As we point out in our book "Armageddon: How Trump Can Beat Hillary," there is a fundamental flaw in Hillary Clinton's campaign approach, and the debate coming up on Monday, Sept. 26, should make it evident.
Clinton and the Democrats have based their campaign on demonizing Donald Trump, calling him dangerous, unpredictable, racist, Islamophobic, demagogic, sexist, lacking in temperament and judgment, bombastic, jingoistic and a litany of other names. His supporters belong in a "basket of deplorables." It is a campaign conducted by a speechwriter with a well-thumbed thesaurus.
Against Barry Goldwater in 1964 and George McGovern in 1972, such a strategy of name-calling could and did work. But now we have televised debates. (There were none in '64 or '72).
We will meet Trump and will see that he is none of the things Clinton says he is. Before he takes a single stand on a single issue, it will be evident that he is not the diabolic candidate Clinton paints.
In some cases, the road has is coming up to meet him. The problems he has focused on have become so serious that his formerly extreme rhetoric now makes sense. How can we look at the mayhem caused by an Afghani immigrant without thinking about stopping more from coming in?
In other cases, his rhetoric has toned down. He still wants to build a wall, just like Bill Clinton did in 1993. Bill's stretched 300 miles along the California/Mexico border — and still stands. Trump's would be longer. But he no longer calls Mexicans drug dealers and criminals, and he has abandoned the idea of a Gestapo-style roundup of illegal immigrants for deportation.
All Trump needs to do is to lay out positive proposals and avoid ratifying Clinton's accusations. The Donald's constructive programs on taxes, national security, immigration, the economy and child care form a basis for projecting a national image that will sweep aside Clinton's campaign.
For her part, Clinton has to look healthy and energetic. A modulated, laid-back performance will destroy her claim that she is well enough to be president.
Tactically, we would suggest the following for Trump:
—He should attack Bill Clinton's record on bank regulation, making clear that his decision to deregulate banks as he left office opened the door to the '07 and '08 crash.
—He should challenge Hillary Clinton to close down the Clinton Foundation so there can be no "pay for play" deals involving a president.
—In his outreach to African-Americans, he has stressed school choice. He can outflank Clinton on education and make strong inroads into the ranks of black women.
—He needs to show a balanced approach to the recent police shootings and make clear that he will be sure that police violence against unarmed minority boys will end.
—He should hang Obamacare around Clinton's neck. The issue has been almost absent from the campaign so far and it represents President Obama's and Clinton's biggest failure on the national stage.
Everything is tending Trump's way as he enters the debate. A strong performance will catapult Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, perhaps to stay.