Unpredictable candidate Donald Trump makes the direction of the 2016 presidential campaign hard to foretell. The only thing sure thing is that it will be “very ugly,” says political scientist Tom Schwartz.
“In 1964, Lyndon Johnson painted Barry Goldwater as someone who would get us into nuclear war,” says Schwartz, professor of history at Vanderbilt University. “He did the famous ‘Daisy Ad,’ showing a child about to be annihilated by atomic weapons because Barry Goldwater’s finger was on the nuclear trigger.
“You might see that (type of ad) from the Clinton campaign about Trump this time,” Schwartz says.
Trump, however, could use a variation of the same strategy.
“Trump is likely to suggest that Hillary is so weak that she’ll put America in danger of more terrorist attacks by ISIS,” Schwartz says.
Another thing to look for is an “October surprise.”
“For example in 1980 the Reagan camp feared at the last minute that Jimmy Carter would free the hostages from Iran and be able to win the election,” he says. “I do think in this particular election we may see concerns about a last-minute foreign policy question. For example a terrorist attack is one thing that can throw off a campaign and … have an impact on the election.”