For a populist election cycle that has been fought almost exclusively on personal qualities rather than issues, this attack has not gotten much use — until now. The Clintons made several millions off of book deals, but made a lot more off of their connections to power and monied interests, including $57.5 million during the four years Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State. Donald Trump has occasionally made reference to this, but he’s making it an explicit argument in the final week with his new ad, “Corruption.” Washington Post analyst Chris Cillizza is impressed:
This is a good ad from Trumphttps://t.co/sL1ZqZXJPx
— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) November 2, 2016
That’s almost entirely spot-on, with the possible exception of the phrase “filthy rich.” Trump hasn’t exactly been a wallflower when it comes to promoting his own wealthy status. He lives ostentatiously to the point of vulgarity, and bragged so often about his own riches that the media spent a good deal of time trying to argue what degree of multi-billionaire Trump actually is.
Other than that, though, this hits the populist bulls-eye. Trump made his money in the private sector (and a head start from his father); the Clintons acquired their wealth while in the public sector. Don’t forget that the Clintons had been in federal office continuously from January 1992 to February 2013, a period of twenty-one years, while they amassed a nine-figure net worth. Only a small portion of that came from book advances, while their speeches and especially Bill’s consultancy income derived almost entirely from Hillary’s status as a Senator and later as Secretary of State. (See Laureate Education for an $18 million example, where Bill was paid eight figures to be an honorary chancellor.)
This makes for a good populist follow-up to their mid-October attack on Hillary’s status as a Washington insider, which is now getting some significant play here in Minnesota — likely as a national buy:
These are the best closing arguments Trump has. He’d better stay disciplined and focused on them for the next six days.