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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Election By Projection

He lies repeatedly and daily, so he calls her a liar. He bases his whole campaign on bigotry, so he calls her a bigot. He builds his political constituency by amplifying and sustaining and becoming the public face of the Birther Movement, so he accuses her of starting it. He conceals tax returns, organizational ties, medical information, so he calls her secretive. He funnels campaign contributions into events promoting his properties and spends charitable contributions from other people made in his name into personal vanities, so he declares her corrupt. He whomps up fear without facts in a crisis, attacks allies because he is out of his depth, threatens military reprisals for perceived insults, so he declares her unfit to be a leader.

Now, I don't think Donald Trump is going to be elected President. I think the diversity of the twice-winning still-growing Obama coalition threatened and insulted by the Trump campaign is being widely ignored and underestimated in this campaign. I think the incredible organizational investment in voter education and mass-registration and coalition-mobilization and get-out-the-vote of the supremely competent and professional Clinton campaign vis-a-vis the shambles of the Trump campaign is also being ignored and underestimated -- even though it is an excellent proxy for the capacity of a leader and organization to handle nation-scaled hyper-mediated long-term administrative complexities. This contrast was of course quite evident in the two Conventions a couple of months ago, one a chaotic freak-show and the other a seamless and compelling celebration, a contrast so stark the media could not manage for weeks to conceal it in the horse-race and false-equivalency narratives which now, once more, prevail. During that brief period of post-convention Clintonian supremacy, Democrats were outperforming Republicans in this cycle far more than they managed to do at any point in 2012, but otherwise 2016 is and has always been quite comparable to 2012, steadily and consistently reflecting Democratic demographic and electoral college strengths over the Republicans, and if anything Clinton's position remains a bit better than Obama's did (and with which he, you may recall, won handily). It is only because Trump is so very appalling and because we know that only a large victory with coat-tails can win Clinton a Congress that solves problems with her rather than obstructs her to the ruin of all that I personally feel more anxious and ill in this election than I did in 2012. I would like to think -- and I'll admit that at some level, Mouseketeer that I am, I really honestly do -- that when it finally comes to it most people are too sensible not to fear Trump's erratic dangerous unprofessionalism even if it amuses them and too decent to want to be represented by Trump's loud belligerent bigotry even if it speaks at some level to their own fears and resentments.

But even so, Trump managed to become the nominee of one of our two major parties through what amounts to the bragging, threatening, projecting strategies of a grade school bully, and the failure of the Repubican Party to ward off his takeover demonstrates a truly dangerous organizational failure. So, too, the present ominous "tightening of the polls" (a misleading phrase that actually denotes the reversion to the norms I mentioned already and is deployed largely to distract attention from the facts that Clinton remains, as she always has done, from the beginning of the race through to the present, the favorite to win it by the reckoning of the polls as well as by indicators that usually are treated as mattering: demographic breakdown of support, state of the economy, Presidential approval, offices and volunteers in the field, fund raising and ad spending, and on and on and on) demonstrates a no less dangerous organizational failure of the media to inform the public of even the best-documented lies of the Trump campaign or the absurdity and vacuity of the policy proposals, such as they are, of the Trump campaign, or of the basic qualifications for the actual job of the President for which the execrable incompetent Trump is presumably being interviewed in this campaign, which is not, mind you, a cast member in a trashy campy reality show in which rich idiots overturn tables, grab their balls, and scream "I know you are, but what am I?" in the White House.

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