Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Donald Trump's presidential campaign is a mess, his stunts and rhetoric are severely damaging his standing in the polls, and most of America wouldn't be surprised if he spat on Hillary Clinton tonight or tried to punch her in the mouth.

And yet the media has decided that it's Clinton who needs to be concerned about her performance tonight. Here's Rick Klein of ABC News:
Could it be that there’s actually more pressure on Hillary Clinton at the final debate than on Donald Trump? ... Clinton is now less than three weeks away from being elected president, barring a stunning collapse. Acting like that means not just rebutting and attacking Trump but going broad, reminding voters of her promise, not just her opponent’s weaknesses. There’s an opportunity if not an urgency for her to use the final presidential debate to appear downright presidential.
An urgency? Because if she doesn't ... what? She'll beat Trump by 7 rather than by double digits? She'll win just under 350 electoral votes rather than 350-plus?

Oh, sorry -- this is about the country. Howard Fineman explains that America is going to hell in a handbasket, and if that doesn't change, it's all Hillary's fault:
Unlike the first two presidential debates, the third one, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is all about Hillary Clinton. And she has more than the usual simple burden of trying to win an election.

Perhaps it’s unfair -- politics is unfair -- but the state of the country and its tattered politics requires that the Democratic nominee do more than just eke out a victory.

Clinton has to win BIG, so she can at least have the chance to protect public trust in the machinery of elections, in the ability of the federal government to function, and in the credibility of American democracy.

She has to close the sale, on her own terms and on her own behalf.

If she doesn’t -- if she performs poorly in Wednesday’s debate and in the last three weeks of the campaign -- she risks a close result that could leave GOP nominee Donald Trump wounded but unbowed, and unwilling to accept the results of the Election Day count.

If she doesn’t, as president she will face a once-again divided government in Washington with no mandate and no power to deal.
Oh, please. Even if Clinton could wins all 50 states and every electoral vote, Trump would still insist that the election was rigged, and millions of his cultists would agree with him. In fact, I predict he's going to say the size of her victory is precisely why we should think the election was rigged. (Crooked Hillary got 57% of the vote? Big deal -- in North Korea, Kim Jong-un gets 99% of the vote!)

And let's not put all the blame on Trump -- even if Democrats manage to win back the House as well as the Senate, Republicans are going to hunker down for yet another round of obstruction-by-any-means-necessary, just the way they did after Barack Obama's big victory in 2008. Hillary Clinton can't do anything about that. That's the GOP's nature. That's who Republicans are. That's what Republican voters demand.

But beyond having to clean up all the damage done to America (and about to be done) by Trump, the GOP, and Republican voters, Clinton, we're told, must prepare for the possible appearance tonight of a person who doesn't exist: Nice Donald Trump. That's according to Aaron Kall of USA Today:
Clinton must also be on guard for a Hail Mary of a completely different variety. Trump could announce he will serve as president for only a term, paving a quicker path for Mike Pence. He could pledge a multimillion-dollar donation to Planned Parenthood or another women’s group. Anything is possible and tens of millions of Americans will be watching to see how Clinton handles this final faceoff with a nominee like no other.
Why is every political journalist in America besotted with the idea of a presidential candidate announcing plans to serve only one term? It never happens, and yet there's always speculation about it, even though there's absolutely no evidence that voters would care.

And in the case of Trump, why would it matter? If you think Trump is an impulsive man-baby with a hair-trigger temper, do you seriously believe the damage he could do to the country would be slow in developing? Do you think he's going to set schemes in motion that will take more than four years to do harm? He's going to be a national and global menace fast. And the worst bills he'll sign from the GOP Congress will come in the first year.

But I really love the notion that he's going to have a sudden attack of thoughtfulness: Here's an idea: Even though I've been power-mad all my life, why don't I undergo a complete personality transplant and agree to give up the presidency after one term? And never mind the fact that I have idiot right-wing evangelicals wrapped around my finger with this "pro-life justices" talk -- why don't I do a complete 180 on reproductive rights and lose half my fan base? Yeah, that's plausible.

But hey, Hillary, I suppose all of this could happen, so, while you're singlehandedly saving America from messes other people created, be prepared for this 0.000001% possibility.


Victor said...

Since I was 10, in 68, I've lived through 48 years of shitty elections - and voted in all of them, since I was 18.
But this is the worst!

Dave said...

I made the mistake of reading the comments on that USA Today story. Never again!

Knight of Nothing said...

If these takes were any hotter, Donald Trump would be groping them.

Danp said...

Trump, as well as Stein and Johnson, have so thoroughly discredited themselves, that the only names left on the ballot should be Hillary and Not-Hillary. In the debate, Trump sort of represents Not-Hillary, but as he has so little credibility, it is left to Hillary to make Not-Hillary's case. In that sense, I would agree that the pressure is 100% on her.

Orthodox said...

