Saturday, July 23, 2016

Will Trump Get a Negative Campaign Bounce?

Those don't happen very much but it's' tough for me to see the positives from this convention.

If you're an undecided voter who came in still open to voting for Trump but with real reservations about his being qualified-60 percent of Americans don't even think he's qualified-what do you have to hang your hat on?

Ok, maybe you might have been impressed by his kids' speeches, particularly Ivanka's. Though as Ted Cruz's adviser says, having nice kids doesn't make you qualified to be POTUS.

Beyond that, though, there was:

1. Total fail on party unity.

First Paul Manafort picked a fight with John Kasich on Monday morning and got booed on Morning Joe.

Manafort was brought in to be the voice of reason and run a professional campaign. Yet, here he is picking a fight with Ohio's GOP governor. Yes, Kaisch is not coming.

Even so, if Trump has any chance in November-God help us-he needs to win Ohio. Full stop. He' s not going to win Ohio without Kaisch's mobilizing turnout. Full stop.

Strike one on party unity.

Then you have Ted Cruz's snub heard around the world. Trump did know he wouldn't endorse but Cruz went out of his way to really make it stick.

But Trump did the dumbest thing he could have by telling everyone to boo. That made it a much bigger story for those watching at home.

Of course now you have Trump's surreal attack on Cruz and the JFK conspiracies again on Friday morning. Trump wants to start a super PAC to defeat Kasich and Cruz-whether he wins in November or not.

2. Melania's plagiarizing Michelle Obama's speech.

First Trump refused to admit it. Then when his team finally did, they actually threw Melania under the bus. Which makes him about the world's worst husband to boot.

This whole two day story stepped all over whatever positive buzz he hoped to get.

What it really underscored was the utter incompetence of the Trump team. This incompetence was also in sharp relief in the way they handled the Cruz speech.

It totally undercuts Trump's argument: sure I know nothing about policy and don't care about knowing it, but I will have great advisers. If this is how badly his advisers botch a party convention-the equivalent of two free throws in basketball-who want to even imagine them running domestic and foreign policy?

3. Lock her up.

This disgusted everyone but hardcore Trumpsters. Not just independents but many Republicans were appalled and disgusted.

4. Finally there was Trump's gruesome dystopian 80 minute screed. It showed he has one more thing in common with fascists: long, rambling, scary screeds.

What bounce does he get? Maybe some GOPers coming to him? But I think the fights with Kasich and Cruz may mitigate this the other way.

Cruz's snub will be the defining moment of the convention. Next week Jeb Bush is endorsing Gary Johnson.

This piece by Politico's Steven Shepard also makes me think that Trump at least is likely not to get a bounce.

"Donald Trump's convention is over. But don't count on a convention bounce."

"The sizable polling bump that typically follows four days of saturation media coverage probably isn't coming."

"Hillary Clinton is also unlikely to receive much of a bounce after Democrats' gather next week in Philadelphia. The reason? Trump and Clinton are two of the most unpopular presidential nominees in recent electoral history, and voters' mostly negative feelings about both of them are well-formed. That lends a level of stability to the race and means neither candidate is likely to bound out of the next two weeks with additional momentum, according to pollsters."

"Then there's the issue of party unity. Many top Republican officials still haven’t rallied to Trump’s side, and one, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, snubbed the nominee in his nationally televised speech Wednesday night. Combine that with a series of other unforced errors, like Melania Trump's plagarized speech on Monday night."

"All that division and controversy could undermine the chances of a Trump bump."

“George H.W. Bush isn’t here. George W. Bush isn’t here. John McCain isn’t here. Mitt Romney isn’t here,” Chris Wilson, a Republican pollster who advised Cruz’s presidential campaign, said here Tuesday at an event sponsored by The Atlantic magazine. “A lot of people say, ‘Does it matter?' It does matter if you don’t have unity coming out of the convention.”

"Clinton, meanwhile, has been savaged by speaker after speaker here; voters tuning in across the country have heard chants of "Lock her up!" coming from the Republican faithful in the crowd."

