This Clinton strategy is going to succeed because it’s true. Clinton may have an impressively long record of bad judgment calls. She may be almost comically out of step with the populist mood of the moment. She may be widely disliked by an electorate that doesn’t trust her. But at least she and her campaign aren’t proudly ignorant of public policy. Or prone to spewing misogynistic, racist, anti-Muslim, and anti-Semitic insults. Or wildly and continuously flip-flopping on policy. Or promising to tear up the entire postwar international order. Or threatening to forcibly round up and deport millions of people and ban members of an entire world religion from entering the United States.
With an opponent like Donald Trump, Clinton needs do little more than convey the same simple message day after day: “You may not like me, but at least I’m vastly better, more competent, more knowledgeable, less hateful, less risky, and yes, less corrupt than he is.”
Again, it will work because it’s true.
Of course, Trump’s die-hard fanboys and a subset of Republicans (those for whom every Clinton scandal that fails to land her or her husband in jail is an occasion to recommit to the project of bringing them down once and for all) will never be persuaded. But most voters will be. And that will be enough to get her over the finish line — maybe even by historic margins.