- - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The coming Trump-Hillary clash will likely bring the bitterness and animosity one would expect from the two principals in this fight. But Republican voters should seek the rapidly diminishing opportunity to get it right. The battle between the two will be ugly because their differences are so small.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton agree on Planned Parenthood. They agree on the necessity of national health care. They agree on George W. Bush “lying” us into Iraq (though if anything, Mr. Trump is the more irresponsible one on that note). They agree on entitlements on autopilot (leading to fiscal insolvency). Both are apparently ready to revive the Smoot-Hawley-Tariff approach to ending international trade in favor of crony capitalism and picking favored industries (if perhaps different industries).

Naturally both have themselves given vast sums to Democratic candidates. Both have praised liberal judges. Both are beset by noted truthfulness challenges and personal-ethics skeletons. Both are strident and have gargantuan egos and senses of entitlement.

Far too many Republicans have proven cheap dates. Having the right enemies isn’t enough. Sticking it to the establishment isn’t enough. “Restoring American greatness” isn’t well-served by a slightly different flavor of Clintonism in its worse 2016 manifestation. And no one should assume Mr. Trump’s dyspeptic, shoot-from-the-lip style will wear well over the next eight months with only one opponent left.

When voters do their homework, they’ll see how much political real estate is unrepresented by the major parties’ leading candidates. Rather than anticipating a clash of the titans, we should be discussing a Trump-Hillary ticket.

GREGORY MCCARTHY

Burke, Va.

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