Saturday, August 20, 2016

Why won't Clinton punch harder?

I have many half-formulated posts germinating in my thoughts, and may not have a chance to write them out. But as I ponder those essays, one key problem keeps nagging at me: Why is Trump down only three-to-eight points in national polls?

He has run no ads, many leading Republicans have turned against him, and his campaign has been a massive collection of gaffes. In spite of all of that, he keeps inching upward.

No other candidate in American history has received such disastrous press. No other candidate has displayed such immaturity, such deceit, such underhandedness, such impulsiveness. No other candidate has been so lacking in talent, erudition, education, experience, patience, tolerance, taste or intellectual curiosity.

The man has ties to both the Mafia and Putin's Russia. He has lied about his taxes, his wealth, and his alleged charity. (If you want real dirt, look at the Trump Foundation, not the Clinton Foundation). His health report is clearly bogus. He changes his stances at whim. He lies incessantly. He treats women as sex objects. He speaks to minorities condescendingly. He espouses torture. His instincts are thoroughly authoritarian. His claims to respect the Bible, a book he obviously knows nothing about. He has wedded himself to absurd conspiracy theories. His skin is thinner than onionskin. He has absolutely no concept of what's in the Constitution and seems uninterested in reading that text -- probably because he plans to use any plausible excuse to bypass its constraints.

Why isn't Hillary Clinton twenty or thirty points ahead of this disgusting, vile, oafish ambulatory tumor? Why isn't she crushing him?

I know that you've been keeping an eye on those electoral maps that seem to show many safely blue states -- the same maps that I check several times a day. Ostriches, it's time for you to yank your heads out of that cerulean sand: If Trump inches up just two or three points more in the national polls, many of those pale blue states will start to go pink again. Two or three points beyond that, and he wins.

Hillary Clinton's ads and her rhetoric have been weak tea. She has mounted the kind of campaign one would expect if she were running against a normal political opponent such as John McCain or Mitt Romney. Her advertising should reflect the unique danger of the current situation.

For example: Trump, as a major landlord, has a documented and easily-provable history of discriminating against people of color. His campaign is run by Steve Bannon, the man who transformed the Breitbart website into a cesspool of white supremacism. Eight years ago, any Republican with a strong link to a human bacillus like Bannon would have had no chance for national office.

Why would she hesitate to say "Trump is a racist"? She should use those exact words. No adverbial qualifiers.

Trump is the candidate of Breitbart, of the Alt Right movement. Breitbart is a fascist site. The Alt Right movement is a fascist movement. It's time for us to use that term without apology or shame, because no other description fits -- and any academic who disagrees can go to that circle of hell where the devil stows pseudo-scholarly hair-splitters.

Why won't Hillary launch a hard-hitting series of ads attacking Trump's racism and fascism -- using that term again and again and again, doubling down, quadrupling down, billioning down?

Why not a series of ads devoted to exposing the copious evidence that Trump is working hand-in-hand with Vladimir Putin?

Why not a series of ads devoted to exposing Trump's ties to the Mafia?

Why not a series of ads devoted to exposing the victims of this man's refusal to pay laborers for their labor?

Why not a series titled "TRUMP LIES"?

A couple of posts down, I listed just some of the many, many outrageous falsehoods this man has promulgated. The Clinton campaign should produce dozens of ads devoted to these many lies. The ads should not look slick or expensively-produced, but they should move fast. Lots of fast, hard cuts. The images should land like a punch in the face. The ads should devastate. The series should seem endless. The public should feel as though they cannot turn on their teevees without seeing a brand new set of Trump lies: Wham wham wham WHAM.

Why hold back? Why don't Democrats call him "LYING DONALD TRUMP" repeatedly?

Why isn't Donald Trump being portrayed as world-historical disaster comparable to Hitler or Stalin?

Why is Hillary Clinton taking the high road? Why is she treating Donald Trump as though he were just another Republican with whom she has policy disagreements? Trump has no policies; he's not intelligent enough to formulate a coherent set of policies. All he has is egomania and the will to dominate.

