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How Could Such A Lazy, Inept Campaign Win? Well…

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While a minor example, Melania Trump’s plagiarized speech is an illustration of an inept, understaffed campaign run by a lazy con artist:

Plagiarism offers a window into a different aspect of Trump, one that isn’t integral to his appeal. Trump is a phony. And a lazy one at that. He refuses to put in the work, and if he becomes president the consequences are likely to be disastrous and unpredictable.

Just ask his wife who stood up on a nationally broadcast primetime telecast to vouch for his integrity and decency, and turns out to have been set up for humiliation because Trump couldn’t be bothered to build the kind of professional presidential campaign that would equip Melania Trump with a decent speech.

Once upon a time, Donald Trump was a real estate developer. Then he launched an airline, launched some casinos, turns out to have mismanaged his interest rate risk, and ended up losing nearly all of it.

He emerged from bankruptcy insufficiently creditworthy to get the kind of bank loans he would need to keep doing major real estate projects. But one of the quirks of his old failed businesses was his habit of slapping the name TRUMP on everything, so he had a much stronger brand nationally and globally than other objectively more successful New York real estate guys.

So he started licensing the brand hither and yon.

Steaks, wine, water, a fake university — even the food at the Trump Café is bad. Alongside the Trump University scam he had a second scam called the Trump Institute where the lessons were plagiarized. He also runs golf courses and they seem to be a scam too. He opened his first Scottish course amid great fanfare and many broken promises.

This could all be wicked fun, like a Mamet play from back when Mamet was still in possession of some measure of his talent. But there’s nothing funny about Trump’s political success:

But what is going to last beyond Election Day — whether Trump wins or loses — is the conviction, shared by a deep swath of the American population, that all unauthorized immigrants are (potentially dangerous) criminals; that Muslims, no matter where they were born, are not to be trusted; that it is important to declare that the lives of police officers matter but that to declare that the lives of the African-Americans those officers stop matter is an unacceptably radical and potentially terroristic act.

Those attitudes were on full and ugly display on night one of the convention. They were at the heart of the message of the first night of the Republican National Convention: “Make America Safe Again.” If Donald Trump wins in November, those principles will be enshrined in policy. But whether he wins or loses, they have been established as acceptable things to say in political discourse, and everyday life, to an extent that was not the case when he launched his campaign a year ago.

The Upshot has Hillary Clinton with a 76% chance to win, Wang between 65-80%, 538 62%. I would guess this range underestimates Clinton’s chances, because the models can’t account for Trump’s unusually unprofessional campaign. But, as Paul had said more than once, even something like a 10%-20% chance of a catastrophe is still pretty terrifying.

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  • patrick II

    Jim Jefferies agrees that voting for Trump might be but there might be consequences.

    It bothers me a little that some of the most cogent, straightforward arguments against both guns and Trump are voiced by an Australian comedian.

    • patrick II

      Many people have already seen it, but if you haven’t — Jim Jefferies on gun control.

      • postmodulator

        FYI, that’s the same video as in your parent comment.

    • postmodulator

      Not a particularly left-wing Australian comedian, either.

      • Ahenobarbus

        No, he does a rape bit that is, well, um, controversial. He’s a push-the-envelope comedian that Americans mistake for a progressive.

        • patrick II

          Jefferies is vulgar and I don’t generally watch him — but on these two subjects he is spot on

        • wengler

          It’s important not to take bits out of context. There’s a Louis C.K. bit about raping and murdering children that would make him look like a psycho out of context.

  • Joe_JP

    Don’t take him for granted. Okay. CYA there.

    The ultimate goal here is to bring as many people down with him as possible. The Senate. More in the House (keeping all the Republicans in line will be hard sometimes, make it difficult for them.) Taint the brand. Maybe even win some more state races.

  • ploeg

    It’s passing strange that the Trump answer to national security, economic policy, etc. seems to be “Lock Hillary Up,” and that seems to work for the Republican faithful.

    • Nobdy

      Tribalism is all they care about. Nobody with any interest in policy can support Trump except those hoping to ride his coattails to personal gain.

      The GOP has been bashing expertise and careful policy for generations at this point so it is unsurprising that their voters do not care about it at all, even as a veneer.

    • sherm

      Tonight they will determine whether Clinton is guilty of being made out of wood and weighing as much as a duck. Perhaps Gingrinch can claim that she turned him into a newt.

      • dmsilev

        He clearly hasn’t gotten better.

      • El Guapo

        Who are you, who are so wise in the ways of science (and politics)

  • Nobdy

    Isn’t Trump’s lousy campaign already sort of factored into those numbers? I feel like at this point the candidates are who they are. I don’t see why future Trump gaffes will hurt him any more than past ones have.

    Maybe it’s about turning out voters and ground game? I guess fair enough, but I feel like Trump voters require less work to turn out than Hillary voters. Angry old white people have very high turnout rates.

    • humanoid.panda

      Well, to the extent that Trump has a strategy, it is to turn out white working class people who allegedly sat out the last couple elections. To do that, you do need a ground game- in a lot of states, you registration gets nullified if you don’t vote for 8 years..(Ohio is prime example). I do wonder if Trump is even aware that voter registration is a thing.

