Think Hillary beating Trump is a lock? Think again. To get it done, Clinton must make big moves against big business

Hillary has the opportunity to make bold proposals that actually address the problems plaguing poorer Americans

Published March 8, 2016 3:45PM (EST)

 Donald Trump and Hillary clinton
Donald Trump and Hillary clinton

How can Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump in the general election?

Many Democrats laugh-off this contest as being a no-brainer. A walk through the park. They think Hillary need not do anything different because Trump is such an ignoramus that the nation could not possibly elect him to the high office of president.

Don’t count on it.

The Republican dustbin is filled with defunct candidates who made the exact same mistake.

Trump has been stampeding through the primary elections, and he consistently ranks highly in national polls.

It doesn’t matter that Trump is a buffoon. Yes, I know, this is extremely hard to believe. But it is undeniably the reality.

It doesn’t matter that Trump has no policies. It doesn’t matter that Trump is shockingly ignorant of basic facts. It doesn’t matter that Trump is racist, sexist, and highly offensive to all sorts of segments of the population. It doesn’t matter that Trump lies. It doesn’t matter that Trump is not faithful to his religion. It doesn’t even matter that Trump is not a conservative, or even a Republican. None of this matters. Trump is still extremely popular across the land.

At first blush, our perception of our very own nation is shaken to the core. Could America possibly consist of this many bigots? Perhaps it is time to make that move to Canada after all.

But upon reflection, this seems not to be the case. Instead, Trump’s supporters are not limited to just the bigots. His supporters extend to people who do not share his reprehensible views, but who are willing to overlook them and vote for him anyway.

Why? What in the world is going on that would cause voters to support a candidate who repudiates their very own views and values?

Suffering. That’s what. Plain and simple.

Income inequality has so ravaged the middle and lower classes that people are desperate for relief. And Trump appears to be a knight in shining armor on a white horse who is galloping to the rescue.

So what is Hillary’s strategy for confronting Trump’s rolling thunder?

Well, one possible strategy would be to abandon all dignity and jump down into the mud to try to duke it out with Trump at his own game. This is the strategy that Marco Rubio recently deployed as evidenced by his tawdry references to such un-presidential matters as Trump peeing in his pants, and Trump’s small hands indicating his lack of male endowment.

But this does not seem like such a great idea because it would be quite a feat to out-Trump Trump. Fortunately, Hillary does not seem to be falling for this.

Instead, Hillary’s strategy seems to be to go in the opposite direction by taking the high road and contrasting herself against Trump by being the more mature and dignified candidate. The adult in the room. This is fine and good. And it will even earn Hillary points for decorum.

Unfortunately, however, it may cost Hillary the election.

Defeating Trump requires more than just a dignified demeanor. Much to our surprise, we now realize that Trump’s horrendous behavior and outlandish positions will not knock him out. Hillary cannot sit back and wait for Trump to self-destruct. We see how that worked out for Jeb Bush and Ben Carson.

Trump no longer seems likely to self-destruct. He is perceived by blue collar voters as a hero who offers the best hope of rescuing the suffering people. They don’t care if he is gruff, profane, racist, sexist, or any of the rest of it. Even Latinos are voting for him despite Trump’s deplorable insults against them. And labor unions are defecting from the Democratic Party in order to vote for Trump.

Why? Because they believe that they will have better job prospects under Trump.

And it is easy to understand why these people are drawn to Trump. All the other candidates, both Republicans and Democrats, seem like indistinguishable, cookie-cutter, plain old boring politicians who offer nothing but meaningless political platitudes. Trump, on the other hand, is a bold and colorful provocateur who is promising to deliver the suffering people out of bondage and into the promised land.

Why in the world would anyone stick with the boring old politicians?

Plus, Trump’s billionaire status carries great weight with the downtrodden. He knows how to make money. He knows how to be the boss. He knows how to achieve success. This is tremendously alluring.

Granted, the guy seems like a raving lunatic, but these other cardboard politicians certainly are not going to deliver any sort of meaningful change that would improve our lives, so we might as well throw down and take a chance on this guy Trump.

Yikes. Hillary’s strategy of just playing it safe by simply portraying herself as the more mature candidate is certainly not going to make any inroads with this crowd.

But all is not lost for Hillary. Trump, in fact, has a fatal weakness.

Trump’s gaping vulnerability is that he has no good ideas for how to actually improve income inequality. None. Goose egg. Zero, zilch, zippo.

Trump’s entire appeal is based upon his bluster and the fact that he is filthy rich. Now, when compared to boring old politicians, this is all he needs. He’s a shoo-in. Sure, why not give this maniac a try?  Nothing to lose.

But if the voters are presented with an alternative candidate who is offering some good ideas that seem like they actually might work, then the bottom instantly falls out from under Trump.

So there is hope for Hillary. But she must step-up her game and offer something above and beyond what she is offering now.

Currently, Hillary is just one among the pack of the cardboard politicians. Her speeches are real snoozers, and she offers no big solutions.

She keeps repeating the campaign line that “there should be no bank too big to fail, and no individual too powerful to jail.” The rhyme is rather annoying, but more importantly, this does absolutely nothing to improve the daily struggles of the middle and lower classes.

Sure, raising the minimum wage is helpful at the bottom, but it’s not going to turn things around.

Equal pay for equal work for women? Wonderful, but it won’t move the needle on income inequality. Paid family leave? Big whoop. More regulations on Wall Street? Ho hum.

To have any hope of defeating Trump, Hillary must offer something more than this. Something real. Something big. And there is plenty of opportunity.

We all know the true source of the problem plaguing our nation — the system of capitalism has spun out of control and is simply no longer working for ordinary people. Capitalism has gone rogue.

Corporations have become giant behemoths spanning the globe dedicated toward maximizing profits for the few at the top by pushing down wages and benefits for the many at the bottom. Globalization enables corporations to easily eliminate high-paying blue collar jobs in America and ship them overseas to exploit cheap labor. And corporations play shell games with their profits both domestically and around the world to dodge taxes and further hollow-out communities.

Everything has become all about maximizing profits and there is no longer any concern for each other or for society overall.

These are the big-ticket problems that are tearing apart our society from within. We all know it. We see it happening all around us.

But no leader has proposed any concrete proposals to address this. Not even Bernie Sanders. Bernie is great at talking about the issue of income inequality and keeping it on the radar screen, bless his soul, but Bernie is not offering any real solutions.

This presents a tremendous opportunity for Hillary. She could really dazzle everyone by offering a proposal or two to shift power away from the concentration in corporations in order to protect the middle and lower classes, and effectively end capitalism as we know it.

Just imagine if Hillary did something valiant here like proposing a moratorium on corporate inversions, or a moratorium on relocating jobs to cheap foreign jurisdictions. Or if she proposed a tax on corporate layoffs that would create a national fund to assist laid-off workers. Or a big fat tax on corporate profits that are being withheld overseas, and another on corporations that play the tax-dodging shell game.

Whatever it is, Hillary has the opportunity right now to make big and bold proposals that actually address the real problems that are plaguing the working people of this nation. Suddenly, voters would have a compelling reason to vote for Hillary.

If, however, Hillary fails to offer ambitious proposals to end capitalism as we know it, well, then, the struggling masses may well just take their chances with Trump.

By Cody Cain

Cody Cain is the author of the new book, "Mend or Spend: How to Force Rich People to Solve Economic Inequality," available here. Follow Cody on Twitter @codycainland.


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Capitalism Donald Trump Elections 2016 Hillary Clinton Marco Rubio