Trump’s new aim: Poison a Clinton presidencyIt suggests that, politically, Trump is playing a long game. Do you believe that? Do you believe Donald Trump is capable of playing a long game?
From the story:
The trick out of Brooklyn isn't just to make Hillary Clinton win but to make her win as something other than a brain-damaged crook who stole the election and will spend the next four years selling out the government from her deathbed.I don't buy the notion that Trump has given up on winning the race and is now concentrating on destroying Clinton's presidency before it starts. I may be alone in this, but I think he still believes he has a good shot at victory. I believe he's grasped the possibility that he might lose, but he's talking about rigged elections not as a post-November power play, but in order to maintain the illusion that he never really loses. The rest of the "de-legitimization" talk? I think Trump believes it will win him the general election, the way similar trash talk seemed to win him the primaries.
The Clinton de-legitimization project is now central to Donald Trump’s campaign and such a prime component of right-wing media that it’s already seeped beyond extremist chatrooms into “lock her up” chants on the convention floor, national news stories debating whether polls actually can be rigged, and voters puzzling over that photo they think they saw of her needing to be carried up the stairs....
“We are already seeing an effort by the Trumpsters to undermine Hillary's presidency before it has even begun,” said longtime Clinton confidant Paul Begala.
I don't think Trump is playing the long game the way the Republican Party plays it, or the way Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media play it. I think if he loses he'll have gotten electoral politics out of his system -- he's done.
Allies such as Roger Stone, Steve Bannon, and Roger Ailes might be playing a long game -- character assassination is what they do for a living, and they'll certainly use these memes over the next four years. Trump? I doubt it. Even if he's thinking ahead to the development of Trump TV, I don't believe he's carefully plotting future story lines. Carefully plotting for the future is not his style.
If the rest of the GOP has picked up on these memes, well, that's just the way it always works. Think back to the presidencies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama -- the "respectable" right has always puke-funneled fringe ideas and retransmitted them to the mainstream. The only difference now is that the puke is coming from the Republican presidential nominee.
The Clinton campaign thinks it's done an effective job of pouncing on these ideas early and tying them to Trump:
The Clinton campaign has deliberately positioned its response as an offensive boomerang rather than a rebuttal: don’t defend against the attacks, just redirect fire at the messenger. “It holds up a mirror to Donald Trump and what his campaign is about, and says everything you need to know about Donald Trump and where these kinds of crazy conspiracy theories are coming from,” as one campaign aide put it....But this won't help Clinton after the election -- Trump will go away, or maybe do a weekly segment on Fox & Friends again, or have a flare-up of his usual ADHD while Bannon and Jared Kushner fight over the direction of Trump TV, but the rest of the right will just advance these memes the way birtherism was advanced. Trump will fade into irrelevance, yet Fox will keep running alerts about Clinton's health and financial dealings. So, yes, there's a long game being played, but it's by the usual suspects, not Trump.
Unlike birtherism or even switftboating in 2004, the Clinton campaign anticipated much earlier that right-wing chatter would eventually break through into the mainstream, and they could more easily attack it because they were taking on her opponent himself, rather than fake-name trolls.