May 5, 2016

A Harvard political theorist gives Hillary Clinton some ludicrous advice about how not to walk into Donald Trump's "trap."

This is in WaPo, by Danielle Allen. The "trap" is that Hillary has a problem with men.
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.”

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.
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....").

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...."

66 comments:

Nurse Rooke said...

Presumably in the "America the Beautiful" lyrics, "souls wax fair" means "souls grow more beautiful" not more just.

Dan Hossley said...

Hillary needs to do something about her man problem. That's a laugh. If she had any self respect, she would have divorced her man problem years ago.

Xmas said...

Hillary is going to try to hit the Republicans that won't support Trump at all (as you can see that in her first anti-Trump ad). I don't think this will work, because the #NeverTrump people find Hillary just as slimy.

I'm not sure how Hillary is going to fight a guy she's let into her inner circle at one point. Trump has actually participated in the payola scam of donating money to the Clinton Foundation to get favors from Secretary of State Clinton. I actually expect Trump to come out an say it. Literally blurt out, "Yeah, I needed some guys from Ireland to come help build my building. So I donated to the Clinton Foundation and their visa applications were approved. That's how business works in this country. That's what I want to change."

Sebastian said...

"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 other words, stop being yourself, stop being a Clinton, stop being a proggy Dem. Be someone else. Which is actually good advice. If I were her, I'd follow it.

mccullough said...

Trumps slogan is make America great again. It's a great campaign slogan because it's positive and negative at the same time. The advice to play off someone else's campaign message is silly. It also takes a big dig at Obama. Also, what is fair about getting paid what 5 kindergarten teachers make collectively in a year to speak to Goldman Sachs? Make American Fair is basically Bernie's slogan. It works because his opponent is someone who enjoys the rigged game for herself and preaches about inequality.

Limited blogger said...

Are we gonna see 5 months of this? Trump should only be so lucky.

madAsHell said...

Welcome to the When-Was-America Faire!!

mccullough said...

Using surrogates against a direct attack from Trump is useless. Trump will replace the term surrogate with puppets and She'll have to respond. No one can fight Trump except Hillary. Effective attacks and rebuttals can only happen between candidates. Puppets are worthless

traditionalguy said...

MSNBC assembled a panel of Ridicule Pros testing out brands for Trump last night.

The best the could come up with was Lying Trump. They had no shame in stealing another comedian's material.

But Donald has innoculated himself against the usual ones used by the Dems: Dumb, Fascist, Racist, Nuclear War Starter, and Hateful.

I am reminded of Bobby Knight's line that Trump is the best prepared man who has ever run for President. Knight was right.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"Fair: pleasing to the eye or mind especially because of fresh, charming, or flawless quality."

Nothing racist there.

Brando said...

The best advice for Hillary would be to go off the grid for the rest of the campaign. People like her more when they don't see or hear her.

What she's trying to do is repeat Obama's strategy, adding more white women in place of black voters, but essentially going for the same coalition.

Limited blogger said...

Americans don't want to be told how to feel about someone. They want the facts and figures and they will arrive at their own conclusion.

The MSM/Democrat model is not designed to cope with the Donald. Can they change in time? Nope.

Hagar said...

Any legislation with the word "fair" in it is in fact intended to provide some group with a distinctly un-fair advantage.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I gotta say, too, that if Bill's wife is going to make "fairness" the cornerstone of her campaign it's going to play as whining, 100%.
I joke a lot about feminists demanding special treatment and then calling it equality (mostly because it's damn near all they do), and the call for "fairness" is easily cast as the same thing.
Is it fair that some people get hundreds of thousands of dollars from GS to give a lil' speech (the contents of which are still secret)? Is it fair to allow millions of poor, illiterate 3rd world children to illegally enter the country and take scarce resources (money for education and public services) away from innocent American poor children? Is it fair to give people who broke the law to come here and have committed fraud and other crimes while here to leapfrog over legal immigrants who've spent time and money to follow the rules and do things right? Etc. That kind of attack writes itself.

More to the point it's silly to say a feminist Democrat arguing for fairness will have great appeal to the men Trump's been winning with. I'd bet moderate men will hear calls for fairness as demands that they be made to pay more for women, and I'd bet white moderate men will hear calls for fairness as demands that they be made to pay more for women and minorities. How is that a winner for the Hilldozer?

MadisonMan said...

