I could go on and on about the debate…

But I won’t. Basically, Hillary Clinton showed up prepared and kept her cool. Trump mostly hyperventilated, shouted and was incoherent. Those with money to bet must have agreed; Hillary Clinton’s odds improved and Trump’s fell.

Sure, our country was polarized coming in and still is, and what Sam Wang said before the debate still holds. Trump didn’t lose his hard core support. What I can see happening is that those with stocks who are in Gary Johnson’s camp probably won’t be inspired to move to Trump. Can you imagine your retirement portfolio going away with Trump running things?

Sure, Trump had similar performances in the GOP debates and his numbers, AMONG REPUBLICANS went up. But Paul Krugman noted this a long time ago:

Think about Trump’s obvious weaknesses, why Republicans couldn’t exploit them, but why Democrats can.

First, he’s running a campaign fundamentally based on racism. But Republicans couldn’t call him on that, because more or less veiled appeals to racial resentment have been key to their party’s success for decades. Clinton, on the other hand, won the nomination thanks to overwhelming nonwhite support, and will have no trouble hitting hard on this issue.

Second, Trump is proposing wildly irresponsible policies that benefit the rich. But so were all the other Republicans, so they couldn’t attack him for that. Clinton can.

Third, Trump’s personal record as a businessman is both antisocial and just plain dubious. Republicans, with their cult of the entrepreneur, couldn’t say anything about that. Again, Clinton can.

The G.O.P. paralysis on these issues explains why, again and again, Republicans turned to a proven line of attack — that is, proven not to work: insisting that Trump isn’t a true conservative, which matters to voters not at all. Obviously Democrats will be able to go after different and, I imagine, a lot more salient issues.

And there’s one last thing, which I suspect may make the biggest difference of all: Clinton’s campaign can go after Trump’s fundamental buffoonery.

I mean, he is a ludicrous figure, and everything we learn just makes him more ludicrous. So why couldn’t Republicans make that stick? I’d argue that it was because there was something fairly ludicrous about all his opponents, too.

Think about Marco Rubio: even before his famous brain glitch, it was just obvious that he was a prefab candidate, a nice-looking guy with no real convictions or experience reciting lines he was told to deliver. The infamous “We must dispel with …” wasn’t just vile and stupid (even the first time, let alone repeated); it was also, transparently, not something Rubio believed or even cared about except that his handlers told him to say it.

Or think about Ted Cruz, whose mean-spiritedness and self-centered nature evidently stand out even in today’s conservative movement, making him a hated figure even among those who should like his message.

Clinton, on the other hand, is not ludicrous. She can think on her feet; she’s tough as nails. Do you really think the person who stared down the Benghazi committee for 11 hours is going to wither under schoolboy taunts?

The news media will, I fear, try their best to pretend that the contrast isn’t what it is. We’ll hear endless explanations of why Trump’s vanity, ignorance, and lack of moral fiber somehow prove his “authenticity”, which Clinton somehow lacks. And maybe that will stick with voters. But I don’t think it will. In the end, it will be a race between a tough, smart lady and someone who is obviously a yuge, um, Antonin Scalia School of Law. And voters will notice.

September 27, 2016 - Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social | , ,

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