While campaigning for his wife in New Hampshire, former president Clinton never mentioned Trump by name, but he didn’t have to. With one simple slice, Clinton went after Trump’s credibility as a presidential candidate.
Video of the entire Clinton speech:
Clinton said, “Every presidential election, people run. And believe it or not, it’s kind of scary this year, but believe it or not, most everybody actually tries to do what they say they’re gonna do when they’re running. They are telling you what they believe. And, so you gotta take ’em seriously, but you also have to take seriously whether they have any chance of doing what they say they’re gonna do or any record of doing it.”
The strategy is simple and beautiful. Instead of mocking Donald Trump, Bill Clinton is warning America to take him seriously because the Republican frontrunner is saying what he really believes. The warning that Trump will try to do everything that he is campaigning on such as building a wall on the US southern border and banning Muslims from entering the country highlights Trump’s extremism.
The second part of Bill Clinton’s statement that voters also have to examine whether or not Trump has any chance of doing what he wants to do was a logical deconstruction of Trump’s credibility as a candidate. What Clinton was suggesting is that Donald Trump should be taken seriously, but he has no chance of accomplishing the things that he claims he wants to do if he gets elected.
Donald Trump is a pipe dream that Republican voters are buying into. Clinton was correct. Trump would try to do what he is running on if he got elected, but reality suggests that Trump would not be able to accomplish anything that he is running on.
After the rally, Clinton was asked by ABC News directly about Trump:
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 4, 2016
Clinton said, “Republicans have to decide who they want to nominate. I’m trying to tell the Democrats in the country that I think Hillary would be the best president. I think there’s always a temptation to take the election away from the people, so I’m just going to give it to them.”
In other words, Clinton isn’t going to directly give Trump the attention that he craves, but he is also not going interfere with self-destruction that is unfolding within the Republican primary.
Former president Clinton’s comments were the first hints of how the Clinton campaign will handle Trump if he is the Republican nominee. They see where Trump’s weakness is. Behind the bluster is an empty candidate with no realistic chance of being successful.
Look for the Clinton team to subtly hammer Trump as non-reality based extremist, and the best part about it is that they may never have to give Trump the ego boost of hearing his own name.