Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Endless Election Finally Begins

Good news: The primaries are over. Well, except for the DC primary this Tuesday, but that one really won't count for much.

Bad news: The general election is on our doorstep, promising us five months of mudslinging, advertisements across numerous screens and multiple forms of media, and, oh yes, some policy prescriptions.

At this point, Donald Trump is in the midst of a bad media week, what with him questioning a judge because of his ethnic background, and a continuing ignorance of American foreign policy. In fact, if I was Xi Jinping, I'd be very excited about the prospects of Donald Trump being elected because then I could get into a trade war that I'll win and reap the benefits of an American pullback in Asia. China will be happy to fill that vacuum and make life pretty distressing for Japan and South Korea.

And that's on top of things that Trump has already said about Mexicans and women and Muslims that didn't seem to disqualify him in the minds of the slice of the GOP that stood with him during the primaries and that forms the basis of his electoral hopes come the fall. The big problem, though, is that Trump has not unified the GOP, and even though his poll numbers increased briefly, he's fallen farther behind Hillary Clinton and hasn't won a horse race poll since the middle of May. And that's even before Hillary gets her Democratic unity bounce after Bernie leaves the race. Things ain't looking up for Donald and I think he knows it.

Hillary Clinton has had her bad weeks, but this one was not one of them. She won the Democratic nomination, even without the super-delegates, and she made a blistering speech that savaged Trump as the know-nothing that he is. This woke up many Democrats and Independents who figured that only Trump knew how to manipulate the media. His feeble attempts at belittling her as not looking presidential only showed how un-presidential he is. And for all the talk about his getting the better of her during debates, he'd better understand that she actually knows what she's talking about on policy, and that's what people look for in the fall. I have no doubt that Hillary will slice, dice, set it and forget it during the debates, leaving Trump to fulminate and call her names. Good luck with that.

So much has also been said about both candidates being rather unpopular,. but really, most Republicans don't like Hillary and most Democrats don't like Trump, so what did you expect? Americans thought Gerald R. Ford was a nice guy, but where did that get him? By the end of a presidential campaign, nobody likes anybody. This time, we've just gotten a bit ahead of ourselves.

At this point, it's Hillary's to lose. President Obama is finally popular and Elizabeth Warren is the best thing to happen to the Democratic social media feed ever. Trump tried to raise some money over the weekend and many GOP donors followed Nancy Reagan's advice and just said no. Much of the money will go to saving the Senate and the House from absolute devastation. Hillary will raise an obscene amount of money, win, then appoint a Supreme Court justice who will vote to eviscerate the Citizen's United decision. Unless the e-mail thing gets worse.

But for political junkies, it's the mainline, and no matter how this election takes shape, we will follow it. And it's not even Father's Day yet.

For more, go to or Twitter @rigrundfest

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