Running for Office? When Your Opponent is having a Train Wreck

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The Director of the nation’s chief law enforcement agency declared that former Secretary of State, now running for office of the Presidency, Hillary Clinton lied. Repeatedly.

  • Lied about her email.
  • Lied when she said that no classified information was ever sent from her personal email account.
  • Lied when she said she gave authorities copies of all her work related emails.
  • Lied when she said she had State Department approval to do what she did.

He added that she was extremely careless with national security secrets, and that others guilty of the same infractions would have been fired and stripped of their security clearance.

And while he declined to recommend that Mrs. Clinton face charges, no Presidential nominee in recent times has suffered a more stinging indictment of their veracity, competence and trustworthiness from a more trusted source.

It should have been a great week for Mr. Trump. It wasn’t.

The day after Mrs. Clinton was grilled for nearly four hours by the FBI, Mr. Trump sent a derogatory tweet using the Star of David placed over a pile of money… which many regarded as anti-Semitic. His staff quickly deleted the tweet, but the damage was done.

The same day the report on Mrs. Clinton was released, Mr. Trump offered praise for Saddam Hussein, a despot we fought a war to depose, and a man who murdered half a million Iraqi citizens.

He then went to Washington to make peace with Republican members of Congress, and could not resist the temptation to attack, insult and threaten two Republican Senators who had refused to endorse him.

I shall leave to others to explain why Mr. Trump said the things he did. His playbook is one few have before seen. The larger lesson of what Mr. Trump did is this:

Offered a gift by the FBI director, Mr. Trump stepped all over the story. He should have used the opportunity to turn up the heat on Mrs. Clinton, and fertilize the seeds of doubt the FBI planted about her veracity, competence and character. Instead, he raised even more questions about his own.

There are some rules in political combat that have stood the test of time. One of them is this. When your opponent is having a train wreck…get the hell out of the way.

Have questions? Hit the comment button. Or email me at My phone number is 845-458-1210.

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Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

How to win an election:

Running for office and knowing how to win an election is a challenge, especially for first time political candidates just learning how to run for office. Discerning the fine points of how to campaign, raise political contributions, and execute a political campaign strategy often requires the help of someone who has served as a political strategist or who has experience as a political consultant.

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