFK, LBJ, and MLK did.

Then she would become an image of that bigger story of America, and a conversation about it. “Her story” would build rapidly from there.

I know, this is a variation on my WV scheme, but we need this kind of candidate and this kind of campaign. There is no reason why a business tycoon and fraud should be able to capture the votes of working class Americans of any complexion or ancestry.

This is about them. All of them. Capture their imaginations! Show us a better imagination of ourselves.

[Related, immediately preceding page.]

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