The problem with 'fair' is -- as Scott Adams would point out -- it has another meaning beyond equality. Fair weather is simply okay weather, not great weather.

Fair weather friends desert you pretty quickly. Make America Fair? Sheesh.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Allen is assuming that Trump's statements will be misogynistic insults, but that's underestimating the opponent.

Perhaps she is assuming that any and all criticism of Hillary is misogynistic, by definition? A lot of her supporters seem to act as if that was the case.

I had to laugh. "Make America Fair Again" is not going to beat "Make America Great Again." It's a terrible response for Hillary.

Yeah, a lot of Trump's support comes from people who feel that American society isn't fair.

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.

That is excellent advise. Good thing that Hillary will never take it. Anyone with the ability to do that is not going to be included in the inner-circle.


rehajm said...

Clinton needs to fight Trump for the votes of men. His slogan is, “Make America Great Again.” Hers should be, “Make America Fair Again.”

Will she have any men's slogans for men?

Owen said...

"It's not fair" is inherently whiny. It also conjures up the too-small pie and asks for a forced redistribution, instead of making listeners think about the big new pie that they can help create and enjoy.

This is the best they can do?

Bruce Hayden said...

The problem with focusing on "fairness" is that it is, by its very nature, redistributive. Taking resources from those who earned them, and are politically weak, and giving them to those who are politically connected. Taking away from coal miners in Appalachia, and giving them to inner city Blacks, or even some of the billionaires backing her. What is fair? Fair is whatever the left defines it to be, at the present moment. Yes, socialism is attractive to a lot of the younger voters (esp. those facing huge school loan debt from acquiring worthless degrees), but they are already in her camp, and if they aren't, are in Bernie Sanders' camp. I think that middle America, that she needs to reach, will be much more susceptible to the message that "fairness" here is code speak for redistribution of their wealth and income to friends of Hillary.

Interesting though that this guy is talking about Hillary (as usual) having her surrogates be the ones to throw the dirt, while she takes the high road. This is just a blog entry or two after the one on Trump making clear that he will treat what her surrogates say as if it came from her, and attack accordingly. Someone isn't keeping up here.

Rick said...

Make America Fair Again" is not going to beat "Make America Great Again."

No kidding. The reaction is "who enforces fair and on what basis?", which immediately recalls to mind that her idea of "fair" isn't what any reasonable person believes.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

The way Clinton beats Trump is by promising more free stuff to likely voters who are both desperate and gullible.

Big Mike said...

Hillary is going say and do stupid things because she is Hillary Clinton and she doesn't understand ordinary people well enough to grasp that she is saying or doing something stupid.

Like putting your official Department of State Emails on a poorly secured server that anyone can hack (and almost certainly has).

Fernandinande said...

"Fair" has a buncha meanings.

Of pleasing appearance, especially because of a pure or fresh quality; comely.

Who could argue with an anti-littering campaign?

a. Light in color, especially blond: fair hair.
b. Of light complexion: fair skin.


Billary definitely opposes that.

Having or exhibiting a disposition that is free of favoritism or bias; impartial:

Billary definitely opposes that.

Moderately good; acceptable or satisfactory:

There we go.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Owen said...
"It's not fair" is inherently whiny.


Yes, correct, and much more succinct than I was able to put it.
Whiny is bad on its own and its very bad when trying to project an image as a tough no nonsense woman, I'd think.

Fernandinande said...

FAIR Act: "Federal Activities Inventory Reform" act of 1998.

"To provide a process for identifying the functions of the Federal Government that are not inherently governmental functions, and for other purposes."

Billary definitely opposes that.

"Make American Moderately Good!" Love it.

Owen said...

Hoodlum Doodlum: "...very bad when trying to project an image as a tough no nonsense woman, I'd think." Well, fairness doesn't just happen, you know. We'll need a strong woman to enforce it!

I cannot erase the visions of orange Kevlar pant suits.

boycat said...

Shrillary can run but she cannot hide.

Owen said...

Possible bumper sticker or lawn sign: "It Takes A Tough Woman To Make A Fair America."

There will be lines around the block for that, I think.

tim maguire said...

Today is the second day in a row that I read something that reminds me of Neil DeGrasse Tyson's response to software hacking. He said the solution is to make unhackable software.

The solution to Trump's dominating the meme war is to adopt better memes. "Wow!" thought Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, et al, "Why didn't I think of that?"

