Yves here. This post puts some meat on an observation made by political scientist Tom Ferguson months ago: that the strategy that Clinton was using to win the Democratic party nomination, that of heavy reliance on identity politics, would be a loser in the general election. Beverly Mann describes how Team Clinton seems unable to change course. And she makes an additional astute point: it isn’t just that Hillary is a terrible candidate. She is a terrible campaigner. In other words, her defects in how she comes off aren’t simply those of not having charisma or being able to fake enjoying pressing the flesh. It’s that she has lousy political instincts, likely reinforced by years of surrounding herself with sycophants.
The relentless focus on lowest common denominator issues also suggests that her campaign holds voters in deep contempt, as incapable of digesting anything other that the political equivalent of raw meat.
By Beverly Mann. Originally published at Angry Bear
Clinton’s aides say they have settled on the big story they want to tell about Trump: He is a business fraud who has cheated working people for his own gain, and his ideas, temperament and moves to marginalize people by race, gender and creed make him simply unacceptable as commander in chief.
– Clinton thinks she knows how to take on Trump. Will it work?, Philip Rucker, Washington Post, today
I’m assuming that Clinton’s aides have considered also pointing out that, on policy proposal after policy proposal after policy proposal, Trump has now adopted an extreme version of the Paul Ryan supply-side fiscal-policy as stated in the Ryan budget plans, including the current one that passed the House. I’m assuming they’ve considered illustrating that Trump, rather than having coopted the Republican Party and its elite-dictated establishment policies, has been cooped by the elite, the establishment as their puppet.
Romney promised to reduce upper-income taxes only by 20% initially, with a promise to cut further later and then cut some more after that. (See, e.g., Romney’s speech to the Detroit Economic Club shortly before the 2012 Michigan primary.) Trump ups Romney’s ante.
But, I assume, since the above quote implies it, that Clinton’s aides have rejected mentioning any of this. And—just an educated guess here—that that is because they will be saying instead that Trump’s ideas, temperament and moves to marginalize people by race, gender and creed make him simply unacceptable as commander in chief.
This should suffice, because, I mean, don’t identity politics always suffice? And because these messages are mutually exclusive. You can’t argue identity politics and fiscal policy; you have to choose one or the other—and the power of identity politics trumps elite-establishment-dictated fiscal policy whose very purpose is to dramatically increase wealth and income inequality and of course consequently political power that will be used to further increase wealth and income inequality.
Always. Even when the driving themes of the election cycle are anti-elitism, anti-establishment, anti-wealth inequality and anti-donor-and lobbyist-dictated government policy.
Which I guess explains why the very first thing Clinton did after winning all those northeastern primaries earlier this month and virtually ensuring her the nomination—literally, the very first thing she did, beginning the very next day—was to phone some of Jeb Bush’s donors and ask them for donations.
Clinton continues to run a really awful campaign. And I’m betting that that’s not entirely her top campaign staff’s fault. They do play a role in this, obviously; not the sole role, though.
Not the sole role, though.