Why doesn't Hillary Clinton make crystal clear that Donald Trump is subhuman fascist filth?
Perhaps she knows she doesn't need to, because the national security establishment prefers her to the orange dude. One way or another, the NSE will prevent the orange dude from winning--and in this age of hackable voting computers, I do not speak of anything so crude as an assassination or a military coup.

Also, we do not have direct popular elections of the President in this country; we have the Electoral College, and she is crushing him in the EC. If he loses a large number of states by only 1 or 2%, he still loses them. As I noted in an earlier thread, if Nate Silver starts agreeing with you, I will probably start worrying. (Oh, I worry a little now, but that's probably mainly because I read your blog. -_^)

Also, you are convinced of Trump's ties to Putin. To the average above-it-all "professionally trained", lap-up-what-the-official-spokespeople-tell-you "journalist", that, and all those other criminal and quasi-criminal things you listed, sound like conspiracy crap from the fever swamps. Clinton may, therefore, think it would backfire on her.

By the way--yes, Putin is formidable, but he's not a Bond villain (he'd be smart enough to just shoot Bond, instead of putting him into a deathtrap from the ACME Corporation)--and yes, Russia is formidable, but who won the Cold War?
Besides, maybe Clinton is planning to do at least some of what you suggested in September and October. Maybe she's saving the hard stuff for if she needs it. Plus, she already has released that ad with national security officials and pundits saying Trump is not fit for the Presidency.
Feel the Johnson stand the Stein. They are taking that alt-vote hand over fist.
Four way vote is 43 - 37 - 9 - 3 - 8 (undecided)

That Trump is at 37% is pretty unprecedented in a GE at this moment. And both Johnson and Stein are the only ones showing movement, if minimal But it wouldn't surprise me to see it 41 - 35 - 13 - 7 - 3 in a month either.
Look at this latest one. Both candidates below 40. If Clinton hits him harder, the votes are not going to her but to someone else. It's turning into a 3rd candidate alternative potential:

LV's Ipso:
Hillary Clinton (Democrat) 39%
Donald Drumpf (Republican) 35%
Gary Johnson (Libertarian) 7%
Jill Stein (Green) 2%
Other 4%
Wouldn’t Vote 4%
Don’t know / Refused 10%

RV's MC:
Democrat Hillary Clinton 39%
Republican Donald Drumpf 33%
Libertarian Gary Johnson 9%
Green Party’s Jill Stein 4%
Don’t Know / No Opinion 15%

That's 27% going another way, and growing.

The ascent and effects of FOX News plus Rush Limbaugh have provided sufficient evidence that anybody will say anything and get away with it. Not so oddly, FOX News started at the same time we got a saturation ad campaign featuring the wonderful Joe Isuzu.

Did it matter in 1972 that George McGovern compared Nixon's administration to Nazi Germany and Nixon to Hitler? Or that Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News on the Monday before Election Day also compared Nixon to Hitler?

Does it matter that in October 2007 on Real News, Bill Maher offered the argument that a foreign-born naturalized citizen -- Arnold Schwarzenegger -- should be eligible for the presidency? Does it matter that when Maher was challenged on the obvious Constitutional grounds, he replied, "It's only an amendment [that could be repealed]"? Or that his guest, former presidential candidate, extraordinarily decorated, retired five-star General Wesley Clark, said, "Amendments are part of the Constitution"? Or that the citizenship eligibility is not expressed in any amendment, but in Section 1 of Article II of the Constitution? Does it matter that nobody knows anything? It probably doesn't matter that the Clinton campaign was accused of playing the race card in 2008 unless everyone will be reminded. Does it matter that the two candidates (plus Sanders) are just too old to be doing what they're doing? They're perpetually at risk of age-related trauma or death. Their hearing is all but shot, they have cataracts or had them removed, Trump has lost at least 40% of his body's muscle mass. They wake every day knowing that their personal futures are brutal, nasty, and short.

Will it matter in late October and early November that Trump will make a perfect fit and match to the 24/7 football seasonal coverage, while Clinton might become an annoying distraction?

Did Gore 'lose' because his would-be VP is a Jew?

