Saturday, August 20, 2016
The Dirty Thirties — And The Faces In The Crowd
Donald Drumpf hasn't been bragging about the polls much lately, has he? Well, he's probably been too busy tending to his imploding campaign, but we know that he's been tweeting away nevertheless — his latest salvo some stupid attempt to impugn Hillary Clinton's health. (Somehow, we don't think that 60-year-old working women across America, whatever their race or income, are going to be charmed by that attack.)
But as for those polls: We can't help noticing that Drumpf has sunk below 40 percent in a few of them: a couple in Florida, one in Ohio, three in Pennsylvania, five in Michigan (where in one, he's as low as 29 percent!), three in New Hampshire, and three in Virginia. These are key battleground states, folks — with Trump hovering in George McGovern territory. Just sayin'.
We've noticed another McGovernesque parallel. The Trumpies keep screaming about how YUUUGE Donald's rallies are. We cats say, big woo. McGovern had big crowds in '72. Walter Mondale had them in 1984. Howard Dean had them in 2004. And of course, Bernie Sanders drew huge numbers this year. But, as Dean noticed in '04, the throngs, large as they were, were the same people. Call it the Grateful Dead Effect: Big crowds mean nothing.
In fact, this year, we cats believe that the crowds will help doom Donald Drumpf. Not only will they be repeat attenders, but they're all red-meat eaters, who will never be satisfied with Teleprompter Donald. Which means that sooner or later, Drumpf will revert to his bombastic, insulting self, turning off broad swaths of the fall electorate — which will kill his ability to "pivot." (Forget the pivot. The media are obsessed with the pivot. It ain't happening.)
There's a book in here somewhere — about agitators failing to present themselves as credible Presidents. We cats are kinda tempted to write it, because it's super-interesting. And while we're loath to compare our adored Dr. Dean to repulsive right-wing insurgents like Pat Buchanan and Trump, we recognize the similarities in their circumstances. Consider Dean's warning from 2004 a long-term cautionary tale:
"I couldn't change," he said. "And I knew I had to. But the crowd pulls you back. They're dying for you. They're bleeding for you. And it's very hard to do."