As for "fair," a real person hears "fair" and thinks, "the communist wants more free stuff."

Dude1394 said...

There is a reason journalists go to journalism school

tim in vermont said...

Is this the same guy who advised Bagdad Bob?

tim in vermont said...

We will find out how tough she is when not confronting a 12 years old rape victim.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Affair in every pot!

Gabriel said...

@Madison Man:fair weather

The phrase originally meant "good weather", not "less than good but not bad" weather, that's a modern usage of "fair". Thus "fair weather" friends are friends only when things are going well, they abandon you when things stop going well. The same sense as Thomas Paine's "summer soldier and sunshine patriot".

Gabriel said...

@Ann: I thought of the William Blake poem, "The Little Black Boy" with the line: "And I am black, but O! my soul is white...

This made me think of this, from 1951:

Some children see Him lily white,
The baby Jesus born this night.
Some children see Him lily white,
With tresses soft and fair.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
The Lord of heav'n to earth come down.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
With dark and heavy hair.

Some children see Him almond-eyed,
This Savior whom we kneel beside.
Some children see Him almond-eyed,
With skin of yellow hue.
Some children see Him dark as they,
Sweet Mary's Son to whom we pray.
Some children see him dark as they,
And, ah! they love Him, too!

The children in each different place
Will see the baby Jesus' face
Like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace,
And filled with holy light.
O lay aside each earthly thing
And with thy heart as offering,
Come worship now the infant King.
'Tis love that's born tonight!

Owen said...

Gabriel: thanks for the lyrics. Maybe a little more of that ecumenism would help us all, but I freely admit that it's some kind of Western Privilege mindset that makes me say so.

Wilbur said...

I thought of Conrad's "Heart of Darkness".

eric said...

Someone said Trump is so clever he has planted people deep within Hillary's cadre of supporters and hangers on. Maybe it was here at Althouse website?

I didn't buy it. But today I heard WaPo had four articles on Trump today, all negative. I think three were opinions and one was a supposed news story.

If this is from a Hillary supporter, well, maybe they were right. Maybe these people really are working for Trump.

Make America Fair Again?

If I were Trump, I'd pay Hillary to make that her slogan. That's terrible!

Luke Lea said...

Slightly off topic, but I'm interested in how Trump might counter charges of racism commonly leveled against him and attract a significant number of African American voters. If he is smart, and I think he is, he will go after the African American vote in two ways: first, by promising more and better policing in high-crime, inner-city areas (more cops on the beat, weeding out the bad apples,etc); and second by emphasizing his plans to bring factories back from overseas, including special tax incentives (which he has already proposed) to get them located in areas accessible to these areas of high black unemployment. He might do inner-city townhall style events focusing on the hard-working law-abiding majorities in these areas, whom the journalist Heather MacDonald reports care about better policing and job opportunities more than anything else.

As for a slogan: Trump change, not chump change

Bob Boyd said...

Hillary 2016 - "Because 5,000 crazy cat ladies can't all be wrong."

n.n said...

Human rights and pro-native policies. The Democrat party has a problem, and class diversity, selective exclusion, female chauvinism, and a pro-choice religion will not save them. Also, disarming the adults... Well, first they came for the babies.

wildswan said...

If this is where the Dems are now, the Donald has a chance. These people sound like owners of Pekinese working out a strategy for taking on a Doberman.

Paco Wové said...

"Mommy will make you boys share your toys."

wildswan said...

Mommy, Mommy, Donald's being sooo meean to me. Mommy, he's not FAIR. Mommeee

retail lawyer said...

The Left and the children are wedded to the idea that America has never been fair, so the "again" part would be self-defeating. "Fair" is a confusing term in politics because it means different things to different people. Fair by what criteria? As ye sow, so shall ye reap. Or hey, that guy has more stuff than me and that's not fair.

Howard said...

Trump will turn every Hillary counterpunch to his advantage. One of the failures of all his political opponents so far is underestimating his Chutzpah. The Gloria Steinem humiliation wish is a perfect example. Trump is incapable of humiliation no matter what defeat or blow is landed.

Howard said...

Playing fair is why we get screwed on all the trade deals.

n.n said...

Fair? To everyone a beachfront property in Hawaii, and a beachfront property in Hawaii to everyone. Also, a separation of Church and State. The pro-choice religion is barbarically selective, notoriously exclusive, and notably unaccountable. First, they excised Posterity from the constitution with religious/moral instruction from gods in the twilight zone, then they disarmed...

wildswan said...

