Monday, October 10, 2016

Did Trump Revive His Campaign Last Night?

Nothing like a look into the abyss to focus the mind. Before last night’s debate the Trump campaign was on life support. And that’s giving him the benefit of the doubt. The primary cause was his disastrous performance at the first debate. The secondary cause was the release of the Billy Bush video in which he seemed to be bragging about sexual assault.

After the debate, pollster Frank Luntz said that Trump revived his campaign and was back in the race. (Via Maggie’s Farm) Luntz pointed out that Trump was mostly on the offense and that Hillary was playing defense.

Gerald Seib, a fair-minded commentator if ever there was one, said that Trump had been reeling but that, with the debate, he had regained his footing.

By now, everyone is spinning as fast as they can, but we will not really know how well Trump did until polls come out at the end of the week.

I will do you the favor of ignoring the substance of the debate. And the fact checking. Because the debate was about something else. The Trump team strategy was to make Hillary Clinton appear to be small, weak and defensive. 

In the first debate, Trump was subdued and lacked stamina. To me the split screen made Hillary look as though she had been propped up—to look as tall as Trump. The image worked to her advantage. Since the candidates did not interact physically, the size and height differential did not enter into play.

Last night Trump was larger than life, more aggressive and more disrespectful. He did it without using his repugnant epithets.

In terms of posture, he hovered over Clinton and seemed to lurk behind her. At times, she seemed caught off guard and even rattled. Her answers started to sound pre-packaged. She attempted to laugh it off, but she seemed to be defensive and fake.

One has noted, scrupulously, the Trump does not bring any governmental experience to his candidacy. One ought also to note that Clinton’s experience, such as it was, does not render her qualified either.

Trump wanted to make Hillary look like an empty pants-suit. The liberal commentariat was appalled. If the Luntz focus group of undecided voters was any indication, the public was tuning into Trump’s message.

So, another Trump showed up last night. One suspects that he got a new debate coach—Roger Ailes in place of Kellyanne Conway—and that he was so afraid of looking like the biggest loser that he even deigned to prepare. Beyond having something, anything, to say, he had to show that he was stronger and more powerful. Considering that Hillary’s campaign slogan is “Stronger Together” Trump’s strategy seems to have worked for him.

I would add two notes on the substance. First, the question of “open borders” never came up. Supposedly, Hillary Clinton had declared herself in favor of them in the Wikileaked tape. For reasons that escape me, Trump never mentioned them.

Also, on the question of  taped conversations, does anyone else remember one Rashid Khalidi. Currently a Columbia Professor Khalidi was a Palestinian activist with ties to the PLO. When Khalidi was leaving Chicago for Columbia his friends threw him a going-away party. At the party Barack Obama offered some remarks. The remarks were taped. The Los Angeles Times retains possession of the tape. It has never released the tape. If the nation is clamoring for more tapes about Trump’s appalling behavior with women why were so few people clamoring for the release of the Obama tape? Surely, a glimpse into the Obama attitude toward Israel and Palestinian terrorists would have been highly relevant to our understanding of the president’s foreign policy.

Be that as it may, before the debate many pundits were saying that Trump needed to come across as contrite and humbled. Instead, Trump doubled down on outrageous, bringing several of Bill Clinton’s victims to the debate and denouncing Hillary for laughing about getting a child rapist off. Shades of Roger Ailes?

Trump barely apologized during the debate. When he did he was not very contrite or humble. He seems to have been told that being too contrite would have made him look weak. And Trump could not afford to look weak. 

Before the first debate Trump’s coaches must have told him not to attack Hillary directly. They did not want another Rick Lazio moment. Thus, he looked weak and ineffectual. He allowed Hillary Clinton to loom large over the proceedings. By all objective standards she won the first debate.

Before yesterday’s debate, Trump’s campaign was in disarray. He had been losing support since the first debate and the Billy bush video aggravated an existing condition. His vice presidential running mate looked like he might jump ship. So, by last night, Trump had effectively, nothing to lose. So he went for it, aggressively. Many commentators were appalled, but the public seemed to respond.

Rather than defend himself against the charge that he is a hater, Trump declared that Hillary’s “basket of [irredeemable] deplorables” remark, showed her to be, as I recall, filled with hatred.

Like it or not, it was a clever tactic.

As Luntz said, Trump is now back in the game. How much his debate performance will move the poll numbers… we do not know.


Dennis said...