      • NewishLawyer

        Trump can win if he basically wins a lot more of the white vote. The question is whether those numbers are really there. Bouie pointed out on Slate that Trump is the first GOP candidate in a long time who does not have the white, college-educated vote.

        For some reason there is a split between whites with college degrees and whites with graduate degrees. The second group tends to be reliably liberal and Democratic. The first group is more split but leaned GOP.

        • humanoid.panda

          Yeah- the fact that Clinton is the first Democrat since LBJ who could win college educated Whites is a huge deal, with major implications for the GOP gerrymandering of the House, that’s being totally ignored by the media, because of their REAL AMERICANS LOVE TRUMP fetish.

          • Pat

            Hopefully they will notice if the Democrats win the House.

      • postmodulator

        We’re pretty sure Trump is registered to vote, right? Someone checked on that?

    • junker

      Insofar as those numbers are based on polls, as all the quants are very eager to remind us, this is the point in the election in which the polls are least predictive of the final outcome. It is at least plausible to imagine that the campaign effects won’t manifest for some time yet.

      Also don’t get too down on GOTV effects. Clinton will be inheriting the Obama organization while it sounds like Trump will have… nothing. Even if cumulatively each of these things is only worth an additional 1-2 points each, that’s the difference between a three point lead and a 6-7 point lead.

    • Alex.S

      We don’t know. Standard political theory is that campaigning is equal and opposite. It’s never been put to the test. Campaigning is heavily on get out the vote, voter registration, etc — and that stuff doesn’t get reflected until election day.

      A minor point in the polls is that Hillary does do better among likely voters than registered voters. Normally this is reversed. It’s most likely caused by her winning white college-educated voters.

    • malraux

      The models have a fair degree of random walk embedded in them. That is, given what we know with the polls right now, what does that indicate for November? There’s a chance of the polls moving in trumps favor because in the past, the polls have shifted by that amount.

      Note this is different from everyone missing trump’s chance of winning the primary, which was based on ignoring what the polls were saying.

    • wjts

      Isn’t Trump’s lousy campaign already sort of factored into those numbers? I feel like at this point the candidates are who they are. I don’t see why future Trump gaffes will hurt him any more than past ones have.

      It’s not just a matter of gaffes and the like. It’s a matter of the campaigns actually being able to do the things that campaigns are supposed to do to help win elections – GOTV, analytics, ad buys, etc. The Trump campaign has $1.6 million in cash on hand and $45.7 million in debts. The Clinton campaign has $88.9 million in cash on hand and $1.2 million in debts. If you look at their on-the-ground organizations on a state-by-state basis and long-term planning for things like October ad buys, I bet you’d see pretty similar disparities. None of this, I suspect, is really reflected in the polling or its analysis (I don’t see how it could be, but I’m not particularly imaginative). But look at it this way: Clinton has almost $90 million dollars that she can use to expand or protect her current lead in the polls while Trump has less than $2 million to close the gap. Polls can certainly move by four points in 110 days, but they don’t do so absent something happening to make them move, and Trump’s colossal resource gap means he’s at a massive disadvantage in trying to make that shift happen (exogenous events, like a major terrorist attack or a serious Clinton health scare are something else, of course). This, I think, is at least part of what Scott means by “I would guess this range underestimates Clinton’s chances, because the models can’t account for Trump’s unusually unprofessional campaign.”

    • Scott Lemieux

      Isn’t Trump’s lousy campaign already sort of factored into those numbers?

      No. You need professional, well-funded campaigns to identify and turn out voters, advertise, etc. etc.

  • CD

    Piece in today’s NYT interesting, though it bears the marks of aggressive ass-covering by the professional speechwriters involved. (1) Melania Trump seems to have acquired her husband’s conviction that she can go with her gut rather than get stuff checked by professionals (2) contra the shallow everyone-does-it relativists who turned up in the earlier threads on this plagiarism, some detail on the craft:

    In interviews, alarmed Republican speechwriters outlined the layers of formal scrutiny, apparently disregarded by the Trump campaign, traditionally applied to almost every draft of a major convention address. They described word-by-word fact-checking by a dedicated team of experts and computer software designed to catch plagiarism. Several online programs, like DupliChecker, are available at no cost.

    “It’s pretty standard,” Mr. Stevens said of the software, which detects overlap in word choice and sentence structure. “We used it.”

    An urgent priority: avoiding the slightest hint of oratorical theft.

    “The most cardinal rule of any speech-writing operation is that you cannot plagiarize,” said Mr. Latimer, the Bush speechwriter, who is now a partner at Javelin, a communications firm. If you do, he said, “you lose your job.”

    Today’s Language Log is also on top of the probabilities: http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=26853

    • Pat

      There’s also the idea that the speech should have conveyed something about Melania and Donald Trump as people, that is as individual as they are. Using other people’s words can’t possibly do that.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        There’s also the idea that the speech should have conveyed something about Melania and Donald Trump as people, that is as individual as they are. Using other people’s words can’t possibly do that.

        I don’t know about that. Seems to me that the blatant plagiarism, the brain-dead denials of plagiarism in the face of in-your-face evidence, the ‘toss, ANYONE someone under the bus’ reactions certainly “convey something about Melania and Donald Trump as people”.

