Clinton Needs a Crash Course
By PETER FUNT
May 05, 2016
It must be beyond sobering to the Clinton forces that Donald Trump has gone from can't-be-nominated to could-be-elected within weeks. He trails Clinton by just 3 percentage points in the latest Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll. And it's not even June.
The most radical thing Clinton should do to get her campaign back on track is compel her husband to step back — way back. Bill Clinton is a plus among voters who will vote for Hillary no matter what. But, among those who have pushed her "unfavorable" rating off the chart, Bill is a negative.
The Clintons should announce publicly that Bill will have no role in Hillary's administration. In fact, say he'll divide his time, living in Chappaqua and visiting the White House on weekends.
Next, Hillary Clinton should stop declaring herself the nominee, even if math and logic indicate so. It's part of the "entitlement" scenario that has many voters angry. Wait until the convention confirms it in July.
She should name Elizabeth Warren as her running mate. It's a somewhat flawed choice in governance but necessary to win over Bernie Sanders' supporters.
Then, stop attacking Trump. If Trump's incredible rise has shown anything it's that attacks against him don't work. Clinton should leave the Trump bashing to Warren and other surrogates, as needed.
Clinton must also take Bernie Sanders and his supporters seriously. Don't just pay him lip service; start actually praising him. The guy can't win the nomination, right, so why not boldly state in interviews that "Bernie Sanders is a great American from whom we can all learn a lot."
Give Sanders a prime slot at the convention and incorporate as many of his ideas as possible in the Democrats' platform.
And then, work with a speaking coach and fashion stylist immediately. Yelling from the podium doesn't work for everyone — Sanders, yes; Clinton, no. So be more conversational and let the microphone do the work.
Start dressing like a business person. It's not sexist to say that appearance counts; it's a fact. The dowdy outfit Clinton wore the other day on "Meet the Press" set an all-time low. Clinton should let her ideas stand out, not her wardrobe.
Finally, get a new slogan, and not necessarily "We Are Stronger Together," which has been kicked around. Something like, "America Matters." Short, sweet and focused entirely on the voters.
Months ago it was thought that Hillary Clinton was the Democrat who could most easily defeat Trump. Now, it seems she might actually be the one he could most easily beat. Unless she changes her act. Fast.
Peter Funt is a writer and speaker. His book, "Cautiously Optimistic," is available at Amazon.com and CandidCamera.com.
This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.