Saturday, October 22, 2016

Race for the White House Volume 95

17 Days Until Election Day

In just a few more weeks, I will be free of this burden!

It has been really hard to think about politics on Saturdays the past few weeks, and today is certainly no exception. I can only hope I am similarly distracted next Saturday. I am even becoming concerned that I may run out of days to finish up my U.S. House predictions and to do my typical posts with final predictions on all the races. If that happens though and I run out of time, I will just have to accept it. At least I have a job and at least there is something else going on to allow me to focus on something besides this horrible Presidential election.

As mentioned last week, I really did not see much of the last debate. From what I gather Trump was somewhat more focused and able to communicate, low standards and all, but the negative headlines he generated are not going to shift any votes in his direction. He made reference to illegal immigrants as "bad hombres" and to Hillary Clinton as a "nasty woman." Those things may very well be true, at least to some extent but they were not smart to say in a debate and they just generated enthusiasm by those opposing his candidacy, just as Clinton's "basket of deplorables" gaffe did.

Most notably, Trump said in the debate that he would not commit to accepting the results of the election. At the time, he did not phrase it as being a matter of waiting to see the margins in the state and if there were avenues for recounts, legal challenges, etc, as have been seen before. He simply is preparing to say the election was "rigged" and any result that has him losing is invalid. This has been his modus operandi in life as a celebrity for many years now. Since he is stating that Hillary Clinton is corrupt, the message is that she should not even be allowed to run, and thus he is the automatic winner. He tried to do that with Canadian born Ted Cruz in the primaries as well.

Time will tell how Trump will actually deal with the electoral reality, if as expected, he loses soundly, and how his ardent supporters react in kind. This is definitely a matter of concern, but I think the Republic will survive (to say nothing about the short term health of the Republican Party) as it has before. Trump simply can choose to go down in history as the sorest loser ever and see what effect it has on the bottom line for he and his children as it relates to their business interests. It does indeed seem that even he has accepted that he is not going to win and is thus just trying to de-legitimize the whole thing.

As I have been saying for a long time, Hillary Clinton is going to become President, and will go down in history for the obvious reasons, but this campaign will have been seen as a joyless slog for her, both in regards to the nomination battle and the general election. As President, she will hold enormous power but I do not see much happening to ever make her truly popular or beloved. There will be many Americans who simply hate her. Without Donald Trump as a foil, she is in for some rocky times,.

That is all in the future though. The campaign is headed down a homestretch and Republicans and Democrats alike are wondering what kind of positive or negative campaign coattails there will be and how that might effect the balance of power in both Houses of Congress.

Also this week, while a baseball game was on, the annual Al Smith Dinner was broadcast on cable, and  I did not get to see the whole thing either. It certainly generated a lot of media headlines though. It is a formal white tie affair in New York City, where every four years, the Presidential nominees come together for a dinner, with only the Archbishop of New York sitting between them, to make fun of their opponents, and themselves, at the charity fundraiser.

It has produced some goodwill and good laughs in past cycles, but this was not one of them. Unlike the third debate, where Clinton and Trump did not shake hands, they did do so briefly on Thursday evening at the event, and according to the Cardinal, Trump even had some high personal praise for "Crooked Hillary." Not all that surprising if you ask me that they might be closer in private than many realize.

Neither was really very funny in their remarks though, and both certainly were more personal in attacking their opponent than the tradition has ever seen before. Trump spoke first though, and was far worse. In fact, he was booed by many in the audience. Since Clinton followed him, and was slightly less caustic, she got more of a pass.This was not exactly a proud moment for the country though, coming right after the completion of a very ugly and uninspiring debate season. The on-screen cleavage of tv personality Maria Bartiromo was said by many to have "stole the show" away from the two boobs America must pick between for President.