Since Monday´s debate we have been bombarded with requests from readers who want to know how Trump and Hillary can beat their opponent.
Our regular readers know our long-standing policy:
This blog does not give advice; it offers opinion. The line between them is not always clear. Please keep in mind three considerations:
"An opinion may consist of advice which is (i) deliberately offered too late to be actionable; (ii) knowingly impossible to implement due to circumstances prevailing at the moment; and/or (iii) offered with the foreknowledge that the simple fact of its publication will render its practical value null and void."
It is also our policy to respond to readers´ requests. That creates a dilemma.
The comments that follow are what I would say in private to both Republican and Democratic Party candidates/their staffs. Because one comment equals the other -- both are knock-out blows -- and because each is easily defended against if you know they are coming, what you are about to read is opinion, not advice, according to stipulation (iii), i.e., it is published "with the foreknowledge that the simple fact of its publication will render its practical value null and void."
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The latest polls (as of September 27) show the race is within 1%; that is too close to call. They also show something else -- the key to the election. Nobody, anywhere, is discussing it.
By now most Americans (i) know who Hillary and Trump are, and (ii) have decided for whom they will vote. That means it is simply too late to gain much ground by introducing candidates to voters or by making conversions in the enemy´s camp.
Which leaves ... what?
The key mentioned above:
The latest basket of polls shows that, including Gary Johnson, 5%-10% of the electorate is still undecided. So as not to be accused of overstating our case, I will focus on the lower number. Our understatement is underscored by the fact that many voters who say they are for Trump or Hillary are only mildly so. In truth, they are more undecided than not.
Assuming a turnout in November of 132 million, 5% = 6,600,000 voters. True, Green Party Candidate Jill Stein will win some of them; equally true, some of Johnson´s voters will break on election day for Trump or Clinton. Others will not vote.
Which serves to introduce what may be the November key:
For whom will the undecideds decide? What do they need -- but so far lack --- at this late stage to make up their minds?
What follows are tactics for picking up the lion´s share of the undecideds.
I have three requirements for tactics:
They must be (i) truthful, (ii) relevant, and (iii) effective. No CNN retinal junk food -- "How to get Michelle Obama´s Toned Arms" or nihil ad rem Huh?-so-what? videos -- allowed.
I. How Hillary Can Defeat Trump.
As we hinted in our prior post, the best thing Hillary can do is -- other than stick to her script -- nothing at all. Get out of the way; let Trump trump Trump:
"A man who is possessed by his shadow is always standing in his own light and falling into his own traps. Whenever possible, he prefers to make an unfavourable impression on others. In the long run luck is always against him, because he is living below his own level and at best only attains what does not suit him. And if there is no doorstep for him to stumble over, he manufactures one for himself and then fondly believes he has done something useful." C. G. Jung, The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious, in Collected Works, p. 3,631.
However, readers want to know what Hillary can do in the way of positive action to beat Trump. Ergo, ...
If he hadn’t inherited $200 million,
you know where Donald Trump
would be right now?
Selling watches in Manhattan.
-- Senator Marco Rubio --
We are not going to quibble, as did Trump, about the amount he inherited. Call it what you will, it still remains the same: Trump is America´s lowest UNcommon denominator. Mussolini and Andrew Dice Clay rolled into one.
The presidential election will take place on Tuesday, November 8. Instead of sticking to her paint-by-the-numbers campaign, Hillary can do something new, better -- in fact, devastating:
Traditional campaign ads the week before an election get lost in the clutter. Candidates for governor, house representative, county sheriff, appeals court judge -- everybody gets into the act. True, a candidate needs to run ads in the closing days just to show he/she is still in business. In and of themselves, however, those ads are completely ineffective.
How Hillary can sew up the election is the never before done:
Time: Sunday night, November 6.
Place: nationwide TV.
The program to be broadcast is not a campaign ad but a movie: A Face in The Crowd. If your curiosity is getting the better of you and you just can´t wait to watch it, click here.
Ssshhh -- please, no Hillary camp spin doctors needed or allowed to "explain" the movie. If Hillary has the money, she can show "Face" more than once.
Bye, bye, Donald. As of this moment you are on track to lose to Hillary 53%-47%. The showing of "Face" will consolidate that margin and, depending on what else is happening, could increase it to 55%-45%.
No, I will not explain why the movie would have that effect. Let´s just say "Face" is a conscious spokesman for an unconscious process.
II. How Trump Can Defeat Hillary.
During the first debate Hillary repeatedly mentioned the need to help the middle class. She knows something.
So do we.
Whoever can grab the mantel of middle class protector will win the general election. As we show below, Hillary is much more familiar than Trump with this issue.
