“A vote for Trump is a vote for Clinton,” and other things we should hear tonight

Whereas the upcoming Democratic debates are a useless exercise at this point – basically just free TV ads for the Clinton campaign – the Republican debates have the potential to finally get interesting.  But that will only happen if someone, preferably multiple candidates, can meaningfully skewer Donald Trump.   I realize some candidates are afraid of him; I realize some think it strategically wise to avoid attacking him, in the hopes of siphoning off some of his voters (good luck with that); and I realize that some simply are not capable of launching the kind of attack that might matter.  Ultimately, a blow here and a blow there will matter not at all.  Trump’s supporters are firmly entrenched, and until the Republican field narrows, simple math favors Trump.

So I am skeptical that these minor attacks will make an electoral difference.  Therefore, one might imagine, the others really have nothing to lose.  And the attacker has to be ready for the Trump comeback – which will inevitably be lacking in substance and will instead be something ad hominem, probably about the attacker’s standing in the polls, or his or her looks, or where they went to school.  Here is just a sampling of things it would be interesting to hear on Tuesday night in Sin City, from the mouth of some intelligent and courageous candidate (and this is a kinder version):

“If you hate Big Government, why would you support Donald Trump?  He says he’s different from the politician class, and yet he is the candidate of Big Government.  Take a look at his proposals: the one common thread is that they tend to involve a federal government – and usually just a President Trump – of virtually unlimited powers to address every perceived problem.  His view of government, and of his role as president, is utterly inconsistent with our Constitution, which establishes a government of limited and enumerated powers.  Ironically, it was a Clinton who told us in the 1990s that ‘the era of Big Government is over.’  Obviously, he didn’t see Donald Trump coming.”

“Donald Trump loves to talk about the polls.  But he only mentions the ones that are good for him.  He doesn’t tell you about the ones that are not good for him.  And almost every poll in the country has him losing to Hillary Clinton.  Sometimes, losing badly.  There are people on this stage who fare much better against Hillary Clinton than Mr. Trump does.  The more he talks, the better things get for the Clinton campaign.  Every time he comes out with a new proposal, Hillary Clinton starts adding new lines to her Inauguration speech for January 20, 2017.  Every time he does an interview, she starts putting together her re-election team for 2020.  And it will only get worse for him, not better.  It is therefore becoming increasingly clear: a vote for Donald Trump is a vote for Hillary Clinton.”

“Am I the only one here who can do math?”

“Donald Trump does not want to be President.  He wants to be King.  We decided a long time ago that we do not have kings in this country, and the Constitution does not permit them.  Support for Donald Trump is support for a kingship.  Or worse.  Do not be fooled by his claim that he is a new kind of leader who will make life better for you than the politicians have.  We have seen his kind before – and they have never made the world a better or safer place.”

“Why are you still here?”

“If you despise the idea of Hillary Clinton becoming president, you must vote for someone other than Donald Trump.  I hate to make it sound so simple, but it is that simple.”

“Is that chandelier going to fall on us?”

“For those of you who still insist on voting for Trump, you are giving the Democrats everything they want.  Enjoy the next four years with Hillary and Bill.  A vote for Trump is a vote for Clinton.  The end.”




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