AMES, Iowa – David Andersen, an assistant professor of political science at Iowa State University, says the presidential election is Hillary Clinton’s to lose. Clinton will officially become the nominee this week at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Andersen says his Top 5 strategies for Hillary Clinton are not nearly as critical as the Top 5 recommendations he outlined last week for Donald Trump.
1. Increase favorability: Watch the accompanying video to see why Andersen says Clinton must get people to like her and why that will be no small feat.
2. Run a positive campaign: “Clinton is failing at this right now. If she can run a positive campaign and avoid the temptation to attack Donald Trump, she’s going to look like she’s above the fray. People don’t like Clinton because they don’t trust her and they think she’s a mean person. She doesn’t want her actions over the next five months to support that thinking. Clinton needs to be nice and talk about what she wants to accomplish for America. She’s not campaigning against Mitt Romney, who put out reasonable proposals with ideological differences. Trump is putting out some very vague and unrealistic ideas, but she doesn’t have to point it out – the media and other people will do it. If Clinton stays nice, the average American voter may decide she’s not so bad, and that will help her tremendously.”
3. Campaign on experience: “Clinton cannot hide from the fact that she is the most experienced person in the field and probably the most qualified person in the country to be president. Unfortunately, voters don’t seem to want that experience. Clinton has to make the case that we need it, and that the presidency is too important to turn over to somebody who doesn’t know how to do the job. It’s time for a presidential candidate to say, ‘We need smart people with experience, who understand how the system works and can lead.’ The Democratic Party needs to make this relatable to voters with simple analogies such as, ‘If you want to get your car fixed, you go to an experienced mechanic, not your next door neighbor who is a plumber.’ Politics is exactly the same. For government to work, you need somebody with experience who knows what government can and cannot do. It’s an important point, but both parties have given up on making this argument.”
4. Consolidate the Democratic base: “Clinton needs to get Bernie Sanders supporters on board. She has made an effort to reach out to them, by changing the Democratic platform on higher education and supporting free, in-state public education tuition. Clinton needs to take additional steps to get the Democratic base solidly behind her. If she consolidates the base to make sure that people who want to vote for a Democrat, want to vote for her, the odds are in her favor to win this election.”
5. Appeal to independents: “Focusing on key Democratic issues is important, but Clinton must also find a way to target independents and connect with people who normally don’t want to deal with politics. There’s concern that a lot of people not aligned with either party don’t want to vote and will stay home because they’re fed up with politics and despise the two presidential candidates. She needs to appeal to these people and say, ‘Here’s what I’m going to do for you.’ I have no idea what that appeal might be, but that’s what Clinton has to figure out.”