In his run for the White House, Donald Trump has nearly perfected the art of flipping his own deficits back onto his opponent. In the past, Ronald Reagan -- who only pretended to be an athlete in Hollywood and spent the war making military training films, yet he successfully branded George Herbert Walker Bush -- a decorated Navy pilot and Yale's baseball captain -- as a "wimp". Later, Bush's son, effectively a no-show during his year with the Texas Air National Guard, benefited from attacks on the record of Vietnam combat hero John Kerry. Which brings us to Trump.
In his latest TV ad, Trump claims "Hillary Clinton only cares about power, money, and herself." This from a man who -- even amid his campaign for the Presidency -- continues to hawk his merchandise and resort projects, whose personal foundation lavishes other people's donations onto himself, whose public service record consists of once being one of the marshals in New York's Israel parade, who brags about not paying his taxes.
Trump decries "Crooked Hillary", who has never faced any trial, and promises that she will -- even as the FBI Director drops his investigation (for the second time). This from Trump, who has been successfully sued and declared bankruptcy again and again, who faces trial for fraud this month (and was also to have been tried for rape). New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who led the "lock her up!" chants at Trump's nominating convention, just had two key aides convicted of abusing his office and on his orders.
How better to deflect these obvious liabilities than by claiming the Clinton email scandal -- disposed with no indictments or other sanctions -- is "bigger than Watergate" and that Hillary is the "most corrupt person ever" to run for President of the United States... this from a man who still refuses to release his tax returns.
Trump persists in warning of a "rigged" election, while urging his own supporters to intimidate voters on Election Day. This Venal Man of the Year, who on an open mic -- not even a private phone call -- bragged of sexual assault, protests that Hillary Clinton shouldn't even be allowed to run for President.
That's the same Hillary Clinton who devoted years to fighting for children's rights and secured the Children's Health Insurance Program, who served our country as First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, who enjoys the support of most former national security officials from both parties and of every living President. One can oppose Hillary Clinton on any number of points, but the idea that she should be prohibited from running for national office -- while a vulgar, has-been show-biz real estate developer is a few points from the Presidency -- is simply absurd.
Of course, Trump's use of these tactics has largely succeeded in boosting his chances. That's because a sucker is born every minute, or people just believe what they want to believe. And it's because the decent people don't even want to dignify his perverse allegations with a response. On Tuesday, hopefully, enough people will buck that trend.