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Eye On Candidates
May 16, 2016

Clinton faces choices on campaign strategy

A pair of articles this morning help to illuminate some of the strategic choices former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faces as the presumed Democratic nominee. First up, National Journal explains one set of options - veer towards the center or tack left:

How Clinton Could Score With GOP Moderates

On pa­per, Clin­ton is in an en­vi­able po­s­i­tion, run­ning against an op­pon­ent with the highest un­fa­vor­able rat­ings of any pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate in the his­tory of polling. That ad­vant­age provides her with a dizzy­ing ar­ray of choices for how to run her own race.

She could use the op­por­tun­ity to build bridges with mod­er­ate anti-Trump Re­pub­lic­ans in hopes of run­ning up the score in Novem­ber and claim­ing valu­able polit­ic­al cap­it­al as pres­id­ent. A con­vin­cing win of at least 7 points would likely give her a healthy Sen­ate ma­jor­ity, an out­side pos­sib­il­ity at win­ning the House, and the abil­ity to get things done once elec­ted. Such a strategy would take a page out of her hus­band’s tri­an­gu­lat­ing play­book, and could po­ten­tially soften her per­sist­ent neg­at­ives with the up­scale fac­tion of Re­pub­lic­ans deeply dis­sat­is­fied with Trump....

The oth­er op­tion: She could sat­is­fy a rest­less pro­gress­ive base—con­vinced the gen­er­al elec­tion is hers to lose—and con­tin­ue to make policy con­ces­sions to dis­gruntled Bernie Sanders voters. Such a move would help unite a party that’s been drift­ing left­ward. Mod­er­ates in both parties wouldn’t have any­where else to go, giv­en that Trump is their only oth­er choice.  

Bloomberg Politics also has an article explaining a choice Clinton appears to have already made: how to address presumed Republican nominee Donald Trump's frequently-shifting policy positions:

As Hillary Clinton's campaign focuses its attacks on presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, she faces the challenge of pinning down someone who rapidly shifts positions on issues, sometimes within a single day.

The Republican's evasiveness confounded his primary rivals, who one by one ceded their greatest advantages as they tried to compete with Trump for the media spotlight. 

Now, Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, is attempting to use Trump's shape-shifting to convince voters that he's too much of a risk. Whether Clinton can succeed where Trump's Republican opponents failed will depend on how well she can target her fellow New Yorker for what he's actually proposed, without being drawn into the former reality television star's circus.

“We’re going to pin him down by taking him at his word, and making his words count,” said Joel Benenson, a senior strategist for Clinton’s campaign. “It’s reinforcing what people believe about him—that Trump is always about Trump.”

Benenson signaled one of the campaign's central lines of attack by repeatedly referring to Trump as a “risk” when it comes to America's national security and to the economic stability of its families. “Americans don't believe he’s prepared for the role because of what he’s said,” Benenson, a former Obama pollster, said. “This is not some judgment they’ve made from a distance. They’ve seen this guy.”

Both articles are worth taking a look at for anyone wanting a better understanding of what to expect in the months ahead.