Home / General / Clinton Is Good At This

Clinton Is Good At This

Comments
/
/
/
1002 Views

lazio

One thing that will likely be quickly forgotten is that Donald Trump, as he did in the first two debates, sounded vaguely rational for the first 20 minutes or so, and even showed evidence of actual preparation. His answers on abortion, for example — “send the issue back to the states,” “Hillary Clinton wants 11-month-old babies ripped out of women’s stomachs!1!1!1!” — were on the one hand dumb but on the other hand the standard-issue responses Republican pols have been using to evade the party’s nationally unpopular position on abortion for time out of mind. But as the debate progressed he became less and less hinged, and finally made the lunatic statements that defined his performance so that any Republican less hacky than Jeffrey Lord had to admit he was pretty mush a disaster.

This unraveling isn’t something that just happened, though. While Trump is predictably worse in a one-on-one debate than in a crowded field, he’s also no longer up against a bunch of tomato cans who have no idea how to provoke him:

This is not normal. As Andrew Prokop concluded in his review of the political science evidence around presidential debates, “There’s little historical evidence that they’ve ever swung polls by more than a few percentage points.” In this case, they did. And it’s because Clinton executed a risky strategy flawlessly.

The dominant narrative of this election goes something like this. Hillary Clinton is a weak candidate who is winning because she is facing a yet weaker candidate. Her unfavorables are high, her vulnerabilities are obvious, and if she were running against a Marco Rubio or a Paul Ryan, she would be getting crushed. Lucky for her, she’s running against a hot orange mess with higher unfavorables, clearer vulnerabilities, and a tape where he brags about grabbing women “by the pussy.”

There’s truth to this narrative, but it also reflects our tendency to underestimate Clinton’s political effectiveness. Trump’s meltdown wasn’t an accident. The Clinton campaign coolly analyzed his weaknesses and then sprung trap after trap to take advantage of them.

Clinton’s successful execution of this strategy has been, fittingly, the product of traits that she’s often criticized for: her caution, her overpreparation, her blandness. And her particular ability to goad Trump and blunt the effectiveness of his political style has been inextricable from her gender. The result has been a political achievement of awesome dimensions, but one that Clinton gets scarce credit for because it looks like something Trump is doing, rather than something she is doing — which is, of course, the point.

Clinton is no Obama as a political talent, but debating is one thing she does really well, much better than Obama. One reason I’ve always been confident of her winning was that I assumed that you could consider what she did to Rick Lazio in the debates and then triple it. Sure, Trump is her nearly perfect opponent, but she knew how to put him away despite some obvious issue-based vulnerabilities.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • JL

    This series of debates has made me reconsider my opinion that the debates are a waste of time that should be done away with. Not because there’s anything so great about these debates as debates, but because the Clinton campaign (not just Clinton herself, Kaine did it too, and I assume has some of the same debate prep people) has demonstrated how they can be used as real campaign tools that generate fodder for things like ads, rather than trying to play Debate Club.

    • i8kraft

      Bunch of goddamn professionals.

      • petesh

        “And they practice beforehand, which spoils the fun.” (Flanders & Swann)

        • LosGatosCA

          Where do the rules say you can do that?

          They rigged the debates too, those bastards!

      • mds

        Bunch of goddamn professionals.

        Just like Wikileaks was trying to warn us.

    • Captain Oblivious

      Keep them, but get better moderators, ditch the audience, and can the town-hall format.

      • JDM

        Bring back debates run by The League of Women Voters. Of course, if that were done, the Republicans would just try to infiltrate and distort that organization. They can’t do anything straight anymore; they’ve been playing crooked too long.

      • JMP

        Or if they insist on keeping the town hall format, stop requiring the questions come from people so ridiculously uninformed and stupid that they still don’t know who they want to vote for just a month before the election.

    • Pat

      I agree with you, JL. The debates also allow the candidates to go over a far greater range of subjects than the media find news-worthy. I think that these four debates provided good information for voters.

    • They were also a chance for an audience wider than rallies to see the candidates present themselves. Most people don’t follow politics closely. A lot of people saw Clinton with few media filters for the first time. Compare the impact of the debate itself to the pundit panel talk afterwards to see what I mean.

      They saw Trump with few filters too, unfortunately for him.

  • Richard Hershberger

    I’m repeating myself, but one reason I supported Clinton in the primaries was that she pretty clearly would be better at this than Sanders.

    • D.N. Nation

      I do wonder how that dynamic would’ve worked. There’s a good chance that Trump would’ve somehow played the straight man in those encounters.

      • Trump could have said, “Why didn’t you make sure Obama and Hillary would regulate businessmen better?” and stolen Sanders’s fire.

      • ThrottleJockey

        There’s a good chance that Trump would’ve somehow played the straight man in those encounters.

