For months now people on both sides of the political spectrum have been handwringing about how to beat Donald, or whether he might beat himself. The Republicans will be the first to fall by virtue of the fact that they meet Donald head-on in primary season but make no mistake – the Democrats will have to face him soon enough.
To just about everyone in the media, the circus turned serious contender has been nothing short of a jaw gaping mystery. You mean a total outsider with a loud mouth and ridiculous policy positions hasn’t been laughed out of the race? What about Michelle Bachmann, Todd Akin and Sarah Palin? That’s what’s supposed to happen to these kinds of people!
But lo, Trump has managed to elude the grip of death that has doomed so many before him leaving the media in their collective confusion to wonder about their own relevancy in this new, bizarre world. How does this end? And if I can’t predict the future with any reasonable degree of accuracy on this roller coaster, what good am I to anyone as a pundit?
But there is a simple answer, and that answer is to ignore the 3 Bs (bullying, bloviating and bombast) and forcefully return the conversation to one focused exclusively on policy. Donald can be beaten on policy, but if he’s allowed to run his entire campaign using the 3 Bs, he’ll control the news and the election.
Imagine for a moment a match-up in a general election between President Obama and Donald Trump. How would President Obama handle Trump and his 3 Bs? Obama wouldn’t get caught up in Donald’s web of nonsense. He would stick to the policy discussion, ignore personal attacks, and beat Trump by discussing his positions. The problem we’ve had this election cycle is that Trump has figured out that if he talks about waterboarding, carpet bombing, Losers and Megyn Kelly, he doesn’t have to talk about healthcare, minimum wage, gay marriage, or how he’s really going to handle Putin in the Ukraine, or North Korea, or Iran. Pulling back the curtain is the way to expose Trump to the middle of the road voters who decide every election.
At the end of the day, Trump is a showman who has relied on smoke and mirrors to drown out his competition. But his co-campaigners have also allowed Trump to control the dialog, flailing away with various tactics in their attempts to dodge the steam roller. Cruz tried by killing Trump with kindness – at least at first. But you can’t win playing a willing second fiddle. Bush tried feebly to stand up to the campus bully with predicable results. He was verbally wedgied out of the race. Rubio is finally putting up a stronger fight, but even if it wasn’t too little too late, it wouldn’t work anyway. You can’t out-3B Donald Trump. You simply need to change the rules back to the default. Get campaigns talking about campaign issues, and not Donald’s latest foray into his beloved mine field of taboos.
But Trump has used the Bs to great advantage and obscured from the public his lack of policy sophistication as his Achilles heel.
Recently Donald mentioned that he’s a fan of Planned Parenthood. This is policy kryptonite that not even Donald can overcome with some of his prospective supporters. If Hillary can find enough policy positions that are untenable to his RINO hating base, he’ll prove himself the closet liberal they are all afraid of, and he’ll lose vital support. Policy, and nothing else will sleigh this dragon, but we need to steer the conversation back from the brink of darkness. If Donald continues to be allowed to control the news cycle with the 3 Bs, he’ll control the election.