"There are a number of factors that make the 2016 election unique, but the most salient dynamic is the deep and persistent unpopularity of both Trump and Clinton. According to HuffPost Pollster, 60 percent, on average, view Trump unfavorably, compared to just 35 percent who have a favorable opinion. Clinton fares only slightly better: 40 percent favorable versus 56 percent unfavorable."

"And there’s a sizable pool of voters who have unfavorable opinions of both candidates that are unlikely to be swayed by the traditional pageantry of either political convention: According to Gallup, about a quarter of Americans view both Trump and Clinton unfavorably."

"That likely puts a ceiling on how much momentum the candidates can generate out of the conventions as they head into August."

Read more:

I think this means: as a Beltway pundit, Shepard realizes Trump won't get a bounce but wants to mitigate it right away by playing false equivalence.

Hillary hasn't even gotten her convention yet but already he's telling is it will achieve nothing.

But he steps on his own narrative by talking about Trump's failure of political unity.

That is the one thing that will be totally different for the Dems' convention

The level of Democratic unity will be stark coming on the heals of Trump's threats of starting a super PAC against Kasich and Cruz.

Beyond this, Shepard seems not to realize that favorability is not static. Hillary's was very high before she started running in 2016. Logic would dictate that it could rise again.

It's not implausible that it could coming on the heals of Trump's dystopian mess.

Conventions are meant to change negative narratives. They are a chance to reintroduce yourself.

Trump utterly failed to do this. Any chance was lost after his 80 minute Mussolini like monstrosity.

Jennifer Rubin:

"It remains to be seen whether the Republican National Convention will generate a “bump” in polling and, if so, whether that has any long-term implications for Donald Trump’s campaign. Given how unliked both candidates are and how polarized the electorate is, it is very possible not much will change in the race. Nevertheless, judging by a whole array of factors, one cannot help but conclude this was the least successful convention since the Pat Buchanan-dominated 1992 shindig that became the staging ground for another round in the culture wars. Let’s assess the convention by a number of criteria."

"The first and most important criterion is whether the candidate made the leap from candidate to someone voters could see in the Oval Office. In this, it seems, virtually no one not already under Trump’s spell could be impressed by Trump. His enraged, angry rant Thursday night seemed more indicative of a televangelist or a 1930s fascist leader than a president of the United States."

She too pushes the point about Hillary's poor favorability. But again, this is what conventions are for. It's her chance to reintroduce herself to the country. Her chance to get people who think they know her to maybe think again. 
If you look at her history in national life, her ratings have ebbed and flowed for 24 years. She was unpopular in Bill's first term. But she became more popular in the second term-partly out of sympathy over Monica Lewinksy
She was a popular NY Senator. Even in the tough 2008 loss, her approval never dipped beneath 48 percent. 
During her time as Obama's Secretary of State her approval was 64 percent and even most Republicans had a favorable view of her. 
So there's no reason to think that she can never break out of the high 30s to low 40s again. 
Trump failed to persuade the country to rethink. This doesn't mean that Hillary will. I think just having a unified party behind her-of many popular Democrats-will help her immensely. 
Recently some pundits have uncharitably laughed at her being the most unpopular Dem at her convention. That this shows she's a 'bad politician.'
1. No she's not.
2. It's true that Obama is more popular than her now-though it was reversed during her tenure at his State Department-but this is good for her. It means some of his popularity can rub off on her. Ditto, Biden-who also was not nearly as popular as she back in 2011; indeed the Obama campaign seriously considered replacing Biden with her-as well as Elizabeth Warren, her husband, and Chelsea. 
And Bernie's strong speech should shore her up on the left. 
So Trump may well get no bounce or even negative bounce. I hope so, as it would restore my faith in my fellow citizens a little bit. 
But it is very premature to assume this of Hillary. Can we let her have it first before Beltway pundits swoop in to tell us it achieved nothing?

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