Thursday, April 28, 2016

Welcome to the Reality Show Campaign

It's going to be Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton in America's first Reality Show presidential campaign.  Unless of course something totally weird happens, Reality Show-style.

Among the Democrats, Hillary spent a great deal of her victory speech on Tuesday addressing the concerns of--and therefore addressing--Bernie Sanders voters. Bernie's speech was viewed as a valedictory to his campaign, and on Wednesday he sent the campaign workers he didn't fire to California to make some big noise there, in preparation for making a big noise for the national convention platform committee.

So the Democrats are dull, though Naderite Susan Surandon and former hubbie Tim Robbins are doing their show biz best.  Trump is going to try to make Hillary a Reality Show-worthy opponent, but that might be beyond even his tawdry skills.

But for the moment at least, there's still Ted Cruz to rival Trump in the Reality Show buzz of the moment.  While Trump's assertion Tuesday night that Hillary is a viable candidate only because she's a woman had even Mrs. Chris Christie's eyes rolling, and Trump managed to insult Christie standing behind him again (asserting that John Kasich has gotten almost no votes--why even Chris got more!)--on Wednesday there was Tail Gunner Ted introducing Carly Fiorina as his selection for vice-president.

So this was the most despised presidential candidate of 2016 (which is saying something) even among fellow Republicans, introducing a vp candidate who is so universally loathed that New Yorker satirist Andy Borowitz only had to play it completely straight to ridicule the choice in his column Cruz Hopes To Tap Into Immense Popularity of Carly Fiorina.

Maybe that was more Moliere than Reality TV but Carly soon returned it to its proper sphere when from the podium at this announcement she suddenly sang a nursery rhyme to Cruz's daughters.

As USA Today showed, several reporters incredulously tweeted "What is happening?" while the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza gave the true political reality show junkie response in his tweet: I LOVE THIS CAMPAIGN. I LOVE THIS CAMPAIGN. I LOVE THIS CAMPAIGN. I LOVE THIS CAMPAIGN. I LOVE THIS CAMPAIGN. I LOVE THIS CAMPAIGN.

Yeah, well I've never watched more than a few minutes of a reality show, so...wake me when this one is over.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Quintrumpled and other Political Notes

Trump has triumphed in all five northeastern primaries, and is currently winning above 60% of the vote in every one.  Update: Though his percentage is dwindling, he's still likely to be above 50% in all, and well above 50% in several, making the Cruz-Kasich pretend alliance meaningless, except as a way to gin up his margins. He's also above 50% for the first time in the NBC national poll announced today.

Nate Cohn at the NYTimes: It is safe to say that Trump is outperforming any benchmark based on his past performances, like our demographic model. Extremely strong showing.
As of now, Hillary has been declared the winner in Maryland, Delaware and  Pennsylvania--the biggie-- but in a tight race in Connecticut and losing to Bernie in Rhode Island.  She'd really like to have Conn., I'll bet.  Clinton is hovering around 60% as well in the three states she's won so far. Looks like the moment for her victory speech.  Bernie, as usual, made his non-concession speech early enough to get airtime, but in terms of the results, maybe too early. Update: Rhode Island called for Bernie. NYTimes reports likely Clintonian areas of Conn. haven't yet been counted.  Update 2: Clinton takes Connecticut.

Political Note:Trumpled Here First

From the Nation early Tuesday:

Republican Donald Trump, on the eve of primary elections in five states that he is expected to sweep, launched blistering attacks on Monday on rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich for their 11th-hour joint effort aimed at denying him the party's presidential nomination.

From eminent (i.e.paid) political writer Chris Cillizza  in the Washington Post:

If Donald Trump could have engineered a scenario that would fire up his anti-establishment base any more than it already is, the public announcement of a Cruz-Kasich alliance would be how he would have done it.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Political Note: Trumpled

Tailgunner Ted Cruz and John Kasich, two of the three remaining aspirants to the GOPer presidential nomination, announced through their campaigns that they are cooperating on a strategy to stop Donald Trump from going to the convention with enough delegates to win on the first ballot.

Unless I miss my guess on what Trump will now do, I'm pretty sure this move all but guarantees Trump the nomination.

I expect Trump to meet this with righteous fulmination, resulting in big wins on Tuesday and either humiliating victories in the states where these two choose to go one-on-one with Trump or enough sustained noise to scare GOPer delegates into putting Trump over on the first ballot if he's anywhere close to a majority.

If these guys had tried to make Trump's angry hordes angrier, they couldn't have done better than this strategy, which plays directly into the perception of cynical party politics thwarting the public will.

The only way this could possibly work is that by each training their campaign ads and speeches on Trump's deficiencies instead of each other's, they cut into Trump's support and expose a serious vulnerability.

But right now it just looks like a response to Trump's overwhelming victory in New York and his likely victories in the northeastern primaries this week.  Ordinary voters expect candidates to either be in the race or out of it, not playing in some states and not in others. Without much in the way of a public rationale or public outcry, this looks as cynical and political as it gets.

Moreover, Trump realized that the more and louder he talked about issues not on his primary agenda, the more trouble he was getting into.  He's all but disappeared for the last few weeks.  Now he's got something new and pretty safe to shout about. Cruz and Kasich are about to be Trumpled.