Thursday, September 15, 2016

MIghty Mo

So there is no question that momentum is on the side of Donald Trump. Another new poll came out (from CBS/NYT)  showing the race essentially tied, and Trump has started to pick up steam in most of the important battleground states. The question right now has to be what is causing all of this movement? Here is my two cents worth:

Donald Trump is becoming a more serious candidate. Whenever Trump manages to stay on topic, avoid controversy, and basically not say anything too terribly offensive, gravity seems to pull the polling back towards normalcy. He's been on message recently. From his trip to Mexico, to his outreach to the black community, and to his string of specific policy proposals, he's behaved like a serious Presidential candidate.

Closet Trump supporters are coming out of the closet? I write this as a question, as there is no way to really measure this. But one of the theories may be that people who otherwise were afraid to show their support for Donald Trump are finding themselves more able to do so. This could suggest that recent poll movement may in part be artificial. Just a new found ability to measure previously silent support. Who knows? By November showing your support for Donald Trump might be a "trendy" thing to do.

#NeverTrump movement lost a key argument. One of the pillars of the #NeverTrump argument was the fact that he would lose in a landslide and bring down the Party with him. With less than two months away from the election, he is now polling better than how establishment candidates Romney and McCain finished, and a Hillary landslide seems like a left wing clouded delusion. Whether this is pulling some of these fringe members over into the Trump camp is hard to know for sure. But the credibility of the movement has been compromised, as has their influence.

Commander in Chief forum was success for Trump. He proved that he could go up on stage with Hillary Clinton (albeit at different times) and look Presidential. In fact, it was Hillary Clinton who had a problem with looking Presidential. She was out of sync, looked hesitant, and outwardly lied about important national security topics in front of military personnel. Trump had some odd moments and said some questionable things, but he looked and acted forceful, confident, and in control. The subsequent attacks from the left on Matt Lauer did nothing more than amplify the idea that Trump got the better of Hillary in a situation where almost everyone expected the opposite.

Basket of deplorables comment is now a gaffe. I understood the original concept here. Clinton pulled a Donald Trump move (or tried to). She boldly makes and outrageous statement to garner attention. She backs off the concept that "half" of Trump supporters are un-American bigot behind hope. Ultimately she got some people discussing what percentage (if not half) of Trump supporters are in fact deplorable. So far so good. But the Trump camp did not take the bait or fall for the trap. Instead of defending their voters, they turned it around on Clinton. A Washington Elite, in front of filthy rich out of touch leftist elite donors, shows her bigotry by lumping tens of millions of "hard working Americans" into a "basket". Trump supporters have taken to wearing the deplorables comment as a badge of honor. Ultimately it may have worked considerably  to "undercut" her argument about racism and bigotry. Clinton doubling down on the bigotry angle at this point may reinforce a new found feeling that she is out of touch with many Americans and is willing to write them off in a broad sweeping (generalized) manner.

Health issue has now gone mainstream.  How clever does it now look that Hillary Clinton attempted to prove her good health by going on Jimmy Kimmel and opening up a jar of pickles? Let's forget, for a second, about the psychological impact of having an extremely secretive Presidential candidate with unknown health issues and focus on credibility. Trump questioning of Hillary's health can no longer be written off as a crazy conspiracy theory. He was right and it never hurts to be right when you are running for President. It's now Clinton under scrutiny for once again hiding something from the American public that many people might find important.

But getting back to the psychological impact of having an extremely secretive Presidential candidate with unknown health issues... that's going to be a problem down the stretch. Even her best case scenario (where there are no more blatant health issues) the questions will swirl. Why was she late for that appearance. Why is Trump holding more rallies. Are they sitting or standing at the debates. But the bigger problem will come if she has another coughing fit, loses her balance, or god forbids has another feinting spell.      

Nate Silver wrote a post today asking how much the deplorable statement and Hillary's health might be playing a part in the Trump movement. He sort of declared that he believes these to be minor issues, and that the momentum was clearly in his corner prior. He looked at some of the tracking polls (some showing post 9/11 movement and some not) to prove this point. He may be right, that current polling hasn't had enough time to really digest either issue. 

But that would suggest that things are actually "worse" for Hillary than they may otherwise seem to be. It would be much easier for a Clinton supporter to brush off the recent Hillary polling drop to short term consequences of these two events. But I have to agree with Silver that this movement was taking place "before" the deplorable comment and the health issue. I just happen to believe that both comments will play a part moving forward. 

First, I do believe that the basket of deplorables comment may have been the last bullet to be fired in the Donald Trump and his supporters are all bigots argument. Certainly, I don't believe they meant it that way, I just think it makes it harder to continue to argue racism, without reinforcing the feeling that she is simply out of touch with millions of Americans, and discounts them as bigots for not agreeing with her. The whole bigotry argument was stretching the laws of diminishing returns as it was, and now she has something to lose by continuing it. 

Secondly, the health scare argument going mainstream is only marginally important in a moment in time. Where it will pay dividends for the Trump campaign is moving forward, when every little sniffle, cough, stumble, or moment of confusion will reinforce (through confirmation bias) the idea that she might be secretly sick and simply hiding it (like she hides everything else). The fact that she has never been honest and always been secretive will pretty much foil any sort of transparency she can muster on the subject at this point. Other than those already dead set on voting for her, the majority of the public will continue to wonder and the chances of it becoming worse for Clinton far outweighs the chances of it becoming better. There is way too much time for more "incidents" to occur, and probably not enough time for suspicious people to feel secure. 


Commonsense said...

Interesting comment from Nate Silver:

Nate SilverVerified account
As others have mentioned, there are echoes of Brexit here. Clinton's narrowing lead over Trump a lot like Remain's over Leave at this point.

C.H. Truth said...


There's still a lot of denial among Democrats about how tight the race has become, despite abundant evidence from high-quality polls.

Silver is getting nervous about things. He has to look every day at what "certain" people would prefer to ignore.

Commonsense said...

Guess you can put Michigan in the toss up column for now:

EXCLUSIVE POLL: Presidential race between Clinton & Trump too close to call in Michigan

WXYZ) - The race for U.S. President has narrowed considerably in Michigan and is now too close to call!

If the General Election were held today, Democrat Hillary Clinton would barely beat Republican Donald Trump by only 3 points in a four way race that includes Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Clinton would capture 38% of the vote compared to Trump’s 35%, Johnson’s 10% and Stein’s 4%. Thirteen percent of eligible voters are undecided.

Roger Amick said...

Why he's even in contention.

1: Real unemployment rate is 42%
2: Thousands of Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks.
3: Obama founded ISIS and Hillary is the co founder.
4: Obama administration plans on admitting 200,000 Syrian refugees..
5: The Mexican government is sending over, rapists, murders, and drug dealers.
6: He was against the Iraq war.
7: He was the original official Birther.
8: He believes Vladimir Putin is a great leader and better than our own President.
9: He takes every single criticism personal and attacks that person.
10: Trump University was a scam.
I could continue ad infinitum. Yet for the most part, the evil Main Stream Media lets them go unchallenged. This is why, for the most important part, that he's even in contention.

C.H. Truth said...

Roger - the only reason you bring up any of these things is because the media pounded on about them over and over and over. To say these things are "unchallenged" is ridiculous.

Btw... you are the only person I know who believes that Trump was the "original birther".

Polifact disagrees with Trumps version that Hillary Clinton started the birther movement. However, they declare Trump's claim to be false because it's their ruling that it was started by Clinton supporters in 2008, not Clinton herself.

Commonsense said...

Which is why I don't take politifact seriously anymore they parse that fact like any Clinton operative just to arrive at a false conclusion.