Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Who's Going To Win In November?


The Priorities USA Action ad above, is by a pro-Hillary SuperPAC thatch helped raise millions of dollars for "before" she officially became a candidate. The ad, however, scheduled to start running tomorrow in swing states, is a purely anti-Trump ad and could be as helpful to candidate Bernie as it is to candidate Hillary. Good ad. The second ad from the SuperPAC, slightly more abstract, is below. $6 million dollars worth of these to will be on TV screens in Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Nevada this week and in Iowa, New Hampshire and Colorado soon after. The idea is that there are people who haven't been paying attention to what a crazy person the GOP is nominating and haven't followed the news. The ads, it is hoped, will wake them up a little. Herr Trumpf was up nice and early tweeting his response to the ads. He reacted like a stuck pig. Picture those beady little pig eyes filled with outrage and fury.

Stunningly, an NBC poll yesterday showed the weak/flawed Democratic frontrunner leading the bloviating Trump by only 3 points, down from 5 points last week. Any Democrat who plans to vote for her in New Jersey or California on June 7 needs to have their head examined. The key is independents, who prefer Trump over Hillary but who prefer Bernie over wither of them.
Clinton dominates among minority voters. The Democratic front-runner leads Trump by a 75-point margin among black voters, 84 percent to 9 percent, and holds a 37-point advantage among Hispanic voters, 65 percent to 28 percent. Women also favor Clinton, while Trump leads among men and white voters.

Eighty-seven percent of Republicans would back Trump, while just 7 percent would support Clinton. The margin is almost just as large among Democratic voters, with 87 percent favoring Clinton and just 8 percent supporting Trump. The billionaire who often boasts about growing the party holds an 8-point advantage among independents, 44 percent to 36 percent.

...In the Democratic primary, Clinton leads Sanders nationally by 14 points, 54 percent to 40 percent. But it’s the Vermont senator who beats Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head by a wider margin, 53 percent to 41 percent.
It's hard to imagine that any Bernie supporters-- regardless of how much they detest everything the corrupt, corporate, conservative Clinton stands for-- would ever cast a vote for a racist, sexist, xenophobic sociopath like Trump. It could be a good year for Jill Stein but Trump won't get Bernie voters. But, apparently, he plans to try, at least according to the NY Times. Ashley Parker and Jonathan Martin reported yesterday that the neo-fascist thinks he's wooing Democrats by adopting some of Bernie's ideas into his stand-up routine. Sometimes, for example, he says he's in favor of raising the minimum wage, although other times he says it should be left to the states, even though the states controlled by Republicans want to abolish the minimum wage outright. Other times he suggests the wealthy pay higher taxes-- and then changes his mind and says the wealthy will get a tax break. The Times points out that he's been "attacking Mrs. Clinton from the left on national security and Wall Street, and making clear that his opposition to free trade will be a centerpiece of his general election campaign."
As Mr. Trump lays the groundwork for his likely showdown with Mrs. Clinton, he is staking out a series of populist positions that could help him woo working-class Democrats in November. But in doing so, he is exacerbating the trepidation some Republicans already feel about his candidacy at a moment when the party typically rallies to its nominee.

Asked how Mr. Trump could reassure his own party, Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, suggested the party standard-bearer needed something close to a complete overhaul. “He could start by saying, ‘I was just kidding,’ ” Mr. Flake said, bemoaning what he called Mr. Trump’s “protectionist” approach.

Yet Republicans hoping that their nominee-in-waiting will suddenly shed his brand of hard-edge nationalism to appeal to the party’s mainline leaders will be disappointed. In an interview, Mr. Trump said that if he is president, the North American Free Trade Agreement “will be renegotiated and probably terminated.”

Mr. Trump’s approach has scrambled longstanding assumptions about how the two parties can position themselves in a general election fight, and could augur at least a short-term shift in how a Republican presidential nominee campaigns. Until Mr. Trump’s successful campaign, unwavering support for free trade and the business community, a robust American presence in the world, and a commitment to deep tax cuts have been articles of faith for the modern Republican Party.

But Mr. Trump, who has also made attacks on illegal immigrants central to his campaign while vowing to protect Social Security and Medicare, is plainly going to run as more of a Sanders-style populist than as a conservative. And this approach suggests that the 2016 campaign will not be decided in the increasingly diverse states that represent the face of a changing nation-- Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia-- but in the more heavily white Rust Belt, where blaming trade deals for manufacturing job losses provided resonant themes for Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders during the primaries there.

Mr. Trump recently offered a taste of his coming line of attack on the campaign trail in Oregon, where he praised Mr. Sanders for highlighting Mrs. Clinton’s ties to the country’s largest financial institutions. “She’s totally controlled by Wall Street,” Mr. Trump said, echoing a Sanders rallying cry.

Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime adviser to Mr. Trump, said he expected the presumptive Republican nominee to grow aggressive on the banks. “Who’s been tougher on bankers than Donald Trump?” asked Mr. Stone, suggesting Mr. Trump could appeal to some of Mr. Sanders’s supporters. “He’s taken them to the cleaners. I think he has a healthy skepticism and deep knowledge of bankers and how they operate. He’s going to be tough on Wall Street.” Mr. Trump has said that “the hedge fund guys are getting away with murder.”

Mr. Stone added that Mr. Trump will also have a built-in layer of defense as he appeals to blue-collar voters, because he will be less vulnerable to traditional Democratic attacks over Republican efforts to rein in entitlement programs. “Unlike all these establishment Republicans, he’s been adamant about never touching entitlements,” Mr. Stone said. “You can’t run that play on Donald Trump.”

If by abandoning the traditional Republican playbook Mr. Trump were to put Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the Republican column, as some of his aides suggested, he would swing 46 electoral votes from states that have voted for Democratic presidential candidates since the 1980s.

“We lost two elections trying to do this by the traditional electoral map,” said Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, one of the Republican senators who has embraced Mr. Trump.

But for every voter Mr. Trump wins over with his ad hoc populism, he risks repelling others-- including conservatives who are aghast at how, on some issues, he is trying to outflank Mrs. Clinton on the left. While he may put parts of the Midwest back into play, at least initially, his approach could also endanger his prospects in some states that usually lean Republican.

“I think he’s more likely to take Michigan than he is to take Arizona,” said Mr. Flake, whose state is home to a fast-growing Latino population.

The unease on the right with Mr. Trump’s ideological positioning spans the party’s factions, alarming national security hawks, fiscal conservatives focused chiefly on promoting free markets, and the Christian right.

And even when he has hit Mrs. Clinton from the left, he has also shown a flexibility that has positioned him on both sides of some issues. He has called for a higher minimum wage, for instance, but has also said the issue should be left to the states rather than have a federal increase. On foreign policy, too, his cautious approach to nation-building and intervention has been juxtaposed by bellicose remarks and a promise to be tougher on Iran and the Islamic State.

Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, said that questions about Mr. Trump’s core beliefs were ”a significant concern.”

“He needs to articulate deeper convictions on the issues that matter so much to conservatives,” said Mr. King, a hard-liner.

For others in the party, though, that moment has passed.

“He’s ceding Republicans who find his big-government approach antithetical to everything they believe in,” said Danielle Pletka, a senior vice president at the American Enterprise Institute. “He’s ceding Republicans who have long believed that America is a force for good in the world and needs to lead the world.”
So what? How many of them are going to vote for Hillary? More likely there are going to be a lot of abstentions on both sides of the aisle in November... and that would be just fine with Trump, who wasn't even a registered Republican until 4 years ago has nothing but contempt for establishment Republicans anyway-- as much contempt for them as Hillary, a born-and-bred Republican-- has for progressive voters.

Yesterday, Greg Sargent talked with some crooked lobbyist, Joel Beneson, Hillary uses as a strategist and media spokesperson. "Can Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in part by laying out a programmatic economic agenda that is designed to make a concrete difference in Americans’ lives?," he asked. "Or does that risk being too conventional an approach that fails to reckon with the unpredictable nature of Trump’s appeal?" Beneson "brushed off much of the conventional wisdom about the race, arguing that no matter how creatively Trump has employed his celebrity and business alpha-prowess, he’d succumb to an attack revealing that he isn’t actually on the side of ordinary Americans, and that ultimately, voters would choose Clinton over him on the economy for the simple reason that her policies and priorities are better."
“His entire life, he’s been in it for himself-- he’s a self promoter,” Benenson said, adding that Trump’s bankruptcies would provide fertile ground to demonstrate this vividly: “The reality is he’s left in his wake small business contractors and working people who worked on a lot of these jobs.”

Trump, of course, is not Mitt Romney. The latter was more easily painted as a heartless, plutocratic symbol of the ways in which global capitalism has destroyed countless lives in America’s industrial heartland. Trump, a celebrity billionaire, has sought to speak directly to American workers by vowing to kick the asses (this really is what he is promising, at bottom) of other countries, international elites, illegal immigrants, outsourcing CEOs, bought-and-paid-for politicians, and all others responsible for their plight. Unlike Romney, Trump cheerfully cops to having been in on the elite scam that has ripped off American workers for decades and now promises to put his inside knowledge to work on their behalf.

But when I pressed Benenson on whether that difference might make Trump a more elusive target for the argument that he isn’t really on American workers’ side, the senior strategist disagreed.

“Credibility matters,” Benenson said. “I don’t think he’s got credibility to make that argument. You have to have proof points.”