If you think Trump has a "potty mouth:
What I find interesting is that everything that Hillary states that makes Trump unfit has Bill, the epitome of sleaze, written all over it and him standing next to her and he was president. So was Bill unqualified? The democrats have JFK, Ted Kennedy, FDR, and Weiner just to name a few less than admirable people who they have lionized. It's just about sex????
Is it me or does anyone find it interesting that the feminists would use "knee pads" to give Clinton a BJ and then have the vapors when Trumps says somewhat similar things. What happened to "slut walking," et al?
What I find egregious is Clinton and their establishment flunkies don't have the slightest qualm about attacking Trump's family, but expect Chelsie to be protected from Bill's peccadilloes. Here I thought Nixon taping people was a bad thing?
One should not throw rocks when one lives in a glass house. It might behoove some to remember the bible verse, "Let the first person without sin cast the first stone," especially in this over sexualize culture.

Anonymous said...

Nothing outrageous about bringing out the Clinton women. It changed the conversation. Ambushed the press, who expected some pre-debate remarks so they could pepper him with questions about his locker room mouth before he went out on stage. He gave the Clinton women center stage and defused the issue because Hillary has nothing to stand on. It also turned around the Machado row, which was yet another example of the Clintons using people, like they did the Khans. I suspect Trump is going to have his finest performance in the 3rd debate, closing the deal. He might even say to her "You're fired!" Then the Dems ballot-stuffing shenanigans will shift into high gear, with no DOJ to stop them.

Anonymous said...

We now hear journalists and media tycoons are complaining that our politics has come to this. They claim to be above it all. These are the people who made the news WWE entertainment, allowed filthy language, T&A at all hours, created reality tv, and politicized mainstream programs. They're surprised that the rot has seeped into real politics. O the horror!

Sam L. said...

The Khalidi tape. I suspect that without a successful B&E, that tape will never be seen. Although, if Trump wins, an FOI subpoena might get it. The left's screams of horror would be music to mine ears.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

We're living the movie "Network" (1976) in real time.

Political commentators are busily pointing out that Trump is playing to people's fears. I disagree. Trump is playing to their anger, and the anger is real. People want change, but they feel powerless in the face of an insular, closed Ruling Class.

Are there enough voters who feel this way to put Trump over the top on Election Day? I don't know. But if he is even close, I think we know the anger is real, and there's a powder keg under the American electorate. If Trump loses, but it is close, one would be wise to consider the barriers and obstacles he's faced. Yes, many of them have been self-imposed. That said, many of them are the "circling of the wagons" within the media, bureaucracy, academia and the political class. They've been pulling out all the stops to stop this insurgency. And the GOP Establishment is busy at work behind all this... Billy Bush's video didn't mysteriously appear. The Republican Party isn't playing to win, they're playing to keep their status and perquisites.

By the way, the line I loved most last night was Hillary's saying something about her SCOTUS picks, and that they reflect the "real world" issues at stake. What a load of garbage! She wouldn't know what a real world issue is for the average American.

Dennis said...

The only time these people complain is when what they did to others is now happening to them. They can give it out, but they cannot take it. Interesting that Hillary likes throwing those high fast hardballs at the batter's head, but goes all "I am a woman" when it happens to her. Best example of why she isn't the woman for a true leadership position. She is NO Margaret Thatcher or Golda Meir.
It still amuses me by all the prudes that now seem to exist and they now need life to be a safe place to hide from the very language they have used themselves.. Where were they when Republican women were being degraded by those on the left in not to kind of language?
Its a mad mad world!

Webutante said...

I cannot fathom Trump winning in any realistic scenario now. He may make some kind of showing, but the reality is he will never be president. Frankly this whole thing is so depraved I can hardly stand to watch, read or listen any longer.

Our country is in a helluva fix with no end of its destruction in sight. I truly grieve and dread what's ahead.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Whose values?

Character doesn't matter.

Everyone lies about sex.

Move on.

Brought to you by the Clintons, who are now very, very concerned that Trump is unfit to be president.

Seems to me there are a lot of powerful people who are very, very afraid about what is happening. I wonder why.

Anonymous said...

I thought women and men were the same.

Ares Olympus said...

Best challenge of the debate?
Hillary: "You know it's awfully that good someone with the temperament of Donald Trump isn't in charge of the law in our country."

Trump: "...because you'd be in jail."


We have a history in this country of political leaders letting their predecessors off the hook, knowing that hooks they used may be used later against themselves when they're out of office.

Trump has just started a new tradition, and he is fearless that anyone would ever jail him for the corruption of power he might wield in office while he's "Trying to figure out what the hell is going on."

And strangely Trump might not just be the first president to be forcefully removed from office, but he might be the first president removed by his own party.

Anonymous said...

Given the titillatingly grotesque culture we live in, the manufactured shock concerning this revelation about Trump is far more disgusting than anything he said 11 years ago. What culture have these neo-puritan journalists, pundits and intelligentsia been living in?

Trigger Warning said...

Well said. It's perfectly possible Trump was quoting "lyrics" from popular rap music doggerel.

AesopFan said...

Lot of wilting violets on the Left and Right, from a country that made Game of Thrones the top tv show of the last few years.

