In 2012, Republicans virtually declawed themselves from being able to attack President Obama’s most vulnerable spot: Obamacare. Had Newt Gingrich or even Rick Santorum won the nomination, the Republicans would have been able to use the skepticism felt by many Independents to turn the tide in the election. Instead, they nominated the one man with no real credibility in attacking Obamacare. Romneycare’s architect was a poor choice.
The political spectrum today runs across many more issues than in 2012 when it comes to Independents. National security is a big factor today, but we don’t know if that will fade based upon actions against the Islamic State and a lack of further terrorist attacks before the election. Immigration will always be a hot topic. Then, there’s the economy and despite the right knowing for certain that shrinking government, enabling free trade, and encouraging small- and medium-sized businesses is the right path to fix our money woes, there’s still an appealing (albeit false) case made by the left that says we need to promote income equality. As obtuse as it is to conservatives, there are Independents who will hear the trumpet calls against big banks and big business as a reason to vote Democrat.
Thankfully, Hillary Clinton uttered four words that open the conversation to declaw her if she’s nominated in the same way Mitt Romney was declawed in 2012.
Those four words by themselves aren’t damning, but it at least casts enough reasonable doubt on her motives and history to allow the Republican nominee to hone in on her vast ties to Wall Street, her crony capitalist model as a Senator and First Lady, and her deceptive personal finance practices that will ring hollow. She’s a rich person who allegedly wants to help the poor but who has been unwilling to lead this fight by example.
Bernie Sanders doesn’t concern me as a candidate, but I must admit that he represents a wildcard factor that should make us hope for Clinton to be the nominee. With her, we know of her corruption and we can play on that. With Sanders, the best ammunition we have is that he’s a socialist and in 2016 America, I’m not sure if that message won’t ring positively for many, particularly the ignorant idealist youth and the poor.
With Clinton, she’s opened up a door to her biggest vulnerability. She will have a hard time painting the Republican nominee as the left’s favorite target, the “rich old white guy who eats poor people.” She’ll be going up against one of two Cuban Americans from humble beginnings. If Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio are nominated, her own party’s election narrative will be turned against her and we’ll hear the words, “I don’t know, that’s what they offered,” as often as we heard, “Read my lips: no new taxes” back in 1992.
Benghazi has been made into an ineffective attack thanks to Kevin McCarthy’s boneheaded move that gave her the “right-wing conspiracy” narrative. Turning Bill Clinton into the real instigator of the war on women hasn’t really damaged her as much as expected. The email scandal is potentially juicy, but voters will grow fatigued if it’s still echoed when the Justice Department announces they won’t indict. It’s in her connections to big banks and Wall Street that the Republican nominee will be able to make his most effective attacks.