Use surrogates:
If those boys are being too rough just stay in the house, little girl.

Make great speeches like this one:
"[Clinton spoke] making specific recommendations for improving [Europe's] Coast Guard and information systems. It's easier for the U.S. to get flight manifests from E.U. countries than for E.U. nations to get them from each other, she said"

Think up a great slogan that crushes Trump:









jimbino said...

Do singles, the childfree and atheists/humanists want fairness? Yes, but they are disadvantaged in our tax-code or regularly insulted on all our coins and bills.

Owen said...

Wildswan: "..."[Clinton spoke] making specific recommendations for improving [Europe's] Coast Guard and information systems. It's easier for the U.S. to get flight manifests from E.U. countries than for E.U. nations to get them from each other, she said"…"

Is this quote for real? It is an obvious invitation to Trump to respond by asking "While we worry about being attacked by terrorists who come here from Europe, Mrs. Clinton is devoting her attention to helping Europeans keep track of each OTHER? What happened to her priorities? She wants to 'Make America Fair Again?' How about 'Make America SAFE Again', Mrs. Clinton?"

tim in vermont said...

Go ahead and grow old without the help of other people's children.

Char Char Binks said...

Make America Dark Again

hombre said...

Althouse: "...but it can get annoying, especially if we feel there's an issue of substance that she's avoiding."

Issues of substance like emails, Benghazi, $500,000 speeches to Wall St donors, Bill's sexual harrassment/assault of women, etc? She has avoided and/or bullshitted the public on these issues and she's still polling 50% or better against Trump.

Hillary's genitalia, ethnic, toady, freeloader, etc., army does not see her character, honesty, competence and good judgment as "issues of substance."

n.n said...

grow old without the help of other people's children

There is an [illegal, refugee] alien for that.

I suppose a dodo dynasty is sufficient for people who live in the moment. Perhaps tolerable, but unsustainable. We should normalize that, too!

Misinforminimalism said...

"Make America Fair Again" implies it was fair at some point in its past, a proposition that is 100% incompatible with Clinton's essential schtick. And so-called Progressivism's, as well.

Kovacs said...

"'It's not fair' is inherently whiny."

"Unfair!," "Not fair!," etc., are pretty standard complaints for Trump on his Twitter feed. He calls any media coverage he perceives as negative to be "unfair." He thinks Fox News is unfair to him! He is a chronic whiner. He will whine about many more things being unfair to him than Clinton will over the course of the general campaign, no doubt. Another Trump contradiction (Trumpadiction?) that his supporters inexplicably don't have a problem with.

Kyzernick said...

Hillary is gonna need all the advice she can get.

johns said...

Alas, fair Hillary, you've really put your foot in it now.

Nichevo said...

Did Hillary! just say,

"Make America White Again?"

It's not too clear, but it should be looked into. Is that repudiating President Obama? Or her husband, whi Toni Morrison said was the first black President?

Or does she just wanna get rid of blacks and browns?

Sad.

Nichevo said...

Somewhere, a dog is whistling...

Kyzernick said...

@ Luke Lea, 12:11

Trump is probably going to win a big portion of the black vote. Most black men tend to admire machismo and a ZFG (zero fucks given) attitude. That, plus his opposition to illegal immigrants (who many blacks are beginning to realize are their demographic rival for jobs), is going to get plenty of ballots cast in his favor. He won't win the majority of the black vote, but it should be enough to reduce the importance of many of the solid-blue urban enclaves in the electoral math.

William said...

As Tom Sowell said, "fair" is a word that is used most frequently by small children and liberals.

Rhythm and Balls said...

It's a terrible response for Hillary.

Terrible responses seem to be the only responses she's capable of. Why, she basically flat-out admitted that she sucks as a politician and has no skill at it.

Jupiter said...

"I considered calling the line racist, with "fair" understood as in "fair-haired."

In this context, fair is simply a synonym for lovely. As in, faint heart ne'er won fair maiden.

But let's not let that get in the way of calling something racist.

Dass Raciss! Dass Raciss!

mikee said...

Hillary has the votes, real and fraudulent, to beat any number of Trump votes. Why should she lift a finger between now and election day? The only way for Hillary to lose is to be in jail, or to announce her total vote count before Donald's (remember Wisdonsin!).