The first rule of politics is: “When your opponent is self-destructing, get out of the way.” By that measure, Hillary Clinton is handling the current Trumplosian exactly right. If she wants to be president — the goal she’s worked and schemed and maneuvered for going on three decades — all she has to do is stay out of Donald Trump’s path for three months.
What has Hillary done in the last week to instigate the widening polling lead over the Manhattan real-estate mogul? Essentially nothing. She’s deployed a few surrogates; she’s played it safe; she’s avoided the press; she’s flooded the swing states with an ad questioning Trump’s character and fitness for office. She’s hid — and by staying out of the news she’s allowed her lackluster convention speech, the DNC hacking story, the Bernie Bros’ unease, and her private e-mail scandal to fade into the background. By the time the Republicans try to go back on the attack, Hillary will simply declare it all “old news.”
At this point, from a political-strategy perspective, why would Hillary even try to make any news? Moreover, why should she agree to debate Trump? (Debating Trump would give him at least some opening to reset the race, and, by complaining about the debate schedule, Trump has already cracked the door to giving Hillary a gift-wrapped excuse to pull out.)
Check out the trajectory of the race according to the RealClearPolitics average.
Fox News’s latest poll has Hillary up ten points, 49-39. CNN’s latest has Trump down nine points, 52-43. The swing-state polls are, if anything, worse for Trump: Franklin & Marshall has Trump down eleven in Pennsylvania; the Detroit News has Hillary up nine in Michigan; Suffolk University has Hillary up six in Florida; WBUR has Trump down 17 points in New Hampshire.
My antipathy for Hillary Clinton is well documented: I think she’s a terrible candidate and would be a worse president. Ideologically, I agree with her on nothing. If she were to be elected — God help us — I believe it would be my duty to oppose her on almost all policy fronts.
Nobody likes Hillary Clinton. She knows this, her campaign knows this, her advisers know this. But luckily for her — Charlie Cooke pointed out yesterday how the Clintons have a long history of being smiled upon by Lady Luck — all she has to do is stand back, hide, and watch Donald Trump set himself on fire. And then the White House is hers. God help us, indeed.