Friday, October 07, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: What, You Worry?

So what's there left to worry about? Clinton continues to rise in the polls, President Obama is at Reaganesque levels of popularity.  Several political commentators picked up on the precise paragraph from the New York Times article I quoted Wednesday night, to the effect that Trump is doing worse in polls commissioned by the politicians involved than in public polls.  Eric Levitz adds other evidence.

Jennifer Rubin points out that this is the time of the campaign, the poli sci folks say, that most voters make their choice, not close to election day.  Also that polls show there are few undecideds (also reported to be the belief of Democrats) and that only the Clinton campaign has managed the debate period much better ("Team Trump is playing checkers (poorly, at that) while Clinton’s crew is playing 3-D chess in the post-debate spin game") and has far and away the better ground game to get its voters to the polls.

So, thinking like a Democrat, what's left to worry about?  Several things, of course.  Worrying is what Democrats do.

  Probably Trump's last chance to shift the dynamic is Sunday's town hall debate.  And for awhile on Thursday the buzz was that Trump was taking a different approach to it.  He said he wasn't going after Bill Clinton's affairs after all, he would stick with policy.  His handlers suggested he would even practice for the debate--for instance, at a kind of in-house rally with a town hall format in New Hampshire Thursday night.

And sure enough, his speeches on Thursday became more disciplined and tele-prompted.  That is, until he got to that town hall, and then Trump reverted to being Trump.

He told the audience that this wasn't practice for the debate, and suggested he was being treated like a child by his own staff.  Instead of sticking to policy he veered off Trumpantly to castigate Hillary, Bernie Sanders, polling analyst Nate Silver, R Senator Mark Kirk (who doesn't support him) and among others, reporters John Harwood (who reported that a Trump insider said the Donald was not happy with Pence's debate performance) and John King (who repeated Harwood's report on CNN.)

Like the debate Sunday, the format was questions from people in the audience, with a two minute time limit for answers.  But the audience was pro-Trump, the questions were vetted, the host (and not the actual person) asked them, and Trump ignored the time limit.  The debate is scheduled for 90 minutes; Trump left this event after 30.  He answered less than half the questions estimated.  And his "answers" were his usual "it's terrible, I will make it better, believe me."

So while it is just barely possible that Trump could project a kinder and gentler persona on Sunday, the idea that he can discuss policy for 90 minutes is a fantasy too far.

Okay, what else?  Voter suppression--still very actively underway in several states, even in violation of court orders--plus intimidation of voters of color, called for by Trump.  Some are also worried about the effects of hurricane Matthew on Florida, where the Clinton campaign has asked that the voter registration deadline be extended in view of the likely consequences, but this was denied by R Gov Scott.

Even apart from the totally unexpected, there's probably more to worry about--oh yeah, what if Trump actually wins?  Well, it'll be even worse than you thought, not only thanks to Trump but to Paul Ryan. 

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