"Game of Thrones has attracted record numbers of viewers on HBO and attained a broad and active international fan base. It has received widespread acclaim by critics, particularly for its acting, complex characters, story, scope, and production values, although its frequent use of nudity, violence, and sexual violence has attracted some criticism. The series has won 38 Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series in 2015 and 2016, more than any other primetime scripted television series" -- Wikipedia

Brookside said...

I feel I've woken up into a strange new world. The media, actors, politicians and Hillary supporters are having the vapors over 11 year old locker room banter. They seem to be effected by mass hysteria. Perhaps they need to be given trigger warnings.

Anonymous said...

Polls. Remember the "Tom Bradley Effect"?

Af-Am running for Governor CA.

Respondents lied to Pollsters. For fear of sounding racist.

He was supposed to win. He didn't.

Same w/Trump. People know the Correct Line. They repeat it. Fear sounding like Yahoos.

Mr T surely has more voters than the numbers indicate.

I always hang up when Pollsters call. -- Rich Lara

Anonymous said...

Democrats have not run their campaigns on any substantive issues since the Kerry 2004 or Gore 2000 campaigns. Instead, Obama and Clinton have simply attacked their opponents, campaigning on no policies other than soaking the rich... which they never do, because the rich fund Dem campaigns and lobby for tax breaks to avoid paying taxes.

Dennis said...

Rich Lara,

For your interest;
This seems to be well cited. Many of these polls over sample democrats because they take for granted that there are more democrats. The question is, "What does that mean and does it have any real predictive value?" Many of these alphabet network polls are unreliable for they are done by people who have an agenda.
Statistic are somewhat reliable when it comes to "things" and much less so when it is applied to people. People lie. People fail to respond, et al.
I tend to agree with you about hanging up. I just let the answering machine screen all calls. The question here is how much power do you want to give to pollster when it comes to your vote? I don't want pollster controlling the outcome of elections by manipulating the data, the variables and weighting of characteristics. It is one of the reason I don't trust computer modeling. Too easy for the biases of the people creating the computer model to insinuate themselves in the output and the interpretation of the results.
Having been in the military don't you find it interesting how easily some people give up and allow themselves to be manipulated?

Sam L. said...

How many of us would pick up if we knew it was a pollster calling? And if we did, would it be to lie outrageously to them, or tell them off, or just swear at them until the pollster hung up? I don't pick up for numbers I don't know.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Dennis @October 11, 2016 at 5:37 AM:

"It is one of the reason I don't trust computer modeling. Too easy for the biases of the people creating the computer model to insinuate themselves in the output and the interpretation of the results."

You mean like Climate Change, too?

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Question: If Democrats benefit from extensive election fraud that directly impacts the results, who is going to hold them accountable?

When people say something is wrong in our country, this is what is driving it: LAWLESSNESS.

Citizens are being targeted by their own government and its media allies. The IRS targeting of Tea Party groups was a blatant attack on citizens being politically active. As Peggy Noonan pointed out, this is new. But what is also interesting is the Republican failure to do anything about it, which demonstrates the limits of Congress in checking executive power. Analysts say there is no way John Koskinen will ever be impeached as IRS Commissioner. Lois Lerner has been exonerated by the DOJ/FBI, and collects a full government pension.

It's open season on the citizenry. This will only get worse.

Anonymous said...

You cannot lead people you loathe.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @October 10, 2016 at 11:06 AM:

"And strangely Trump might not just be the first president to be forcefully removed from office, but he might be the first president removed by his own party."

If you mean conviction in impeachment, you are correct. However, the Republicans tried to oust Andrew Johnson in 1867, and missed conviction by one vote. Technically, since Johnson was a de facto Republican running on the Lincoln ticket in 1864, the Republicans were going after their own. Fast-forward to 1974, Richard Nixon resigned when it became clear that the Republicans were not going to back him against impeachment, and a likely conviction. That was over 18 minutes of erased tape.

Today, a presidential candidate can have a private email server to intentionally evade public scrutiny while operating as a high cabinet official and serially lie about it with impunity. No consequences.

Today, we have President who effectively do anything he wants and face no chance of impeachment. He can lie, deceive and run afoul of his oath of office. No consequences.


Because there is no way in hell that Democrats would ever impeach -- much less convict -- their own party's president. Never.

Is there any scenario you can think of in which Obama would've been impeached, convicted or forced by members of his own party to resign? Not a chance. Not in today's political, media and academic environment. Not with all the lawlessness we've rationalized and accepted these last 8 years. That's what's dangerous here. Democrat presidents can do whatever they want.

If elected, Hillary will do whatever she wants, too. Democrats would never impeach her or vote to convict. And Hillary would never resign. No way. Democrats are never accountable for their actions.