Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
The last time a Republican sat in the White House was in another decade that often feels like another century. After four years in which the economic potential of the country declined while the potential of Islamic terrorists grew, Republicans unnecessarily lost a winnable election in 2012.
Obama won his greatest victory over Republicans by convincing them to doubt themselves. Republicans turned their political movement into a party of defeat when they became convinced that their vision was too extreme, their base doomed to an inevitable decline and their politics out of step with the country.
And so, consumed with doubt and uncertainty, robbed of their passion, they lost.
This primary season, above all else, came down to two competing visions. Would the Republican Party continue to retreat from its identity, trapped by doubts and fears that its time had passed and that it must go left or perish? Or would it joyously and unashamedly embrace its identity while putting Obama and Hillary on the defensive
That question has been answered in full, but transforming that maelstrom of energy into a battle plan to actually defeat Hillary Clinton is a more complicated problem that the GOP is still struggling with.
And that’s what Dick Morris and Eileen McGann offer in their book, “Armageddon: How Trump Can Beat Hillary”. Few people know the Clintons better than Dick Morris who once stood at their side. And so few political experts could be better at offering a battle plan to beat Hillary. This is Dick Morris’ moment.
“Armageddon: How Trump Can Beat Hillary” is a comprehensive battle plan that focuses less on Trump than it does on Hillary. The bulk of the book is an analysis of Hillary’s weaknesses, both personal and political, the vulnerabilities of her deeply corrupted character and of her divided Democratic base.
Much like David Horowitz’s “Go For the Heart: How Republicans Can Win”, Morris and McGann argue that Trump can win by combining gut punches and emotional connections with voters on core issues.
Morris and McGann lay out the case for why stopping Hillary Clinton is so crucial and then they zero in on a deeply flawed candidate. They make the case against her character, from her compulsive lying (including the famous airport sniper fire story) to her financial corruption. And they make the case against her policies, from the Arab Spring to her fundamental ignorance of all things economic that don’t involve her frantic rush to fill her pockets with corrupt cash and other people’s money.
The stories here may be familiar to many conservatives, but would still be new to many of the voters Trump needs to win over in order to win. And they are presented here concisely and devastatingly.
But they are only the appetizer for the banquet of the Hillary battle plan. That’s where Morris and McGann begin looking at strategy from voter demographics to the coming collapse of ObamaCare. Their strategy divides the fight into two punches. One punch energizes conservative voters. The other speaks to a white working class left behind by left-wing political correctness and a wrecked economy.
Morris and McGann see this demographic being defined more by economic concerns than political ones. This is where they see Trump focusing on the economy, particularly in the areas he has already embraced including trade policies and illegal immigration. One broad punch appeals to core conservative voters with a spectrum of issues. The other is targeted at voters who care more about economic grievances than big picture policies, who want to know where their jobs went and why.
Some will find his call to embrace class warfare controversial. But Dick Morris is ready to translate the dramatically radical policies that have defined the Trump campaign into a strategy to beat Hillary. And that means hitting Hillary in unexpected places, like using her ties to Wall Street against her.
But Dick Morris doesn’t just stop there. Instead he argues that the real key to victory in the battle plan to beat Hillary is taking the battle to her base. The fundamental contention in “Armageddon: How Trump Can Beat Hillary” is that her weakness is her unpopularity. It’s no secret that Republicans hate her or that she performs poorly with independent voters. But Morris and McGann argue that Hillary is also very weak with her base, including minorities and female voters, and that a committed effort can break her hold.
Armageddon’s battle plan here zeroes in on policy weaknesses, areas where Trump can make inroads with these key demographics. Along the way Morris and McGann destroy key myths of the political class, including the myth that amnesty is a prerequisite to being competitive with Hispanic voters, or that demographics will doom the country to a permanent Democratic majority unless the GOP abandons all conservative principles and ideas to become the fiscally conservative wing of the Democratic Party.
The battle plan calls for finding wedge issues, such as appealing to black voters with school choice, that will continually keep Hillary and her campaign off balance. And that is also the larger strategy.
If there’s one single strategy that can sum up “Armageddon: How Trump Can Beat Hillary”, it’s keeping the pressure on. As Morris and McGann write, "When we challenge Hillary, it will be like peeling an onion: Each time we disprove one layer of denial, another will take its place, Hillary's denial strategy will blow up in her face. On the campaign trail, she will hang herself by lying and covering up. The key is to keep her under pressure."
This aptly describes the phenomenon of the Clintons. And it highlights an area where Hillary is weaker than Bill. We’ve seen that weakness already on the campaign trail. We’ve seen it with her fumbling responses to the email scandal. And we’ve seen it in the bigger picture of the way that Democrats dodge their scandals because the pressure doesn’t stay on. This is what Dick Morris understands.
“Sanders did not go for the jugular. But Donald Trump will.”
"Keep up the pressure. Make her make mistakes. Force her to dig herself deeper and deeper into lies and cover-ups. That's how we keep Hillary out of the White House. And put Donald Trump in."
“Armageddon: How Trump Can Beat Hillary” combines this brute force logic of political conflict with a deep analysis of demographics, political trends and voting bases that makes it a compelling read. It connects the familiar Hillary scandals with a battlefield strategy. It takes the data that drives elections and overlays it onto gut arguments that resonate with people who may have never voted before.
Morris and McGann understand the numbers, but they also understand the emotional forces that move people. Armageddon is a plan to beat Hillary by going beyond the usual politics and throwing a punch.