Sunday, July 24, 2016

Can This Get Any Worse?

Sure it can. After all, the real campaign hasn't even begun.

What transpired in Cleveland last week was, according to the old rules, a Republican Convention that saw a disunited party listen to plagiarism, a trashing of due process, and a dystopian (hey--everyone's using this word, right?) vision of society that was proposed by Rudy Giuliani and seconded by the nominee himself. There were plenty of empty seats and a lot of yelling and chanting. In every other election cycle, or if this occurs in Philadelphia where the Democrats will meet this week, the news would be grave and embarrassing.

But this year, not so much, because clearly, the Trump-led GOP is incapable of self-reflection or admission of mistakes. Plagiarize? So what. Talk about not supporting NATO allies if they can't pay their way? Sound foreign policy. Continue the fantasy that a wall will solve our immigration and economic problems? Of course Congress will approve and Mexico will pay for it. Yes, Donald Trump has tapped into the anger of the moment, and it's not pretty. I'm sure that the polls will show him leading the race by Monday.

It won't last.

Say what you want about the Democrats and how much people mistrust Hillary Clinton. They will put on a better show in Philadelphia and they have the stars to prove it. Will their convention sway voters? Not just yet, but this week will be the start. Then we'll watch the Olympics and take a break for most of August.

When we return the race will be different. Trump has done an excellent job using free media so far, but a presidential election is different. He will need money, but many GOP donors will sit this one out and focus on Senate and House races that can be salvaged. Then there's the all-important get-out-the-vote machine. A unified party couldn't get its supporters out in 2008 or 2012, and they will find it difficult to get their voters out in 2016. Meanwhile, the Democrats will have access to President Obama's GOTV apparatus and they will be relentless in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania because that's where this election will be decided. Trump needs to win all three. He won't.

Hillary's choice of Tim Kaine as her running mate is a good one. He's a foreign policy expert and a viable, tested leader. Will progressive Bernie voters come around to the ticket? I believe they will in enough numbers to elect her. They won't be happy about it, but look at th alternative. Plus, Elizabeth Warren and other liberals will make sure that all Democrats get the message that if they stay home, things will get a lot worse.

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