The Issues Hillary Clinton Cannot Fight the U.S. Election On

I had to add a category for “Politics” for this one!

Yes, I’m getting caught up in the whole U.S. election thing, despite not really caring about it, but in general everyone always spends a lot of time talking about it and with the superstar appeal we have this time of Trump vs Clinton it seems that that just means that people are talking about it even more. So I was watching some of the coverage and thought that Clinton cannot — or, at least, really doesn’t want to — allow some issues to become the defining issues of the election.

First, she can’t push for the defining issue to be the economy. Whether Trump really is as strong a businessman as he claims, the impression of him is that he is pretty successful at making money, and thus as someone who knows how business works and how to make businesses work. Clinton doesn’t have that impression. If people think the economy is improving, they aren’t likely to think that putting Trump in office will kill that recovery, and if people are worried about the economy, then they aren’t likely to pick Clinton who a) was a big part of the last eight years of Obama where things aren’t going that well and b) isn’t seen as being as strong in business as Trump. Thus, in my opinion, Clinton wants to play up that things are going fine but not try to use this as a bludgeon against Trump, especially since it leaves him the easy rebuttal of “It could be better” … because it could always be better.

She also doesn’t want to play up the idea that she’s going to bring “real change”, as she said at one point in her nomination speech. First, that was Obama’s line, and so voters are likely to be more cynical about that this time, especially since he didn’t change all that much (well, at least the impression is that he didn’t. Second, Clinton is clearly a part of the old guard, as she was Bill’s First Lady and an important part of the Obama administration. If she really could drive and wanted real change, she had her chances already. Third, Trump is a complete outsider and so if we want a way to do different things, Trump pretty much has that wrapped up; whatever he does, it’s not likely to be politics as usual. And finally, one of her biggest weapons against Trump is that he’s too risky; he doesn’t know what he’s doing and so will screw things up. But the main reason we think that is that he is likely to push for “real change”, and we don’t know if that “real change” will work or not. Clinton positioning herself as someone predictable and reliable against the maverick Trump is probably one of her best bets, but if she starts pushing too hard for change voters might start seeing her as “risky” too … and that advantage will be lost.

Finally, unless she steps up her game she doesn’t want to election to turn on immigration and refugees. The reason is that the reason that Trump’s solutions get him attention is not because of inherent racism or xenophobia in my opinion, but is instead because he sees that as a problem and has presented a solution to the problems. Sure, the solutions are kinda dumb and probably not workable, but at least he has a solution, and one that addresses the underlying issue: letting people into the country who shouldn’t be there. All the others have offered is an admonishment against prejudicial thinking and platitudes about how good immigration has been to the country. Even if true, most of that beneficial immigration was, in fact, legal, and Trump’s not really advocating against legal immigration, where the country takes in people that it needs after giving them a thorough vetting. He wants to deport those who came here illegally, stop people from Mexico from entering illegally, and not allow people from countries that have known groups that might want to commit terrorism in America from getting in. This should be something that the liberals and the Democrats also want. So unless Clinton can provide a more reasonable solution, she ought not want to make the election be about that.

It will be interesting to see on what battleground the election is fought … and who wins in the end.

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