        That is, that they’re incredibly stupid dishonest grifters.

  • Murc

    While a minor example, Melania Trump’s plagiarized speech is an illustration of an inept, understaffed campaign run by a lazy con artist:

    I forget where I read it, and should have bookmarked it, but I read a very good article recently that pointed out that Trump’s political campaign looks inept as a political campaign, but that it looks absolutely textbook and even to a certain degree smart if you view it from the standpoint of Trump not being a politician, but rather Trump being a crooked real estate developer.

    Which means you never put up your own money; risk is for investors, not for you. If the project starts to totter, your number one priority stops being to bring it to completion; completion would be nice, of course, but your primary goal becomes getting out with as much money as you can while taking a minimum reputation hit.

    Occasionally you might say to the investors “I care about this project so much I’m going to become one of you and put my own money in!” and pledge like four million or so. But the fine print will be “four million in four separate tranches over the next eight quarters.” Which means you really ponied up only one million, because the goal wasn’t to inject cash, it was to get the other investors to go “Oh, he’s got skin in the game now, so he won’t let it fail; we can go another round of financing ourselves, then.”

    Sound familiar?

    The modus operandi of the Trump campaign is absolutely familiar to anyone who has ever investigated why that strip mall out on the edge of town was never completed and is now rotting away, and found a flabbergasting array of broken promises and a town council that is still paying off the bond it floated to build a road out to that nonexistent strip mall and upgrade the utility lines. (Because, again, risk is for the investors, not the developer.) That’s why he hasn’t been building out campaign infrastructure and more or less demanding the Republican Party do all the heavy lifting and organizing for him. From his point of view, they should be bearing 100% of the risk. I imagine when he’s told that typically Presidential campaigns raise and spend their own money in vast amounts and that candidates with large personal worth often kick in millions of their own money, his response is “Those guys are rubes.”

    • Turkle

      I believe you are referring to this masterful Twitter rant, which is very much worth reading:

      • Murc

        That, plus… honestly, that plus ANY investigative news report on development projects gone bust.

        It doesn’t matter where you live in the US. Go into your local papers archives. There will be a story about a bad real estate deal by a crooked developer. It might be as small as a strip mall or as large as five blocks of prime downtown real estate. But the story will be the same, just with different names, and instantly recognizable as what Trump has done with his entire life.

        But yes, that twitter rant is masterful.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          I’ve heard that having those real-estate deals implode, in Texas, is equivalent to a “that man needed killin'” defense against murder charges.

    • brad

      He has been quoted, in the past, not this cycle so far as I know, as saying he could be the first to run for President and make money off it.

  • DAS

    How do we know that Trump being a phony “isn’t integral to his appeal”? I reckon part of his appeal is that he is NOT a “real politician”. The more ham-fisted he is at doing political stuff, the less like a politician he looks … and that appeals to Trump supporters.

    Additionally, one of Trump’s selling points is “I know how to game the system, so I know what needs to be fixed about the system”. That Trump is a con artist is part of his appeal.

    The GOP has been pushing a line of “politicians are all greedy and corrupt” and “government doesn’t work” in addition to their racist, Christianist and misogynist dog-whistles. Of course many GOP voters, who support nihilism as an ethos, will support a phony and a fraud, so long as that phony and fraud is the “right kind of person”.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      How do we know that Trump being a phony “isn’t integral to his appeal”? I reckon part of his appeal is that he is NOT a “real politician”. The more ham-fisted he is at doing political stuff, the less like a politician he looks … and that appeals to Trump supporters.

      Yes. A bunch of college graduates with the right connections or the right credentials or the right expertise on the TV bargling the nuance of how phony papers at collleges are caught using software is exactly the kind of thing that sets off the Trumpalo base. They just view it all as persecution.

      • humanoid.panda

        I keep on badgering on this point, but who cares about the Trump base? They are there for him, no matter what, but they only represent at most 41-42% of electorate – and that’s the upper range of his polling. Nothing either campaign does should be judged on the basis of “how will Trump’s base respond to this.”

        • Pat

          And they will never, ever, ever pull the lever for Hillary Clinton.

        • Manny Kant

          Yes! Everyone keeps saying “Oh, this certainly won’t make Trump less popular among his base.” But Trump’s base is irrelevant. It’s the people who aren’t committed to Trump yet, but who might be convinced to vote for him, who matter.

    • Joe_JP

      Colbert spoke of “Trumpiness” or a general feeling, even if what he actually is saying is b.s. He might be a con artist, but I like what he is saying. Feels right to me. The system is fixed. You have to be a con artist to win it — look how he trumped the party! He’s the man! etc. The entertainment level of the clusterfuck is part of the fun. OTOH, there is a level that might turn some off, especially if it is embarrassing.

      • Murc

        It was good to see Stephen Colbert back. Props to Stephen Colbert for letting him guest host for a bit.

        • Joe_JP

          There was some dispute recently in a thread here on how the Colbert Report would handle Trump. There you go.

        • The Dark God of Time

          Ugarte: Well, Rick, after tonight, I’ll be through with the whole business and I am leaving finally this Casablanca.

