Donald Trump tried to pull some attention off the DNC last night by doing an “Ask Me Anything” Q&A on the news networking website Reddit. The twelve bland responses he gave certainly disappointed those who were hoping for some Trump-style improvisation and controversy, but he was smart to take the opportunity to attack Hillary Clinton for rarely taking questions from, well, anyone. Trump wrote:
“Crooked Hillary Clinton will not do press conferences because she cannot explain her illegally deleted 33,000 emails, or her disaster in Libya, or her role pushing TPP (which she would 100% approve if she got the chance), or her support for a 550% increase in Syrian refugees, etc.”
Early on in the primaries, Clinton established a wide chasm between her campaign and the media, not only by refusing to stage press conferences but by going so far as to cordon off curious reporters with a rope. To his credit, Donald Trump has taken the opposite approach, answering questions and speaking extemporaneously at every opportunity. Despite the headaches that this has often created for his campaign, it has helped him cultivate the image of a “man of the people.”
Against a candidate with a better track record of openness, Trump’s vapid answers on Reddit (“Honestly I think NASA is wonderful!”) would hurt him. In contrast with Clinton’s closed-off campaign, however, it has proven a considerable opportunity. Populist politics depend less on issues and more on attitude, image, and demeanor, and it is in these areas that Trump has sustained an advantage. By maintaining a distance between herself and the people who would question her, Hillary has only helped Trump along. One can only wonder how long it will be until she figures out the problem.