Clinton’s Overconfidence Deja Vu

In 2007 there were a number of Democrats gearing up to succeed George W. Bush in the White House. The overwhelming front runner was a senator from New York named Hillary Clinton. But her campaign team got overconfident and by June of 2008 another senator, this time from Illinois, had beat her in the primaries. His name was Barack Obama.

The past few days have brought reports of Clinton’s team building a transition team and shifting their focus from the presidential election to ‘down ballot’ contests like senators and representatives. Meanwhile her opponent has doubled down on the presidential contest.

Clinton would be well advised to not make the same mistake twice. Even though the polls are not looking good for Donald Trump, nothing can be taken for a given in this election cycle. The bad polls might actually help Trump as this news tends to subdue his more inflammatory remarks. A less volatile Trump has proven to be more attractive to voters.

Meanwhile, Clinton needs to keep the pedal to the metal and herself and her campaign on message for another 12 days, otherwise she could again find herself snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.


Trump Wonders Why It Isn’t Working Anymore

Donald Trump must be perplexed. The techniques that made him a successful reality TV star and won him the Republican nomination are not working anymore. He doubles down on them and it makes things worse, not better.

Trump got where he is by being brash and outspoken, saying whatever he felt, even when it was politically incorrect. Even voters that didn’t support him appreciated his bluntness. Unfortunately for him, he has conditioned people – and the press – to tune out anything he says that is not outrageous.

So when he makes a serious speech about what he will do in the first 100 days of his administration, all people hear is an aside about suing his female accusers. He shouts out that the “election is rigged” and then notes that Barack Obama also spoke about election fraud in 2008, but all anyone hears is the first part.

The unfortunate truth for Donald Trump is that he has become an Alec Baldwin caricature of himself. The outlandish things he says to get his points across are all we pay attention to anymore – the points themselves fall by the wayside. He has no one to blame but himself for this, but he probably does not understand this, and even if he did it would not make him feel any better about it nor would he accept responsibility.

Trump: Not a Winner, Not a Loser

As the polls have turned against Donald Trump his objective has shifted from winning the election to not losing it. Trump desperately wants to be able to hold his head up at the end and say, “I would have won but for  . . .”

That is why he is pointing to rigged polls, press bias, the backstabbing Republicans and everything else arrayed against him. It gives him an excuse. Trump must realize that he has already damaged his brand. If he goes out a clear loser, it may be damaged irreparably.

In the past, Trump had a three pronged strategy for challenging situations.

  • Intimidate – Bully the other side. Disparage them, hold back money, threaten to sue.
  • Litigate – Sue them with high profile lawyers, adding to the intimidation.
  • Settle – When that does not work, quietly work out a settlement. It is usually a pretty good one for him because the intimidation and litigation have softened up the other side. This is where Trump really cuts his artful deals.

So far in the presidential race, we have seen the intimidation (of Hillary Clinton and his fellow Republicans), but it does not seem to be getting the desired results for him. If he remains true to form, next we will see him launch some lawsuits to challenge the election results.

If his court strategy doesn’t go well, he can turn to congress, and he might find some folks to settle with there. He might think that he can cut deals with individual senators (Ted Cruz) and congressmen to challenge the electoral college results from key states and then cut a deal with congress to win the presidency.

It is far fetched, but even if it does not work he can say they he would have won if the process had been ‘fair’. For Donald Trump, it is more important to not lose than to win.

Little Donald’s Schoolyard Behavior

Donald Trump’s inner child is emerging in full force. He is exhibiting all of the qualities that you see in young children.

“I know you are, but what am I?” – If you call me something like a liar I will call you the same thing back

“That’s shiny, I want it. Give it to me.” – If I am attracted to a woman I will grab her and kiss her.

“This game isn’t fair” – If the Emmy’s, election, etc. go against me it means they were rigged.

These are not exactly qualities that you want in a president, although they are probably present in a number of politicians, just not as forefront. But for Trump, they present a different sort of problem. His supporters are very familiar with this type of behavior and I don’t think they particularly like it.

Trump’s supporters want to see him stick it to the system. They like that he has f-you money and can say whatever he pleases. For example, calling other politicians liars, which of course is true – what politician is not a liar?

But Trump’s supporters want him to represent well as he challenges the system. When he calls Hillary Clinton out for her attitude towards women just after he is accused of sexual assault, it sounds like a schoolyard tiff.

And while many of Trump’s supporters might like to think that it would be great to be irresistible to women, I suspect that they are starting to perceive the difference between acting like a four year old and grabbing any woman they fancy and being the big man and having the women just roll on up to them seductively.

