Monday, July 25, 2016

Can Hillary Lose? Yes, If Somehow the Gender Gap Narrows

Friday afternoon my coworker alerted me to the WikiLeaks dump of 20,000 emails from Democratic National Committee that proved conclusively the already obvious, that the DNC had been engaged during the primary in active electioneering on behalf of Hillary.

My coworker's question to me was whether I thought this would make the news. My answer was completely wrong. I said that since the prestige press has been a co-conspirator with the DNC all along in booming Hillary, the story of a lack of neutrality at the national committee would be buried.

With the news yesterday that DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was lowered surgically on her sword by Team Hillary (good story by Jonathan Martin and Alan Rappeport, "Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Resign D.N.C. Post"), it is likely that more damaging salacious tidbits will be regurgitated from the WikiLeaks trove.

Not a promising turn of events on the eve of the party's national nominating convention, particularly after the skillful roll out of corporate Dem, Obama buddy and former DNC chair Tim Kaine as Hillary's VP choice. Thanks to the seamless collaboration between the press and Team Hillary, much of Friday and nearly all of Saturday the news seemed to snap back to a prior era of tranquility and stability, and this despite the Munich shooter (mass shootings are becoming as common as fender-benders these days).

The fact that the baleful specter of Putin is now being invoked to explain the email leak (see "As Democrats Gather, a Russian Subplot Raises Intrigue" by David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth) is proof that the Clintons are running scared. Sanger and Perlroth make the argument for Hillary in the second-to-last paragraph of their story that Trump's campaign is an offshoot of Putin's Cold War with the United States:
Intrusions for intelligence collection are hardly unusual, and the United States often does the same, stealing emails and other secrets from intelligence services and even political parties. But the release to WikiLeaks adds another strange element, because it suggests that the intelligence findings are being “weaponized” — used to influence the election in some way. The story has another level of intrigue involving Mr. Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman. Working through his lobbying firm, Mr. Manafort was one of several American advisers to Viktor F. Yanukovych, the Russian-backed leader of Ukraine until he was forced out of office two years ago. Mr. Yanukovych was a key Putin ally who is now in exile in Russia.
Whether or not Russian intelligence was the source of the hack of DNC servers is water over the dam at this point. The damage has been done. The Philadelphia convention has been wrong-footed. Berniacs will find a second wind. Already the Sunday march against Hillary is being reported to have been larger than any public rally in Cleveland last week. There will be a negligible, if any, windfall for the Dems following the GOP's woeful convention, an enormous lost opportunity given that Hillary could have sewn up the election with a well-managed, strong show in Philadelphia.

Charles Blow in his column this morning, "More Damned Emails," reports that Hillary's unfavorable rating is 54%, which is 4-points lower than Trump's. But what is truly noteworthy about the numbers Blow quotes is the percentage of people who find Hillary untrustworthy -- 67%.

The milieu that provides the soil for this distrust is one of pervasive economic insecurity. According to Thomas Edsall's last piece, "The Apotheosis of Donald J. Trump":
Capitalizing on legitimate discontent, Trump is both the exploiter and the beneficiary of stagnating median household income, declining productivityand gross domestic product growth, as well as a worldwide refugee andimmigration crisis.
Economic issues are arguably foremost. For the majority of men and women dependent on wages to stay afloat, the past 16 years have been marked by setbacks and uncertainty of historic proportion.
Jon Hilsenrath and Bob Davis, writing in The Wall Street Journal, put it this way:
"After 2000, the economy would experience two recessions, a technology-bubble collapse followed by a housing boom, then the largest financial crisis in 75 years and a prolonged period of weak growth."
Full-time workers’ median weekly earnings in constant 2016 dollars have hardly budged: $774.85 in 2000, $788.87 in 2015.
According to the American Psychological Association, some 72 percent of adults reported experiencing financial stress in 2014. More than half reported that their incomes were not enough or barely enough to make it from month to month.
The cost of housingrent, mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, repairs, upkeep, utilities — has been growing steadily. The “affordability cutoff” for rent is generally set at 30 percent of income. In 1960, less than a quarter of renters paid more than 30 percent of their income; by 2013, that percentage has risen to just under 50 percent.
The growth in housing costs in our post-Lehman meltdown world doesn't get the attention it deserves in terms of why it is we all feel so insecure. Yes, there are the innumerable foreign wars and seemingly constant terrorist attacks. But living paycheck to paycheck with the knowledge that you will forced out of your home if you get a layoff inspires fear and loathing right up there with being the victim of violence.

So can Trump win? Unless there are more damning leaks and smoking guns, something so damaging it will start to whittle away Hillary's commanding lead among women, I think not. As Edsall explained in a column two-week's back, "College Men for Trump":
We often overlook the pro-Trump leanings of white men with college degrees, in part because white women with four-year degrees back Clinton 57-35 percent, and most reports combine the total. When both sexes are counted, Clinton leads by six points. The gender gap this year is historic.
The race to the bottom will continue.


  1. One of the secondary arguments against Clinton, after her history of neoliberalism, warmongering et al, was that she unpopular. A meme that floated through the internet was that it was all based on right-wing propaganda left over from the 90s (you know, Whitewater, killing Vince Foster...) But if someone had been listening they would have heard a completely different set of complaints coming from the left. The fact is that a majority of Americans don't like her.

    Small sample size: We had a block party here in Portland, OR a couple weeks ago. All the talk was about how awful Donald Trump was. One of the people was a state representative. But no one, absolutely no one, talked about H. Clinton. She has always been a dislikable figure. She has toiled in the corridors of power since her time at Yale, doing due diligence advancing the war agenda when she could, playing a curious role between civil rights advocate and embracer of state repression. I have felt for twenty years now that she was always more than a politician, that she's been groomed for being President since those days at Yale. And inside the corridors of power 2008 was going to be her turn, except for Obama beating her in the primaries. Obama was a false prophet for the left, so false prophet H. Clinton's turn was pushed back to 2016, and now her elect-by date has passed.

    In other news, I'm missing a white sock from the laundry I did over the weekend. How did Putin break into my basement and steal my sock? It's a puzzlement.

  2. I imagine the "how awful Trump is" will return front and center to the electorate's collective consciousness in a few days. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie tonight. Slick Willy tomorrow. Biden and Obama Wednesday. Each cajoling the herd back to the beaten path. Problem is who knows what other nuggets are to be discovered in those emails. Smoking-gun proof of collaboration between Team Hillary and the DNC? The question then is, What percentage of Bernie supporters can Hillary lose and still win in November?

  3. That 32 Democratic state parties laundered money for H. Clinton should not be forgotten.

  4. Getting back from lunch and reading the David Sanger story about the FBI investigations of the hack, which concludes with a mention of Assange saying that in the next dump of emails by WikiLeaks there will be enough to indict Hillary, I asked my coworker what she thought it would be, and she, like you, Bob, said the money-laundering scheme cooked up by Team Hillary and the DNC. The next question is one of timing. Release it before or after her Thursday night acceptance speech?