Trump’s continued attacks on Clinton tell us why the Democrats lost

So why is President Trump still waging war on Hillary Clinton? Why tweet about missing emails and ties to Ukraine when he’s the one inside the White House? Why send press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders before the cameras — nearly nine months after the election — to read what amounted to a multi-count indictment of Trump’s defeated foe

In this, as he does so often, Trump serves as a magic decoder ring for our seemingly incomprehensible 21st-century politics. With reptilian clarity — hopeless on strategy, but instinctively keen — he seizes on the binary basics of our endless combat: To survive, one must have a foe.

.. Down deep, Trump surely knows he owes his presidency to Clinton. His vulnerabilities as a candidate were precisely the spots where Clinton was too weak to land a blow. The murkiness of his finances was offset by the shadiness of the Clinton Foundation. Her outrage at Trump’s boorish behavior rang false given her infinite tolerance for her husband’s. If Trump’s first impulse was always to dodge the truth, well, where had we seen that before? Clinton had to collapse in public before she was willing to admit to a mild case of pneumonia. Her story about her emails had more holes than Trump National Golf Club. As for the empty slogans of his campaign (“Build that wall”), they were hardly less substantial than hers (“Stronger together”). His ignorance of policy and history demanded a campaign about nothing. She gave it to him.

.. survived the election, a feat managed by making it a series of head-to-head combats, against Low-Energy Jeb, then L’il Marco, then Lyin’ Ted and finally Crooked Hillary. Trump’s continuing focus on Clinton serves to remind all the people who held their noses while voting for him that elections aren’t about theoretical standards or ideals. They are about this one or that one. Too often, American voters feel like they’re dining at Hell’s Café, where the menu offers two dishes only: boiled work boots or roadkill tartare.

.. If America wanted this agenda, the Democrats would not be out of power from statehouse to White House. You can’t beat Trump by coining more vacuous slogans than his, or launching flimsier policy balloons. You can’t conquer his straw men with an army of your own. Trump’s opponents will only beat him with something new and better than the candidates, tactics and policies of the past.