Want to Win, Hillary? Get In the Gutter With Trump

Trump Hillary
Fling some mud, Hillary.

I don’t give a &$@! about Hillary’s damn emails, but the issue that I thought died with the February cold has resurfaced. Thanks to the State Department finding that she was guilty of violating email server guidelines, this “scandal,” in which the Democratic front-runner showed bad judgment versus breaking any laws, is now back like a recurring toothache or an undigested meal.

Remember when Bernie told Hillary at one of their initial debates that the American people were “sick and tired” of hearing about her damn emails? Count me in. And I’m not sure any of Hillary’s loyal and dedicated supporters care, either. It’s not like she committed a real crime, like not paying income taxes (paging Trump).

What’s so tedious about this is the predicted aftermath: Fox News and other diehard Hillary haters blowing up this stupid saga, making it commensurate with capital offenses or genuine political scandals like the Watergate conspiracy.

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It isn’t a genuine political scandal and I don’t think Hillary champions view it as such. But if haters can drum her off the presidential ticket on “trumped-up” nonsense, then any pretext disguised as serious malfeasance will suffice.

Hey, Republicans, how about if we deflect this non-issue back to the monumental incompetence of your demagogue — er, presidential nominee? Let us enumerate some of Trump’s many offenses:

The Trump University Lawsuit
Remember this one? You should: In 2013, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman slapped the modern PT Barnum with a $40 million civil lawsuit contending that “Trump University,” a fraudulent for-profit school for aspiring real-estate investors, duped hundreds of students by claiming they could get rich like Trump using his “techniques.” Guess what? They didn’t get rich. According to recent news reports, this will be going to trial once a date is set.

And that’s not Trump’s only lawsuit. One account reported that Trump has been named in 169 federal lawsuits. Yes, 169. He could be our next president.

Avaricious Glee Over the 2007 Housing Crisis
Fueled by the subprime mortgage meltdown, the burst of the housing bubble led to the 2008 Great Recession. When an unprecedented number of Americans were losing jobs and facing foreclosures, Trump told his “students” to take advantage of this downturn as an “exciting” investment opportunity. At the time, he told the Globe and Mail:

People have been talking about the end of the cycle for 12 years, and I’m excited if it is. I’ve always made more money in bad markets than in good markets.

What heart. What compassion. And the electorate may vote him in as our next president?!

The Bankruptcies
For someone who has tried to present himself as a business genius, he is most emphatically not one — as 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney reminded the public pointedly but far too late in the primary process. The National Review reported that Trump’s first bankruptcy was in 1991…

…after he borrowed a stupidly irresponsible amount of money to finance that monument to excruciatingly bad taste known as the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.

[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Trump: named in 169 federal lawsuits.[/pullquote]As the conservative publication further revealed, Trump poured $1 billion of junk bonds into that gaudy mess and then ran it into the ground during its initial week of operation. Forced into bankruptcy, Trump “ended up having to give back 500 slot machines to the company that had provided them.” Then there’s the fabled Gotham landmark, the Plaza Hotel, which he once owned. In 1988, he bought it for $407.5 million. Four years later, it went bankrupt.

And let’s not forget Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts in 2004. Once again, he “borrowed too much money and at a rate he could not afford,” said the National Review.

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The Nonexistent Self-Funding
Another outrageous lie, according to Politico. The bulk of his campaign financing comes from private donors.

The Repeated Claims of Perfect Health
Why was his health used as a reason to get a military deferment during the Vietnam War? The same draft dodger mocked Sen. John McCain for having been a POW. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured,” he said.

The Bragging of Paying Little, or No, Taxes
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Trump: lying about his taxes.[/pullquote]Why do we pay taxes, folks? We do it to pay for law enforcement and firefighters to protect us; to make sure the roads we travel on don’t collapse; to make sure our children can get the best education possible in public schools; to pay the salaries of government workers, some of whom are responsible for making it possible for you or your parents or grandparents to get those Social Security checks. And so on.

What’s Trump’s attitude toward taxes? This is what he told CBS News:

I fight like hell to pay as little as possible for two reasons. Number one, I’m a businessman. And that’s the way you’re supposed to do it. The other reason is that I hate the way our government spends our taxes. I hate the way they waste our money. Trillions and trillions of dollars of waste and abuse. And I hate it.

Uh-huh. He doesn’t pay taxes as a form of social and civic protest. Yep. The next leader of the free world.

Trump has still has not released his income tax returns and he won’t until the IRS finishes its audit, said CNNMoney.com. (Yes, they’re auditing him.) Presidential candidates have been releasing their income tax returns for years. But not Lyin’ Trump.

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Having Trump so close to moving into the Oval Office is no laughing matter. He is the presumptive GOP nominee while Hillary is between 40 and 80 delegates from cinching the Democratic equivalent — I’m including superdelegates here. Even if she loses the California primary on June 7, which Obama also lost eight years ago, she will still amass enough delegates on that day — for there are four other primaries in addition to a caucus in North Dakota — to be the presumptive Democratic nominee.

In a recent interview with Time, Bernie Sanders said,

That a person like [Donald Trump] is actually beating or close to Hillary Clinton in national polls is pathetic.

He is absolutely right and it troubles me so much. This is why — and I am loath to impart this advice as it goes against every moral fiber of my being — that the Hillary contingent must fight as dirty as Trump and must be as proactive when it comes to hurling the verbal bile back into his face. I know the Hillary camp is touting Trump’s infinite infractions but they need to do more than this. They must be as nasty as her adversary to make any real headway with the American electorate.

[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Call him “Deranged Donny.”[/pullquote]Look at what adhering to the politesse of civilized debate and sticking to the issues did to erstwhile Trump opponents, like Jeb Bush? Trump knows how to win and his methods — which involve two PR tools, branding and nickname coining (“Crooked Hillary,” “Crazy Bernie,” “Little Marco,” etc.) — are clearly appealing to the lowest common denominator. Hillary’s strategists need to take a page out of the Trump scorched-earth book and fight back by repeatedly belaboring the mogul’s extensive portfolio of wrongdoings. The next time he calls her “Crooked Hillary,” she should call him “Deranged Donny.” She should check out Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s ongoing Twitter war with Trump. Warren is indefatigable and refreshingly unrelenting in her withering criticisms of Trump, who has nothing to counter with but juvenile insults, such as calling her “Pocahontas” in reference to her claim of Native American ancestry. Childish behavior is the cornerstone of Trump’s campaign. That it’s working is a sad commentary on our society.

All this will come to naught if media outlets continue to give short shrift to Trump’s innumerable peccadilloes while feeding off the latest Hillary misdeed with the frenzied rapacity of a vulture. That’s another problem: the media’s unabated fascination with Trump at Hillary’s expense. Misogyny and boredom are at the root of the Fourth Estate’s antipathy toward Hillary. If Trump wins, they will bear a great deal of responsibility for having created and nurtured this monster. But that’s another column.

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Iris Dorbian
Iris Dorbian is a business and arts journalist whose articles have appeared in a wide number of outlets that include the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Venture Capital Journal, DMNews, Playbill, Backstage, Theatermania, Live Design, Media Industry Newsletter and PR News. From 1999 to 2007, Iris was the editor-in-chief of Stage Directions. She is the author of Great Producers: Visionaries of the American Theater, which was published by Allworth Press in August 2008 and An Epiphany in Lilacs, which was published by Mazo Publishers in 2017. Her personal essays have been published in Blue Lyra Review, B O D Y, Embodied Effigies, Diverse Voices Quarterly and Gothesque Magazine.