The more that Clinton takes Trump’s bait around the issue of his denigration of women, the more powerfully this flaw in her own campaign will show itself.By "around the issue of his denigration of women," Allen means Trump's criticism of Hillary for playing the "woman card." That's not denigration of women, whatever... Allen's point is Hillary needs to do something about her man problem.
Allen has 3 ideas:
First, she should let her surrogates do the work of responding to issues raised by Trump that would pull her off her core message. She should let her surrogates do the work of replacing his labels with her own. Personally, she should meet his insults with a cheery silence, or a lighthearted deflectionary joke. She needs to become Teflon — not to engage.So... just continue with those knowing smiles and big horse laughs? That's a basic strategy, but it can get annoying, especially if we feel there's an issue of substance that she's avoiding. Allen is assuming that Trump's statements will be misogynistic insults, but that's underestimating the opponent.
Second, each week, Clinton needs a message powerful enough to rival the rhetorical force of Trump’s own messages. How many of us can say what Ted Cruz’s or John Kasich’s messages have been in the past eight weeks? But we can all say what Trump’s have been. “The Republican primary process is rigged.” “The person who gets the most votes should get the nomination,” and so on. Clinton needs weekly messages that meet the moment and drive the conversation.All right, that's the second level strategy. The first level was no substance. The second level is: Substance! Okay, if you've got it. Your substance has to beat his substance.
Third, and most important, Clinton needs to force Trump to fight on the ground he has claimed as his own. No one has yet forced him to do that. She needs to challenge him on the terrain he is seeking to defend. Rather than simply fighting for women and children, Clinton needs to fight Trump for the votes of men. His slogan is, “Make America Great Again.” Hers should be, “Make America Fair Again.”Allen lapses into a rhapsody about fairness, replete with the saccharine lyrics of the 5th verse of "America, the Beautiful" ("Till souls wax fair as earth and air....").
Can we be great without being fair? No we cannot.
Do women want fairness? Yes. Do men want fairness? Yes. Do African American, Latino and Muslim Americans want fairness? Yes. Do white Americans want fairness? Yes. Do religious Americans want fairness? Yes. Do gay, lesbian and transgender Americans want fairness? Yes.
I had to laugh. "Make America Fair Again" is not going to beat "Make America Great Again." It's a terrible response for Hillary. It may please some people who already support her (though that "again" points to the When was America fair? detour). But it's not going to win over the men (or women) who are drawn to Trump. They're going to hear "fair" to mean: You've had enough, time for other people to get their share.
My advice to Hillary Clinton would be: Stop listening to advice from people who consider Donald Trump patently loathsome. You must understand what is happening from the perspective of people who do not hear misogyny and xenophobia, but a positive message of America and greatness.
IN THE COMMENTS: Nurse Rooke said:
Presumably in the "America the Beautiful" lyrics, "souls wax fair" means "souls grow more beautiful" not more just.Yes. You'd think the song title would clue that pretty strongly. I considered calling the line racist, with "fair" understood as in "fair-haired." The use of the word "soul" made me think in those terms. I thought of the William Blake poem, "The Little Black Boy" with the line: "And I am black, but O! my soul is white...."