Thursday, July 14, 2016


Okay, now do you believe that it's not going to be a Clinton landslide?
Hillary Clinton has emerged from the F.B.I. investigation into her email practices as secretary of state a wounded candidate with a large and growing majority of voters saying she cannot be trusted, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll....

Mrs. Clinton’s six-percentage-point lead over the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, in a CBS News poll last month has evaporated. The two candidates are now tied in a general election matchup, the new poll indicates, with each receiving the support of 40 percent of voters.
They're tied, 40%-40%. Granted, President Obama trailed Mitt Romney by 1 in a Times/CBS poll conducted in July 2012, and Obama went on to win comfortably. But Obama was never as disliked as Clinton is now. He was never as broadly distrusted.

Trump -- the guy who gave us Trump University and the Trump Institute -- is beating Hillary Clinton on trust inthe new poll:
As Mrs. Clinton prepares to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination at the convention in Philadelphia this month, she will confront an electorate in which 67 percent of voters say she is not honest and trustworthy. That number is up five percentage points from a CBS News poll conducted last month, before the F.B.I. released its findings....

Mr. Trump is also distrusted by a large number of voters -- 62 percent -- but that number has stayed constant despite increased scrutiny on his business record and falsehoods in his public statements and Twitter messages.
Last month, those polled were evenly split on whether Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump would do a better job handling the economy and jobs. Now, 52 percent said Mr. Trump would be better, compared with 41 percent for Mrs. Clinton.
I understand that the James Comey press conference left a lot of fence-sitters believing that Hillary Clinton absolutely can't be trusted (and I know that the impact of the press conference will, in time, fade somewhat). But hasn't enough been said about Trump's sleazy practices to keep him permanently ahead of her on untrustworthiness? And why, even for the moment, is the King of Bankruptcy way ahead on handling the economy?

I was looking at the speaker list for the upcoming Republican convention. It reminded me of nothing so much as the lineup of speakers for a dubious get-rich-quick seminar held at a midsized suburban auditorium:
From sports there is [Tim] Tebow, the former quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner who is known for his conservative views; Dana White, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a mixed martial arts organization; and Ms. Gulbis.
"Ms. Gulbis" is Natalie Gulbis. She may be only the 484th-ranked female golfer in the world, but she is blond and of Latvian descent and she's modeled for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, so she'll probably be Trump's fourth wife.

Are these people big stars? They are if you believe they are, just as Trump is a brilliant businessman if you believe he is.

And that's the problem. Clinton and Trump are both telling stories about themselves that don't precisely match the truth -- but if you believe Clinton's side of the email story, what do you have? She engaged in ill-advised secrecy that didn't really harm anybody, in the process of trying to steer U.S. foreign policy through a rather rough patch. In other words, she's not a bad person at all -- but the narrative doesn't contain much hope.

Whereas, if you believe Trump's torrents of undiluted bullshit, he's filthy rich, he can make you filthy rich, and you know he can do that because he spends his life surrounded by glamorous stars, some of whom he's generous bought along to amuse and edify you. Believing in his business brilliance and his Z-listers' star power is exactly like believing that the emperor is wearing clothes, or that the youth band at the end of The Music Man is playing brilliantly -- but people do believe that sort of thing. They want to believe. Believing makes them feel good -- about themselves, about the future.

So, for a lot of people, it doesn't matter that Trump is far more dishonest than Clinton. It doesn't matter how little harm her email server did, in contrast to how many lives Trump ruined with his scams. What matters is how much better his untruths make these people feel, once they surrender to them.

I know, I know: The immediate aftermath of the Comey press conference is a low point for Clinton; her numbers are likely to turn around. She leads in nearly every poll. Nonwhites and young people detest Trump. College-educated whites, who usually favor Republicans somewhat, are going for Clinton this time, so far.

But if the race remains tight, if Trump sustains the (for him) discipline of the past week, when he didn't go on racist tirades after the Dallas police shootings, and if Clinton makes a few more mistakes, this race could be neck-and-neck again.

