The Corner

Politics & Policy

Annoying Talking Point Department: Go Fish!

Just a quick point: Over the last couple days I’ve constantly heard that Hillary Clinton is on defense and Trump is on offense. She’s defending states that should be in her column already while he’s trying to snatch longstanding blue states from her coalition. That’s all true.

What annoys me is the way people say it, as if this is some blazing insight into Trump’s strategy or Hillary’s weaknesses or both. Here’s the thing. Trump has always needed to win at least one more blue state. In other words, right now, he needs more electoral votes if he’s going to win. What other strategy is there other than to try and take one of the states out of Hillary’s column and move it to his? Hillary entered the homestretch with enough of states in her bag to win the election. So she’s defending that bag, like a lady fighting a purse snatcher. Trump, meanwhile, needs something in that bag — and that bag is the only place to look.

Sure, it’s interesting that Michigan may be in play and that New Hampshire is turning around for Trump. That’s all fine to point out and discuss. I just get weary of hearing people talk as if what Trump is doing is bold or outlandish or bizarre and/or that what Hillary is doing is weak or lazy or risky. 

Sometimes, it’s like listening to sports announcers call a two-person game of “Go Fish” where there’s no “pool” of cards to pull from. ”Trump’s going for Hillary’s tens! Can you believe it!?”

“Hold on Cotton, I think Clinton wants to hold onto those Jacks!”

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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