Hillary: The Democrats’ Bob Dole?
“Why aren’t I 50 points ahead?” – Hillary Clinton, 21 September 2016
Why indeed? Just last month the media was trumpeting the news that it was all over; Hillary had a commanding lead, was running away with the election, and Donald Trump may as well go ahead and admit defeat. The election was supposed to be a mere formality.
Indeed, for the past year, the election was supposed to be a mere formality; Hillary was the anointed one, destined to be our first female president. The Democratic primary was supposed to be a mere formality – the coronation by acclamation of Hilary Clinton as the 45th president of the United States. The other Democratic “contenders” were just there as window dressing.
As for the Republican primary, with 17 candidates vying for the “privilege” of going down to defeat at the hands of the smartest woman in the world, that was supposed to merely be a circus staged for the enjoyment of the media. One designed to show the sharp contrast of the quarreling, extremist Republicans vs the smart, poised, supremely polished Hillary Clinton; ready to take over the reins from Barack Obama; to cement his legacy, and to push forward to reach that progressive utopia he laid the foundation for and which is so nearly within their grasp – the fundamental transformation of America.
Then, out of nowhere, came Bernie Sanders; and antiquated, self-proclaimed Socialist who ended up giving her a run for her money. Instead of the monolithic united block the Democrats had expected, they instead got a fractious, back-biting primary that cost more and aired more dirty laundry than they ever expected. Dirty laundry that is following Hillary around into the election campaign like a bad cold that just won’t go away.
When Donald Trump won the Republican primary, it must have seemed like a godsend to Hillary. In her wildest thoughts she couldn’t have expected that the Republicans would actually choose the candidate of her dreams. Heck, no one expected Trump to win! Trump – what a buffoon! It’s reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s candidacy in 1980, the man the Democrats portrayed as an “amiable dunce.”
Early polling seemed to vindicate Hillary, showing her in the lead and widening the gap. Comparisons with past campaigns seemed to indicate that she had put it away. Unfortunately for her, this is not past campaigns, and past data is not necessarily an indicator of future outcomes.
The problem with Hillary is, that after all is said and done, she is a poor candidate. This makes absolutely no difference to her core progressive base, who could care less what she has done, what she says, or whether she lies or not, as long as she delivers on the issues of interest to the progressive movement. So she is a “flawed candidate;” so what? They are all flawed to one extent or another, aren’t they? Doesn’t the end justify the means?
It makes no difference really to most conservatives either, who aren’t going to vote for her anyway. Not that they are necessarily going to vote for Trump either – some will sit the election out, while others will go for the Libertarian this time around. Apparently some, like former president George H. W. Bush, are actually going to vote for Hillary – but then again, most conservatives these days consider Bush 41 to be more of a moderate than a conservative.
If there is one thing that stands out to me in this election season, it is the importance of getting involved early during the primary season. Typically, most voters sit out the primary. At that point they really are not interested in politics and could care less what is going on with their party. Well, this is what happens when you don’t care; you get saddled with a candidate that you don’t like, don’t want, and can’t muster much enthusiasm for. This time around, it happened in both parties.
So who does care? Why the sudden shift in the polls? Why isn’t Hillary Clinton 50 points ahead?
First off, it would be difficult for any candidate to be 50 points ahead of the other in this day and age, what with the polarization of the electorate that has occurred in the past 30 years or so. When I was growing up, the country was politically divided regionally; northern Republicans vs southern Democrats. That has changed. The country now is more or less divided ideologically; liberal progressives vs liberal conservatives, and these are scattered all over the country, with the progressives concentrating in the large population areas and the conservatives making up the bulk of the rest of the counties across the country. This is best illustrated by looking at election maps of the country by county, which reveals islands of blue in a sea of red.
You might wonder at my use of the term “liberal conservatives.” Here is my reasoning. Those we call “liberals” are taken by most to mean those who follow the ideals of the classical liberal in the mold of Thomas Jefferson, aka “Jeffersonian liberals.” This is clearly not what those who style themselves “liberals” and call themselves “progressives” are. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the progressive movement has hijacked the term “liberal” and changed its meaning. Progressives are good at that. They constantly relabel things to mean something else; hence their contention that when conservatives use certain words, they are “code words” for something else. Progressives employ code words on a daily basis and naturally assume others do likewise.
Conservatives on the other hand, eschew the term “liberal,” incorrectly associating it with the progressive movement as the progressive’s desire. However if you look at what today’s modern “conservatives” espouse, you will find that it falls in line with the classical Jeffersonian position. So what are conservatives trying to conserve? Classical Jeffersonian liberalism, odd as it may semantically seem.
So being 50 points up in the polls is just another fantasy in the mind of Hillary Clinton, with no basis in reality for any candidate these days. But let’s take that instead as a frustrated exaggeration instead of an actual expectation, as it was undoubtedly intended to be; so why isn’t Hillary still running away with the election. Why is she no longer even up in the polls? (Depending on the poll you read – Rasmussen has Trump up by 5 nationally while McClatchy/Marist has Clinton up by 6 in the general election).
While Trump may have issues when it comes to his temperament and suitability for the job, Hillary has problems when it comes to believability and trust. Even though this may not be a problem to her core constituency, it is a problem with many voters who really don’t like either candidate all that well. In fact, many may well be undecided until they reach the election booth and the choice is forced upon them. With this level of uncertainty, are the polls even vaguely predictive this time around?