At which point Clinton will need to be a candidate of hope, like her husband or like Obama. She can do traditional political hope -- this year, regrettably, she just hasn't.

So the bigger liar might have a shot, because he offers a bigger hope, at least to the greater fools.


AllieG said...

I would assume Clinton's message once she has a VP nominee to handle the attacks will be on the "better angels of our nature" line. That's not hope exactly, but it does appeal to the electorate's boundless if incorrect self-esteem.
I do not think anything but another Great Depression on Trump's watch could shake the American belief that rich Republicans know more about the economy than anyone else. And even then I doubt it would.

Feud Turgidson said...

So then, Dennis: it's Trump and so the end to the American project?

Steve M, it's frggin' JULY, mate. Read what Sam Wang has to say about polling between February and October.

OTOH if you're really trying to say

Give me back my broken night, my mirrored room, my secret life. It's lonely here: there's no one left to torture. Give me absolute control over every living soul, and lie beside me, baby: that's an order!
Give me crack and anal sex; take the only tree that's left and stuff it up the hole in your culture.
Give me back the Berlin wall. Give me Stalin and St Paul. I've seen the future, brother: it is murder.

I can certainly see that coming.

Steve M. said...

Dennis is permanently banned.

Stellours said...

Were any of the polls conducted in states where Hillary is airing her ads? The ads were focusing on how nice of a person she was? Has that been effective?

Tom Hilton said...

I think Greg Sargent has it right: 42% or so is Trump's ceiling. Clinton has lost some support in the most recent polls, but the fact that it isn't going to Trump is more important than the fluctuation itself.

Rand Careaga said...

if Trump sustains the (for him) discipline of the past week

That would presumably be the same discipline he exhibited when, after asserting that the Black Lives Matter crowd called for a moment of silence to honor the Dallas sniper, he sensibly refrained from adding that in any event they couldn't speak because they were feasting on the flesh of blonde Christian infants.

I get it, Steve. You're going to worry from now through election day. It's what you do, and that's fine, and none of us should be complacent. But you know, you needn't spend any of your finite energy fretting over The Donald's message discipline. He'd need a regular course of antipsychotics to maintain that, and it would take the edge off the delivery his base craves.

Herbert Freeman said...

I am tired of this sky is falling bullshit. Romney took 60% of the white vote and lost handily.

pbriggsiam said...

She has my vote but we should have nominated Sanders. He doesn't have Clinton's baggage and he was a better choice for our time.

Jim Snyder said...

Yeah, OK, the NYT/CBS poll is unsettling.

Still, if the best that Trump can do is pull even after a week in which the FBI director took a dump on Hillary, and a lunatic massacred 5 cops in Dallas ... I don't see the problem.

Well, a problem with the American electorate. OK, grounds for concern there ... but not November.

Srsly, it's a good guess - it might even be correct! - that the Replicants have nothing else to tar Hils with, or they'd be using it. Heck, they're going to devote one night of the RNC Convention to Benghazi and another to celebrate Bill's penis. I don't know whether that's desperation or der Drumpenführer's impeccable good taste ... but it's unlikely to win any new votes.

Feud laid out the, uh, challenges Trump will be facing between now and November. I'm not seeing any problems for Hils that we don't already know about.

No, seriously, what else is there? Replicants have been investigating her since the early 1990s, and the only "scandal" that's stuck is the e-mail server own-goal?!?

Externalities - a new 9/11, the economy suddenly taking a dive.

@Tom Hilton - yep. Reporting says a lot of Dems think the e-mail server thing is a big deal. They won't vote for Trump. If the election were held today, they might not vote. But they'll come back between now and November.

@Careaga: "discipline" - TPM is saying that Trump's saying he doesn't need to pivot to the general election ... it's even possible that the narrowing of the race has convinced him that he's doing the right thing. Ah tells ya, the man is a legend in his own mind.

Lucia said...

No, we should not have nominated Sanders. His campaign was like the mathematician whose proof included the step, "And then a miracle occurs." When the miracle failed to materialize, he fell back on, "if you're not with me you're corrupt by definition." Feh.

