Letters & Opinion, Politics

It’s Clinton vs. Trump


THE U.S. presidential campaign has now reached fever pitch. The political duel between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton probably represents the most lopsided race in the modern era. How will these two archrivals attack each other and will the Clinton-Trump duel offer a choice between common sense and crude demagogy? But above all, what subjects are likely to dominate the presidential debates?

Hillary Clinton now appears to be adjusting her entire campaign strategy to the likely nomination of Donald Trump by the Republican Party. In fact, since a few weeks ago when it became quite evident that the real estate billionaire would clinch the nomination, the Clinton team started to call on its supporters to donate money to her campaign “in order to prevent Trump from becoming President.”

Even so, one thing is certain: The Clinton-Trump duel will be one of the crudest and dirtiest election campaigns in the history of the United States. On the one hand is Donald Trump, the iconoclastic and ruthless populist whose viciousness has rarely been seen in contemporary politics, and who seemed to have embraced the Machiavellian/Trotsky philosophy that “the end justifies the means”.

At the other end of the spectrum is the “hard as iron” candidate Hillary Clinton who, together with her husband Bill Clinton, understands the tricks and machinations of political campaigning – and who would do anything to fulfil her dream of keeping alive the Clinton dynasty and of becoming America’s first female president.

However, Ms Clinton will need to argue strategically so as to shift focus away from some of her long-term weaknesses which Bernie Sanders has exposed, by attacking Trump frontally and consistently. The case against Trump should be prosecuted on three levels: His position on women, his isolationist policies and his unpredictability. Further, it’s almost certain that the Clinton team will dig deep into the billionaire’s past business practices and failures, especially his real estate business.

Yet Trump can still deal a fatal blow to the presidential ambitions of Ms Clinton. I need not remind you that Trump was once fatally underestimated by his Republican rivals in the early stages of the primaries, and I would bet that Ms Clinton and her advisors will not commit a similar error. They know that Trump’s criticism of U.S. immigration and trade policies could well resonate with democratic voters, at a time when the old industrial States like Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Ohio (the so-called Rust Belt) are in deep economic crisis (with declining industry and high unemployment), and Ms Clinton needs to carry those states if she is to win the presidency on November 8th. Her loss in the Indiana primary on Tuesday this week shows that she needs to both recalibrate her approach and present a new economic message especially to the Midwest and Northeastern States.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump has managed to mobilize his voters on two fronts: Trade and immigration. With his populist ranting about economic decline, he has stoked fear and ressentiment about migrants, Muslims and countries that allegedly cheat America on trade. At the same time he promises to “Make America Great Again” by exercising a more muscular foreign policy and by bringing back jobs which he claims were lost as a result of bad trade deals with China and Latin America countries. He has consistently said that he intends to renegotiate these trade deals (particularly NAFTA), and has even threatened to start a trade war with China.

Until now, Ms. Clinton has said very little to counter the trade rhetoric coming from Donald Trump. I’m certain Trump will delight in reminding voters that the very trade deals he abhors and has campaigned against throughout the primaries were in fact signed by Bill Clinton, and later, Barack Obama.

Therefore, Clinton would be well-advised to spare no effort in explaining to the American voters the potential danger of Trump’s economic and trade policies – and should warn that if higher import duties are imposed on foreign products, the price that American consumers pay for many foreign products could rise enormously. Already on that basis, many pundits believe that Hillary Clinton’s campaign is rapidly building momentum as many undecided and independent voters who want to prevent a Trump presidency will see her as a “saviour”.

At any rate, this year’s election campaign has demonstrated and exposed the fatal flaws of the U.S. primary election system. Because Donald Trump and his Republican rivals have registered so much of each other’s wrongs and nursed so much hostility within the party, it’s somehow difficult to now see how they could all rally behind Trump to fight the formidable Clinton election machine.

Through his relentless attacks on the personal integrity of his erstwhile rivals, Trump has managed to poison the political atmosphere of the GOP Party. Last Tuesday in a news conference, Ted Cruz accused Trump of being a “pathological liar,” “utterly amoral,” “a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen” and “a serial philanderer.” Cruz was responding to earlier remarks made by Trump about his (Cruz’s) father after the National Enquirer alleged that it had identified Rafael Cruz in a photo with Lee Harvey Oswald months prior to the JFK assassination. “I mean what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald, shortly before the death? Before the shooting? It’s horrible,” Trump said on a Fox Network show.

The remark led to swift criticism from some top Republican politicians. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch opponent of Trump, tweeted, “Any doubt left Trump is completely unhinged? His assertion Ted Cruz’s father was associated with Lee Harvey Oswald should remove ALL doubt.”

For all that, a deciding “success” factor for either of the candidates in the race will be the choice of a running mate. The fact that the conservative establishment distrusts Trump, a vice-presidential candidate like Ohio Governor John Kasich or U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama would probably win him greater support from the establishment. As for Hillary Clinton, who is similarly distrusted by especially young voters and the Left, a running mate like Senator Elisabeth Warren of Massachusetts or the Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who are deeply anchored in those circles, would help make the case to the American people.

Crucially, one would expect that Donald Trump in the coming weeks will do everything in his power to repair the broken bridges and secure the backing of the whole party. This will be a difficult task, but nonetheless doable. After all, Trump has lived by “The Art of the Deal” and throughout, this has been the thrust of his pitch to American voters.

For comments, write to ClementSoulage@hotmail.de – Clement Wulf-Soulage is a Management Economist, Published Author and Former University Lecturer.


  1. I patiently await the opinions of my Lucians comrades on the potential world nightmares that threaten global peace and world upheaval especially with one of the leading presidential candidate, Donald Lucifer Trump, yet all I hear is total silence.
    Is it fear? Is it the belief that little St. Lucia will be sheltered from the wrath of this tyrant who is willing to do whatsoever it takes to re-establish the total dominance if blue eyed nazi dominance globally, fulfilling the dream of his master, Adolf Hitler, while we all sit in silence and pretend that everything is going to be all right and not use of freedom of speech to force America to come to grips with reality and denounce the doctrines of this Hitler’s apostle?
    I sit closely in observation of how liberal we are or claim to be when it comes to exercising our total freedom of expression and not solely limit it to our own politicians, especially when issues of such grave concern threaten the livelihood of the entire human race.
    I patiently await the day when some of us will have the balls to stand up against extremists who threaten global eradication of many human races and let our voices be heard.

  2. Julius is Donald any different than any other American political animal? No, same thing packaged differently. Try as hard as he can he will never be able to make the Clinton’s subhuman depths. But it’s quite apparent by your implied love for CLINTON, that you must be a Black American, placing you in the bull’s eye of what som is saying about the mental illness of black people.

  3. Time. I judge not individuals based on race but on one’s ability to envision and implement ways and means of bettering the lives of others.
    Using reverse psychology to spread hatred and dissent places the preacher in the same league as those devil worshippers. Like you said, simply packaged differently.
    Thinking primarily on racial lines makes me, you or anyone else no less or better than the white man we constantly bombard as being racial.
    Maybe we feign his stranglehold on others and eagerly await our turn to replace him.
    Not me. I see myself as a human being first and foremost.
    I measure individuals based on the content of their character rather than pigmentation .
    Yes I am totally free and will allow no man, irrespective of their manipulative ways of seeking to gain control of my cognitive thinking to poisoned my soul or spirit.
    I stand way above racial overtones and will not step into the shallows of such filth.

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