Commentary super tuesday: teflon trump against the establishment

Now it’s getting dangerous: Trump is clearly ahead. Hillary Clinton must score with content if the country is not to fall into political frenzy.

Wobbly figures of Clinton and Trump in the White House Gift Shop. Photo: dpa

Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump: this will almost certainly be the duel the U.S. can look forward to. After their victories on Super Tuesday – in which the competition was beaten off – the nomination is hardly to be taken away from both of them. One is as expected as the other has long been inconceivable.

Trump’s success shows that he is able to appeal to voters across the board and in all parts of the country. Clinton and the Democrats must not repeat the Republicans’ mistake and underestimate Trump. For too long, too many have shrugged off the New Yorker and his insane theses. Clinton knows from the experience of the primary against Bernie Sanders how easily an underestimated candidate can become a danger.

Trump’s advantage, which he will also play against Clinton, is his anti-establishment demeanor. Businessman instead of party uncle, who tells it like it is and doesn’t hide behind phrases: that’s how Trump presents himself, and his fans run after him without thinking twice. Yet no one is as easy to pick apart as Trump.

His program is full of holes, his positions fluctuate. But in an increasingly shrill pre-election campaign, hardly anyone listens long enough for a fact check. Those disillusioned with Washington and frustrated with life would rather cheer Trump’s wall plans. And applaud when the candidates throw mud at each other.

Clinton must not play this game. She can’t compete with the political novelty value of "Trump." No one is more part of Washington’s inventory than the Clintons. She has felt that since her candidacy. The ex-Secretary of State will no longer score points with surprise. She has to go on the substance.

Her election program is detailed. Against Sanders – who forces her to do so especially on explicitly left-wing issues – Clinton shows knowledge down to the last detail. When she forces Trump into a potential one-on-one situation of a campaign over content, she is most likely to be able to point out his weaknesses. The negative campaigns won’t be absent on either side anyway. But often enough, they have already bounced off Teflon Trump.

The U.S. is facing a crucial election. Not only which party will ultimately rule the White House. But whether the country will give in to the political frenzy of Donald Trump.

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