And why oh why is David Cay Johnson not a prime guest on EVERY major TV news show in the country? In the weeks after the release of his recent Trump expose, he has been all over foreign news networks, but might as well not exist in the good ol' USA.
Then there's Evan McMullin. But unless a lot of money is deliberately spent, support for candidates outside the two main parties will drop off after the first TV debate on 26 September. This is assuming Johnson doesn't make it to 15%, but I doubt that he will/

Got to admit, McMullin is hitting Trump harder than Clinton is. He's focusing on Trump's mental problems. Who knows, maybe he could win the six electoral votes in Utah.

@B - You say "Donald Drumpf". That makes him Donald JOHANN Drumpf, the first 666-er since Ronald Wilson Reagan :)

Seriously, I wish someone would target the evangelical demographic with the 666 stuff. If the Clinton campaign wants to pass me a million or two, I'd be happy to take charge :) He calls the first floor of his triplex apartment the 66th even though it isn't; he's got "666" on the coat of arms he loves so much (click here), and the founder of his Organisation was his grandmother, born Elizabeth Christ, who died on 6/6/66.

@J Story - Good point. Clinton needs to get into the fight more. Otherwise when the TV debates come round, part of the smartphone-clutching audience is going to think "Trump we know, but who's that woman he's debating with?"

Clinton has got her work cut out for her. Ideally she should have a strong case if she says "I've spent decades in public service, while this guy has no public service experience whatsoever, because he's spent his whole life advancing his own personal interests". That's a simple message, and it's true. But as we know, it's not so easy for her to say, given a) her weak points (which are obviously going to get attacked), and b) the respect that too many people in the US have for swaggering macho bosses who rub the other guys' faces in the dirt. I mean c'mon, it says something about the country's culture that Trump's books have sold so well. Why hasn't the US got a proper state health service? Why is there so much homelessness in the country, when there's none in Cuba?

Nor should it be a surprise that the first time a woman runs for the US presidency for one of the major parties, her opponent is a super-macho arsehole of arseholes. As Germaine Greer says, we underestimate the force of the macho movement at our peril.

And it's not just US culture; it's the US political system too. What major country with an executive presidency (France, Russia, the US) rather than a figurehead presidency (Germany, Ireland) has ever had a woman near the top job?

Trump needs to be attacked more on that bullshit "medical report". Does it (prima facie) breach AMA rules somehow? BTW Trump announced in a tweet before he released it that his medical report would show perfection.

@Joe - I don't know the answer to your big question in this post, but the fact that billionaires from a single company (Renaissance Technologies) are helping both sides may be relevant.
re: "Why is Trump down only three-to-eight points in national polls?"

No mystery here. That's what I predicted long ago, if Trump were the GOP nominee.

1. We live in an era of increasing partisan polarization. Voters are increasingly hardening along party lines, with decreasing crossover voting.

As Brendan Nyhan noted:"At the mass level, #NeverTrump will be more rare than people think. Partisanship + motivated reasoning are powerful"

A couple articles on the increasing partisan solidification, here and here.

2. The best (most accurate) models based purely on fundamentals (e.g. economic factors, etc.), such as the Abramowitz Time for Change model, tend to favor a GOP Presidential victory this year. So Clinton is running against fundamental headwinds.

Incidentally, as an aside - the analyst with the best predictive track record right now is Sam Wang. He had the lowest error for the 2012 national elections (predicted state outcomes for Presidential race and Senate races). In late December 2015, he not only correctly predicted that Clinton and Trump would be the Dem and GOP nominees, but he also correctly predicted that Tim Kaine would be the Dem VP nominee.
A a woman it pains me to say that even in 2016 there is still a double standard in how woman and men will be judged for their behavior. Hillary Clinton cannot appear to sink to Trump's level, not that she would want to. It goes to what the First Lady said at the DNC convention: "When they go low, we go high." If Hillary hits too hard she will be criticized and lose more support than she will gain. See the 2008 primary results where she did hit hard, was criticized and it cost her. While I appreciate that it frustrates some supporters, I think she is hitting back with facts and humor. She lets her surrogates do the dirty work. That being said, I think she and her surrogates will hit harder as the election draws closer.
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