Pundits are speculating about the tactics that Hillary Clinton might adopt against Donald Trump. The sheer volume of his defects makes it hard to choose a single line of attack. In an interview with Wolf Blitzer, Clinton talked about the race:

Look, I’m ready for his fantasy campaign and the outrageous things he’s going to say. I just really regret that the kinds of things he is saying about letting other countries get nuclear weapons and bringing back torture, and just the outrageous comments are literally being heard around the world. That’s not who we are as Americans. That’s not the kind of strong, smart, steady leadership that we need and deserve.

There’s a simpler way to put this: Trump is unhinged. If we think for a moment about Trump in the White House, the greatest concerns are his volatility, his lack of impulse control and his vindictiveness. There is plenty of evidence for these traits in his continued assaults on fellow Republicans, his outbursts against reporters and his frenetic flip-flops, sometimes within a single sentence. We have no idea what he would do, and neither does he.

Within that rubric one can say many things about — this might seem self-evident, but 40 percent of Republican voters sure didn’t grasp it — why you cannot have an unhinged, unstable person in the White House as the leader of the country and the free world. Clinton and her aides would do well to think through their attacks by completing the sentence: You cannot have an unhinged person like Donald Trump in charge because. . .

  • He is responsible for men and women in the military.
  • His ignorant, crazy ideas about the economy (e.g. not standing behind our sovereign debt) could crash the markets and spook investors and trading partners.
  • A man this angry and vindictive cannot have control of the military, the CIA, the FBI, the IRS, the Justice Department and every federal regulator. Ben Wittes over at Brookings, who focused primarily on the awesome power of federal prosecutors in the Justice Department, had the best summation of this very real concern: “The presidency’s very virtues as an office—relative unity and vertical integration—make it impossible to render abuse-proof. It is vested with a truly awesome thing: ‘the executive power’ of the entire federal government. There are simply too many ways to abuse that power to imagine we can denude the office of the ability to behave tyrannically.” He adds: “There is, in fact, only one way to tyrant-proof the American presidency: Don’t elect tyrants to it. To a degree we don’t choose to acknowledge, our system does rely on civic virtue and decency. Trump has campaigned against that decency. He has actively promised countless abuses of power. He has promised retaliations against his enemies.”
  • He has the power to launch war, including nuclear war, and has neither the judgment nor self-control to use that power wisely. Hence we’ve seen him refuse to take off the table a nuclear war in Europe and his inclination to give Asian allies access to nuclear weapons.
  • A person prone to personalized insults and petty vindictiveness as we saw when he lashed out against the new mayor of London and the British prime minister has the capacity to destabilize alliances, embarrass and isolate the United States and give our enemies justification for aggression (as when he categorizes our enemy as all of Islam and seeks to ban all Muslims).
  • A man who envisions himself as an omnipotent authoritarian (the military will follow orders to commit war crimes because he says so) has misplaced admiration for other authoritarian figures and is uniquely vulnerable to their flattery and attention.
  • A man this delusional about his own abilities and cut off from reality (if he does not read briefing papers, it’s safe to assume he does not read nonfiction books, either) cannot be educated or influenced by advisers.
  • A man this narcissistic will surround himself with thugs and lackeys with questionable ties (as Paul Manafort does with Russia) and horrible judgment (that would be Corey Lewandowski) who themselves will abuse their power.

The benefit of this argument is that: 1) It is true; 2) Trump demonstrates it every day; and 3) It’s not something Trump can alter. Maybe most important, it confirms voters’ underlying suspicions about Trump. There was a reason the Daisy ad worked against the late Sen. Barry Goldwater(R-Ariz.) in 1964. Clinton would do well to keep the image of that ad in mind every day until the election.