Were I Hillary Clinton, I would refuse to give Donald Trump a platform to spew forth yet more hatred and further soil the good name of our country. Nor would I debate someone who doesn’t treat me with respect.
Whatever one thinks of Hillary Clinton’s ethical and national security lapses or her policy stances, she is a former Secretary of State, a former U.S. Senator, and a former First Lady who has devoted years to helping our country in ways she felt best. She deserves our respect. She also needs to respect herself by not engaging in what, at best, will be an exchange of sound bites and, at worst, an exchange of diatribes.
Here’s an alternative, which will help both our campaigns: We sit down at my or her kitchen table and respectfully discuss domestic and foreign policy issues, with each person politely stating their views and asking the other to react. This doesn’t require CNN or FOX or any media company. Nor does it require debate moderators. It would just be a serious, filmed discussion between two adults, akin to the respectful debates William Buckley held in Firing Line. Our discussion would be solely on the challenges, domestic and foreign, facing our nation.
Obviously, this would expand my national exposure and make clear that I’m the only real write-in candidate because I’m registering nationwide (which is required to have your votes counted and no other write-in candidate is doing so).
But how would this help Clinton?
First, it puts Trump in his proper place — a place where no one is paying him attention.
Second, it shows the nation that Clinton is happy to debate/discuss the issues, she’s just not willing to do so with someone who cannot conduct himself as a adult.
Third, debating me would, I’m confident, flip a major, if not the lion’s share of Republicans from Trump to me.
Fourth, I’m more likely to attract Republican than Democratic voters because there are more Republicans unhappy with Trump than there are Democrats unhappy with Clinton.
Fifth, in the event that Clinton doesn’t receive a majority of votes in the Electoral College, the House, which is dominated by Republicans, would elect one of the top-three elector vote getters to serve as President. In this election, each state receives one vote and the state’s Congressional delegation makes that choice. Hence, Clinton would not win election. But I’m confident the House would select me over Trump and that Clinton and her supporters would much prefer me over Trump. Hence, I represent a form of insurance to Clinton and the Democrats.
Sixth, Clinton’s major asset is her experience and knowledge. This discussion format, unconstrained by a stop watch, would let her convey these attributes and convince the public that her hands are safe hands in which to place the country’s future. It would give me the time to tell the public what it has yet to hear — the real truth about our economic, tax, healthcare, Social Security, climate change and banking problems and the remarkably simple ways they can be fixed. It would also let me explain why immediate action, not business as usual, is needed to address the very real and imminent nuclear missile threat from North Korea, how we can resolve our lose-lose confrontations with Russia and China, and the new strategy we need for the Middle East.
There is a major risk to Clinton of debating me, not Trump. Yes, she would expand, I think dramatically, the spit in the Republican vote. But she may also find most independents and many Democrats voting for me on November 8th. Hence, she’d raise the odds of beating Trump, but lower the odds of beating me.
I presume that neither she nor her advisors think a write-in candidate can win the Presidential election and that splitting the Republicans would be a smart move. But on November 8th, the only actual difference between voting for me or voting for Trump or Clinton will be what or who inscribes our names on the ballot — a printer or the voter herself or himself.
Bets are generally made between people who differ on the odds. I’d love to make this bet with Secretary Clinton and she may be happy to make it with me. If so, she should simply announce that she’s going to debate a different Presidential candidate on September 26th. And if she wants to label me as a Republican, no harm done. I’m happy to be labeled a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or simply an adult who does what adults do — takes a stand when the costs and risks of inaction, especially to our children, are far too high.