BLACK REPUBLICAN BLOG -
The Republican Party is the party of civil rights and the four F’s: faith, family, freedom and fairness.
The Democratic Party is the party of the four S’s: slavery, secession, segregation and socialism (Quote By Author Michael Scheuer).
try to disqualify Trump because she loses if the election is a referendum on
Kimberley A. Strassel
useful for clarifying elections, and this week’s Philly confab notably so. A
week of speakers—Democrat after Democrat beseeching the nation to please
know that Hillary
Clinton really is a good gal—has made something clear: This is,
essentially, a one-person presidential race.
It’s Hillary against
This November is about whether Americans can look at 40 years of Clinton
chicanery and nearly a decade of broken Obama promises, and still
pull the lever for her. Not that Donald Trump doesn’t matter. He does, in
that he can help sharpen those concerns. But Hillary is the main event.
The polls bear this out.
Aside from his recent convention bump, Mr. Trump’s numbers have been largely
consistent. Whether he leads or trails, and by how much, is mostly a function
of voters’ shifting views on Mrs. Clinton. Lately her poll numbers have been
A CNN survey this
week showed 68% of voters say she isn’t honest and trustworthy—an
all-time high. CBSfound virtually the same number: 67%.
In the CNN poll, meanwhile, only 39% of voters said they held a favorable view
of Mrs. Clinton. This is lower than any time CNN has polled Hillary since the
spring of 1992—before she was first lady.
Mr. Trump’s poll
numbers also bear this out. He is currently leading in the Real Clear Politics
average despite no real ground game, little real fundraising, little policy
message, a divided conservative electorate, and one of the messiest conventions
on record. As of June 30, Mrs. Clinton and her allies had raised a stunning
$600 million, which is already being spent to trash Mr. Trump. Yet to
little or no effect. Mr. Trump is hardly a potted plant, but even if he
were . . .
Clinton’s problem is Mrs. Clinton.She is running against her own
ethical morass. Already she was asking voters to forget about cattle
futures and fake sniper fire and Whitewater and Travelgate. Then she chose to
vividly revive the public nausea with her self-serving email stunt and her
Clinton Foundation money grubbing.
Oh, she tried to roll
out the usual Clinton defense: that this was just part of a renewed attack by
political enemies. Yet the neutral inspector general of the State Department
slammed her handling of official email; the FBI director (who works for Barack
Obama) attested that she was careless with classified information; and she was
caught on tape telling a series of lies about the situation. All of which makes
it tough to blame the vast right-wing conspiracy. Tim Kaine’s many assurances
that he “trusts” Mrs. Clinton was the campaign’s public acknowledgment that
almost no one else in the nation does.
Hillary is running,
too, against the reality of President Obama policies, which she promises
not only to continue, but to build on. The president’s glowing appraisal
Wednesday night of his time in office bore no relation to the country most
Americans see—one in which health care costs more than ever, they struggle to
pay the bills, and terror attacks on Western democracies are a weekly event.
The state of the country might not be quite so grim as Mr. Trump painted it in
Cleveland, but the mood is much closer to that grimness than to Mr. Obama’s
policies, which Mrs. Clinton now owns, have alienated significant tranches of
voters that she needs this fall—in particular blue-collar Democrats. Coal
communities are rejecting Hillary outright. Many union workers are too, whether
they be Teamsters for Trump, or police officers appalled by the Democratic
Party’s attacks on their profession.
Mrs. Clinton is
trying to win back that blue-collar support by moving sharply on issues like
free trade, but she’ll be hard pressed to out-populist Mr. Trump on that score.
Whatever Bill says, Americans do not look at Hillary and see “change”—at least
not the kind of change they are after.
Hillary is also
running against her own party, which has moved left without her. She has chased after
progressives, adopting one position after another from Bernie Sanders, feting Elizabeth Warren,
working “progressive” into every sentence. But this week showed that her
party’s liberal wing is unconvinced, still feeling the Bern. Yes, she has done
some uniting in Philly, and will likely get her own bump. At the same time,
45% of Democrats who voted in the primary told that CNN pollster they still
wish Sanders were the nominee.
