The Gate’s Elections editor, Dylan Wells, is on the ground at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week. This evening, she caught up with Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor of the National Review and former IOP fellow. Look for more convention coverage to follow in the coming days.
The Gate: What do you think it would take from Hillary this week here at the convention to win over some of those voters who are wondering if they should vote for Trump, or maybe a third party candidate, or Hillary herself?
Ramesh Ponnuru: I believe the central message of the Clinton campaign should be “you may not like me, but you should fear him. I’m qualified to be president, he isn’t.” And that’s not going to be the only message of the convention, but it seems to me that what would make the most sense for her politically is for that to be the central message.
Gate: Do you think the selection of Tim Kaine is going to help her in gaining those voters who are on edge?
Ponnuru: Clinton was asked recently by Charlie Rose about Kaine’s reputation for being boring and she said, “I love that about him.” She should love that about him, because it helps reinforce that he is a safe, steady pair of hands. If you want the excitement of burning the world down, vote for Donald Trump. If are not in that camp, vote for [Clinton]. Trump wants to make this election a referendum on the status quo. And so most people are unhappy with the state of the country, they should vote for [Trump]. She, I think, should make it a referendum on “should we burn the world down?” And she can win that referendum. She cannot credibly be a change agent. She cannot convince people that they love the state of the country. She can convince them that Donald Trump would be a disastrous head of state.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
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Dylan Wells is a fourth-year Political Science major and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations minor. This summer Dylan worked at CBS News in the Political Unit. Previously, she interned at ABC News' Washington, DC bureau as a Political Unit Fellow, twice at the Institute of Politics as the Events Intern and the Summer Programs Intern, and with POLITICO Live at the DNC. Last year she served as The Gate's Editor-in-Chief, and before that she served as the Elections Editor. Dylan was the recipient of the inaugural David Axelrod Reporting Grant, which she used for a story on domestic human trafficking. Dylan enjoys traveling, exploring the Chicago brunch scene, and playing with her dog, Wasabi.