Maybe they’ll be wrong but ask ten political pundits what the matchup will be this fall and nine will say Clinton-Trump. (The tenth one will be napping or drunk, because frankly this political season has been exhausting.)
Then ask what that clash of titans will be like, and their bloodshot eyes will blaze: Amazing. Jaw-dropping. Like the rematch of Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm.
The tale of the tape is easy. Most think Clinton would be a boxer. Picking her targets with cunning, firing machine gun jabs and counting on money and patience to grind her opponent down. Trump would be the brawler. Throwing roundhouse punches, laughing through even the most furious flurries and instantly wading back in for more.
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In terms of classic campaigning, his weaknesses are easily seen. He’s never held elected office. He flings out facts and falsehoods with equal abandon. He can be tripped up, and he is often proven wrong in the headlines.
But lest her supporters grow smug, in this political climate those qualities have also made him a perfect ringer. A shoot-from-the-lip outsider.And she has weaknesses.
Think about it. Trump seems to have every newsroom in America on speed dial, and he appears ready to jump on the air any moment for a leisurely chat. By contrast, Clinton is extremely cagey. She rarely engages in spontaneous exchanges with the media. That could give him oceans of airtime to build his fame and his following, while she’s left just hoping the networks might take her prepared speeches live.
Trump goes into debates like Thunderdome, well aware that they are more about theater than rhetorical finesse. Preparation? Who needs it? Sure, she may develop a carefully considered strategy based on focus-group tested positions, but how much will that matter when he charges across the stage and takes a chainsaw to her over issues of trust, likeability and transparency?
True, she’s got experience over him in a big way. But remember, in this election experience is being seen as a problem by enormous swaths of voters, something Trump will eagerly point out.
If the race for the White House comes down to these two contenders, those are real issues Clinton will have to engage. Because there is little doubt Trump’s plan is simple: hit any opponent hard, hit often, and don’t stop hitting until the fight is called.