Mrs. Clinton will
continue to warn that her opponent is a threat, to try to worry voters enough
that they overcome their misgivings about her. Mr. Trump can certainly make
that job easier for her. Conversely, he can help his own numbers and campaign by
focusing precisely on her vulnerabilities, and by presenting a stronger policy
agenda of his own.
Mrs. Clinton is
ultimately banking that a significant number of Americans won’t be able to vote
for Mr. Trump. Certainly some won’t. But a dislike of Mr. Trump does not imply
a like of Mrs. Clinton—and certainly not a vote for Mrs. Clinton.
‘The best darn change-maker I ever met
in my entire life.” So said Bill Clinton in making the case for his wife at the
Democratic National Convention. Considering that Bernie Sanders ran as the
author of a political revolution and Donald Trump as the man who would “kick
over the table” (to quote Newt Gingrich) in Washington, “change-maker” does not
exactly make the heart race.
Which is the
fundamental problem with the Clinton campaign. What precisely is it about? Why
is she running in the first place?
Like most dynastic
candidates (most famously Ted Kennedy in 1979), she really doesn’t know. She seeks the office
because, well, it’s the next — the final — step on the ladder.
premise is that we’re doing okay, but we can do better. There are holes to
patch in the nanny-state safety net. She’s the one to do it.
It amounts to Sanders
lite. Or the short-lived Bush slogan: “Jeb can fix it.” We know where that
The one man who could
have given the pudding a theme, who could have created a plausible Hillaryism
was Bill Clinton. Rather than do that — the way in Cleveland Gingrich shaped
Trump’s various barstool eruptions into a semi-coherent program of national
populism — Bill gave a long chronological account of a passionate liberal’s
social activism. It was an attempt, I suppose, to humanize her.
Well, yes. Perhaps,
after all, somewhere in there is a real person. But what a waste of Bill’s
talents. It wasn’t exactly Clint Eastwood speaking to an empty chair, but at
the end you had to ask: Is that all there is?
He grandly concluded
with this: “The reason you should elect her is that in the greatest country on
earth we have always been about tomorrow.” Is there a rhetorical device more
speech was roundly criticized for offering a dark, dystopian vision of America.
For all of its exaggeration, however, it reflected well the view from Fishtown,
the fictional white working-class town created statistically by social
scientist Charles Murray in his 2012 study Coming Apart. It chronicled
the economic, social, and spiritual disintegration of those left behind by
globalization and economic transformation. Trump’s capture of the resultant
feelings of anxiety and abandonment explains why he enjoys an astonishing
39-point advantage over Clinton among whites without a college degree.
His solution is to
beat up on foreigners for “stealing” our jobs. But while trade is a factor in
the loss of manufacturing jobs, even more important, by a large margin, is the
emergence of an information economy in which education, knowledge, and various
kinds of literacy are the coin of the realm. For all the factory jobs lost to
Third World competitors, far more are lost to robots.
Hard to run against
higher productivity. Easier to run against cunning foreigners.
In either case,
Clinton has found no counter. If she has a theme, it’s about expanding
opportunity, shattering ceilings. But the universe of discriminated-against
minorities — so vast 50 years ago — is rapidly shrinking. When the burning
civil-rights issue of the day is bathroom choice for the transgendered, a
flummoxed Fishtown understandably asks, “What about us?” Telling coal
miners she was going to close their mines and kill their jobs only reinforced
white working-class alienation from Clinton.
As for the chaos
abroad, the Democrats are in see-no-evil denial. The first night in
Philadelphia, there were 61 speeches. Not one mentioned the Islamic State or
even terrorism. Later references were few, far between, and highly
defensive. After all, what can the Democrats say? Clinton’s calling card is
experience. Yet as secretary of state she left a
trail of policy failures from Libya to Syria, from the Russian reset to the
Iraqi withdrawal to the rise of the Islamic State.
Clinton had a strong
second half of the convention as the Sanders revolt faded and as President
Obama endorsed her with one of the finer speeches of his career. Yet Trump’s
convention bounce of up to 10 points has given him a slight lead in the
polls. She badly needs one of her own.
