I can always sense the moment when a campaign turns sour and becomes nearly unrecoverable. So can many of you, I'm betting.
Hillary will probably lose this election because she cannot seize the narrative and she cannot rewrite the story that was written about her. A couple of posts ago, this blog predicted that the polls will turn against her before another week has passed. If -- when -- that happens, she may not be able to bounce back.
If this site were more widely-read I would not say these words, for fear of depressing the Democratic vote. But a niche site can afford brutal honesty.
The recriminations have already started. I've seen 'em, mostly in various comments published on left-wing sites. (The formal "blame Hillary" articles will not appear until September 6 or 7.) Sorry, but I can't provide you with any links; didn't bookmark. Here's the gist, from memory: Hillary ran a bad campaign in 2008, and she's doing it again. The money she's raising is going to television commercials and ground game, neither of which are going to affect the narrative.
There is both truth and untruth in this.
The untruth lies in the characterization of the 2008 effort: When the entire media decided in favor of Obama, when everyone smeared her character
, when every talking head on teevee shouted "Fall down, you bitch!"
-- Hillary found her inner populist firebrand. Suddenly she kept winning and winning and winning
The last stretch of the 2008 primary season was a marvel, a come-from-behind near-victory that most of our pundit class has always refused to acknowledge. They had pegged Obama as The People's Choice and they didn't like any challenges to their preferred narrative. More than that: They could not confess that just a girl
could fight. Hillary refused to fall down. She proved that she could stay on her feet no matter how
many punches slammed into her.
We need more
of that 2008 fighting populist underdog spirit right now, not less.
Nevertheless, it is true: The money Hillary has raised is being spent in the wrong places.
(Side note: Why are people bragging about the amount she raised? Yep, the total comes to $143 million
. But only $62 million will go to her own campaign; the rest will seep downticket. Trump raised $80 million and it's all his
We've entered a new campaign age. Unfortunately, too many "pros" remind me of the old saying about generals preparing to fight the previous war.
You know why Trump hasn't spent on teevee or ground game? Because those things no longer matter the way they used to. What matters is social media. What matters is mounting a troll army that launches a coordinated message relentlessly -- and not
just on lefty websites.
The palpable lack of Clinton trolls is one of the reasons why I'm predicting a Trump win. In the internet age, the battle is my troll army versus your troll army
What matters most of all is regaining control of the narrative.
Yes, Hillary needs to mount a proper refutation of the Foundation and email smears. But more than that, she needs to attack. Attack attack attack. If you're defending, you're losing.
My suggestion? Trump's mob ties
. Focus on that.
Those ties are quite real; anyone who looks into the matter will have a hard time crying "smear." And no-one can claim that the issue is not legitimate. If Clinton had those kinds of mafia links in her background, we'd be hearing about them every time we turned on cable news.
Surrogates and trolls and fellow Dems should spend at least three days pounding that message no matter what: Trump is mobbed up. Trump is mobbed up. Trump is mobbed up
. It's sexy, it's significant, it captures the imagination, and it can be easily understood by even the dumbest dummies in Dummyland. That message ties into every southerner's stereotyped view of corrupt New Yorkers.
Don't let up. The opposing team will smirk. They'll try to refute. They will say "You're desperate." When you hear that nervous laughter of derision, you're winning. Don't let up
Dems in Congress should talk about investigating Trump's mob ties. Signal that if Trump wins, he'll face incessant
probes -- and unlike the Whitewater debacle, these
probes will have a basis in reality. Even Trump's fans know, deep in their hearts, that this guy has engaged in a lifetime's worth of chicanery. Let the public understand just what kind of hell awaits.
Every time Trump says "Crooked Hillary," Democrats should call him "Mafia Don."
Teevee should be a part of the mix, but only a part. And for chrissakes, the ads should not
be slick. No After Effects, no color correction, and no swooshy transitions between shots. Straight cuts; raw footage; white text on a black background. The ads should be as fast, cheap, thuggish and primal as a hundred-dollar hit man.
The Putin factor
. The Russian leader denies hacking the DNC even as he winkingly offers a between-the-lines confession
"Listen, does it even matter who hacked this data?’’ Putin said in an interview at the Pacific port city of Vladivostok on Thursday. “The important thing is the content that was given to the public."
Imagine if Khruschev had said in 1963: "Listen, does it even matter who killed Kennedy? The important thing is that we now have a chance for a fresh start." That statement would be tantamount to a signature, right?
Putin understands this, and he understands that we
understand. He's no dummy.
Now, Donald Trump is
a dummy: When he says something that reveals more than intended, he remains unaware of the message he has conveyed via subtext. Hell, Trump doesn't even know what the word "subtext" means
. But when Putin denies responsibility for the DNC hack (and for the upcoming October Surprise, which will consist of made-in-Russia forgeries), he is not only lying, he knows that we
know he is lying.
And so he winks at us. In essence, he is saying: "I DEFINITELY DID
not do IT
If you can't decode his real message, you're an idiot.
Putin underlines his signature when he makes a transparent play for sympathy from the BernieBots who are still high on Hill-Hate, and who still believe that the "liberated" DNC emails revealed a plot against Bernie. In fact, nothing
in that hack provided any evidence that those BernieBro fantasies had any basis in reality. Did we see any emails regarding those imaginary plots concerning debate scheduling? No. Did we see anything to buttress those ludicrous allegations that Bernie suffered from election fraud? No.
(There probably was
election fraud during the primaries -- in Michigan and in Brooklyn -- but since the evidence strongly suggests that Hillary
was the victim, we are never allowed to discuss the data.)
Yes, the DNC hack revealed a couple of emails in which individual workers at headquarters expressed support for Hillary and frustration with Bernie. So the fuck what? There was no
evidence of institutional
wrongdoing. None. Nada. Zero.
I say that Putin's remarks are just another indication that the entire Bernie Sanders movement was part of the Trump/Putin conspiracy all along. Never forget: Bernie's eminence grise, Tad Devine, is a partner of the disgraced Paul Manafort. They worked on the same project in Ukraine.
Let the implications sink in: Tad and Paul worked together on Putin's behalf in Ukraine.
Remember all those stories the "mystery money" that was earmarked for Manafort?
Remember how the Bernie campaign became suddenly flush with cash?
Remember when our under-funded and nearly-comatose FEC asked the Bernie campaign "Hey, where did these millions of bucks come from?"
Remember my earlier posts which demonstrated that small donations are completely unaccountable and thus more
likely to have a corrupt source? Whenever a candidate brags that his donations are mostly under the $50 mark, listen closely for the whirr whirr whirr
of a money laundry in operation.