Take Hillary Clinton, for example. This week went great for her, as she swept Super Tuesday voting and picked up more delegates than she needs. Bernie, bless his heart, trails behind, and although his momentum is generally on an upward trend it doesn’t seem to be approaching a level that can compete with Hillary. So unless there’s a crazy explosion of scandal, we’re looking at a Hillary versus Trump race. Insane.
There couldn’t possibly be a bigger difference between those two candidates. Hillary is an extraordinary woman: she worked on the Watergate case, she’s been a crusader for children and schools her whole life, she negotiated a Middle East ceasefire, and she’s won a GRAMMY.
Trump has no such accomplishments, but he does have something Hillary might lack: watchability. It’s hard to look away from him, whether you’re staring in horror or with approval. This week during the Republican debate, he proved that he has a knack for capturing an audience, whether it wants to be captured or not.
It was possibly the most combative and undignified debate in history. Trump attacked with rivals with insults and demeaning nicknames, and in turn the other candidates joined with the moderators in pushing back. There were repeated and prolonged moments of unintelligible shouting, and Trump bragged about his dick size in just the opening ten minutes.
So Trump proved this week that he’s great at lowering the standards of a conversation. Great.
Hillary, on the other hand, has decades of experience with public school reform, and of overhauling State Department policies. She defended LGBT rights before the UN, and promoted equality for women around the world.
It’s a little horrifying that this amazing woman will be going head-to-head against the monster that is Trump. And for now, she’s taking the high road — once again demonstrating that she is the better person.
“We don’t need to make America great again,” she told one rally. “America has never stopped being great. … Instead of building walls, we need to be tearing down barriers.”
And in another speech, she said, “I believe what we need in America today is more love and kindness.”
There’s no contest which sentiment is more presidential. Comparing dick sizes versus appealing to our better selves? It’s obvious which candidate belongs in the White House. But running for president isn’t quite the same as being president. Running involves pandering and crowd-pleasing and getting attention, and Trump’s a master of all of those things.
Hillary’s best shot at overcoming Trump probably to make him seem weak. It’s his strength that’s so appealing to his supporters, after all. He’s like the bully villain of an ’80s teen comedy. If she can make herself into the heroine and show that he’s just a noisy coward, maybe his followers will lose interest.
That’s going to be a long shot. After all, her expertise is in governance, not in tearing people down. But it might be the one skill she’ll need to cultivate between now and November.
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