She still enjoys the
Democrats’ built-in Electoral College advantage. But she remains highly
vulnerable to both outside events and internal revelations. Another major
terror attack, another e-mail drop — and everything changes.
In this crazy
election year, there are no straight-line projections. As Clinton leaves
Philadelphia, her lifelong drive for the ultimate prize is perilously close to
a coin flip.
In his emotional
speech Wednesday, President Obama promised that “we’re going to carry Hillary
to victory.” To judge from Clinton’s performance last night, being carried
by the party is the only way she’s going to get there.
Instead of giving the
speech of her life on the
biggest night of her life,Clinton delivered an uninspired and
uninspiring wish list of all the things she and other Democrats would get
Washington to do.
Big things, little
things, everything. Her core principle, if it can be called a principle, is
that government is here to take charge, making her theme of “stronger
together” suddenly seem like a warning that her main goal is building an
all-consuming federal bureaucracy.
On top of earlier
vows to issue even more executive orders than Obama, she promises a more
powerful, more intrusive government across the board, with no problem too
big or too small for its focus.
All that “compassion”
would be expensive, meaning higher taxes and more national debt.
She tried to make a
virtue of it, saying, “I sweat the details,” because “if it’s your kid or your
family” that needs help, “it’s a big deal to you, and it should be a big deal
to your president, too.”
At another point, she
pledged that “we will empower Americans to live better lives.”
apparently would no longer be necessary or admirable. Clinton’s vision
for America is for a Golden Age of Big Government.
The result is that
instead of redefining herself in new and appealing way, she revealed herself to
be much as we already knew her — as somebody who sees no limits to the role
of the federal government. Though she cited the founders several times, she
takes a far different view of America, and of the Constitution and declaration
As the first woman to
win the presidential nomination of a major party, Clinton’s acceptance speech
was a historic event in itself, and the delegates celebrated with her at
several moving moments.
Her main goals, in
addition to bashing, ridiculing and mocking Donald Trump, were to reveal a soft
side and a tough one, as someone who can deliver paid family leave and destroy
Islamic State. She also tried to paint herself as the one candidate who can
Great goals for sure,
but there are two major contradictions at the heart of the effort. The first
is the false claim that Clinton represents both the change the nation wants and
the third term of Barack Obama. She can’t be both, yet she pretended she
The second claim is
that she can unite a divided country. Her history is exactly the opposite, and the polls
showing that nearly 70 percent of Americans find her dishonest and
untrustworthy mean it would take a near miracle for her build a national
consensus on anything of significance.
fulfilled the party’s fear that she would be overshadowed by a roster of
political heavyweights at her own convention and waste an opportunity to
reinvent herself. Without doubt, the fourth and final night of the
convention was a letdown.
The result is that
Clinton is not so much leading the Democratic Party as the beneficiary of its
sprawling political cultural, and racial strength. Resembling a European-style
parliamentary leader, she is running like she wants to be a prime minister
selected by her party instead of an American president elected by voters.
That sets up another
risky contrast with Trump. He is a great disrupter, leading the Republican
Party he took over, and is appealing directly to voters to give him a personal
At a time when most
of the nation is demanding strong leadership, Trump is in a position to seize a
big advantage. His recent lead in most national polls and the dead heat in key
swing states are largely a testament to his brawling, street-fighter style.
— superior knowledge of complex issues and extensive government experience —
are more difficult to exploit in a change election. Even the main thrust of the
Dem assault on Trump, that he is reckless and dangerous, while she is steady
and responsible, makes a vote for her sound like a vote for the status quo.
And, as we learned
this week, she is kind, generous and warm, a great friend, a greater mother and
the greatest grandmother. The effort to paint Clinton as both human and
superhuman, ordinary and extraordinary, faces its own inherent problems.
For one thing, the
softness of the image created didn’t so much humanize her as womanize her. Was
there any doubt?
For another, the
over-the-top descriptions were silly exaggerations, which is a very odd way
to get people to trust someone they consider a liar — by telling more lies
The bid reached its
apex, or nadir, during Chelsea Clinton’s cloying introduction of her mother. Given
mostly in a hushed, reverential tone, it could have been designed to keep
Bernie Sanders’ noisy brigade quiet.