I don’t know you, probably never will. I’ve met you briefly a couple times at events, and you signed a few of your books for me, so thanks for that. I was also a huge fan of “The Apprentice,” all iterations. And you seem to have raised your kids right. The fact all of them speak so highly of you and work with you is a testament to your having done something right.
That said, I’m not a fan of your candidacy. I really want to see Hillary lose, and she’s a beatable candidate. But you’re blowing this big time.
I know a couple of people around you and know people who know the others. Most of them are excellent and capable. But they’re either doing you a major disservice, or you are.
In politics it’s important to have people around you who will test you. They either open your eyes and change your opinions or help solidify them by forcing you to defend them from challenge.
But it does no good to have those people if you ignore them. If you do that, you might as well talk only to yourself.
Whatever the case, there are some things you need to be made aware of and they may be things they don’t want to tell you.
First, you’ve had a really bad week. And it’s your fault.
Your debate performance was fine, but fine isn’t good enough.
You didn’t do much damage, but you can’t afford just to not do damage to yourself. You already have every vote you’re going to get from your celebrity and by simply not being Hillary Clinton. Now you’ve got to get people who don’t care you’re a celebrity and might vote for her. You did nothing this week to advance that cause.
For what it’s worth, you were right about the planned and planted “Fat Miss Universe” story Clinton and the media concocted. You did save the title for a woman in violation of her contract. But you get nothing for saving her job when you could have fired her or for being accurate about the story when the topic is a woman’s weight.
In this fight, you’re punching way down. In doing so you’re elevating a person with a troubled past that included allegations of attempted murder and threatening the life of a judge to a level she’d never otherwise attain even with Clinton’s help.
Again, no votes were gained by engaging in this and none would have been lost by refusing to do so.
You should’ve just said, “Hillary is getting desperate. She has to swim in the gutter because the alternative would be to talk about solutions to our country’s problems, and she doesn’t have any. She wants to continue on the path we’re on now, a path where the unemployment rate drops because people have lost hope and given up, not because of job creation. A path were the regulatory and tax environments chase manufacturing jobs south of the border. So, Mrs. Clinton and Miss Machado can concoct any phony story they want to try to smear me and help themselves, but I’m going to stay focused on helping the American people.”
It’s too late in this case, but if I know the Clintons, there will be more. The names may change, but the message will remain the same.
I know you’re tempted, and even encouraged by some, to bring up Bill Clinton’s past sleaze and Hillary’s smears of his victims, both willing and unwilling. This is dangerous territory.
It’s fair game, no doubt, and low-hanging fruit. But if you don’t think Team Hillary has a killer one-liner response prepared, you have been horribly misinformed.
Hillary baited you to open that can of worms in the first debate. It’s the 800-pound gorilla in the room, and there’s no way they don’t have something cooked up for it.
Since it is fair game and known by nearly everyone, how you bring it up is what matters. Do it wrong, and this potent weapon will backfire. So here’s how you do it:
Wait for the opportune moment, maybe even a moment where she’s trying to bait you again, only you don’t take it.
She wants you to slam her and her husband for their treatment of women. Don’t do it. They have to be separate. If you lump them together she will play the sweet, betrayed woman card, and you’ll look like a jerk mocking a hurt woman. We all know she’s not, but no matter what kind of case you lay out, all anyone will remember is the “hurt” in her voice when she replies.
This has to be done carefully in a debate. I would suggest something along the lines of:
“Mrs. Clinton wants to paint me as a misogynist, as someone who hates women. My wife, my amazing daughters, my beloved late mother, and the incredible women who run my companies would disagree. I know the media doesn’t want to report this, but I entrust women to run all levels of my companies. I respect them and trust them implicitly. And I know this audience is waiting for me to criticize Mrs. Clinton for the long history of affairs and allegations of despicable acts of sexual abuse by her husband against women. But I’m not going to. She’s not responsible for them, he is. She is responsible for her actions in enabling him by fighting to cover them up, by smearing those women, by silencing them. That’s well-documented, and she has to live with it. I don’t have to bring it up. If I had been a perfect man in my own life, then maybe I would. But I haven’t, as you all know. None of us have been. So I’m not going to attack Hillary for the actions of Bill, or even her own actions to enable and protect him. Because that won’t create any jobs for suffering Americans. It won’t save one life on the streets of Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit or Charlotte. It won’t untangle kids stuck in the web of a failing education system, nor will it protect this country from another terrorist attack. It might get a laugh. It might make headlines. But it won’t help the United States, and that’s what I’m here to do. That’s why I’m running for president. So I’m sorry to disappoint all of you, but even though those questions should get asked, I will not ask them tonight. I’m here to ask for your vote so I can go to work for all of you to bring back our economy, safety and security, to bring back our pride, our hope. To make American great again.”
Or something like that.
That tactic would have no response. You mentioned everything you would have if you’d attacked, but you did so in a way that her comeback would seem forced, defensive and out of place. Even if the media didn’t follow up on the questions you said they should ask, people will ask. Those unfamiliar with the Clintons’ past will become aware of it.
By saying what you’re not going to say, rather than simply saying it, and pivoting to the big picture and a hopeful vision, any canned response she’s rehearsed would appear small. You would be doing more by doing less.
Because no matter how sleazy she’s been in the past to Bill’s victims, she’ll still be viewed as a scorned woman. The same information, packaged in a way that neutralizes their response and puts them on the defensive, could be a game changer.
My suggestions, or any you’re getting from your paid advisors, are only as good as your execution and willingness to take them. Ultimately it’s up to you.
Not being her is only going to get you so many votes. Getting into the gutter will get you only so many votes. It’s time to show people something else. If you can show a little restraint in the one area where everyone is expecting you to take off the gloves, you might find some fertile ground for votes.
Of course, if you keep going off on late night Twitter rants advising people to “check out sex tape,” no advice, taken or ignored, will make any difference.