The latest results from the Quinnipiac polls came out today, showing a double digit lead for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in key states of Pennsylvania and Virginia, as well as a burgeoning lead in Iowa. While troubling, considering Quinnipiac was one of the few polls that could be relied on to lean Republican, the Q poll may be a moot point now. Far from taking a victory lap, simple math needs to be faced: there are simply too many deep blue (electoral heavy) states for Trump to surpass with little more than eighty days remaining until the General Election. What deep red states he does possess are not as densely populated as New York, Pennsylvania and California, so their electoral cache is greatly diminished. Pile on that, traditionally red state, Georgia, is anywhere from a toss-up to leaning toward Clinton. Word is Missouri and South Carolina are very much in play for the democrats as well.
Feeling the pressure, what followed from Trump was a string of cautious, scripted speeches over the past week that could have doubled for ransom videos considering the obvious distaste Trump feels while kept on a short leash. Much like Clinton’s “untrustworthiness”, Trump’s perceived persona is baked-in at this point and beyond sculpting. No manner of recited book reports on ISIS and Trade can make up the ground lost when America decided that this man was simply not in on the joke. It’s one thing to disagree with a person, to even loathe their policies, it’s quite another to be convinced that they are tacitly out of their depth. Confidence goes beyond likeability, and apparently, trust issues as well. People want to fall asleep on Sunday with faith they will wake up to a Monday. Trump has lost this trust, and with it, he has lost the election.
And if you are intent on going down with the ship, there’s certainly no reason to do so without friends. In what will be his third or fourth campaign shake-up, campaign chairman and Kremlin bagman, Paul Manafort, has seen his role greatly diminished with the addition of an executive from the rightwing website, Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon. Bannon’s aggressive nature has been noted by past employees as, a “legitimately sinister figure”. So it makes sense that his addition is being hailed as a return to “Trump being Trump”. This, in the wake of accusations that disgraced Fox News CEO and Jabba the Hutt understudy, Roger Ailes, has come on to advise the campaign. While Trump denies the former Nixon speech writer’s involvement, there are numerous clips of the two expressing admiration for one another, one from earlier this year has Trump openly speculating about bringing Ailes onboard. While the Republican ticket is hemorrhaging demographics, Trump seems unconcerned in even contemplating efforts to bring in the Latino, Black, LGBT, or female vote at this point. His stop in Wisconsin spoke to issues of the “black community” but did so to an entirely white audience of West Bend, which is a far cry from the racial unrest unfolding in Milwaukee.
That doesn’t rate with Trump, however. He is determined to tap any echo chamber that will have him. He is in a race against the calendar to lap up any remaining national adulation to pad his ego before the landslide defeat in November buries his legacy. I find it predictably ironic that Trump describes the “corrupt Media” as the “lowest form of human life” while enlisting a Breitbart executive and possibly Roger Ailes, not exactly names synonymous with “integrity”, to reestablish the narrative of his campaign. Beyond its richness, and apart from Trump’s unshakable hubris, the latest reinvention is just plain silly. First and foremost, because it is far little, far too late. Getting ready for work this morning, I overhead one of the faces on the panel shows remark that, “it doesn’t matter the new magician you get for the gig if the rabbit they’re trying to pull out of the hat has been dead for a week.”
One could even take a step back and argue that he does not need a reinvention or even a return to form, as much as he does a refocus. While drubbing Trump handily, Hillary Clinton is not that good of a candidate. She’s said as much on the trail. She has not been without controversy these past months as well. The FBI’s notes during their investigation into how Hilary Clinton handled classified documents on her personal email server are now being released to select GOP members, with which they will undoubtedly make political hay. While the House GOP’s request for a subpoena regarding Clinton’s accused perjury is dead on arrival and nothing more than pageantry, it is an untimely pageantry that only goes to further the narrative that Clinton views herself above the law. Trump cannot be bothered to addresses any of this, however. Just this week he declared, “I’m not running against ‘Crooked’ Hillary Clinton. I’m running against the corrupt media.”
Wikileaks revealed potential pay-for-play methods within the State Department where they were asked to consider Clinton Foundation donors for positions of national security. While Trump said the words “pay-for-play”, the issue demanded a more focused indictment against Hillary than Trump’s limited attention span was capable of providing. He chose, instead, to focus on petty and unfounded character slights, insisting, she “doesn’t look very Presidential” and that she “lacks the stamina” to be President.
The U.S. has begun bombing campaigns in Libya, doing so without a vote in Congress or a Authorization for Use of Military Force bill being signed. Libya has been a quagmire for years. While far from a democratic paradise, Libya enjoyed a measure of stability under Kaddafi’s rule until the State Department, led by Hillary Clinton at the time, decided to back the coup against the desert strongman. Much of the lawlessness and the vacuum of stability in the region that allows groups like ISIL to establish bases therein can be linked back to the Obama administration’s decision, backed by Clinton’s State Department, to oust Kaddafi in the first place. If Trump had the capacity to link those details into a cogent critique of the Obama administration and Clinton’s predilection for military intervention, Clinton would be taking on water, soon to capsize. Instead, Trump chooses to focus on matters like “extreme vetting”. Like nearly all of Trump’s proposed policies, what “extreme vetting” entails is left largely to the imagination but it fits neatly on buttons and ball caps, and at this point, merchandising may be this scoundrel’s last refuge.
Unfortunately for all of us, it’s too late for any of that to make one damn difference. Hillary Clinton is going to be the next President, not because she is a winner, but because Donald Trump is such a bungling loser. Clinton will coast in November and remain unchallenged. President Obama will most likely push forward TPP during a lame duck session of Congress after she is elected but before she is sworn in, effectively washing her hands of one of the fundamental concessions she made to the Sanders delegates. A proud Centrist, the GOP will all but run toward her in Congress, eager to get on her good side when appointing up to four Supreme Court Justices. For Trump’s part, he will do what he does best, wallowing in the pigshit of half-truths and open slander, delegitimizing the merits of the Presidency.