Not one of the supposed political experts saw Bernie or Trump coming.
Trump was dismissed as a joke, Bernie as an unelectable socialist.
The media talking heads ignored Bernie, ridiculed and disparaged Trump.
Having had monumentally misread the voters in the primaries, the same political geniuses are now weighing in on the likely match-up between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
We are besieged nightly with computer graphics, pie charts, polls and electoral maps all being read to predict the downfall of Donald Trump. While acknowledging that Hillary Clinton has abysmal favorability ratings, we are quickly told that Trump’s are worse, and are reminded that he is upside down with major constituencies such as women, African Americans, Hispanics, etc.
But none of that analysis explains why Trump is leading with independent voters, and that he is within a few points of Hillary in the media’s own polling.
Just as the professional pundits were wrong about Trump’s campaign folding each coming week, they are without a clue to the dynamics of Trump’s support.
They assume that Trump’s misstatements, braggadocio. frequent corrections, inaccuracies, etc, will erode his support.
Trump voters are pissed off. They want to clean house in Washington. They repudiate the political establishment. They do not give a damn about the specifics of how Trump will govern, they just want someone other than an establishment politician to do so.
Media talking heads and political pundits seem to be trying to assure one another that they are still relevant. That their opinions carry weight. That their perception of political reality is actually true. That their bosses are not pissing away money paying their salaries.
A perfect example of this mutual masturbation was in evidence recently on MSNBC. Chris Hayes was interviewing a Republican operative who was involved in Rudy Giuliani’s aborted Senate campaign against Hillary in 2000. The topic of discussion were polling and focus groups that dissuaded Giuliani from waging a campaign attacking Hillary based upon Bill’s sexual indiscretions while president.
This anecdotal information was then extrapolated to pronounce Trump’s current attacks on Hillary to be of no effect, and quite likely to actually help her!
Not the slightest mention was made of the drastic differences in public attitude toward the establishment and establishment politicians, no analysis of the economic crisis that since visited the country, no discussion of Hillary’s abysmal popularity numbers, no mention of her changing her positions on the Iraq war, universal healthcare, gay rights, private prisons, or the War on Drugs.
Quite satisfied with this dog-and-pony show, Hayes left his audience under the impression that the Trump campaign was destined to fail.
Such orchestrated and worthless dialogue is frequently the content of MSNBC, CNN, and other outlets, invariably framed to place Trump in the dimmest light possible, and extolling Hillary as a beacon of reason in a sea of political confusion. Mainstream media spokespersons are loathe to mention anything about Hillary’s positions on war, trade, foreign policy, universal healthcare, corporate welfare, etc.
Missing in any discussion I have seen is any sense of reality as to what unapproval ratings mean. There is no question that both Trump and Hillary are both under water in their approval vs unapproval ratings.
But just what constitutes “unapproval” of a candidate?
In Hillary’s case, unapproval translates into her being untrustworthy. People do not trust her, and they think she cannot be trusted.
In Trump’s case, most of his unapproval is correctable or of marginal importance. Much of the criticism can be addressed by changes in Trump’s public persona and temperament.
But Hillary cannot fix not being trusted.
And what may be the biggest blow to her trustworthiness yet was this week’s announcement by the Inspector General of the Department of State that Hillary broke federal rules in setting up and using a private email server while serving as Secretary of State.
The Inspector General faulted her for not cooperating in his investigation, refusing to be interviewed, and for not seeking permission to set up the private email server.
This all militates against her credibility, as she has said repeatedly that what she did was approved by the State Department, and that she would cooperate fully in the investigation.
Hillary Clinton is her own worst enemy. She presumes herself entitled to be president. She seems to believe that rules and laws are beneath her concern. She changes her positions like a political windsock. She refuses to acknowledge her errors or apologize for her behaviors. And she hunkers down when caught in lies or misrepresentations, hoping they will dissipate in the next news cycle.
American voters, by-and-large, are fed up with Hillary, fed up with the establishment, fed up with politics as usual.
Donald Trump will very likely be the next president.
And if he is, it will benefit progressives in the Democratic party. Bernie will be the loudest, most respected voice in the party and he will be able to pursue his political revolution without hindrance from Hillary and her conservative cohorts.
Donald Trump will be the best thing that has happened for progressive values and progressive politics in America save for Bernie Sanders himself.
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