Maybe, too familiar...
To come out on top, the fight to be the middle class defender must be presented in a dramatic way. To that end, I offer The Primrose Path Set-Up:
(i) Ask Hillary what she thinks of husband Bill´s presidency.
(ii) Her answer: Wonderful! Incredible! My role model!
(iii) Let the Arkansas rambler ramble. When she comes to the part about how Bill helped the middle class, that is when
(iv) the primrose path runs off a cliff.
The Trump camp presents official economic statistics showing what President Bill actually did.
Every year the Census Bureau divides the U.S. population into fifths in terms of their share of the national income. The middle fifths -- 2, 3, and 4 -- are the middle class.
In 1993, Bill´s first year as president, those three fifths held 47.6% of the national income pie. In 2000, his last year, their share had dropped to 46.7%. The share going to the richest 5% jumped from 21.0% to 22.1%.
Husband Bill went from protector to predator. See for yourself -- the census bureau data are here. Select "households," Table H-2, "All races."*
Unfortunately for Hillary, the end of the primrose path would have only just begun.
Hillary´s idea of a political commitment is a cocktail party. Voters who believe she would help the middle class are lacking the most precious element on earth: not diamonds or pearls, platinum or gold, but a memory. Donald, you too need one.
Or do you?
The truth about Bill Clinton´s infidelity with the middle class was laid bare in a 1993 L.A. Times article published a scant four days after Bill was inaugurated:
"From roughly Thanksgiving, 1991, through Election Day, 1992, candidate Clinton conducted an extraordinary dialogue with America's middle class: commiserating with their economic plight; decrying how their taxes had been raised while those of the rich were reduced, and promising all that would change if he was elected.
´Out there,´ he liked to say, ´you can hear the quiet, troubled voices of forgotten middle-class-Americans lamenting the fact that government no longer looks out for their interests.´ These were not careless words. From the start, Clinton's pollster, Stanley Greenberg, had identified a ´middle-class centered coalition´ as the key to Democratic victory ...
Recall, if you will, Clinton's TV spot for the New Hampshire primary: The candidate described how his comprehensive economic plan ´starts with a tax cut for the middle class.´ Together, he promised, ´we can put government back on the side of the forgotten middle class and restore the American dream.´ And when George Bush tried to drop his own middle-class tax cut, Clinton was outraged. ´The rich get the gold mine and the middle class gets the shaft,´ he charged. ´It's wrong and it's going to ruin the country.´...
Indeed, middle-class Americans could legitimately interpret Clinton's campaign as a continuing reaffirmation -- albeit without ´read my lips´ insistence -- of personal belief that the middle class had been savaged by the economic circumstances and unfair tax policies of the 1980s. His election would change this, Clinton said, and from Long Island to Los Angeles, suburb after suburb tore up its GOP record and backed a Democratic presidential candidate who spoke like no other they had ever heard.
Or he did until he had their votes on Nov. 3. Now, that empathy may be vanishing into the mists of memory. Under the pretense of being stunned by federal budget-deficit estimates that, in fact, were already circulating last summer, the Arkansan is putting aside his middle-class tax pitch and mumbling that nobody ever cared about it, anyway. But what about the voters in New Hampshire and elsewhere who responded to that TV ad in which Clinton promised his economic program ´starts with a tax cut for the middle class?´"
O.K., Donald Trump: Bill Clinton´s barefaced betrayal of the middle class is right in front of you. Why don´t you reach out, take it, hammer it home? Or, is the inconceivable conceivable -- you secretly support that betrayal?
In upcoming debates, speeches, media releases, press conferences, interviews, TV and radio ads, Trump would come down hard with both feet on Hillary:
Just as her husband lied to you in 1992 about helping the middle class, Hillary is lying to you now. Lies, lies, lies. What is different this time is that all you ´quiet, troubled voices of forgotten middle class Americans´ have the opportunity to even the score with those who -- as hard economic statistics show -- got the mine and gave you the shaft.
Do not expect the opportunity to come again. Ever.
Bye, bye, Hillary. On the one hand; on the other; there´s the good side; there´s the bad side. Ambivalence created by Husband Bill´s blatant middle class betrayal and Hillary´s refusal to disown it would cause undecideds to break disproportionately for Trump.
The ambivalence coin has another side:
Of course, very few voters in Hillary´s base will ever vote for Trump. However, many of them will be conflicted when they learn/are reminded of Bill´s betrayal of the middle class, and do what I am going to do on election day:
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Oligarch 1 or Oligarch 2? The Lowest UNcommon Denominator or The Dead Puppet Show?
I will say it again: this blog opposes both Trump and Hillary.
