Since clinching the Republican nomination Donald Trump has made one thing clear: his campaign will focus on the economy. It’s the one issue where he’s ready-made to put a real dent in Hillary.
A lot of Democrats say that in order to beat Trump, she needs to be developing a clearer message on the economy.
That’s not Donald Trump’s problem.
Not only does he have a simple, clear message — he often says so himself.
“Our theme is very simple,” Trump reminded voters last week after winning the Indiana primary. “Make America great again. We will make America great again. We will start winning again.”
Translation: Trump is likely to defeat Hillary on economics because his message has less substance. Voters don’t want to hear hard facts and complex economic theory, they’d rather be told that it’s all so simple — we just need to be great again, you guys.
The awful truth is that economic policy is a matter of overwhelming complexity. Hillary and Bernie Sanders have done their best to sift it down to digestible platitudes and sound bites (“rigged system,” “one percent,” “income inequality,” etc.). But for the most part Hillary has been far less willing than Sanders to toss crowd-pleasing proposals to primary voters like bread crumbs to hungry ducks. While she’s certainly peddling some pie-in-the-sky promises, she’s more willing to acknowledge that there are boundaries and nuances.Her concept of economic issues is appropriately lofty, and is sometimes even reality-based (!) American voters hate that sort of thing. And if Hillary hasn’t been willing to dumb it down to Sanders’s level, then she’s towering above Trump.
Not that all of Trump’s ideas are completely out of line — he’s smart to focus ire on large employers leaving the Country, for example. But Trump’s real master stroke is to say nothing of substance, thereby telling his voters everything they want to hear. They want to hear that we’ll build things and not pay for them; that we’ll get rid of “bad deals” and only make “good deals” — or, dare we dream, even “great deals”; that we’re going to “beat China” and “win again” (a concept so devoid of definition that it means whatever the individual listener wants it to mean).
Translation: dumb it down and you will start winning again.