Hillary Clinton and the radical fringe

Here’s the problem – look at this ad, which ties Trump to the KKK and white supremacists. It’s just over the top in my view. Trump gives you plenty of material himself, and where Clinton’s speech yesterday was the strongest, it was focused on Trump and what he says, basic aim of sending the message to Republican and lean-Republican voters that “this isn’t who you are” or “you’re better than this.” But where it was weakest is when it was looping in other figures unfamiliar to most voters as objectionable and racist. Much as he would like to think otherwise, Alex Jones and InfoWars is not a household name, and suggesting that voting for Trump means standing for his brand as the Tinfoil-Crowned Queen of Summertime comes across as silly as claiming being Baptist means you support Westboro.

The danger for Clinton is overreach. If she sends a message that Donald Trump says race-baiting things that should be rejected by responsible voters, with the implication being that voting for him is an endorsement of these race-baiting statements, she can advance a strong case. Trump has supplied all sorts of examples of this himself, personally, and he will likely continue to do so. But where she stretches to claim that Trump’s hiring of Steve Bannon means a vote for Trump is an endorsement of every Breitbart headline, she gets into the weeds and risks playing into Trump’s logical response, which he advanced yesterday: that Democrats say everybody’s a racist, so her attacks should be ignored. This is a fair point given the way Republican voters believe their prior candidates have been treated. Then Trump proceeded to call Clinton a “bigot”, because he has the best words.