I have always been a big fan of Vice President Joe Biden. He comes from a humble background and truly has his finger on the pulse of the country. Biden, in a recent interview, spoke about the public’s deep unhappiness with our elected officials and what was wrong with our political system. “The public just doesn’t relate to their government, because government doesn’t make them feel that it understands their needs and their pain,” he said.
That is the real challenge for. Bill Clinton has always been one of my heroes and I truly believed him when he said he “felt your pain.” Coming from a dysfunctional family, with an abusive father who had a serious alcohol problem, he spoke to the hearts and minds of many Americans.
When you think about the past four or five presidential elections, it is clear that many of the losing candidates were totally incapable of connecting with the voters. Something was missing and the majority of the electorate figured out who best represented their views. Senator Bob Dole was a career politician with a good record on the issues, but he didn’t spark any enthusiasm.
Senator John McCain was a war hero, despite what Donald Trump says, but somehow he didn’t stir mass loyalty. Poor Mitt Romney got quoted complaining about the “47 percent who rely on the government to take care of them.” Obviously, Romney failed to get those voters on his side and it cost him the election. President Barack Obama, as a candidate, hit a special chord with the voters and he won two terms in the White House.
So the real test for Clinton and Trump is which one can best tap into the public’s unhappiness and translate it into an election victory. Trump was able to win the Republican Party primary with his over-the-top rhetoric and his promises to make the country “great again.” Bernie Sanders won a massive number of supporters just by promising things that they wanted to hear, even if they were politically impossible to solve.
But now we are in an election campaign and the rules are different. Building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico will not create new businesses and more jobs. Beating up on immigrants will only carry you so far. The voters expect a lot more. This is the opening for Clinton to fill. She is smart on issues and talks about them. She is far more capable than Trump to sit in the White House.
In order to win this election she will have to convince the voters that she understands their grievances and “feels their pain.” Trump is incapable of arousing anything more than hate. So November presents her with the opportunity to win the election on the merits.