          Rick: Who did you bribe for your visa? Renault or yourself?

          Ugarte: Myself. I found myself much more reasonable.

          • dn

            “I don’t mind a parasite, but I object to a cut-rate one.”

      • njorl

        “Goddammit, Swearengen, I don’t trust you as far as I could th’ow you, but I enjoy the way you lie. “

        • Manny Kant

          It is a motherfucking insult to Al Swearengen to compare him to that cocksucker Donald fucking Trump

          • njorl

            Yeah, but I like the quote.

    • Yankee

      There you go. We can hope that Paul’s (supra) clown shoes are an essential part of the outfit. A weak reed to lean on, to be sure …

  • kped

    I said it in another thread, but I don’t think there’s a way for the other party to not have a 20-30% chance of winning an election, just by virtue of the 2 party system. And going further, there is little chance that Trump doesn’t end up with 40-45% of the national vote. Probably closer to 45% when all is said and done.

    So…yeah, that is sad, in that there are 45% of the population that are just awful…but it’s not a shock, and says nothing about the merits of the other candidate running.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      The 28% That Hold America Hostage, I was expecting. It’s the next 17 percentage points that really disappoint me.

      • howard

        the way i look at it, 30% are the true hard-core racist right-wingers; the next 15% are the republican partisan fellow travelers.

        the hard-core racist right-wingers are who they: more or less unreachable.

        the republican partisan fellow travelers are inexcusable.

      • Captain Splendid

        Amen to that. I can “forgive” your average teahadi, as they’re essentially the political equivalents of the kids from Flowers In The Attic, they truly don’t know any better.

        • postmodulator

          The only problem with that analogy is that the teahadis can leave the attic any time they want. They like it in there. For all our talk about epistemic closure the simple fact is that information has never been easier to come by in human history.

          • BiloSagdiyev

            But do they seek information? Sadly, no. They pass around the journalistic equivalent of poo sandwiches to each other.

            • postmodulator

              The point is, they’re not held prisoner. I’ve seen other comments here along the lines of “Well, they’ve been brainwashed by Fox News.” Watching Fox News is a choice, one of about two hundred choices in most cable packages. Most famous brainwashing victims had it happen to them at gunpoint.

              • BiloSagdiyev

                Oh, sure. They had a taste for poo sandwiches in the first place. Trump didn’t make these people and FOX News didn’t make these people. George Wallace did. OK, he didn’t either…

          • njorl

            The only thing which has increased more than the availability of information is the availability of disinformation.

    • NonyNony

      Well, 45% of the eligible voting population is awful anyway. As a statistical sampling of our population it’s pretty bad. Remember that we struggle to even get 60% of eligible voters to turn out for a presidential election, so the self-selection going on in that sample is already going to skew it as a measure of the population as a whole.

      • humanoid.panda

        That being said- in modern democracies, a 70% turnout of the eligible population is considered pretty good. 80% is historic- so I’m not sure that 60% is all that bad.

      • Bufflars

        Not sure if specifically chose those exact percentages on purpose, but 45% of 60% is… you guessed it… 27%.

    • Yankee

      It just makes the future look dark for large-scale democracy. But climate change is coming.

  • BiloSagdiyev

    But what is going to last beyond Election Day — whether Trump wins or loses — is the conviction, shared by a deep swath of the American population, that all unauthorized immigrants are (potentially dangerous) criminals;

    I’m sorry, but too many normal people in the media are just giving too many benefits of the doubt, again and again and again. Unauthorized immigrants? No, it’s not just the unauthorized immigrants they dislike.

    Every Mexican they see, in their mind, is ILLEGAL ! (shake fist) “I see illegals everywhere anymore!” These people have no clue what the actual rate of green card holding actually is. And they don’t care to know. The fine points of immigration law are most certainly not their point.

    • humanoid.panda

      And more importantly even: what they freaked about are not as much the “illegals” here, but their children, american citizens through and through.

      • Rob in CT

        their children, american citizens through and through

        Which is what pisses them off…

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          Some have family living where they now are, since before those goddamn ILLEGAL SQUATTER Pilgrims showed up and started murdering folks.

    • Gareth

      On the other hand, illegal immigrants are certainly all criminals. Immigration and Nationality Act, 2011, look it up. Insisting that they’re not criminals despite the actual law is part of what pisses the nativists off.

      • lizzie

        So is everybody who has ever exceeded the speed limit, or jaywalked, or taken a pencil from their employer. But we don’t refer to all those people as “criminals.” (You didn’t provide a cite, and I’m not going to look it up, but a professor once told me that illegally entering the country, absent any aggravating factors, is a misdemeanor.)

        So who is “insisting” that they’re “not criminals”? Not using the words “illegal immigrants” or “illegals” to refer to other human beings is not the same thing as insisting that they didn’t commit a crime.

        • Gareth

          So who is “insisting” that they’re “not criminals”?

          The original Vox article was using thinking of illegal immigrants as criminals as an example of idiotic bigotry. If you’re going to criticise public ignorance, it’s best to check the law first. Also, I’ve had a fairly serious speeding ticket – but I paid the fine, and I’m not still speeding.