"Oh, please. Even if Clinton could wins all 50 states and every electoral vote, Trump would still insist that the election was rigged, and millions of his cultists would agree with him."

This is precisely why I'm skeptical of anyone who claims they're begrudgingly voting for Trump. It wouldn't have mattered who the D nom was, they'd find any excuse to vote for him. The only Rs I believe are the ones voting for Johnson or, if you can believe it, Clinton.

Feud Turgidson said...

This idea of this post by Steve M. is that this thing is over. The question remains: Over by how much?

AOT, the Obama campaigns saw a rise in the % of D registered who both vote AND vote D. For 8 of the last 9 preznit elections, the ratio of R vote to R registrants was ~85-90%, while the D ratio was more ~65-85%. THIS year the ratio from early voting suggests Ds have reached & PASSED parity with the Rs.

But the last 2 elections were against a pool of under 147m registrants. TargetSmart now reports the pool for THIS election is TWO. HUNDRED. MILLION. ...!

The breakdown:
D or lean D = 42.6%
R or lean R = 29%
Indy or otherwise not leaning D or R = 28.4%.

Ignore the last for the moment. Even if we assume that registered Ds & Rs vote at the same top ratio of 90%, that means 77m votes for HRC-Kaine (shattering the previous record high, for Obama 2008, by 8m), vs 52m for DonJohn-Pence (the lowest major party total since 2000). That would also be overwhelmingly likely to result in Ds taking both Congressional chambers.

Now consider those 57m who are registered but not to either of the 2 major parties. First, they imply aren't going to turn out at anything like the GOTV rates of the 2 majors. It'd be well beyond surprising if they turned out at even 50%, given historical turn-out rates OVERALL last reached 60% in 1964, on OVERALL turn-out rates propped up by the 2 major party partisan rates. Historically, the rate for non-major registrants has been 20-30%. Let's go nuts assume 50% in this first-ever-female-for-prezit froot loopies of an election. Assume 28m of them vote.

For whom? For the most part, Johnson and Stein, one must assume. After all, the polls show them getting combined support at ~10% of the total pool, or something approaching 20m. That would leave 8-10m of last-minute indy-abandoners. Historically, in a landslide scenario, those are bandwagoneers, meaning most would go to HRC.

But we're Going Deez Nutz here, so assume TEN MEEEEELION minor party & indy registrants who actually vote all decide to vote for Mister Grabby & the Sack of Hammers. That would put Trump at above McCain 2004, Romney 2012, even all-time R record-holder Bush 2004. Right...

With all that going for him, it would still only get Trump to ~15m votes behind HRC. Even with all the gross assumptions, there'd be a difference in favor of the D candidate of ~11% of the pool at an overall turn-out rate of 65%. Of course, there hasn't been even one presidential election with a rate that high since before 1960.

Why haven't there been 'Landslide Ahead!' warnings all over the MSM before this? First because MSM news is deeply invested in, even DEPENDS on, horserace. Only now is the MSM starting to pick up on the implications of stability in a product they've been conditioned to sell as volatile. Second, because there's no precedent for a 35% rise in the pool from one cycle to the next. Vote suppression is undemocratic, dangerous, awful & is actively pursued by a decided majority of an entire major party, but ... it's losing against demographics & registration, and badly.


Aunt Snow said...

WTF? It's Hillary's to lose? What does Trump have to avoid, going insane and collapsing like Peter Finch in "Network"?

Please, assholes.

Aunt Snow said...

I should add - I was at my local bar, and the TV was on with the pre-debate coverage. I was not really listening to it, but it seemed to me that it was like the freaking Super Bowl pre-game show. For Chrissakes. People. Please.

Feud Turgidson said...

It's not like HRC can't debate: she's been in several really good debates with Obama in 2008 & Sanders in 2012. Plus it's not like she can't handle candidates who aren't up there with any intention of actually debating but simply to pull stunts: she had experience with that in 2000 in the general election for US Senate and 'won' that confrontation handily. So it's not any lack of debating or public performance ability on HER part that these 3 presidential debates have been so awful as debates or that she's won this year's because she was able to fend off her opponent's efforts to SEEM to win thru stunts.

I thought Wallace did o.k., better than the moderator for the vice-presidential debate. But I think one would have to be blinded by partisanship to conclude he performed better than the moderators in the early two presidential debates this year. This one was the weakest in terms of theater & at most arguably a bit stronger that the first two on drawing out campaign talking points & the experience gap. But mainly it worked to improve Wallace's c.v., not to the benefit of the tens of millions watching on screens or either candidate over the other. To me it was like a rookie showing up in the last week or so of a long baseball season to absorb the experience, finally getting up to the plate at garbage time in a nothing game and choosing to lay down a serviceable bunt. It's pretty clear that choice was purely as investment in HIS future & to benefit the reputation of his employer. Wrong moderator for this cycle.

Treebullit said...