Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I Thought Hillary Was a Terrible General Election Candidate

Remember all the Berners telling us that the Democrats had to throw the 4 million more votes that Hillary received in the garbage because only Bernie could beat Donald Trump?

"I remember Sanders fans telling me that Clinton was a terrible general election candidate. Maybe, but she's winning by a lot right now."

Carl Bialik:

"Thought experiment: If Sanders were the nominee, would he be leading in the polls now? By more or less than Clinton is?"

Well right now she's up close to double digits which if this is true on election day will be the biggest POTUS win since Reagan in 1984.

But I think Bernie might have had more trouble. Why? Because Hillary's strength is underrated. Ezra Klein gets it right. Her strength is her ability to build coalitions.

Why would Bernie have had a tougher time? Two words: party unity. He would struggle to unify the party. This has been a big part of Trump's problem.

Because the Dem convention proceeded so flawlessly, it's easy to take it for granted. But it's level of cohesion is probably historic. Hillary's skills and standing in the party have a lot to do with this.

What would a Dem party with a Bernie Sanders nomination look like? Check out Labor with Jeremy Corbyn.

As for 'boring', to paraphrase Paul Newman, 'Sometimes boring is a pretty fair hand.'

"What has Hillary Clinton been doing while Donald Trump has been careening from one controversy to the next? She's been traveling the country giving speeches about jobs, hammering Trump on the economy, and mostly avoiding press contact that could bring attention to her email scandal, the Clinton Foundation, or her record as Secretary of State. And then she talks more about jobs."

"Clinton's speeches are boring. They don't make much news. But they're in line with voter concerns three months away from the presidential election."

"In her Democratic convention acceptance speech, amid all the promises and proposals, Clinton made her top priority clear. "My primary mission as president will be to create more opportunity and more good jobs with rising wages right here in the United States," she said. Last week, still in convention afterglow, Clinton made a tour out West, giving speeches in Omaha, the Denver suburb of Commerce City, Colo., and Las Vegas that all focused on meat-and-potatoes economic issues."

Byron York then goes item by item at Hillary's 20 steps.

Summing up:

"There wasn't a single headline in the entire 20-minute poll- and focus group-tested speech, or the others delivered in Nebraska and Colorado, which hit many of the same points. And by the way, Clinton's speeches are about one-third the length of Trump's unscripted performances, which often go over an hour, giving Trump far more chances to say something controversial."

Trump has often mocked the kind of speech Clinton gives. At a huge rally in Dallas last fall, Trump pledged never to give a canned presentation. "That would be so much easier," he said. "We read a speech for 45 minutes. Everybody falls asleep, listening to the same old stuff …"

"Trump doesn't do that. His speeches are long, stream-of-consciousness affairs, with the potential to erupt into news at any moment. From Trump's perspective, Clinton's are the worst type of boring."

"But boring can work. Look at Clinton's summation. Her presentation is entirely consistent with the issues that voters say are the most important in this election. Asked in the most recent Fox News polls which is the most important issue facing the country, voters most named the economy and national security. (The two topics were tied with 22 percent each.) When Clinton says, "I think this election comes down to economic opportunity, national security and American unity," she's not speaking off the cuff."

"This is what's not appreciated enough: campaigning when it's done right isn't necessarily exciting. What she is doing is very similar to how the last insider to become President, Richard Nixon became President."

One difference: Hillary is granular and very wonkish and detailed. Nixon made sure to be very vague. He ran on 'change' without any content and 'Peace with honor' in Vietnam without any elaboration.

But a lot of what he did was like her: he didn't hold many press conferences either, and when he did he tended to go local as she does. He did all the classic campaigning stuff she does, he had the party behind him after his support for Goldwater in 1964-he knew Goldwater would lose.
So Trump hasn't reinvented the wheel, it's just that the GOP is dysfunctional mess.

As for teleprompters, the thing is that you have to slim your arguments down. Like with Trump there are literally 100 things about him you can hit him on. But to be effective you have to focus on a few. Hillary focuses on the point that he's unfit to be President. He's dangerous, liable to go off on the deep end at any moment.

So Hillary like Nixon in 1968 is winning by just doing the tackling and blocking of campaigning and she has Trump to make the news.

No comments:

Post a Comment