It’s amazing that in a nation of around 247 million adults, there’s 400 million opinions on the Clinton-Sanders campaign. (Maybe the extras are just fake Facebook profiles.)
So let me make it 400,000,001.
Since October, Hillary Clinton has been slipping. That doesn’t mean a death knell for her candidacy; far from it. But what Clinton has to do is look at what is working for other candidates this year and try to duplicate a little of that magic recipe. Here’s a few thoughts on how to update her playbook:
First off, stop talking about being a grandmother. The country doesn’t want a Grandma-in-Chief, especially millennial women. Instead, start talking about her journey as a young woman breaking through first as a law school student and then as a young female attorney in the “Mad Men” world of the early 1970s. Tell the story of how, as a 12-year-old girl with big dreams, she wrote to NASA asking about how to become an astronaut, only to be told that NASA didn’t accept women in the astronaut program. Then talk about how the world has changed for women since then, and how much progress is yet ahead to be made. Identify with young women as they are now, not who they’ll be when they’re in their late sixties.
Make a few big stadium speeches. Okay, so maybe Hillary can’t pack a 20,000 seat arena. (Or maybe she can.) But at least get out in front of 3,000 or more people and demonstrate the soaring rhetoric that moves voter passions. Hillary gave some great speeches in 2008, including at the Democratic Convention. She knows how to work a crowd. Show the world that you, too, can fire up a large audience and have drawing power. Don’t concede the rock star stage to Sanders and Trump. Show some spark.
Put Bill in front of a big audience. No one gives a riveting stem-winder like the Explainer-in-Chief. ’Nuff said.
Come up with a 2 sentence reason for why you want to be president. Ever since Ted Kennedy famously flubbed that question in a 1984 “60 Minutes” interview, it’s become political mantra that every candidate should be prepared for that key question. In fact, to not have one written, focus group tested and memorized is electoral malpractice. Yet Hillary has somewhat whiffed on her answer a few times so far this cycle, most recently on “The Late Show” with Steven Colbert. So put the greatest minds in your campaign in a room, order lots of pizzas, and don’t let them out until they have the best, wittiest and most compelling answer ever for why YOU, Hillary Rodham Clinton, are the best person in the world to lead America into the next decade. The closest I’ve seen her come to that is this comedic mock job interview with Jimmy Fallon. That was fun, but now put it into a slogan or bumper sticker that your supporters can memorize and repeat to their Facebook friends. Or Bingo buddies.
Part of your rise in October was due to the gritty determination you showed in your 11-hour Benghazi hearing testimony. Put together a TV ad of clips from that day that show you one-upping the Committee’s small-minded, partisan GOP attackers. Also make an ad with moments from your New York senate campaign debates against Rick Lazio, as she did successfully in 2000. Then put together a third ad highlighting some of the great speeches you gave on human rights, women’s rights and LGBT rights as Secretary of State, and her meetings with Russian leaders and other heads of state. Remind Americans that when it’s Hillary against bellicose Republicans or belligerent world leaders, Hillary win.
Look at this ad by the Sanders campaign. That’s how to move voters. It communicates everything a TV ad should. Find your song and your message and get it out there.
Democrats are waiting to hear from you, Hillary. Give them something to cheer.