The Corner

Politics & Policy

Two Cheers for Trump v. Clinton

I think it’s smart of Trump to counter-attack against Hillary the way he is. As someone who doesn’t want Trump to get the nomination, I worry that it may be too smart in that it will encourage some Trump-skeptics to rally to his side.

The Clintons seem to think getting into a fight with Trump is good for them. I’m sure it helps with fundraising and makes her seem even more like the inevitable nominee (which is probably one reason Sanders is trying to pick a fight with Trump as well).

But there seems to be this assumption that Trump’s insults and attacks are only effective against Republicans. I don’t think that’s true. Or at least I’ve seen no evidence for it.

Reminding people of Bill Clinton’s treatment of women, and not just Monica Lewinsky, is not good for the Clinton campaign. Having Hillary Clinton tagged as a hypocrite for crying sexism about everything and anything while (1) defending her husband’s predations and (2) laughing about getting a plea bargain for a child rapist seems entirely fair game. Trump has a gift for getting unpopular things into the national conversation. Having reporters asking Bill Clinton whether his sexual escapades are “fair game” is preferable to having them gush over his retail political skills, which is their default approach to covering Bill.

Normally, these sorts of attacks would be left for surrogates, given the sordidness of the whole thing. But Trump has no reluctance to be his own mudslinging surrogate, and in this case, that’s fine by me.

That said, I do have to laugh at all his counter-attacking on the “sexism” charge. If you recall, when he and I first started going after each other on Twitter, Trump insisted that National Review fire me because of my sexism. I said he was “relentlessly tweeting like a 14-year old girl.” He responded:

It’s just another example of how Trump really isn’t anti-PC, he’s just anti-PC when political correctness is inconvenient to him. He’s perfectly happy to shout sexism if he thinks that will work for him — just like Hillary.

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