Against Trump, Clinton Should Resist the Temptation of Triangulation

Against Trump, Clinton Should Resist the Temptation of Triangulation

Against Trump, Clinton Should Resist the Temptation of Triangulation

By running a progressive campaign and winning, Clinton can do something lasting and important. She can move the center to the left.


Like a taco bowl from Trump Tower Grill, the Republican Party is being devoured by a demagogue. Now that Donald Trump has wiped out the last of his primary opponents, Republicans find themselves in the awkward position of being expected to take a stance on a presumptive nominee whom many of them despise. Suddenly, the ambiguous distinction between “support” and “endorse” has become a point of contention. And while much of the party is rallying around Trump, some Republicans, including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (WI) and Senator Lindsey O. Graham (SC), are withholding their support or disavowing him altogether.

Despite the obvious threat to the country posed by Trump’s nomination, many Democrats cannot help reveling in their apparent good fortune. Trump has splintered his own party and, with his record of bigotry and misogyny, handed Democrats a powerful weapon to deploy against Republican candidates in competitive races nationwide. But Democrats should tread cautiously as they devise their game plan for the general election. Although Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) plans to stay in the race until the convention, Hillary Clinton is extremely likely to be the Democratic nominee. For Clinton and the rest of the party, though, Trump’s nomination could present a dangerous trap.

Given Trump’s historic unpopularity, some will argue that Clinton should tack to the center in an effort to win over disaffected Republicans and independents. Already, there have been reports that Clinton “is looking for ways to woo Republicans turned off by the brash billionaire,” and her backers have reached out to Republican donors seeking their support. Yet while the Democratic establishment may be tempted to wage a campaign of “triangulation”—the centrist strategy that Bill Clinton made famous in the ’90s—moving to the center now would be a lousy idea.

Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

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