We will not commit The Third Evil of voting for the lesser of two evils, which has brought America where it is today.
We want both Trump and Hillary to lose -- and they will.
How is that possible?
True, the next president will be -- as were Obama, Bush and Clinton -- legally president. However, the only thing in this world the oligarchy wants and does not have will still be missing:
Again, how is that possible?
It is vital to compare turnouts not with the number of registered voters but with the Voting Eligible Population (VEP). As for census warm body counts -- notably people aged 18 and over -- they too are misleading because they include non-citizens, felons and other groups ineligible to vote. **
The VEP consists of four groups:
(i) People who are legally eligible to vote but are not registered to vote.
(ii) People who are registered to vote but do not vote.
(iii) People who vote for the opponent/s of the winner.
(iv) People who vote for the winner.
We will publish the exact figures after the 2016 election. What they will show:
Taking into consideration (i), (ii), and (iii), the next president will receive the vote of about 30% of the VEP.
Case in point: in the 2008 presidential election the VEP was 222,474,111.
Obama received 65,915,796 votes.
Conclusion: Obama received 29.6% of the VEP.
29.6%! Any claim by any president with such a low percentage to represent America will be sometimes an error, often a lie, always ridiculous. True, most Americans do not know that percentage figure; equally true, they don´t have to know it to smell the stench that illegitimacy leaves.
Lawful but illegitimate, the winner in November will share the White House with a living oxymoron: power without power.
Ashes in the mouth.
Update: October 10, 2016.
The above post was written before the Trump sex tape was released and before last night´s presidential debate.
Sidebar: unlike the mainstream media, dear reader, you should ask what is the story behind the Trump sex tape and how did it manage to surface now. It is the kind of item -- the renowned "October Surprise" -- which campaigns keep in the can for months, even years.
The most recent polls (October 8) are in accord with our statement made above that Hillary is on track to win in November 53%-47%.
All things considered, there is only one way Trump can shock the world and prove the polls wrong:
A low turnout.
Our next post will discuss the Colombian peace accord referendum held last Sunday. All the public opinion polls showed the "Yes" vote winning in a runaway, often by doubt-digits.
Then came The Big Surprise. "No" carried the day.
How could the polls have been so wrong?
Answer: the turnout was a paltry 37%. The minority that showed up did not represent the majority that stayed away. Thus, the surveys were not wrong; they simply did not poll the right population in terms of real live voters.
Trump can significantly lower voter turnout by creating cognitive dissonance, i.e., mental stress resulting from holding ambivalent attitudes and contradictory ideas.
On the one hand Trump is a conman and brute; on the other, Hillary is a crook and can´t be trusted. Discomfort can be reduced by avoidance; in this case, by not voting.
There´s the good side; there´s the bad side. Somebody in Trump´s camp intuitively senses the value of ambiguity. They countered the damaging Trump sex tape not by denying it but by holding a press conference in which Trump presented women who said they were assaulted by Bill Clinton. Allegations that Trump is a sexist are met with charges that Hillary is a criminal for mishandling top secret documents.
I used the word intuitively because I have yet to see any systematic application by Trump of factors that create ambiguity and ensuing ambivalence. Without that application, unless the economy tanks or Hillary´s animus possession (see prior post) is manipulated so that she sabotages herself, Trump is doomed.
Afterthought: one can openly fight a political party establishment and win. I was living in France in 2007, when Ségolène Royal came out of nowhere to defeat Socialist Party big shots Francois Hollande and Dominique Strauss-Khan, alias "Les Dinosaures," in the fight for her party´s nomination for president.
Sorry, Trump supporters, here comes the but. In directly confronting the establishment, Royal went about it in a way that has nothing whatsoever in common with what Trump is doing today.
*The ruinous economic tendency continued under Obama.
In 2009, his first year of office, the middle class received 46.4% of the national revenue. In 2015, the last year for reported figures, that percentage had fallen to 45.7%. The slice of the pie going to the richest 5% of the nation rose from 21.7% to 22.1%.
Vice President Joe Biden declared in 2009, the first year of the Obama Administration:
"The President and I have set a very basic and measurable goal that we'll be held to, I'm sure. We said that our -- judge us in terms of our economic policy, not merely on whether or not the Gross Domestic Product begins to grow. That's not sufficient. But when middle-class incomes begin to grow, and when people aspiring to the middle class get a shot to become part of it -- that's the measure."
Joe, according your own basic and measurable goal, you and Obama failed. You openly admitted it in 2012: the middle class has been "buried the last four years."
**For a meaningful, realistic calculation of voter turnout, click here. Professor Michael McDonald correctly works with the voting eligible population and not registered voters only.