Among the many gaffes, groundless accusations, false flags, insults and general whining these past couple weeks, Donald Trump assured his followers that he couldn’t possibly lose in Pennsylvania unless the election were rigged. Let’s stop and consider the logic of that. Trump was not relying on any polls (indeed he has taken to deny they matter). He was not referring to a tsunami of letters to the editor of various news organizations, or some set of petitions. His reference point seems to be entirely his own ‘gut,’ his confidence that everyone recognizes him as the ‘smartest guy in the room,’ who so many people love and admire.
Actually, my suspicion is that his true reference point is simply and only the applause he hears from fans at rallies. If true, that tells us a lot about the man, first of all that he really doesn’t get the difference between fans applauding and an electorate voting. But I think it is becoming more and more obvious that this is exactly the case.
But the logic of his assertion that he can only lose if the election’s rigged, extends beyond the rallies. Basically, what he’s saying is, that since it s so obvious that he’s so smart, and would do such wonderful things, and is so beloved for this – the election is now immaterial. Indeed, if Trump’s gut were a true measure of reality, then we shouldn’t hold the election at all. Hillary should simply throw in the towel, and the House of Representatives appoint him to office.
The irony is that Trump is making his gut known on this matter at exactly the moment when it is now possible to admit that the next President of the United States will be Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton is some not so nice things for a progressive – or even a liberal. She does lie, she is dishonest, she is conniving and manipulative. She’s also a neocon on foreign policy, and a neo-liberal on economics. The judge she appoints to the Supreme Court will steadfast moderates – meaning that while the train-wreck that was the Roberts court is now over, it’s legacy will not be undone by any major reversals. On top of that, she has now a small constituency of anti-Trump Republicans that she will have to accommodate after election. In short, Clinton’s offers to become the most conservative Democratic administration since Woodrow Wilson.
However there is one thing Clinton is not, that Trump now obviously is – She is not mentally ill.
Call it sociopathy, or narcissism or delusions of grandeur or some other out-of-touch egomania, what you will. Donald Trump has not the slightest clue as to the nature of the political process, the nature of government, what it means to be a political leader of the most powerful nation in a very complicated world order that is untethering at the seams in response to years of finance-capital-elite driven globalization. (In fact, by some reports, he wouldn’t even know what to do in day to day administrative tasks, and is not entirely enthusiastic about becoming President for that reason.)
However – the good news is, that the election is all but over. Whatever the final numbers prove, this is why Donald Trump has lost the election:
Demographics: Besides loyal Democrats, Trump has alienated the majority of each of the following voting blocks:
African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Muslim Americans, non-Muslim Americans from pre-dominantly Muslim nations, Mormons, Jews, Americans with disabilities, LGBT Americans, atheist Americans, scientists, veterans, parents of veterans, attractive women, not so attractive women, mothers, women who menstruate (I think that’s quite a number), Republican women, Republican moderates, Republican politicians struggling to retain their seats in the next congress, Republicans concerned for national security, Republican business people, the college educated (left and right), Americans who don’t like Putin, Americans who like babies – and the list goes on. Trump has failed to alienate angry uneducated white men, but recent polls indicate that he’s no longer doing so well among them. (And yes, he has alienated the Christian Right, but then hired Mike Pence for VP to make amends.)
But, that’s not all. Trump has utterly failed to understand the post-nomination campaign process. He has no ground game, few storefronts with door-to-door campaigners, few liasons with local Republican politicians. (It’s not even clear he understands why that’s needed.) He expected the RNC to fund his campaign, when part of the responsibility of the Presidential nominee is to raise funds for the Party. He has isolated himself from the national press, failing to realize that he is expected, in part, to speak through them, especially were he to become the President.
It clear now that Trump has no strategy. His pet boy Manafort may be able to guide him to battleground states, but in as lop-sided an election as this, he can’t just ignore previously safe ‘Red’ states – even Arizona, probably the most right-wing Republican state in the West, and one suffering severe tensions between dominant Anglos and a Mexican American underclass, is now in play.
But Trump’s biggest problem, of course, is his own mouth. He can’t stop it. That’s why he is clearly pathological. He sounds like a robot when he reads a written speech, but when he goes off-text, he’s an uncontrollable, foam-at-the-mouth ranter, and self-promoter. Even if his people could get him to reign it in, it’s probably too late.
The next big moment of the campaign season is the arrival of the Presidential debates. My guess right now is that Trump will probably make it through one or two before he blows up. After which he will ‘double-down’ on the narrative that the ‘system is so rigged against me, they won’t let me win,’ because by that time it will be obvious even to him that he has already effectively lost the election.
So the discussion progressives and liberals now need to begin is, what are we do during the Clinton administration – how do we further progressive causes and somehow begin winning seats in Congress and in State capitols? That’s a long game to play; but otherwise we may have more nightmares like 2016 further down the road.