Donald Trump made a Yuuuuuge mistake Wednesday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! by agreeing to debate Bernie Sanders for charity. Just a few minutes later, Bernie jumped at the chance:
Game on. I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 26, 2016
Trump can always back out of the debate by claiming he was just kidding but I think he won’t. On the surface, he doesn’t stand to gain anything but an ego boost and has quite a bit to lose. A win against the losing Democratic nominee doesn’t get you much of a bump in the polls while losing to the Democratic Party’s second place would be an unheard of disaster.
But! Looking past the immediate polling, a debate against Trump before the June 7th California primary would tremendously benefit Sanders. It raises his profile significantly in a key state that he needs an overwhelming victory in to remain relevant. This is the reason Bernie demanded a debate against Hillary and it’s also why she demurred. Any debate only helps Bernie.
And that’s why I think Trump will go through with it. If he’s as savvy as everyone says, not only will Trump debate Bernie, he’ll do everything possible to lose.
Trump’s Hillary Problem
If you listen to Bernie or Busters, there’s NO WAY Hillary can beat Trump. If you listen to Trump supporters, there’s NO WAY Hillary can beat Trump. If you listen to the Beltway pundits, the race is going to
get them incredibly high ratings be SUPER close. The reality is that Trump is praying for Bernie to be the nominee.
First, Trump is a misogynist. He can’t stop himself from saying demeaning and hateful things about women because he’s considered women to be beneath him his entire life. And the angrier he gets at a woman, the nastier he gets. It’s a reflex he has zero control over. The moment he starts attacking Hillary the way he attacks other women, he’s going to pay a steep price for it. Sure, it will send his male supporters into a frenzy but it will repulse most of his female supporters and drive Independent female voters straight to Hillary.
Second, Hillary is really, REALLY difficult to smear. A lot of digital ink has been spilled bemoaning Hillary’s “vulnerability” because she’s “untrustworthy” and “dishonest.” That supposed vulnerability is what 25 years of unrelenting opposition research will buy you. But, here’s the problem: Despite her supposed unpopularity, Hillary is cruising to an easy win as the Democratic nominee and she’s still, somehow, the most admired woman in the world, a distinction she’s won 20 times now.
She’s walked away from every scandal the right has tried to pin on her for over twenty years. Republicans got so desperate to stop the inevitable Clinton 2016 Juggernaut they spent years turning the Benghazi tragedy into the single most partisan witch-hunt since McCarthyism. And they overplayed that so badly they turned it into a punchline to a bad joke.
Third, Bernie is an easy target. Despite what Busters say, Bernie has not faced any real attacks on his policies. He hasn’t even been vetted by the press yet. Republicans have a mountain of opposition research they haven’t even touched yet in hopes they could use it against him in the general.
Meanwhile, Trump is already scrambling to find something, ANYTHING to throw at Clinton. He trotted out the Vince Foster murder conspiracy. He tried attacking her over Bill’s infidelities. He just got caught directing the RNC to dig up their old smears about the Whitewater “scandal” that never caught on. It reeks of panic.
Even Trump, with his arrogance and disdain for women can’t relish the idea of going head to head with Clinton. She has no obvious weaknesses and he doesn’t know how to attack women without being a sexist pig. It’s like stepping into the ring with Mike Tyson and realizing that you’re 8 inches shorter, 150 pounds lighter, wearing a KKK uniform and your left ankle is sprained. It may have sounded like a good idea at the time by the reality is that you’re about to get your ass beat like a pinata.
If Trump actually goes through with this debate instead of refusing to debate “A loser,” it will be the surest sign yet that he’s absolutely terrified of Hillary Clinton and willing to do anything to avoid a confrontation.
Featured image via YouTube