  • Nang Mai

    Brittney Cooper at Cosmopolitan called it. This fiasco is a perfect example of white privilege

    http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/news/a61559/melania-trump-michelle-obama-plagiarism/

    • howard

      just as a side note, brittney cooper is now at cosmo? i’m amazed they let a non-skinny-model into their pages.

      • witlesschum

        If I remember right, they actually publish articles from feminist writers on a decently regular basis.

        • howard

          you know, truth be told: i only see cosmo at the magazine rack, so i may well not have a good handle on its contents.

          but looking at the cover pictures….

        • Katya

          I read Cosmo and the like at the hair salon, and, yes, it (along with other magazines in the genre, like Marie Claire) often publish very good pieces — generally on issues like women’s health, international women’s issues, etc., but also on other things. If you can get past the trappings, there’s some good stuff. Cosmo just did a piece on the high rates of undiagnosed/untreated postpartum injuries that was quite informative and clearly came from a feminist perspective.

          • howard

            actually, i’m happy to hear that: once again, an example of not judging a book, er, magazine by its cover.

        • Linnaeus

          Jill Filipovic writes for Cosmo, or at least she used to.

      • The Dark God of Time

        The kidz these days aren’t into body shaming and what have you. At the initial reading of our latest community theater production, the kidz were discussing their physiques with an openness in front of your truly, a relative stranger, that almost shocked me.

      • D.N. Nation

        She sure as hell wasn’t going to stick around Salon.

        Which, to give them the smallest possible portion of credit visible to the human eye, finally appears to have rid itself from Heh-Indoodily Goodman.

        • postmodulator

          She sure as hell wasn’t going to stick around Salon.

          So, higher standards than two front-pagers?

          • Nang Mai

            All the above people have completely dismissed the content over their surprise at the news source.

            • Rob in CT

              Probably none of the above posters disputes the content.

            • howard

              huh? perhaps you don’t understand comments. i am not dismissing the content – i have nothing to add to it.

              i am not surprised at the news source – i’ll take good content wherever i find.

              i simply said, as a side note, that i was surprised that cosmo publishes brittney cooper, so let me add good for them that they do.

              now, what did you expect? this is how comments go….

  • But, as Paul had said more than once, even something like a 10%-20% chance of a catastrophe is still pretty terrifying.

    It is, which is why for the good of my nerves I’ve decided not to worry about it until at least September. Polls will solidify in August and hopefully by Labor Day Trump’s odds are <10%. Fretting done in summer is a waste of frett.

  • advocatethis

    Consistent with the portrayal of Trump as a lazy con artist, Drum today exerpts a post from the NY Times:

    According to the New York Times, Donald Trump Jr. approached John Kasich a couple of months ago:

    Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history? When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.

    Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?

    “Making America great again” was the casual reply.

    • Ahenobarbus

      The source of this is apparently Kasich’s people, so it needs to be taken with a grain of salt. I would doubt they would have made the whole thing up. Then again, I wouldn’t think Trump himself would want Kasich. Maybe some of Trump’s people did, however.

  • NewishLawyer

    I think the real answer is that Trump’s audience and base is not primed to see this as lazy. They are primed to hate people who point out the laziness as being snooty eggheads who care about school too much. Even if they are college-educated, they have the basic sneer against college-educated liberals who care about these things.

    • witlesschum

      A Facebook and high school friend of mine was making fun of this and those were the kind of answers he got from Trump supporters. One was literally “Oh, they always find something.”

    • ploeg

      One incident, or even a series of incidents, isn’t going to cancel out decades of propaganda to the effect that Donald Trump is a uniquely shrewd and successful businessman.

      • los

        Yes… MSM’s ground-in indoctrination can’t be rapidly countered, much as Clinton can’t escape decades of propaganda.

  • catbirdman

    Oh sh!t, Hillary’s given only a 76% chance of winning? Like when I’m watching basketball and Pao Gasol gets to the line? But not quite, because Pao made 79% last year. Do you know how many free throws I’ve watched that guy clank?!? And in this case we’re risking the fate of the world on whether that ball’s going through the rim? Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue!

  • Gwen

    Forty percent of the American people are nuts, and 10 percent are naive enough to go along with it.

    Personally, I prefer Giant Meteor 2016 over Trump. On a bad day (like the day when the FBI report on the damn emails came out), it’s a virtual draw between Secretary Clinton and the sweet flaming ball o’ death; but to her credit Hillary seems the preferable option to me, most of the time.

    Gary Johnson is also OK but not going to throw my vote away.

    • Ahenobarbus

      What’s OK about Gary Johnson?

      There isn’t much here to be happy about, from a progressive’s standpoint:

      http://www.ontheissues.org/Gary_Johnson.htm

      • humanoid.panda

        Forty percent of the American people are nuts, and 10 percent are naive enough to go along with it.

        Given that Democrats won popular vote 5/6 last times, its closer to 47% of the American public. And that’s a distinction that makes one hell of a difference.

  • I would guess this range underestimates Clinton’s chances, because the models can’t account for Trump’s unusually unprofessional campaign

    I’ve felt this a few times, but then I start to worry that perhaps an unusual (or unusually unprofessional) campaign might not be the sort of drag we’ve thought it would be.

