5 Ways Trump Can Win the Debates and Close the Gap with Clinton

5 Ways Trump Can Win the Debates and Close the Gap with Clinton

© Rick Wilking / Reuters

Donald Trump’s best chance shake up the race between now and Election Day is a masterful performance in the presidential debates. Hillary, according to The New York Times, is prepping like the solid, professional pol she is. Not so Donald Trump, who will be inclined to wing it for the first debate on September 26. That will work only if his attacks on Clinton are pointed and accurate. And, if he keeps his cool. Polls consistently show that Hillary is not likable and not trustworthy. The objective of the debates for Trump is to make sure more people end up sharing that opinion.

Hillary Clinton is riding high, notwithstanding a steady drip of damaging revelations that would have destroyed most candidates by now. The mainstream media has successfully rebuffed most attacks on the Democratic hopeful, who recently defended her foundation links in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper by claiming that while there’s lots of smoke, no one has found the “fire.”

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That’s like Democratic candidate for president in 1987 Gary Hart who taunted reporters to back up rumors of infidelity by catching him in the act. They did, and his career was over. Hillary has similarly challenged the press to find the “fire” or prove that countries and companies donated tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation in return for particular favors from the Secretary of State. But one wonders, even if some enterprising reporter takes up the challenge and scores a direct hit, would it matter?

Probably not. Most people are tuning out the endless email revelations. The savage attacks on Donald Trump have worked their magic, and it seems nothing can penetrate those sturdy pants suits. Hillary and her media flock have convinced people that Trump is unstable and dangerous, even though he is 70 years old, has never been arrested, never been charged with domestic violence, and never been accused by employees or acquaintances of serious misdeeds or inappropriate behavior.  To the contrary, Trump has successfully run a business and raised an exceptional group of kids.

By contrast, there are numerous stories of an enraged Hillary flinging books (and even a lamp) at husband Bill in retaliation for his affairs, engaging in profanity-strewn tirades against her staff, behaving atrociously to her Secret Service detail, lying with impunity and otherwise misbehaving. No, it’s not Trump’s temperament we should be worried about.

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Is there anything that can dent Hillary’s armor? Barring disasters or a health emergency, there are only two ways the race could shift. The first would be if, after 270 days without facing the media, Hillary were to hold a press conference and then stumble. That’s not likely.  Just the other day she declined to answer or even acknowledge questions hurled at her from frustrated reporters, to whom she teasingly offered chocolates instead of information. Given the rising number of lies she has spun about her emails and the family foundation, she must fear more “short-circuiting.”

The debates are another story. Hillary will have facts and figures at her disposal; Trump will not. And yet…. Trump may get under Hillary’s skin. Here are five ways he could topple the ice queen and make the race competitive again.

1)     When Hillary touts her work on behalf of girls and women and slams her rival as anti-female, Trump should list women he is concerned about: Juanita Broderick, Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, and Dolly Kyle Browning. These women, dubbed “Bimbos” by the Clinton camp, have been brave enough to come forward and charge Bill Clinton with rape or sexual assault. Each one was intimidated and silenced by a so-called “War Room” orchestrated by Hillary Clinton. Bill Clinton’s history is fair game in this election since Hillary has indicated he would be a key player in her White House. And, because Hillary has asserted that when women allege sexual assault, they "have the right to be believed." 

2)     When Hillary derides Trump’s ignorance of world affairs, he can point out that at least his view of foreign countries and leaders will be informed by the interests of the United States, and not by their generosity to his family foundation. The Crown Prince of Bahrain, for instance, might win red carpet treatment from a Trump White House not because he donated millions to Clinton Foundation projects, but rather because he swore off the violent repression of dissent common to that wealthy nation, and began to embrace freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

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3)     When Hillary slams Trump’s plan for reducing taxes, in her words “by the billionaire, for the Billionaires,” he can remind viewers that she has promised to put Bill in charge of rebooting the economy – a worthy goal given that we are mired in one percent growth and stagnant incomes. He should give Bill credit for signing and implementing NAFTA, a key legislative accomplishment during Clinton’s presidency, and ask Hillary whether she envisions Mr. Clinton continuing to pursue similar trade deals. He should also congratulate him on implementing welfare reform and the crime bill of 1994. The Left hates all three of these signature initiatives; by running on Bill’s record, Hillary owns them.

4)     Hillary will go after Trump for not releasing his tax returns. He should agree to do so if and when Hillary releases her medical file.

5)     Hillary will accuse Trump of embellishing his business career, and exaggerating his fortune. Trump can accuse Hillary of lying about coming under sniper fire in Bosnia in 1996, lying about her grandparents being immigrants, about having been named after Sir Edmund Hillary (who didn’t climb Mt. Everest until Clinton was six years old), about trying to enlist in the Marines in 1975, about the video that was the supposed cause of the Benghazi attacks, about everything to do with her unapproved private email server….. and so much more.

If Trump can pull off this attack on Clinton, Inc. with humor and absent his trademark insults, his chances will skyrocket. That should make the second debate that much easier; Hillary playing defense is not a pretty picture.