Clinton seemingly took the high road in courting Republicans, but only to make their existence a living hell.
Hugging and kissing are rarely innocent acts in a gangster movie. The Godfather puts his arms around you not always in loving embrace, but as a way of drawing you close and making you an offer you can’t refuse. The warm kiss on the cheek might also be a farewell gesture, a way of saying goodbye before you sleep with the fishes. The same principle works in politics, where praise isn’t meant kindly—instead, it carries an ominous message.
In a speech in Reno yesterday attacking Donald Trump as a racist with ties to the alt-right, Hillary Clinton was amazingly gracious when discussing Republicans who did not support Trump. Like President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, Clinton was careful to distinguish between mainstream Republicans and Trump, portraying the nominee as an aberration.
Many analysts took Clinton’s pitch at face value. In The New York Times, Matt Flegenheimer wrote, “Mrs. Clinton’s pitch seemed aimed largely at moderate Republicans and other voters who have watched Mr. Trump’s attempts in recent days to soften his image.” This analysis isn’t wrong, but it is incomplete. Clinton not only tried to convince Republicans that Trump doesn’t stand with them, but also implicitly warned them of dire consequences if they continue to back him.
More: In Her Alt-Right Speech, Hillary Gave the GOP a Mafia Kiss | New Republic
Good luck governing next year while guilty until proven innocent in the eyes of the press, and as Republicans call her both accidental and illegitimate.
Consider the latest faux outrage, over Clinton Foundation donors supposedly getting untoward access to the then-Secretary of State. The AP “scoop” on the matter is a movable feast of innuendo, but it contains nothing that even hints at an actual exchange of favors from the Secretary of State in exchange for charitable donations. There is nothing in the story that suggests that emails requesting a meeting were met with demands for cash; for supplying some 11 million people around the world with AIDS medication, or for rebuilding Haiti or for the microloans to African women, which are some of the things the Clinton Foundation actually does, and does quite well. There’s also nothing in the story that suggests that being a Foundation donor was the only way someone could get a meeting with the Secretary; given that it found fewer than 90 such meetings out of 1,700 known to have taken place at State during her tenure.
More: Can President Hillary Survive the Media’s Fake Scandals? – The Daily Beast
Clinton will not be responding to the latest email brouhaha. Instead, she’ll kick back and watch Trump continue to lose this election.
Imagine that the darkest possible interpretation of Hillary Clinton’s latest email “scandal” is true: The former secretary of State offered privileged access to her agency in exchange for donations to her favorite charity. Would that change any rational voter’s preference in this year’s election?
No doubt, this would be a genuine scandal. Even if you support all of the Clinton Foundation’s charitable efforts, the organization still pays out salaries to the family’s friends. We don’t want public officials exploiting the power of their positions to elbow out competitors in the “selling indulgences to plutocrats” game.
But who, precisely, would look at such a scandal and think, “I was going to vote for Clinton, but now I will cast my ballot for the transparently corrupt, imbecilic racist instead?” Which is to say, even if a voter’s No. 1 issue is reducing government corruption, proof positive that Clinton sold access to the State Department wouldn’t give him or her a good reason to vote for Donald Trump.
More: Clinton Just Gonna Run Out the Clock on This Email Thing
It relies in part on how panelists say they voted in 2012, but people tend not to report their past votes very accurately.
There’s an interesting new entry in political polling: the U.S.C. Dornsife/Los Angeles Times “Daybreak” poll. It’s different from other surveys because it’s a panel, which means it recontacts the same voters over and over. In 2012, a similar panel study done by RAND was considered a big success.
But so far, the U.S.C./LAT panel has consistently been far out of step with other surveys. Donald Trump has led in nearly every survey it has conducted in the last few months, by as much as seven percentage points. Even today, Hillary Clinton has only a one-point lead — even as she claims a comfortable lead nationwide. It was enough for the Drudge Report to feature the poll result prominently.
One factor that could be contributing to the panel’s tilt toward Mr. Trump is its decision to weight its sample according to how people say they voted in 2012.
The pollsters ask respondents whether they voted for President Obama or Mitt Romney. They then weight the sample so that Obama voters represent 27 percent of the panel and Romney voters represent 25 percent, reflecting the split of 51 percent to 47 percent between the two among actual voters in 2012. (The rest include newly eligible voters and those who stayed home.)
More: A Favorable Poll for Donald Trump Seems to Have a Problem
Donald Trump tries to explain his way out of his comment about “2nd Amendment people” stopping Hillary Clinton from appointing judges.
Source: Trump shoots off his mouth – The Washington Post
What would a Trump presidency look like? A 100-day POLITICO investigation.
What also emerges from this 100-day review is a Trump outlook less tethered to the traditional left-right ideological spectrum and more to his binary view of winners and losers, the weak and the strong. He praises foreign strongmen like Saddam Hussein and Vladimir Putin, and casts as weak his political opponents. It’s one of the reasons Trump seems never to back down, no matter the cost to himself, dragging out controversies around a judge’s ethnic heritage (Days 32-36), the use of a Jewish star atop a pile of money (Days 61-65), and his feud with the Muslim-American family of a fallen U.S. soldier (Days 87-92).
Those three episodes alone consumed 15 percent of his days.
But as much news as Trump made, much of Trump’s 100 days is a tale of time squandered: the three weeks before holding his first fundraiser, the 39 days before a swing-state tour, the 50 days before his first email solicitation for money. “Usually campaigns don’t even start until September,” said Paul Manafort, his campaign chairman, on Day 94. Trump has still not aired a general election ad.
Indeed, perhaps the most difficult missteps to measure are Trump’s neglected opportunities. He essentially ignored an inspector general’s report critical of Clinton (Day 23), stomped on the Labor Department’s worst jobs report in six years (Day 32) and posted that controversial Jewish star the same day Clinton sat down to be interviewed by the FBI (Day 61).
By far, though, the hardest part of tracking Donald Trump is simply keeping up.
More: 2016 election: 100 days of Donald Trump – POLITICO