~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~How Do You Debate Mr. Trump?
Editorial, The New York Times, le 7 Mai 2016
Titre et inter-titres E Gaillot pour €calypse News, le 7 Mai 2016
Months away from their expected nominations, there’s already ample reason to expect Clinton vs. Trump to be the ugliest, most cringeworthy presidential contest of the modern era. It promises to be a half-year slog through the marital troubles, personal peccadilloes, financial ambitions, social-media habits and physical appearances of “Dangerous Donald” and “Crooked Hillary,” two labels that the campaigns and their allies are already deploying.
That doesn’t mean Hillary Clinton shouldn’t try to elevate the debate. Deep beneath the accumulating rancor is a fascinating and potentially illuminating contest between a longtime Democrat and a come-lately Republican who both claim to speak for working-class people who feel betrayed by the political system. Both candidates are appealing to some of the nation’s most beleaguered citizens — lower-income whites for Mr. Trump, and racial minorities for Mrs. Clinton. And both candidates won big victories among the 19 states where unemployment exceeds the national average, many of them in the South.
Though Donald Trump’s ideas have so far been both muddled and changeable, his proposals may challenge Mrs. Clinton to present her domestic and foreign policy positions with greater power and clarity to draw a sharp contrast with a Trump campaign that is more headline than story.
During the primaries, Mr. Trump has compensated for his lack of depth with personal attacks and one-liners, a tactic Mrs. Clinton should avoid emulating.
As the campaign cycle enters a more serious phase, says Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, “Trump is going to need more than name-calling and scandal politics to overcome his lack of experience and worries that he’s not suited to the job.”
Mr. Trump’s appeal to working-class Americans rests on promises to wall off America from competition from foreign workers and goods. His line, “It’s not free trade, it’s stupid trade,” is hardly an invitation to a thoughtful debate. Yet it will be Mrs. Clinton’s challenge to counter by explaining her own evolving position on trade pacts, which has led her to oppose agreements she once supported. Going further, she can offer ways to assist workers who have been hurt by trade, as well as by general manufacturing job losses that have little to do with trade.
Mr. Trump’s opposition to trade deals is one element of a broader isolationism that can be discerned through the haze of his recent “America First” foreign policy address. In that speech, he threatened to walk away from various aspects of international engagement, from trade with China to NATO.
“We have not had a fundamental debate in a presidential campaign between American engagement in the world and isolationism since 1952, between Taft and Eisenhower,” says Max Boot, a conservative foreign policy analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations. “It’s easy to ridicule Trump’s cockamamie, half-baked proposals, and they ought to be ridiculed. But maybe it does force Clinton to articulate very clearly why we need to stay engaged in the world.”
Mrs. Clinton’s camp is preparing her for the worst: the prospect of debating a candidate with no policy details and a full arsenal of insults. “Her best strategy is to simply stay on the substance and don’t let him rankle her,” says Elaine Kamarck, a Clinton White House policy official now at the Brookings Institution. She’ll help herself “if he continues to spout off, and she simply talks to America about the issues of the day.”