The left-leaning Politico is taking aim at Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s strategy in going after her Republican rival.
Not only is her “Donald Trump is crazy” ad campaign wrong, but it could prove to be the former secretary of state’s undoing, the news outlet said.
The strategy — to get voters to vote against the candidate’s opponent — worked in 1964 for President Lyndon Johnson portrayed Sen. Barry Goldwater as an extremist a strategy known as “frontlash.”
“We must make him ridiculous and a little scary: trigger-happy, a bomb thrower, a radical,” presidential adviser Jack Valenti told LBJ. “Not the nation’s leader, [he] will sell TVA, cancel Social Security, abolish the government, stir trouble in NATO, be the herald of WWIII.”
Although the “frontlash” strategy was successful in the short run — Johnson easily defeated Goldwater in a landslide — in the long run it was a failure.
By employing his “Goldwater is crazy” campaign, Johnson was able to bring Republican-leaning independents and even mainstream conservatives into the fold, he lost those very people when it came to getting legislation passed in Congress.
Few, if any, of those independents and conservatives Johnson wooed over to his side converted to the Democratic Party, and so he failed to build a coalition of the electorate for his “Great Society.”
Voters rebelled against Johnson’s handling of the Vietnam War and his civil rights legislation. As a result, many Democratic lawmakers lost their House and Senate seats in the 1966 midterm election — Just as Barack Obama got a “shellacking” in in 2010.
While Clinton’s “Trump is crazy” frontlash campaign may propel her to the White House, it won’t get her the support she needs to build a coalition like the one Trump is building based on voter backlash. Politico noted:
But the Republican candidate has tapped into a powerful reserve of emerging backlash—backlash against immigration and the racial pluralism that results from it; backlash against free trade and the wreckage it has visited on certain parts of the country; backlash against changing cultural mores; and backlash against an interventionist mindset that, to one degree or another, presidents from both parties have shared over the past quarter-century. These anxieties aren’t going away if Hillary Clinton sweeps to victory in November.
In short, although Clinton may have her cake, it’s doubtful that she’ll be able to eat it.
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