At this point, Donald Trump is living the lyrics of a certain Nine Inch Nails song. That is, nothing can stop him now, and he sort of doesn’t care anymore. Not that he fretted over his controversial ways in the first place. Even his numerous Panama Papers appearances haven’t affected his appeal, which is likely why the Republican Party gave in to the inevitable. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus spent the weekend admitting how “people just don’t care” about Trump’s behavior because he’s “rewritten the playbook.” All of this is true. No matter how much outrage Trump generates, his devoted fanbase rises to greater heights than the fabled Wall.
However, Trump still needs to get his tush in general election mode, which means (sorry, Bernie Sanders fans) that he needs to conquer Hillary Clinton. A New York Times report suggests that Trump doesn’t plan on changing tactics too much. He obliterated his rivals with a constant stream of insults — “Little Marco” and “Lyin’ Ted” among them — and managed to distract everyone from his own shortcomings as a candidate. In this way, he hopes to drive down Clinton’s poll numbers while bamboozling the voting public, and debates are about to become explosive if this report is true. The New York Times calls this Trump’s “psychological warfare” plan:
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, Libya, and for the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens there.
From there, Trump hopes to dig deeper into Hillary’s history, including her late 1970s cattle futures contracts and her ongoing email scandal. Overall, he reportedly plans to make everyone forget all about his treatment of women because — naturally — bringing in Bill’s adulterous ways should be distracting enough on that issue. And unlike Trump’s Republican rivals, Hillary has several decades of political dirt to mine for scandalous purposes.
The Times also spoke to Trump in a telephone interview, in which he forecast “more strategic” attacks that aren’t simply based upon insults. He aims to question her judgment in the wake of Bill’s exposed affairs:
“Just getting nasty with Hillary won’t work. 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.”
Whether this tactic will succeed, Trump surely has his work cut out for him. Hillary Clinton has kept her head high through decades of attacks, and Trump may favor nasty tactics, but she will weather the storm. He won’t break her, but can he possibly sway swing voters? He also has to convince part of the Republican base who has yet to accept him, so this attack plan should contain more nuance than his turn-off tactics so far. However, most folks underestimated Trump from the very beginning, so his general election performance will surely be unpredictable.
(Via the New York Times)