The most pernicious aspect of this Democratic campaign is the way the field was cleared long in advance for Hillary, a flawed candidate from the get-go, while an entire generation of able Democratic politicians in their 40s was muscled aside, on pain of implied severance from future party support.
Despite their show of bravado, most savvy Democratic strategists have surely known for months that Trump was by far the most formidable of Hillary Clinton’s potential opponents—which is why they’ve been playing the race and riot cards against him to the max.
Feinstein and Pelosi, to all reports, enjoy a rewarding private life that they do not want violated and blown to hell. But Hillary, consumed by her own restless bitterness, has no
such tranquility. The wheels must grind! The future must be conquered! Past slights must be avenged! So it’s all planning and scheming and piling up loot, the material emblem of existential worth. It’s all talk and more talk about ideals and values without actually achieving anything concrete–except, of course, for Hillary’s one notable legacy, the destabilization of North Africa.
Donald Trump is a centrist who has attracted an army of disaffected, economically vulnerable, patriots. There is nothing very frightening in that.
Polling shows that Trump has a problem with women, but it also shows that Clinton has a problem with men. Thanks to Bernie Sanders’s pushing and prodding over the course of the primary, Clinton’s vision has expanded, but we all know its core: She is a battle-tested warrior for women and children.
Consider her slogan, “Fighting for us.” For many men, this slogan would have to be experienced as emasculating. A woman fighting for them? Rightly or wrongly, the slogan rubs the wrong way in relation to traditional notions of masculinity. Her slogan itself reveals a limited conception of who she seeks to represent. This is a potentially fatal flaw in Clinton’s campaign. The more that Clinton takes Trump’s bait around the issue of his denigration of women, the more powerfully this flaw in her own campaign will show itself.
Just before the New Hampshire primary, with Trump far ahead in the polls, establishment Republicans in the Granite State kept insisting to reporters that they could not name a single Trump voter. But when the exit polls came out, the Trump voters turned out to have come from the social center, not from the fringe. Trump’s support was not isolated in any subgroup of Republicans—it spanned them all. The income of Trump voters turned out to be essentially indistinguishable from those who supported Ted Cruz or Hillary Clinton. Trump rallies, in light of these demographic details, no longer look so much like the invasion of a foreign army. They look more like the Republican base, moved by conventional grievances, trying out a different way of expressing them. Is the revolution a joke, as Colin Lokey, despairing, insisted it was? Yes, in a way. But, then, jokes are complicated.
In an anti-establishment election season like this, the establishment candidate shouldn't win. This ought to be the wrong place and the wrong time for Hillary Clinton. Yet to many Americans, she still looks like the lesser of two evils.
It's possible Trump will beat Clinton in November. It's more likely that he'll lose. If that happens, isn't it possible he's not the right kind of insurgent after all?
First of all, Donald Trump may turn out to be the most effective anti-left leader in our lifetime. He is against political correctness. He is against bureaucracy. He places American nationalism first which I think we desperately need. I’m tired of being told we have to phony agreements and phony efforts and I watch John Kerry rush from five-star hotel to five-star hotel trying to get a phony peace agreement that is an absurdity… I think Trump could be a return to a more of an Eisenhower kind of realism that none-the-less is conservatism. And he may do more to dismantle the left than anybody in our lifetime.
I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration – and a very effective form of promotion.
When the race gets down to a clean Trump versus Clinton contest, and people realize there are no other options, the comparison changes. Trump wins the matchup against “crooked Hillary” with ease, based on skill, not policies. You haven’t even imagined that contest yet. Your brain won’t let you.
Trump does NOT win against your imaginary unicorn candidate that is a conflation of good qualities from other people. But that unicorn won’t be running against him.
You’re already hearing the word “landslide” applied to the upcoming Republican primaries. By October you will hear that Trump is “running unopposed” for all practical purposes.
Two thoughts to hold simultaneously: Trump seems like a weak candidate who'll probably lose; any major party nominee has a real shot to win.
Matthew Yglesias @mattyglesias