In other words, the Clinton team is betting, contra some of the pundits, that Trump’s big storyline about the economy will not end up having some kind of otherworldly persuasive power, absent an actual record of accomplishment and a credible economic policy agenda. Republicans who are now stuck with Trump as their likely nominee are trying to persuade themselves otherwise. On Face the Nation yesterday, RNC chair Reince Priebus said twice that voters would ultimately choose the candidate who promises to bring an “earthquake” to Washington-- in other words, that they’ll vote for the candidate who promises the most disruption, regardless of the details.

But Benenson made a case that-- relative to Priebus’s-- sounds oddly conventional. He argued that the things Trump says and proposes about the economy will actually matter, and that voters will make their choice by comparing the two candidates’ actual agendas. Clinton recently rolled out a plan to improve childcare and make it more affordable. Where Trump has vowed generally to put miners back to work in coal country and to bring jobs roaring back to the U.S. from China, Clinton has offered plans to help miners transition to new lines of work and to boost U.S. manufacturing via tax credits and more government investment. Where Trump has fudged endlessly on the minimum wage-- claiming he generally wants to see wages get higher while opposing the existence of any federal minimum wage-- Clinton supports a minimum of at least $12 and edged towards Bernie Sanders’s $15 proposal. Clinton supports pay equity and has called for student debt relief (albeit significantly more modest than Sanders’s plan provides).

But is this enough? Does Clinton have to speak more directly to a widespread belief that our economic and political systems are fundamentally failing people? Does she have to do more to dispel the sense-- which Trump will encourage-- that she’s a creature of a corrupt system, by standing more forcefully on the side of fundamental reform? I asked Benenson what Clinton’s big affirmative argument would be.

“She’s the only candidate who’s talked about a real jobs plan, with manufacturing and small businesses at the center of it; a real approach to competing and winning in a global economy, where we make more goods here that we sell to 95 percent of the consumers who live outside the United States; about a plan to raise wages; and a plan for equal pay for women,” Benenson said. “This isn’t about bluster. It’s about having real plans to get stuff done. When it comes to the economy, Hillary Clinton is the only candidate with plans that have been vetted and will make a difference in people’s lives.”

And of course, there are Trump’s business record and his own words. Benenson argued that Trump was already in trouble with women across the board-- blue collar and college educated white women alike-- and that in the end, he would actually prove less competitive with blue collar whites in a general election than commonly expected. “Trump makes more blue collar working class voters accessible to Hillary Clinton than the other way around,” Benenson said. “When he plays offense, he continues to alienate the very people he needs to persuade.”

A certain species of fatalism has taken hold among our political classes in general and among Democrats in particular. The idea is that, because Trump has successfully broken so many of our rules-- he dispatched a supposedly deep bench of GOP challengers while spending virtually nothing, and while blowing past norms that used to require candidates to adhere to some nominal standard of respect for facts and consistency-- it must mean he has a chance at blowing apart the old rules in the general election, too.

And so, you often hear it suggested that Trump can’t be beaten on policy, since facts and policy positions no longer matter; that he is going to attack in “unconventional” ways, so there is more to be feared; that he may be able to ride Rust Belt working class white anger into the White House in defiance of demographic realities; and that he has some kind of magical appeal that Democrats fail to reckon with at their own extreme peril. I don’t mean to suggest Trump should be taken lightly or to denigrate those worries; I have on occasion shared them, too.
Democrats can still save themselves: Bernie Sanders. Don't say I didn't warn you. It's not too late.

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At 10:16 AM, Blogger Elizabeth Burton said...

"It's hard to imagine that any Bernie supporters-- regardless of how much they detest everything the corrupt, corporate, conservative Clinton stands for-- would ever cast a vote for a racist, sexist, xenophobic sociopath like Trump."

Au contraire, I see an increasing number of Sanders supporters claiming in discussions they will vote for him if HRC is the nominee. Just yesterday, an acquaintance who is a college instructor reported he'd had three of his students say they'll vote for Trump if Sanders isn't nominated.

People keep forgetting that 18-25 demographic. One suspects one could also add "white male," but I won't without something to support it. Kids that age are more inclined to be anti-establishment than they are about issues and principles. They want their revolution, and if the Democrats won't give it to them, they'll go with the side that sounds like it will. The Clinton machine is alienating them, and they are just riled up enough they will vote Trump.

At 11:55 PM, Anonymous Cujo359 said...

Since it now looks certain that the Democratic Party will do everything it can to prevent Sanders from getting the nomination, Trump will be the winner. Quite a few Sanders supporters won't vote for Clinton,but they may not be enough to matter anyway. Trump and Sanders are populists, and these are populist times. Clinton can't possibly sound enough like she cares about the bottom 90% to win them over.


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