    Just consider two factors:

    1) Advertising, esp. television
    2) GOTV, esp. day of ground game

    Up until now, HRC has had the airwaves to herself. It’s not clear that it’s done any good. Or, I’d like to know how it’s done good. Maybe it’s too early. Maybe it just hasn’t shown up in polling. Who knows. In the primaries, the rest of the candidates held off and Trump never collapsed. So we don’t really know what advertising will do to this heavily exposed, extremely strange candidate.

    What is the effect of GOTV efforts? I believe that it will have an effect, but it might be pretty small compared to random turn out effects. It’s good bit of body english, but it doesn’t seem to be the makings of a blow out. (I’d love pointers to literature on this.)

    Maybe campaigns *really* don’t matter?

    • wjts

      Up until now, HRC has had the airwaves to herself. It’s not clear that it’s done any good.

      At the risk of venturing into Lisa’s Rock territory, she is leading in the polls and is the current favorite to win the election. That seems good.

      • howard

        let’s see, where did i see it yesterday? can’t recall now, but somewhere i saw that compared to obama in both july 2008 and july 2012, clinton is slightly ahead.

        more to the point, we have a potential third term for the same party in the oval office, we have an ok but not great economy, we have moderate approval for the current president, and we have the fact that sexism is still not dead: on a purely fundamentals basis, clinton is about where she should be.

        • postmodulator

          The fact that a cretinous smudge like Trump is right where the fundamentals would place him in any typical year is one of the stronger arguments for the “fundamentals” view of politics. Three months ago we were all talking about how his unique unpopularity might put the House in play. That seems more unlikely now.

          • Three months ago we were all talking about how his unique unpopularity might put the House in play. That seems more unlikely now.

            It really is the case that people don’t pay a lot of attention before the conventions, so I do think that reading too much into the current state of play is isn’t wise.

        • more to the point, we have a potential third term for the same party in the oval office, we have an ok but not great economy, we have moderate approval for the current president, and we have the fact that sexism is still not dead: on a purely fundamentals basis, clinton is about where she should be.

          That suggests that we’ve seen no “inept campaign” effect.

          • howard

            i’m inclined to think that: i think if we do see an “inept campaign” effect, it will emerge in the september/october period.

      • At the risk of venturing into Lisa’s Rock territory, she is leading in the polls and is the current favorite to win the election. That seems good.

        I agree, but I’m less clear that it’s attributable to the ads rather than her cementing the nomination.

    • junker

      It’s unclear that the number of ads has really ramped up yet. For example here, we can see that Clinton has vastly outspent Trump in various swing states… but that money includes advance buys for the fall, which obviously have yet to occur.

      Remember when you hear stories about the amount that Clinton has outspent Trump on ads, that money is being spent on efforts that haven’t necessarily happened yet, and therefore we wouldn’t expect any effects.

      Remember also also that Clinton was still technically fighting her primary until a month or so ago, so “Airwaves to herself” might not mean much yet. Basically, I’d say it’s too early to judge the effects of buying up ads.

      • howard

        also remember that she’s buying up future ad time at good rates: insofar as the trump campaign ultimately tries to compete, they’re going to be paying high last-minute rates, so they will get much less bang for their buck.

      • Remember when you hear stories about the amount that Clinton has outspent Trump on ads, that money is being spent on efforts that haven’t necessarily happened yet, and therefore we wouldn’t expect any effects.

        Ok, that’s a good point! I had forgotten that.

        I’m still a bit skeptical, but we’ll see.

        But what would show us that the inept vs. ept campaign didn’t matter? If she wins by an Obama over Romney like margin, with Trump’s campaign being pretty much as predicted, I’d be inclined to say that campaigns don’t matter at all (not just that they counterbalance).

        • howard

          you know, it’s very rare in life that we get a true test tube scenario where you can isolate a factor and really see it in play. my guess would be that political scientists have been happy to theorize about the impact of eptness but assumed they would never get to see it happen.

          but in fact, now we have a test tube scenario and we’ll get to find out!

          • Yes! This is actually pretty exciting to me.

            Though the gap between Romney’s and Obama’s GOTV was pretty huge…

            http://dosen.narotama.ac.id/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/The-Effects-of-Large-Scale-Campaigns-on-Voter-Turnout-Evidence-from-400-Million-Voter-Contacts.pdf

            We estimate that the presidential campaigns increased turnout by more than 10 percentage points among targeted subgroups, indicating that modern campaigns can significantly alter the size and composition of the voting population.

            In this paper, we exploit the 2012 presidential campaign to assess the aggregate effects of a large-scale campaign on the size and composition of the voting population. We take advantage of variation in ground campaigning across state boundaries, extensive information on Romney and Obama campaign tactics, and detailed information on every voter in the United States to estimate the effects of the entire campaign. Our results suggest that the aggregate mobilizing effect of a presidential campaign is quite large. We estimate that the 2012 campaign increased aggregate turnout by approximately 7 percentage points

            This analysis also allows us to compare the relative effectiveness of the Obama and Romney campaigns. The Obama campaign of 2012 has been championed as the most technologically-sophisticated, evidence-based campaign in history while the Romney campaign was more traditional (e.g., Issenberg 2013). When we began this project, we surveyed 46 academics, and they predicted that Obama’s campaign was almost 3 times as effective as Romney’s in mobilizing supporters.17 Do these perceptions manifest themselves in the data?