Now he is complaining the game is rigged. His supporters know this tune. They have been stuffed by the system and understand that it is not always fair. But Donald Trump was supposed to be the big man who knew the system, the insider who knew how to work it to his benefit. Look at how he won the Republican nomination. What a player.

With his whining about things being rigged, he is telling his supporters that he isn’t that guy. He can’t beat the system. His fingers aren’t that long after all. It has got to be pretty disappointing to them.

Associate Justice Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz endorsed Donald Trump a few weeks ago and conservative commentator Glen Beck was beside himself. He had Cruz on his show and asked him why he changed his mind. Cruz really could not give him a satisfactory answer and Beck kept hammering him. Finally, Cruz said that he changed his mind when Trump added Senator Mike Lee to his list of potential Supreme Court nominees to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat. Lee is a friend and supporter of Cruz.

Trump fancies himself a dealmaker, so one suspects that he made one with Cruz, especially since Cruz also made his donor list available to Trump. Maybe there is another new name on Trump’s Supreme Court list that we have not heard about: Ted Cruz. Whatever the deal was between Cruz and Trump, it had to be something very compelling for Cruz, because just 14 days after the endorsement, CNN released the tape where Trump bragged about harassing women and got a lot of bad press. Despite this, Cruz would not back off of his commitment to Donald Trump.

But considering that Cruz has called Trump a ‘sociopathic liar’ I’m not sure any deal that Cruz did with him is all that solid.

Hacking the Election

The important thing to remember about hacking the upcoming presidential election is that the hacks don’t have to be successful, they just have to be visible. Attempted hacking is just as good as actual hacking and a lot easier.

Why? Because the reason for the whole hacking conversation started by Donald Trump is simply to give him a way to put the election results in doubt. A news story about cyber attacks on polling stations is all he needs, and the press is going to play right into this. If the cyber attacks are not visible, they won’t be of much use.

Never mind that the only hacking so far in the election has been in support of Trump by the Russians. If he looses due to the actual vote, he will claim that the electoral system has been hacked.

If he wins, he will say that he would have won bigger had there not been any hacking, even if the truth is the opposite. He has not really been overly concerned with the facts during this campaign.

If Donald Trump starts sinking in the polls, look for him to step up the hacking references. And look for the Russians to do some clumsy hacking on election day to help him out.

Clinton’s Shoulder Shimmy

I asked a friend last week how she liked the debates. “Did you see Hillary shimmy? She did a move like this!” and shows me. This was the first thing out of her mouth. I asked, “Was it good or bad?”. “I think it was bad,” she answered.

Now I missed the shoulder shimmy so I looked it up. It came after a long rant by Donald Trump on Hillary Clinton’s temperament that did not reflect all that well on his own. Clinton just smiled and when it was over she took a deep breath, said “woo, okay”, did a shoulder shimmy and got a big laugh from the audience. The internet loved it and it was a clear ‘winning moment’ for Clinton.

This is why Clinton is in trouble. My friend is a middle class senior citizen and lifelong Democrat. One would think she would be a supporter, but instead she has a visceral dislike of Hillary Clinton. She won’t even give Clinton credit for something that was clearly a win for her. Will she vote for Trump, I asked? “No way!” But later she says, “It wouldn’t be so bad if Trump won. The country would still be here.” I mentioned that the country still existing was a pretty low standard for a successful presidency, and she reluctantly gave a bit of ground there.

There are many Americans like her. Their hatred of the Clintons, and Hillary in particular, is amazingly powerful. Why? Here are a few reasons:

  • Bill Clinton was a popular president in a time when partisanship skyrocketed. A popular president is a threat, and he, and his wife, were constantly under attack and when the search for substance failed the attacks went personal. They have stayed that way.
  • If you repeat something often enough and long enough, people will start to absorb it. The attacks on the Clintons have been going on for 25 years now. Never mind that Politifact scores her as one of the most truthful politicians
  • The Clintons, and particularly Hillary, have built up defensive walls around themselves and therefore appear to be hiding something and dishonest.
  • Hillary is a woman and she is trying to break the ultimate glass ceiling. People of a certain age / background / culture still feel more comfortable with a man in the top spot. Hillary is not the woman we picture when we think of a president, mostly because we don’t think of a woman when we think of a president.
  • And finally, if a woman is to break the glass ceiling, is Hillary the best representative of womanhood to do this? She is far from perfect and every one of her real and imagined flaws have been spotlighted for so long that to many people it seems wrong that she should be the first woman president.