Two things rings true following Labor Day Weekend- white is no longer fashionable to wear in certain circles and the Presidential Election now begins in earnest. If we’re only getting started now and everything past has been prologue, then the people who run the elections are vile, atavistic, silver moon monsters of the highest order.
To have the American people endure eighteen months of bloodlust campaigns that would have had the Aztecs appear peckish is just cruel and unusual. We had to endure Chris Christie staring into our souls as he refused to break eye line with the cameras during the fifty-seven Republican Primary debates. We had to worry the populace were actually taking Mike Huckabee serious for a moment in time (false alarm). We had to explain to Ben Carson (a brain surgeon, mind you) a myriad of facts no one would have ever considered up for debate; including that the Biblical Joseph probably did not use the Great Pyramids of Giza as grain storehouses.
We did nto suffer alone. Just consider the Hanoi march Jeb! Bush was forced to endure. A lifetime spent around politics and the Presidency, Jeb was summarily defeated by a man who stood next to him on stage insisting that his own penis was larger than one of his stubby, sausage-link fingers. We even told Rick Santorum he could be President again just for laughs. We really just wanted his personalized Google search result back to the top of the page.
Why do this to ourselves? Since when did the American Voter turn into an initiate for Opus Dei? The flagellation endured from the disaffected, yet well-taken-care-of, Millennials and all their talk of revolution between sips of low-fat caramel macchiato, purity tests and snarky tweets sent out through their slave-labor iphones could have been averted. Well-intended or not, the fury and the sound never overcame a deflated voter turnout that once again was let down by an over-projected youth vote and the predictable deification of an ideologue. An ideologue that has just formed his own Super PAC, the very institution he claimed was ruining democracy. His supporters may call it “Our Revolution” and define it as a “grass-roots foundation”, but at the end of the day, they take money from donors to use toward influencing election results based on candidates they want to win. In a nutshell, a SuperPAC.
On the topic of deified ideologues/demagogues, What has the last year been if not an exercise in futility for Donald Trump? Think of all the petty insults and methedrine fueled sub-tweets he could have saved for season ten of Celebrity Apprentice: Chelyabinsk if he had only known the race started this Tuesday. Consider how much better shape he would be in if he had not exerted himself with the Olympian level flip-flopping over his own issues, particularly immigration, sometimes within the span of a single interview. You know, people are starting to say: he doesn’t look very Presidential. Weak. They say he lacks the stamina. Low energy. Some even say he huffs bronzer before writing policy speeches. Now, I would never say such things, but many people, many people are saying.
After the last Weekly, I received a valid criticism questioning why I hit hard on Trump and not so much on Clinton. As this column serves as a colorful round-up of the week’s political events, there are just some weeks where Trump dominates the news cycle. It is not by coincidence these are the same weeks Clinton decides to become a shrinking violet. This election is a referendum of who you detest less. When Trump does her work for her, there is little incentive to step into the spotlight. Taken on its own, the tactic does offer polling boons in the short term. When her aversion to interviews, press conferences, town halls, even her own press pool starts to defines her, this becomes an issue, and a rather troublesome one.
While there is debate over her culpability over both the email server and Benghazi, (two separate, but often conflated, issues) it does her no service to further alienate herself from the public, of which the press serves as conduit. It’s been nearly 300 days since she’s last help a proper press conference and while Clinton promises more are forthcoming after Labor Day, like much of her and Trump’s best and worst traits, her lack of access and transparency are rather baked in at this point. These calcifying traits are hyper-exaggerated upon both candidates, but their actions have done nothing to disavow the earned accusations on either candidate. In retrospect, it was only after Julian Assange’s Wikileaks documents were made public discussion that she was forced to address the uneasy alliance between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation, as well as a biased Democratic National Committee that all but handcuffed Sanders to a radiator while Clinton accepted the nomination.
While the Clinton camp is hitting the trail hard, post Labor Day, it is primarily through her best asset- her surrogates. Clinton has been best served by her wildly popular stable of endorsers. Vice President Joe Biden appears to be running his 2016 campaign by proxy through Clinton. It shockingly apparent just how much better he is at this than Clinton. I make no claims to the effectiveness of his potential governance, but if Biden were in this race, there would be no race at this point. Even Bernie Sanders is making the rounds and coughing up tepid endorsements, albeit, only a scant more enthusiastic than Paul Ryan’s endorsement of the “republican nominee”. Even Sanders lukewarm support is a mark higher than the Trump campaign’s litany of glassy-eyed crash test dummies left jabbering at cameras as his official spokespeople (more on them in a future Weekly).
With only 62 days left until the Election as of writing this, a volley of new polling has just been released that all share a similar sentiment- this race is tightening up. While a national poll amounts to less than the more telling state electoral polls, the race is now within a margin of error. Several light blue states like Ohio, North Carolina and Florida are now too close to call. Red giant, Texas, is also close to becoming a swing state. While she still maintains an electoral tally wide enough to win, the candidate who defeats Trump would be better served to do so in a landslide drubbing if they intend to claim that the American Voter chose them, opposed to merely not choosing someone slightly more detestable. To do so, Clinton will have to be much more aggressive and publically available than with which she is comfortable.
It is clear to the untrained eye that Clinton has been in a holding pattern since the nomination. She intends to run out the clock until November as Donald Trump seems determined to keep pissing his trousers on live television. This tactic has served her well enough thus far, but with state and national numbers tightening, the public is growing restless. Whether noble or not, when you don’t give the public something interesting to talk about, they will make something interesting to talk about.
If you listen closely, you can hear someone at the Drudge Report spooling up the Vince Foster reels as we speak.