            As discussed above, this analysis allows us to roughly compare the effectiveness of the Obama and Romney campaigns in mobilizing their respective supporters. Despite the purported technological sophistication of the Obama campaign and its devotion to a data-driven, evidence- based campaign, we see similar mobilization effects on both sides of Figure 3. The two campaigns were roughly comparable in their ability to turn out supporters.

            One interpretation of the Romney campaign’s slight advantage with their own partisans is that Democrats are simply harder to mobilize than Republicans. Indeed, previous research suggests that, on average, GOTV interventions are more effective for conservative and high-socioeconomic- status citizens (Enos, Fowler, Vavreck 2014). The amount of effort and resources needed to mobilize Democratic supporters may be greater than that needed to mobilize Republican supporters. With this in mind, even if the Obama campaign was more advanced than the Romney campaign, this difference was not great enough to overcome this structural disadvantage

            Interesting! We should find out some new stuff!

        • postmodulator

          Is it entirely true that we wouldn’t expect any effects yet? I can tell you that the central Ohio airwaves are featuring a large number of anti-Trump ads (and a similar number of anti-Strickland ads, sadly).

          • howard

            it’s very hard for political junkies like those of us who comment here to understand just how little attention the median voter is paying at this point.

            beyond that, i’m not a political scientist, so i don’t really know, per se, what the theoretical position might be, but my working assumption is that it’s too soon.

          • junker

            I wouldn’t say zero effects. Just not to overestimate how many ads have gone out yet.

        • wjts

          But what would show us that the inept vs. ept campaign didn’t matter?

          Certainly a Trump win (absent a major exogenous shock like 9/11) would. A win for Clinton along the lines of Obama’s reelection might. A convincing win for Clinton in the popular vote plus a sweep or near-sweep of the toss-up states and a win in one or two “lean R” states in the Electoral College would be pretty good evidence that campaigns do matter.

          • That sounds pretty reasonable to me.

            • howard

              me too: i think we’ve got a hypothesis!

              • wjts

                BOOKMARK IT, LIBS!

    • brewmn

      Up until now, HRC has had the airwaves to herself.

      If you can say this without qualification, you obviously don’t watch American cable news. Or possibly American television at all. Trump has been dominating the airwaves for nearly a year; he just isn’t paying anyone for it.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        was just looking at the markets/news page of the grain terminal I sell to: second headline down is “Trump campaign chief emerges as star”

    • los

      Up until now, HRC has had the airwaves to herself. It’s not clear that it’s done any good. Or…
      I’ve seen a Clinton ad already. It was restrained. I hope the campaign amps-up some “irreverence” in the ads for Spike, Comedy Central, etc.

  • Rob in CT

    http://www.vox.com/2016/7/20/12235328/third-eye-blind-rnc-concert

    That’s pretty cool.

    “You can boo all you want but I’m the motherfucking artist here.”

    • wjts

      Third Eye Blind trolled the RNC by playing Third Eye Blind songs no one wants to hear

      I am unfamiliar with the implied “Third Eye Blind songs someone wants to hear” in that headline.

      • howard

        yes, but you’re not a gop delegate! if you were, you’d want to hear the hit….

        • wjts

          At my first job out of college, I shared a small office with another junior paralegal sort of person. She liked to have the radio on when she worked, but, despite being up near the top of a downtown Chicago office building, her radio could only pick up two stations: one of the local Top 40 ones and the easy listening station that advertised itself as something like, “The Lite FM station that doesn’t put you to sleep”*. I swear I heard their hit every day I worked there, and I never want to hear it again.

          *I never discovered what the Lite FM stations that do put you to sleep sound like, but my guess would be the aural equivalent of the barbiturates they use to induce comas.

          • *I never discovered what the Lite FM stations that do put you to sleep sound like, but my guess would be the aural equivalent of the barbiturates they use

            in capital-punishment cocktails.

      • Rob in CT

        Now was that really necessary? For shame! ;)

        They did a solid, regardless of the quality of their music.

        Personally, as someone with questionable musical taste, their big hit is an ok song.

        • postmodulator

          Personally, as someone with questionable musical taste, their big hit is an ok song.

          About meth. Everyone knows it’s about meth, right?

          • Rob in CT

            I knew it was about drugs, which goes for a lot of rock songs. Meth specifically I may have known once, but had forgotten until the Vox article mentioned it.

            How topical for 2016!

            • junker

              “Doing crystal meth will lift you up until you break!”

              To my everlasting sadness, Breaking Bad never found a way to use this song.

              • At the time, “crystal meth” in that line got censored on at least some radio stations and on MTV.

                • Linnaeus

                  Still does. At least it was when I heard it on the radio a couple of years ago. I don’t remember the station, though.

        • wjts

          See my comment above. After a year in that office, I won’t be happy until Third Eye Blind, Eiffel 65, Train, Tal Bachman, LFO, Santana, Cher, Sugar Ray, Smashmouth, Lenny Kravitz, Lou Bega, Vertical Horizon, the various boy bands and teen pop starlets of the era, Shania Twain, and anyone I forgot are all in the dock at the Hague.

