Finley: How low can Trump, Clinton go?

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

Surrogates for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign are launching a $96 million ad blitz to tell Americans what most already know: There’s not a lot to like about Donald Trump.

The negative advertising will portray the real estate developer as a dangerous con man who lacks the credentials to be president. Hillary Clinton promises to reinforce that theme in debates with Trump to demonstrate his unfitness for office.

So, tell us something we don’t already know, Mrs. Clinton. Like a reason we should vote for you other than you’re not Trump. And same for you, Mr. Trump.

Both candidates are spending most of their campaign energy doing a job that has already been done — trashing the image of their opponent.

These are the two least-liked presidential candidates in history. Each has a negative rating with voters approaching 60 percent. It’s hard to imagine those numbers can get much worse.

The challenge ahead of them is to improve their own numbers. To make people like them. And more importantly, to make people trust them.

In a recent Fox News poll, 66 percent of voters say Clinton is dishonest. Trump is close behind at 57 percent. Most say the phrase “has strong moral values” does not apply to either Clinton (57 percent) or Trump (58 percent). And a majority say both Clinton (71 percent) and Trump (65 percent) will “say anything to get elected.”

So voters are already convinced of what they don’t like about Trump and Clinton.

What neither candidate seems to grasp is the need to give Americans more than anger and attacks. They have to build a case for their own qualifications, vision and ability to lead.

Clinton, particularly, is wasting her time and money in tearing down Trump. Just let him keep destroying himself and distinguish herself with a positive message.

Instead of trying to be the lesser of two evils, be someone the broader electorate is actually excited about supporting.

As for Trump, attacking is all he’s got. And he has an irresistible target in Clinton, with her serial scandals and deceptions. But in the end, he’s still Donald Trump, and he still gives a lot of voters the willies.

If he wants to be president, he has to stop scaring voters with racist and sexist outbursts. He may have won the nomination with a narrow group of like-minded backers, but he won’t win the White House that way. Remind us again how your deal-making skills and business acumen will make for a greater America. Trying sounding smarter.

If Clinton and Trump keep on the present course, this could be the lowest election turnout ever. Voters are telling pollsters they may skip the presidential part of the ballot because neither candidate is worthy of their vote. In the Fox poll, 20 percent of independent voters say they’d rather stay home than choose either major party candidate.

Voters are more passionate about coming to the polls to vote for a candidate than they are to vote against one.

Trump and Clinton have offered up tons of reasons not to vote for the other guy. But darn few for why we should vote for them.

Nolan Finley’s book “A Little Red Hen: A Collection of Columns from Detroit’s Conservative Voice” is available from Amazon, iBooks and Barnes & Noble Nook.