The Clinton Tsunami
Now that the dust of primary season is beginning to settle, the fall campaign between Hillary and Trump is shaping up. The matchup, which I predicted months ago, will be brutal and nasty on a level we haven’t seen since the 1800s. But I am now convinced Hillary will win the presidency in a landslide. It won’t be along the lines of Nixon/McGovern, but it’ll be “huuuge.” The narrative is starting to take shape on both sides and the punditocracy is already cranking out analysis and predictions. Which story will voters embrace is the big question.
Some might point out that Sanders is still in the race which is true. And like Hillary in 2008, Bernie will probably fight all the way to the convention floor. I expect that Hillary will mimic Obama by allowing it. It will cost her nothing and earn her goodwill while reuniting the Democrats. Unlike the GOP, the donkeys have been squabbling and committing fratricide for over a century. They know how to pull together when they need to. Sanders can influence the platform, but Clinton has the delegates for the nomination. In fact, I think Bernie’s socialist ideas are merely ahead of their time, but that’s a different essay. Meanwhile, the competition has made Hillary stronger than ever while Donald has unleashed a plethora of stupid remarks that will hurt him. Not with his supporters, for whom he is bulletproof, but with the middle of the political spectrum who will decide the election. The only way that changes is with a scandal Hillary doesn’t have time to wiggle out of. Traffic camera footage of her putting the gun in Vince Foster’s hand, for example.
Much of what is written or going to be written about Trump is repetitive and obvious. For example: he is a toxic racist misogynist. Or that he has made a fool out of everyone who has underestimated him so far. And while it’s true that Trump’s and Sanders’ support is deeper and more emotionally intense than Hillary’s, her support is much wider. If Trump is the Colorado River roaring through the Grand Canyon, Hillary is the Mississippi much wider than deep but incredibly powerful. A lot of people who claim to dislike/distrust Clinton will pull the lever for her anyways no matter what they have told the pollsters.
And I don’t just think this will be simply because hatred of Trump is so strong. Actually, I think he probably wouldn’t be a bad president; certainly better than Cruz or the other Christian ideologues that were in the race. Democrats will unite behind Clinton rather than stay home and give Trump a shot at winning. Republicans, on the other hand, will stay home in large numbers. There’s no way Evangelicals will support Trump in the numbers that he needs. He represents everything they hate. Trump thrives on bluster and theater and Hillary will crush him on the debate stage. And TV ratings for that will be very high indeed.
One of the few true assertions of Ted Cruz campaign was that Trump’s success was largely a creation of free media exposure. He also predicted, and I agree with him, that the media will tear Trump down before the general election. Cruz is probably right that it is all about the money the election will generate for the media. I think that the properly orchestrated collapse of a billionaire who tries to bully a female on the world stage will be grand political theater that will attract huge audiences. It will be American Kabuki at its finest.
Democrats will then have the unenviable task of governing an increasingly fractured country while the GOP does yet another election autopsy. The fight to unite Republicans into one camp will take years, but in the meantime their strategy of winning the small elections, town councils, school boards, and state legislatures will continue. They have no reason to change it since it has been so successful. Because of their stranglehold over local politics, Republicans have gerrymandered their way into permanent power that will only collapse when Americans get caught up a “throw the bums out” movement that surfaces every so often. In general though, we are too distracted by bread and circuses to pay attention to the government that really affects our lives.
Dog catchers, beat cops, and water sanitation councils are the ones who really control the quality of our daily existence. Exhibit A is Flint Michigan. But it’s too hard for most people to become informed voters in the elections that really matter. So they pin their hopes on the figureheads of the political systems. They get excited by presidential and gubernatorial candidates and hope these highly visible leaders will improve their lives. When that doesn’t happen, they jump on another bandwagon or become so cynical they ignore politics all together.
I really don’t care whether I am right or wrong about Hillary winning. Who wins in November will have very little direct impact on me. I think I’m right, however, and want to be on record as such. The sample size I base my opinion on is small but highly representative. Unlike most pundits and pollsters, I rub shoulders daily with 90% of the socio-economic classes. Most do not like Clinton. But they remember Bill’s time in office as good for them economically. And the idea that a billionaire TV actor can understand their lives much less help them is a lie too big for even Shamu to swallow. Of course that’s just my opinion. If I’m wrong, you’ll let me know.