          • junker

            The soundtrack to my middle-school years. Fastball anyone?

          • njorl

            Santana?

            • junker
            • wjts

              Have you forgotten “Smooth”? If so, I envy you.

              • njorl

                I’m not familiar with it. I may not have associated it with them if I ever heard it.
                I hear “Santana” I think “Soul Sacrifice” or “Jingo”
                I remember being surprised to find out they did “Hold On”.

        • “Jumper” was a big hit too, and depending on the market they had a number of other relatively popular songs.

  • I’ve been listening to delegate interviews, and they don’t care whether Trump does the work. They care about things like “when he walks in the room, everyone knows he’s authoritative and powerful.” He can get other people to do the work.

    They apparently say things like “we think it’s important for all kinds of random people to be carrying firearms–because we’re for law and order.”

    Somehow they got the idea that thinking is bad, that it’s okay for some people to live simply to tell other people what to do, and that they can consider themselves good people to such an extent that the only way they can explain why things aren’t perfect is to blame “them.”

    And for decades, what we’ve gotten from Democrats is “swing voters” and “soccer moms”: trying to pander to that and trying to figure out how to justifying pandering to that.

  • junker

    As media coverage of the Melania speech was dying down, Trump decided the best thing to do was to tweet about how much coverage it got, how all publicity is good publicity, etc. So I hope you are ready for day 3!

  • Alex.S

    If you’re bored, the plagiarism story is back today with… let me see here…

    * Reporters got the original draft of the speech, turns out that the plagiarism was added afterwards.

    * Donald Trump Jr’s speechwriter reused multiple parts of his own work in his speech. Apparently this is acceptable but bad form.

    * Donald Trump defended the speech in a couple of tweets, saying “The media is spending more time doing a forensic analysis of Melania’s speech than the FBI spent on Hillary’s emails.” and “Good news is Melania’s speech got more publicity than any in the history of politics especially if you believe that all press is good press!”

    * The speechwriter (an in-house staff writer?) came forward and said she straight up plagiarized without caring. Also offered to resign. But the Trump campaign says that people can make innocent mistakes.

    • howard

      your fourth point brings to mind that trump criticized his own staff for taking down the offensive star and said he’d never have done it.

      • junker

        Remember when Trump’s surrogates got a memo on how to respond to the judge thing from one his staffers, and then he insulted that staffer?

        It must not be fun to work for Donald Trump.

        • howard

          i only once worked for this kind of narcissistic boss, for just under a year, before i had too much and quit.

          and then a little while later, i was having dinner with an old friend of mine who at the time was a senior veep at disney, and i was telling him about the awfulness of said boss and how i’d never seen anything like that.

          and i’ve never forgotten: after all his years in the entertainment industry, he got wide-eyed and looked at me and said “what? have you been living in a cave?”

        • Remember when this happened on “The Apprentice” and the show was edited in such a way as to make sure you knew the person who was insulted deserved it?

          Terrible show, but educational.

    • Alex.S

      Just to throw some more fun into it…

      The in-house staff writer worked for Trump Organization and wrote their release on Trump Organization letterhead. It is, of course, an election violation to use corporate resources for a campaign.

    • rea

      Donald Trump Jr’s speechwriter reused multiple parts of his own work in his speech. Apparently this is acceptable but bad form.

      It’s acceptable if a speechwriter recycles previous work for the same candidate. It’s not acceptable Politician X gives a speech you wrote, and you then recycle parts of that speech into a speech for Politician Z.

    • junker

      In this case he was reusing material from a blog post that he (the speech writer) wrote. Not sure how that affects things.

  • lhartmann

    So, basically, Trump is Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross.

    • Yup.

      • Rob in CT

        And, much like Michael Douglas’ character in Wall Street, a lot of people love that character instead of hating him.

        • Unlike with Wall Street, however, there is good reason to believe the character’s creator intended that reaction unironically.

          (I really hate beginning a sentence with “unlike with,” but it’ll do for a lunchtime comment box.)

        • BiloSagdiyev

          So the new depth for the GOP to sink to after this will be a Tony Montana sort of character?

          What you lookin’ at? You all a bunch of fuckin’ assholes. You know why? You don’t have the guts to be what you wanna be? You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your fuckin’ fingers and say, “That’s the bad guy.” So… what that make you? Good? You’re not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don’t have that problem. Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say good night to the bad guy! Come on. The last time you gonna see a bad guy like this again, let me tell you. Come on. Make way for the bad guy. There’s a bad guy comin’ through! Better get outta his way!

          And of course, machine gun.

  • MPAVictoria

    So… apparently Clinton is considering choosing Charlie Fucking Crist as her running mate…

    Excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall.

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      I won’t believe that he’s seriously in contention until she announces it.

      I’d believe Bernie Sanders well before Crist.

      • Rob in CT

        I assume the logic there would be that Florida is really important?

        I hadn’t heard Crist before. What’s the source here?

        • MPAVictoria

          hahah! It was from CBC News Twitter updates and they just retracted in.
          Thank God

        • Trying to make up some of the spray-tan gap with the GOP ticket.

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