Painful Truth: Harper has lesson for Clinton

You might think that Trump is certain to go down to crushing defeat this November in the U.S. presidential election.

Maybe so. That’s what the polls suggest. It’s what common sense would suggest, when you run a spray-tanned racist baboon as your leader.

But I still worry. Anything could happen. A terrorist attack, a sudden economic downturn, a more serious Clinton scandal than the private email server thing.

So Hillary Clinton needs to run like she’s 10 points behind. She needs to hammer Trump (at least on the days when he’s not busily shooting himself in the foot).

And she needs to take tips from one of Canada’s canniest living politicians – Stephen Harper.

Seriously. Harper never had a high level of personal popularity. Unlike Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney, or Jean Chretien, who each had their own flavour of charisma, Harper was just kind of… there. He was clearly a smart guy, but he wasn’t going to whip up crowds into a frenzy.

So he went on the attack.

Stéphane Dion was the Liberal leader in 2008. He was hit by political drive-bys that painted him as a ditherer, as someone incapable of making tough decisions. “Not a leader” was the tagline.

Michael Ignatieff was “just visiting.” The Tories beat him up as an outsider who hadn’t lived in Canada in 30 years.

They tried something similar with Justin Trudeau, painting him as young, naive, and not ready to govern.

It obviously didn’t work too well. But two out of three ain’t bad, in politics.

Clinton’s people have been showing a glimmer of this strategy in recent weeks, dubbing Trump “temperamentally unfit” to be president.

It’s not bad, but doesn’t have the punch of “not a leader” or “just visiting.”

The most difficult thing with Trump is picking a message that tries to cover several of his multiple issues. Do you attack his failed businesses, his ignorance of policy, or his abusive personal style?

The most famous example of framing in U.S. political history didn’t even use the candidate’s name. Lyndon Johnson’s infamous “Daisy” ad juxtaposed a small child with a nuclear blast. “The stakes are too high for you to stay at home,” it ended, implying that Barry Goldwater was a dangerous nut.

Actually, maybe Clinton should just run those ads unchanged.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Geocaching attracted adventure seekers to new Langley City event

Dozens of teams came out to discover a mix of art and nature during a new treasure hunt.

Hobby cyclist hits Langley streets and wineries for MS

Tim Baillie has been mounting up for 14 years now, riding for the cause.

VIDEO: 10-year-old gives veteran lacrosse announcer a little help

Broadcast buddies Jake Elliot and Keagan Winterlik shared play-by-play duties at a Thunders game.

LETTER: Froese’s views on homelessness ‘degrading’

A Langley Advance reader calls statements from the mayor into question.

VIDEO: Langley’s hospital auxiliary pinches pennies to kick in $1.5 million for ER expansion

The auxiliary’s contribution is the largest single donation by the volunteer group.

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

SilverStar officially opens Gondola

The brand-new gondola is now offering scenic rides for visitors on SilverStar Mountain Resort.

VIDEO: Man climbs crane in Abbotsford

Police, fire called to deal with climber last night

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Most Read