For many voters, Donald Trump is someone they remember seeing on TV reality shows like The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice, best remembered for his hair and his trademark phrase “you’re fired!” Is he presidential material? Early on, most said no! But now?
This is why Donald Trump’s performance in the first presidential debate on Monday is critical to his campaign. And why the bar for him is considerably lower than it might be for any other Republican candidate. Donald Trump doesn’t have to win. Heck, no one expects him to win. This is his first presidential debate. He is not a politician. Hillary Clinton has been on numerous debates. She is a politician, and she will certainly be prepared. No, all Donald Trump has to do is to be creditable. He needs to be seen as able to be president; that he is not the caricature that Hillary Clinton and the press have made him out to be. That his finger on the nuclear button will not automatically spell disaster, that he does have the seriousness and demeanor to be president, and that he is not some wild-eyed maniac who will go off half-cocked at the slightest provocation.
As has been stated elsewhere, this debate is expected to be the most-watched presidential debate in history. If you look at the audiences, how many attend Hillary Clinton rallies and how many attend Donald Trump rallies, it is obvious that most of the people who plan to watch the debate are not there to see Hillary Clinton. Of course, many may be there simply to observe the expected fireworks – but then again, it is a presidential debate; not something that is normally a big crowd pleaser.
Regardless people are ready to vote for him if they can be convinced that handing the Republic over to him will not be akin to giving it to Ricochet Rabbit. If he can make that case without self-destructing along the way, it could be all over for Hillary.
There has been a lot of response to Hillary’s question as to why she isn’t up 50 points over Donald Trump. A google search on the phrase “why aren’t I 50 points ahead” turns up about 34,900,000 results in o.39 seconds. They range from the Washington Posts article “This is why Hillary Cinton isn’t 50 points ahead – or even 10 points ahead” to Real Clear Politic’s “Dear Hillary: Here’s Why You Aren’t 50 Points Ahead,“ to The Daily Wire’s “Angry Hillary: Why Aren’t I Ahead By 50 Points” Trump: Because You’re Terrible.”
For me, the question isn’t “why isn’t Hillary ahead by 50 points,” or even “why doesn’t Hillary have a substantial lead.” For me the question is “why are the Democrats so insistent in running her in the first place?” Surely, they could come up with a better candidate.
Other names were put forward, Elizabeth Warren being one of them. Senator Warren is hardly my cup of tea – I am just as ideologically separated from her as I am from Hillary. However she is undoubtedly a better choice; she doesn’t have the Clinton baggage (list too long to go into here), and she seems to be in good health. And while her claiming Native American heritage when she has none for her own personal advantage seems dishonest to me, I have no evidence that her first inclination, when a question – any question – is posed to her is to lie, as seems to be the case with Ms. Clinton.
The health issue is a good example. She insists that she is in picture perfect health. Then she is captured on video not just stumbling but actually collapsing while stepping off a curb to get into her limo. If her security escort hadn’t caught her she would have face planted right there in the street. If there hadn’t been video – if someone had just observed it and reported it without “proof” it would have been blown off as just another example of a whacko conspiracy theory put forth by right-wing nut jobs out to get Hillary. Of course Hillary is in good health. How do I know this? Because this has been the response of the campaign to similar circumstances previously, and because this is Hillary’s observed modus operandi for almost everything.
But in this case there was video, and the news networks ran with it, which forced the Clinton campaign to ultimately come out with a statement that created more questions than it answered. According to the campaign, Ms. Clinton was suffering from pneumonia, which she had been diagnosed with several days earlier, but because she is a real trooper, had ignored in the interests of campaigning. During the event she attended, she became overheated and dehydrated and that was the cause of her collapse. Not to worry though – she is just fine now. Her willing accomplices in the media, particularly MSNBC went on and on about how beastly hot it was that day (no doubt due to global warming) and how it could have happened to anyone. The only problem is, research reveals that it was a whopping 72 degrees and breezy at the venue Hillary appeared at. I don’t know about you, but I get chilly at 72 degrees. Toss in a breeze and I am looking for a jacket. Drop it another 10 degrees and I see it as an excuse to break out my leather duster. Of course, I am from Texas…
The whole pneumonia thing smells to me as well. People die from pneumonia. I can’t imagine any competent medical authority that would recommend someone with pneumonia to go out in public and carry on as if they were well. I can’t imagine someone jeopardizing their health and the health of those around them by acting in such a manner. In fact, if Hillary’s campaign had put out a press release saying that Hillary had come down with pneumonia and needed to take a break from her campaign for a week to recover, I can’t see how that could possibly be taken as a negative. People do get sick after all.
Obviously, something was wrong with Hillary, but what? Was it really pneumonia – or is it something more serious? I don’t know – and that’s the problem. When it comes to Hillary Clinton, what can you believe? Her first choice at any time is to defend, deflect, and deny. She will lie to your face at the drop of a hat. Bill would do the same thing, but at least he was charming about it.
All in all, if I am going to have to put up with someone I am ideologically opposed to, I would prefer to have someone who is honest vice dishonest. That is one I felt Bernie Sanders had going for him; I disagreed vehemently with him on issues and ideology, but at least he was honest.
This is one thing voters do respond to concerning Donald Trump. At least he tells it like he sees it. If you ask him a question you will get an answer. You may not like the answer, but you will get one.
The only answer I can see regarding "why Hillary" is the same answer Republicans were given when they asked “why Bob Dole” back in 1996 – “because it is her turn at bat.”
Hopefully, that will work out for Hillary Clinton about as well as it did for Bob Dole when the final vote is tallied.