Politics & Policy

Donald Trump Is Hillary Clinton’s Best Hope

(Mark Makela/Getty)

Trump supporters opposed to bailouts ought to think twice before casting their vote. They’re about to bail out the Democrats.

Barack Obama has presided over the veritable collapse of the institutional Democratic party. Start with the statistics: Republicans have their largest majority in the House of Representatives since 1931, and they have commanding control of the Senate. At the state level, Republicans control 68 of 98 partisan state legislative chambers, and 31 governor’s mansions. Twenty-four states boast a GOP trifecta, where both legislative chambers and the governor are Republicans. That is largely thanks to President Obama, whose health-care takeover, rammed through Congress, gave rise to the Tea Party, and whose constitutional end runs (now that he can’t ram things through Congress) solidified the Tea Party’s gains in subsequent elections.

But the agenda and tactics that prompted a leftward shift in his own party threaten Democrats this election season. Hillary Clinton was supposed to waltz to her nomination, every lane having been cleared for her. Instead, she’s likely to arrive at the Democratic convention black and blue, thanks to Bernie Sanders — a curmudgeonly socialist who managed to tie Clinton in Iowa and beat her in New Hampshire. There’s reason to believe that, if Sanders partisans can’t vote against Hillary, they’ll likely stay home. And in a national contest, low turnout helps Republicans.

Donald Trump would ensure that no Democrat had to run on policy or platform.

This is all on top of Hillary’s baked-in problems. She’s unlikeable. She’s a lousy campaigner. The stench of her ambition is detectable miles downwind. Combining various polls, the Huffington Post finds that 54 percent of voters view her unfavorably (only 40 percent view her favorably), and Quinnipiac found in February that seven in ten voters believe her dishonest and untrustworthy. No wonder: She’s the subject of three federal investigations, and it’s not impossible that the FBI will recommend an indictment to the Justice Department sometime before November. Meanwhile, RealClearPolitics’ polling averages show that, in head-to-head matchups, Marco Rubio leads Hillary Clinton by five points, and Ted Cruz leads her by a point and a half.

The Republican party is poised to take the presidency and to hold both houses of Congress — and Republican voters are about to squander that opportunity on Donald J. Trump.

Trump supporters love polls, so perhaps they should note that polls show Trump with a higher unfavorable rating (58 percent) and lower favorable rating (37 percent) than Clinton. Neither Ted Cruz nor Marco Rubio has such lopsided numbers.

#share#But, more important, it does not take a team of consultants to envision the general election if Trump were the Republican nominee. He would be a stubby-fingered gift to the Democratic party. They would call him anti-Hispanic, and they would put in attack ads his comments about Mexican “killers” and “rapists,” his threatening to deport American-born citizens of Hispanic origin, his shouting down a protester by asking if she’s “from Mexico,” his accusing a judge of opposing him because she’s Hispanic. They would call him racist, and they would cite his refusal to denounce David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan. They would call him “Islamophobic” and cite his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country. They would call him sexist and cite his own books.

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In short, Donald Trump would ensure that no Democrat had to run on policy or platform. Every Democrat — Hillary Clinton included — would simply run against Donald Trump.

It is, by the way, already happening. On Monday, Ann Kirkpatrick, who is running to unseat John McCain in Arizona, released an ad that ties her Republican opponent to Trump by declaring that “Donald Trump is dangerous for America”:


The ad quotes Trump touting his ability to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose voters, his using a vulgar term for female genitalia to describe Ted Cruz, and his ostensibly referring to Megyn Kelly’s menstrual cycle.

Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, has already begun shaping the Democrats’ narrative, telling CNBC’s John Harwood: Trump is “just being more candid about [the] agenda of discrimination House Republicans have been advancing for years,” she said. Trump as nominee would promise much more difficult races for Kelly Ayotte, Rob Portman, Ron Johnson, and many others.

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And how would Donald Trump respond to his opponent’s attacks? By pointing out the fraud at the Clinton Foundation, to which he donated? By denouncing Hillary’s support for Planned Parenthood, an organization he recently praised? By condemning Bill’s infidelities, when he is a serial adulterer himself? Trump is a liar of Clintonian proportions — but not Clintonian skill. Hillary’s flexible relationship to the truth would be ignored while a media keen to demolish Donald Trump and the party he represented pressed him mercilessly. And voters who might not be thrilled about Hillary but who despised the prospect of a “President Trump” would turn out en masse to vote against him.

#related#In a word, Donald Trump is the best chance of salvaging Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes.

In the spirit of humility, this is speculation (albeit, well-grounded speculation), and Trump’s electoral path has never been predictable. Just months ago, the idea that conservative voters would back an abortion-loving, single-payer-supporting, conspiracy-promoting strongman was unthinkable. Maybe Americans would, in fact, prefer fascism to leftism.

But perhaps the best course is to avoid giving them the option.

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