Earlier this month, Hillary Clinton gave “a major speech” on why entrusting America’s nuclear stockpile to an ill-tempered ignoramus would be a poor decision. On Tuesday, the Democratic nominee gave another high-profile address that argued that giving said ignoramus control over our economy would be similarly imprudent.
“A few weeks ago, I said his foreign-policy proposals and reckless statements represent a danger to our national security. But you might think that because he has spent his life as a businessman he would be better prepared to handle the economy,” Clinton said of Trump, before a crowd of supporters in Columbus, Ohio. “Well, it turns out he’s dangerous there, too … Just like he shouldn’t have his finger on the button, he shouldn’t have his hands on our economy.”
Clinton pitched her critique of Trump to the center of the electorate, arguing that his incompetence on economic matters transcends ideology.
“Liberals and conservatives say Trump’s ideas would be disastrous,” Clinton observed. “The Chamber of Commerce and labor unions. Mitt Romney and Elizabeth Warren. Economists on the right and the left and the center all agree: Trump would throw us back into recession.”
This is similar to the note she struck in her foreign-policy speech, and it suggests the Clinton campaign is leaning into its “Dangerous Donald” strategy, which aims to engineer a November landslide by framing the election as a referendum on Trump’s fitness for office, rather than progressive policy.
In Columbus, Clinton offered many critiques that even a devotee of Austrian economics would find relevant. She highlighted a report from Moody’s Analytics — written by a former adviser to John McCain — that argued that Trump’s policies would result in a “lengthy recession.” She savaged Trump’s bizarre suggestion that America might benefit from renegotiating its debt. And she argued that the GOP nominee’s long record of failed businesses and bankruptcies betray the mogul’s financial incompetence. Many of these points were delivered in “zinger” form.
“He’s written a lot of books about business. They all seem to end at Chapter 11,” Clinton quipped.
Trump countered Clinton with zingers that, in their lack of cleverness, betrayed his cash-poor campaign’s want of quality joke writers.
Still, the Democratic nominee did sprinkle in a few ideological attacks on her rival, decrying his $10 trillion tax cut and hostility to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as attempts to “rig the economy for Wall Street again.”
Clinton has regained a healthy polling lead over Trump in recent weeks. Oddly, though, some recent polls show that voters have more faith in Trump when it comes to matters of economic policy. A CNN/ORC survey released Tuesday found that 51 percent of registered voters prefer Trump to manage the economy, compared to 43 percent who preferred Clinton. That result echoed the findings of a Gallup poll from early June.
Democrats have traditionally enjoyed an advantage on pocketbook issues. The fact that Trump is outperforming the Democratic nominee on the economy — despite trailing her significantly in overall support — suggests Clinton has more work to do in alerting the public to Trump’s less-than-stellar business record. Thanks to the GOP nominee’s incompetent handling of his campaign’s finances, however, Clinton shouldn’t have much trouble getting her message across.