Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Trump vs. Obama: The 2016 Battle Between Cynicism and Hope

This is where we are at this point. Everything points to Hillary winning this by a strong margin. She's very quailified and caring, Trump is boorish incompetent who as Madeline Albright said last night is already making the world a less safe place.

Beyond that, Trump's own party hates him and the Dems have never been more unified than 2016. Indeed, the 2016 Dems might be even on a historical basis as unified as the GOP is on this same basis in total disunity.

Ah. But what's the wildcard, what is counter narrative where Trump-God forbid-could win?

In a word: cynicism. The country over the last 16 years has become extremely cynical-arguably this is part of a longer trend which goes back to Vietnam, the JFK, RFK, and MLK killings, and Watergate.

Trust in government and most of our social insitutions is at an inredibly low ebb. This is the space to turn Hillary's clear competence and experience against her.

Trump's argument is 'Yes, she's a politician who's been there for 30 years. She's part of the problem.'

Suffice it to say, such cynicism is socially very unhealthy even if a lot of it is understandable based on our recent history with the Bush years-Iraq, the finanicial crisis, etc. Still, if you retain your sense of irony, rather ironic that this would empower the ultimate Ponzi schemer who is running a Bernie Madoff like campaign for President.

Then there is Trump's surreal press conference this morning which will be our next post. For now, this is the overall battle. Hope and being optimistic, vs. cynicism and despair. Trump is counting on the latter.

"Last night a former president spoke at the Democratic convention. Tonight the current one does. And the division of labor between the two of them — both arguably among the most effective public communicators of the last generation — runs roughly as follows: Bill Clinton’s task was to make everyone feel a whole lot better about Hillary Clinton, while Barack Obama’s job is to make everyone feel utterly horrified by Donald Trump."

"Okay, it’s not quite that simple. But Bill Clinton’s speech yesterday was notable for its relentless focus on re-introducing Hillary Clinton to the American people after two decades in the public eye. There is a lot to say about Bill’s speech. But perhaps the single most important overriding point Bill tried to get across, by talking in strikingly granular detail about Hillary’s long career in public service and her relentless focus on improving people’s lives in incremental ways wherever possible, was to dispel the idea that she is in it for herself. The speech did go after Trump and Trumpism here and there, but only tangentially, and not by name, since the obvious goal was to make everyone feel a lot better, i.e., about Hillary Clinton."

"Meanwhile, in a new interview, Obama signaled that he will essentially try to carry out the massacre of Trump that was missing last night. Previewing his speech, Obama told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie that Trump’s ignorance and lack of curiosity about the world pose a unique danger, should he find his way anywhere near the Oval Office. “What I think is scary is a president who doesn’t know their stuff and doesn’t seem to have any interest in learning what they don’t know,” Obama said, adding that Trump lacks a “basic knowledge about the world,” that he “doesn’t know” about the nuclear order and other crucial matters, and that he “hasn’t seemed to spend a lot of time trying to find out about” them."

"Asked what he hopes the headline of his speech is, Obama said:

“I hope my headline is that the president of the United States is profoundly optimistic about America’s future — and is 100 percent convinced that Hillary Clinton can be a great president.”

"While this signals that Obama, too, will make a positive case for Clinton as his successor, it also suggests that he plans to attempt a comprehensive indictment not just of Trump, but of Trumpism. The suggestion that he is optimstic about the country’s future is a clear signal that he will go hard at the pessimism at the core of Trump’s message. He’ll try to expose Trump’s depiction of the country as basically a Big Lie, a fraudulent vision of a hellscape in which crime is rampaging out of control, teeming dark hordes threaten us from the south, refugee-terrorists threaten us from the east, and only a single domineering figure who is not hamstrung by “political correctness” — read: racial sensitivity — can make it all better again."

"The challenge for Obama will be to make all these points, and make people feel a bit better about the current direction of the country (large majorities tell pollsters they do not feel good about it), while acknowledging that there is still a long way to go. Speaking to voters’ legitimate grievances in a balanced way may prove the only way to prevent Trump from successfully exploiting them."

That is the question. Are Americans this cynical? One good sign? Americans think highly of the President. A lot of that is a reaction to the rise of Trump. Which suggests maybe Americans are rejecting Trumpism after all.


  1. Have you seen this?:

    You know even the Trump folks realize he should not have said this when they are in full “he didn’t mean it” mode and Trump is now on twitter himself trying to clarify.

  2. Check out this headline:

    Have you noticed that Trump repeatedly uses a very simple (and annoying) elementary school tactic? Whatever unfavorable descriptions can be applied to him, he accuses other of. He's an ignoramus, so he accuses smart people of being ignoramuses. He's a liar, so he accuses the truthful of being liars. He's a greedy crook, so he accuses those who devote their time to helping others of being crooks. His whole campaign has been like opposites day! What he promises are "the best" are invariably "the worst." What he promises is HUGE is undoubtedly pathetic and insignificant.

  3. So some 200 dead-ender bern-outs left the convention hall yesterday, right? I hope they stay out... or if they do come back in I hope they just sit there and stew ... and maybe watch and listen a little. Maybe they'll learn something. That would be ideal, if they actually learned a bit about the woman they've been demonizing. But if they can't do that, then it's better they're gone.

    I remember being a bratty kid and not wanting to eat some vegetable or other and raising a big stink about it (I'm talking when I was REAL little). And then I remember on another occasion being exciting about doing something after dinner, and deciding to just power through it... and realizing it wasn't so bad, or even that I kinda liked it. That's what I think these bernouts are: they've got it in their brains that HRC is the devil... yet if they'd just sit down and shut up for a moment, they might realize she's not half as bad as they've been imagining.

    1. Unfortunately they missed Bill's speech yesterday, which would have gone a long ways to shining a little light on the subject for them.

      In either case, I'll be happy to hear Tim Kaine's speech especially! And for that I'd be happy if the bern-outs just stayed away or stayed quiet.

  4. And more on Trump's taxes from RedState:

    Sumner thinks Hillary should find her inner Nixon and bury Trump on this. Spread rumors about Putin and Russian oligarchs and what we'll find in those taxes, and why did he go back on his word and why did he change his story about meeting Putin.

    Anthony Wiener was on Colbert the other night and his suggestion to Hillary for the debates was to cede all of her time to Trump. It was a joke of course, but definitely if she gets him fumbling with a topic like Russia or Putin and he's digging a hole, then absolutely let him keep going!

    1. Will Trump insist on having a teleprompter for the debates? Lol... that would be hilarious. His staff can cook up responses for him and he can just read them off.