Republican Debate: Bill Clinton Snookers the Great Negotiator, Donald Trump
Richard E. Vatz
In the Republican presidential debate Donald Trump refused to rule out running as an independent, a move that could lose the election for the Republicans. Let’s look at some of the political persuasion that has led to this Damocles Sword aimed at the GOP.
Former President Bill Clinton did not win the 1992 presidential election because then-President George Herbert Walker Bush looked at his watch during a debate, as some speculators speculate.
He won because the third party candidate, Ross Perot, siphoned 19% of the vote, mostly from Mr. Bush, and because in the debates among these three, it was two against one: Clinton and Perot attacking Bush with Governor Clinton avoiding criticism of Perot.
The Washington Post reports that Bill Clinton has been in regular contact with Mr. Trump, urging him to pursue his candidacy and implicitly playing to his ego to encourage him to run as an independent if he is not the Republican nominee, which he won’t be.
Some cannot understand this: Mr. Trump attacks Hillary Clinton mercilessly; how could Bill suborn such attacks on his wife?
Because Bill Clinton anticipates he will have the last laugh, similar to what he did for himself in 1992, with his wife winning the presidency with a plurality of the popular vote and a majority of the electoral vote.
Trump, a great negotiator? Not when he is trumped by the Clintons.
Prof. Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University and is author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion (Kendall Hunt, 2013)