The broad outlines of Hillary Clinton’s strategy to defeat her Republican opponent are becoming clear in the fundraising emails her campaign blasts out daily.
In a nutshell, as Clinton’s emails push hot buttons, paint various situations as dire and — without fail — solicit credit card donations, her campaign is also signaling its belief that she will face Donald Trump in the general election.
The plan, clearly, is to turn Trump’s confrontational style into a liability by making Hillary the candidate of “love and kindness” which “can trump hatred and bigotry.”
Clinton’s most recent email, dated Friday, March 4, is titled “I’m disappointed.”
“It’s not okay to demonize immigrant families and Muslim Americans,” the digital missive, signed “Hillary,” says. “It’s not okay to call Mexican-Americans ‘criminals.’ This country belongs to everyone, not just people who look, worship, or believe any single way.”
“I think we could all stand to have a little more love and kindness in our lives — and in this campaign, for that matter,” Clinton writes.
“Let’s show the Republicans that they don’t control our future, and we won’t stand for them bad-mouthing Americans,” the last paragraph reads, in bold. “Chip in $1 right now, and let’s make history together.”
A Tuesday, March 1 email — also thoughtfully signed “Hillary,” explains that her supporters are mostly just regular people and not, say, filthy rich real estate tycoons.
“They’re just people who share our belief that love and kindness can trump hatred and bigotry,” the Tuesday email states.
The use of the verb “trump” cannot be a coincidence. And thus, five consecutive words read: “trump hatred and bigotry.”
In a later paragraph, Hillary Clinton throws down some high-level rhetorical jujitsu.
President Hillary Clinton’s “first task won’t be to make America great again — America is already great,” she says. “Instead, we’ll set out to make America whole again.”
“Let’s get to work,” the last paragraph — again in bold — encourages. “Chip in $1 right now.”
A Thursday, March 3 email signed by Christina Reynolds, a Hillary for America spokeswoman, addresses Trump directly.
“I hate how he insults women, people of color, and entire countries when it suits him,” Reynolds writes. “I hate his total lack of understanding of complex issues that impact Americans. I hate that he said he ‘didn’t know enough’ about the KKK to disavow an endorsement from its former leader — WHAT DOES HE NEED TO KNOW? IT’S THE KKK!”
“This nomination is in sight,” the email ends, in bold. “Chip in $1 right now to help Hillary win, so she can take Trump down.” (RELATED: ‘Dumpster Fire’: Hillary Clinton Campaign Mocks Republican Debate)
Bill Clinton also excelled in the jujitsu of warping themes created by opponents in ways which benefit the Clintons and hurt the opponents during his presidency.
One of the best examples of this rhetorical jujitsu occurred back in August 1996. During his GOP convention speech, Republican Bob presidential nominee Dole promised to become America’s “bridge” to a nostalgic past “of tranquility, faith and confidence in action.”
Just two weeks after Dole’s speech, then-President Bill Clinton shrewdly hijacked the Kansas war hero’s “bridge” theme.
“We do not need to build a bridge to the past,” Clinton told Democrats at their 1996 convention. “We need to build a bridge to the future.”
“So tonight, let us resolve to build that bridge to the 21st century, to meet our challenges and protect our values,” Clinton declared, “to help our parents raise their children,” and “to make our streets safer,” and so forth, and so on.
Clinton then waltzed to re-election with 379 (out of 538) electoral votes.