Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Don't Get Cocky, Hillary


Well it looks as though Hillary Clinton got a bigger bounce out of her convention than Donald Trump got out of his. Coming out of the Republican convention, the RCP average had Trump up 1.1 points. That meant he got roughly a three-point bounce. Given the morose tone of the convention, that was pretty impressive.

As of now the RCP average has Clinton up 4.4 points. That translates to a five and a half point bounce. And it should be noted that that average includes one poll that showed both candidates tied. If you subtract that poll, the average jumps to almost six points. The news for the Clinton camp gets even better. Gallup released another poll which showed that a majority of people who watched the GOP convention reported they were LESS likely to vote for Trump, the first time that's happened since the poll was first conducted in 1984.

And keep in mind, these polls were taken in all likelihood a couple of days ago, before he was stupid enough to get into a pissing contest with the parents of a war hero. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Clinton's lead doesn't increase another point by this time next week. Imagine Hillary being up five and a half points by mid August. Obama had to wait till election day to see that kind of lead over Mitt Romney.

And yet if I'm Hillary Clinton, I wouldn't go counting my chickens just yet. As an avid baseball fan I can tell you no team has ever won a pennant, much less a World Series, in August. Many a good club has seen its sizable lead wither away under the pressure of a stretch drive. Remember, we're talking about Hillary Rodham Clinton. Yes, she's capable and yes she has the resume, but she's hardly FDR. If she were, this race would be long over by now. Face it, if someone as vacuous as Trump could take a lead over her, albeit a small one, then you know this race is far from over. We've been waiting for a year for old motor mouth to show even a semblance of self control. If that were to happen, say, in September, with Hillary up by only a few points, well I don't have to tell you what could happen; you should already know.

So how I would I play this? The same way any good sports team would: by keeping the pedal to the metal. It's clear it doesn't take much to get under Trump's skin. Think about it. Of all the speeches that were made at the Democratic convention, the two that drove him up the wall were the ones by Khizr Khan and Michael Bloomberg. The former exposed him as a xenophobic racist; the latter as a fraud. Not surprisingly, these two speeches went after the main thrusts of his campaign: his insistence that illegal immigrants, Muslims and bad trade deals are at the heart of the problems that beset the country. So when Khan accused him of not knowing what was in the Constitution and Bloomberg inferred he was a con artist, he went nuts.

Knowing that I would keep pouring salt in that wound. Don't let up or relent for a minute. No prevent defense. Just keep marching forward. Campaign like you're five points down instead of five points up. Expand the electoral map and go after states like Arizona and Georgia. You may not get them, but you'll force Trump to defend them. and with his current financial situation, that'll pay dividends in the end.

But there's one thing I would do above all else: stop making unforced errors. Case in point, Clinton in a Fox News' interview with Chris Wallace, claimed that FBI Director James Comey said she was being "truthful" about her emails. Comey said a lot of things about Clinton's emails during his press conference. Truthful was not one of the words he used. While he did say that he had "no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI," that is NOT the same thing as saying she was being truthful.

A careful analysis of the evidence would lead any reasonable person to conclude that a lot of what Clinton has said repeatedly throughout the investigation simply doesn't jive with the facts. She might not have technically lied to the FBI, but she was hardly being truthful with the public. Not surprisingly, Politfact rated her claim as "pants on fire."

It's time for Hillary to stop this madness. She isn't fooling anyone with her denial of wrong doing. She may have escaped criminal prosecution, but she hasn't escaped the ire of the general public. There's only one reason why this race is as close as it is. Because in a head to head match up against a narcissistic, pathological liar who might actually be mentally ill, Clinton is seen by a majority of Americans as being only slightly better.

That's not a lot to hang your hat on, and the campaign has little more than three months to figure out how to significantly improve that perception with the electorate. If they can't, the most qualified presidential candidate we've seen in our lifetime may well lose to an extra from the set of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

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