I was born the year Adlai Stevenson first lost to Eisenhower for President. Eisenhower, like Trump, had never held public office (although it could be argued that his D-Day invasion at least didn’t go bankrupt). Stevenson was a clever, intellectual, and even witty Governor, so he had run a state (something that voters think well of historically in the U.S., better, say, than being in the House or Senate).
Yet Stevenson lost to Ike, lost badly. Ike’s slogan: “I Like Ike.” No rocket science. No “fitness for office”. No “I’m way more qualified than he is.”
Democrats for my entire life seem to have not gotten the message from this: smart doesn’t pay in politics. Quals don’t pay in politics. Experience doesn’t pay in politics.
Likeable pays in politics. “Good guy” (or good gal) pays in politics. “I get where he/she’s coming from” pays in politics.
It looks like this Democratic idiocy is going to play out again this election season (or I guess I’m worried it will; hope it won’t).
Hilary will emphasize her brains, her experience, her fitness for office. She’ll get no more likable than she is now. And guess what? I’m worried she’ll lose.
Trump is a master of the Homeric epithet. “Lyin’ Ted”. “Little Marco.” “Crooked Hillary.” He coins them, and then he works them over and over, until his audience absorbs them. In the era of the sound byte, the byte has to be repeated over and over until it sinks in.
The Clinton campaign needs a Homeric epithet against Trump, one that doesn’t have to do with fitness for office, or intelligence, or capabilities, and one that will sink in. “Nasty Trump”? “Tiny Trump”? (hands, other parts, smallness of personality and vision.)