Ann Richards’ 10 steps to victory for Hillary

What would former Texas Gov. Ann Richards say to Hillary Clinton?

Ann Richards was known for a brilliant, wicked wit that could eviscerate an opponent while eliciting laughs from the audience. Remember her quip about former President George H.W. Bush: “Poor George, he can’t help it, he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

I worked for Richards in her first electoral campaign in Austin.

Here’s the advice she’d give Hillary Clinton:

1. Go bold.

Richards would go bold on Donald Trump. Hold his comments up for scrutiny again and again.

2. Tie him to dictators.

Richards would tie Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin and ask Americans why any presidential candidate would encourage a foreign adversary to spy on us. Don’t let that die. Even Americans desperate for the American dream have to see how reckless that is.

3. Ridicule him.

She would say ridicule Donald — he can’t stand it. Do it with humor so others join you in laughing at him. There’s plenty of material. Repeat it in your ads, with a soundtrack and footage of people laughing. He will start to hear it in his sleep.

4. Hire a really good cartoonist.

Maybe several. Start putting cartoons of Donald and his comments on Twitter every day. It will drive him crazy.

5. Challenge him to several debates. Soon.

He’s already maneuvering to undercut viewership of the three scheduled debates. Challenge him to more. He won’t risk being labeled a coward or a loser for turning you down.

6. Create situations that make it likely he overreaches in his sixth-grade verbal attacks.

Texas oilman and “bidnessman” Claytie Williams did just that to Richards, creating such a backlash of outrage among women that Richards was elected as the only Democratic governor of Texas since the ’70s. Williams publicly commented that foggy weather was like rape, “if it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.” And he said of Richards, “I am going to head her and hoof her and drag her through the dirt.” Donald is quite capable of something similar if provoked.

7. Be familiar.

Donald is his first name. Use it. He uses yours often enough.

8. Give him a nickname.

He shows no respect for you or most people he talks about. He likes Crooked Hillary for you. Pick one for him out of the many that fit. Devious Donald? Deceitful Donald? Dangerous Donald? Pick one and drive it home.

9. Have fun with this election.

Voters will see you are confident enough to poke fun at him. Pretend you are talking to the incorrigible Donald who once punched his grade school teacher and whose father sent him to military school for discipline. You know the type. They were the kids who pulled your pigtails or tortured a kitten just for fun.

10. Hold that image until November.