Clinton is flawed, just like you and me, and we know about every single damn one of her flaws, real and invented, because they've been magnified 100x on a Fox News JumboTron for the last 20-odd years. I'll still take her over any Republican and any shouting male, any day of the week.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Trump is pollibg with zero African- American suppory in several states. Zero. This isn't 1968. Trump declaring himself Law&Order would work today if the demographics were the same as 68, but they aren't.

KenRight said...

"She engaged in ill-advised secrecy that didn't really harm anybody, in the process of trying to steer U.S. foreign policy through a rather rough patch. In other words, she's not a bad person at all -- but the narrative doesn't contain much hope."

How about "she engaged in ill-advised US foreign policy which failed abysmally in a manner which should have disqualified anyone from the presidency, as it offered no hope for the future, especially seen in context of her previous foreign policy voting record."

trnc said...

'How about "she engaged in ill-advised US foreign policy which failed abysmally in a manner which should have disqualified anyone from the presidency, as it offered no hope for the future, especially seen in context of her previous foreign policy voting record."'

No, but I expect you to do well with that warming up the wingnut crowd next week.

Ten Bears said...

To those of us who do not support her, this is a bigger nothing-burger than it is for those who do. For the benefit of the newcomers, while I will not vote for her I have defended her; notably speaking from my (retired) day-gig, with advanced degrees in computer and information science and twenty-five years technical analysis, administration and education, knowing what know of the state of computing then, would have done the same damned thing.


Unknown said...

I can understand someone voting for Hillary because they fear Trump. I can even understand, albeit with more difficulty, someone voting for Hillary because they expect net-positive outcomes from her administration. What I can not understand are those who seek to minimize or even deny outright the stench of corruption and influence peddling that emanates from her and her husband. Spiro Agnew would not be disgraced in their company.

fqmorris said...

Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump in four of the most diverse presidential battleground states, according to brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls.

Clinton is ahead of Trump by eight points among registered voters in Colorado, 43 percent to 35 percent; a combined 21 percent say neither, other or are undecided.

In Florida, which decided the 2000 presidential election, she's up seven points, 44 percent to 37 percent; the rest are undecided or prefer someone else.

In North Carolina, a state Obama won in 2008 but lost in 2012, Clinton leads by six points, 44 percent to 38 percent.

And in Virginia, Clinton's advantage is nine points, 44 percent to 35 percent.

"With 66 electoral votes at stake in these four states, Donald Trump is playing catch-up against Hillary Clinton," says Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

Joey Blau said...

I talk to people who think that Hillary personally ordered the terrorist attack on Benghazi!! to kill Americans because Obama hates white people. And then deleted the emails in which she gave the orders.

I can only hope that their numbers limit out at 42%. But, I was thinking that if Trump was a different person, and he picked someone totally opposite from Mike Pence as VP, AND we had a Democratic majority in the house and Senate... I was thinking that it would be FUN to have Trump as president... but that is never gonna..

Steve M. said...

I talk to people who think that Hillary personally ordered the terrorist attack on Benghazi!! to kill Americans because Obama hates white people. And then deleted the emails in which she gave the orders.

I think about a third of the country believes that.

Jim Snyder said...

@Ten Bears: I don't understand your conclusion.

You would have done the same thing 6-7-wevs years ago?

Someone else would have?

The two FAILs that IMO make the e-mail server slightly more than a nothing-burger are first, no one with any common sense - and I do mean no one - mixes personal and business e-mails in the same account (anyone here doing so ... DON'T); second, anyone who has been tarred the way that Hils has been should have the common sense not to delete personal e-mails when you hand your discs over to the gummint. I'm not suggesting that she deleted gummint e-mails; I am suggesting that a moment's forethunk would have delivered the blindingly obvious realization that she wouldn't get the benefit of the doubt.

I have no idea why she would do anything so stoopid, but she did, and it doesn't reassure me that she did.

The other point that puzzles me is the question, "where was her Security Officer?" Does State not have Security Officers?

Aunt Snow said...

Hey, Joey, I'd like a pet unicorn, too.