The Final Stretch

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

With seven weeks remaining in the campaign, the press is being accused of partisanship for the other party by both parties, as you would expect.  Some journalists wear that criticism as a badge of honor, proof that their reporting is fair and balanced.  It may be a comfortably self-serving attitude, but it’s based on a false premise, namely the abstract notion that, as candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are ‘equal,’ which they are not.   One is a dedicated public servant, who has been too greedy while not in any service and exercised poor judgment handling communications as Secretary of State, not rising to a level where it would be prosecuted.  The other is a narcissistic megalomaniac, a prolific liar and racist, a con man and a huckster, who seems to delight in insulting and hurting people and neither has the knowledge nor the skills for the office he’s seeking.  Any reporting that doesn’t emphasize those differences serves Trump’s campaign interests and is therefore ‘objectively partisan.’  Most recently the press is becoming more critical of Trump, even calling him a liar, but he had to scam them into his new hotel first.
      Recent polling of likely voters shows that Trump’s voting block is stable around 42%, but that Hillary Clinton’s support has been declining in the last couple of weeks.  This is caused by the fact that Trump can say anything without losing any future votes, because his supporters either agree with him or think that he’s kidding, while Hillary Clinton gets punished for every minor mistake, like speaking the truth about Trump’s followers in poorly chosen words and failing to reveal a walking pneumonia immediately.  The good news for Clinton is that she can win back voters who once intended to vote for her, while Trump has reached his ceiling.  For her to do that the upcoming debates, in particular the first, are crucial.  According to ‘experts’ from both parties Hillary is facing two choices, either to go after Trump on personal or on policy matters and either to be positive or negative.  It is partly a false choice.  Her task is to establish herself as a leader who will make people’s lives better, and the best way to do that is to challenge Trump on every ‘policy’ he ever proposed, no matter how rudimentary, and show she has a better one.
      Everything Trump has presented as policy so far comes straight out of la la land.  His tax plan would add trillions to the deficit and only benefit the super-rich.  He wants to grow the US military to a level its leadership is not at all comfortable with, without indicating how that would be paid for, and his recent childcare proposal, also unfunded, would work through tax deductions that only make the rich richer, while the people who really need the services don’t get them.
      Hillary is a policy wonk with an impressive agenda, all potentially paid for, so challenging Trump on policy would play into her strength.  Trump cannot possibly remain standing in a one-and-a-half  hour policy debate, so he’ll try all kinds of distractions, but if the moderators have bigger balls than Matt Lauer, Martha Raddatz included, they won’t let him get away with it.
      Hillary can easily leave the non-policy attacks on Trump to Barack Obama, who is better at it and will campaign profusely from now on to secure his legacy.  Another piece of good news is that she gets better with her back against the wall, while Trump still flies off the handle every day.

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