        Unpossible.

        • Captain Oblivious

          Trump can’t play anything except Trump. He has no filters and no mask.

    • weirdnoise

      If Hillary were a man (bear with me on this counter-factual exercise) I’m not sure she would have done as well as Sanders. One of the things that got under Trump’s skin wasn’t just that he was being beaten, but that he was being beaten by a girl. He just couldn’t force himself to pass over the needling by papering it over with his usual Gish gallop delivery of non-sequiturs. Now, [s]he’d be able to be directly aggressive because of the weight of gender stereotypes would be lifted, but even then she is so much a policy wonk that I don’t think there would be the fireworks that Bernie would produce. Calmly delivered needling suited her methodical personality perfectly, and wasn’t blocked by gender preconceptions. It was an attack I doubt Sanders could have pulled off. But he would have other options available.

  • Joe_JP

    Her general election opponents were so lame but lest we forget she also debated Obama and Sanders. And, yeah, she’s good at this politics game. It’s sort of important, even if you think politics is a devil’s game.

    • Matt McIrvin

      She debated Obama and arguably won, or at least held her own.

      • ThrottleJockey

        Oh, I have yet to see anyone beat her in debating. I think she was much better than Obama at debating. I thought her 1st debate against Trump was the weakest I’d ever seen her–still better than him, but not blowing him away–but I never had any doubt that she’d eventually wipe the floor with him.

        • Brad Nailer

          “My Social Security payroll contribution will go up as will Donald’s, assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it . . .”

          And Trump thought he was the only one taking the gloves off.

    • Pat

      I really hope she catches a big wave come November. They can do a hell of a lot in two years with two majorities and the White House.

      • ThrottleJockey

        I’ve said it since the Spring. This will be a wave election. Its impossible for Trump to have unleashed as much raw, untethered emotion as he has and have it not be a wave election. I’ve never seen people this pissed. He’s gone too far. Even on FB my Trump ‘friends’ are all keeping that shit silent. They know that backing Trump is a dumb choice.

  • Denverite

    Hillary Clinton wants 11-month-old babies ripped out of women’s stomachs!1!1!1!

    To be Scrupulously Fair, a woman with a gestating baby that’s seven weeks overdue really should have had a C-Section about five weeks ago. It’s kind of crude to call that procedure “ripping the baby out,” but there is an incision and that the baby is physically pulled out, so I guess “ripping” isn’t exactly wrong.

    • Joe_JP

      wouldn’t the baby burst out ala Alien?

      • ploeg

        If the baby was in there for too long you would likely need an eviction order.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Exactly the video I was hoping for!

          Goin’ to the zoo, zoo, zoo…

    • wjts

      It is in fact the canonical formulation: “Despair thy charm,/And let the angel whom thou still hast served/Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother’s womb/Untimely ripped”.

      • i8kraft

        Beat me to it.

      • q-tip

        Second time Trump’s quoted Shakespeare (“slings & arrows”). BUT THE STUPID LIBS SAY HE DOESN’T READ.

        • tsam

          Well, in defense of the stupid libs, there is no sane way to take a penis reference out of the slings and arrows soliloquy.

        • Joe_JP

          And, the “nasty woman” reference is clearly Edith Wharton.

          “For always getting what she wants in the long run, commend me to a nasty woman”

    • Jay B

      How would an 11 month old find its way into a woman’s stomach? Kids will get ANYWHERE.

      Also, people should read this.

  • NonyNony

    This is why I think that it didn’t matter who the GOP ran against her, Clinton was going to win it. She’s damn good and none of them had the talent to go up against her and win. It would have been closer with a more bog-standard politician, or even with a not-as-obviously-hideous-demagoguge along the lines of Ted Cruz because they would have been able to pull in Republican leaners in a way that Trump can’t. But she still would have twisted the knife and taken them out and had a maybe slightly closer victory than Obama had over Romney. Because she’s one of a handful of highly talented politicians that the Democratic party has produced in the late 20th century, and the GOP bench is not stacking up to that small handful of really good pols (Obama is better than her at this stuff, but I’m not so sure that Bill actually is. And I’m not sure who I’d rank between her and Obama either).

    • Matt McIrvin

      Obama and Bill are far better stump speakers than Hillary Clinton. But Hillary is the one you want in an oppositional situation: a debate or a hearing in front of a hostile Congressional committee.

      • EliHawk

        Bill’s actually pretty good at the debate thing. For one thing, he’s the only incumbent President in the history of these to not fuck up the first reelection debate.

      • Pat

        Hillary did contract negotiation for years while Bill was governor. She’s a solid, solid lawyer.

    • Srsly Dad Y

      I agree that this outcome was practically preordained the whole time, although I don’t hold HRC’s skills in quite so high regard (and I still think that, policies aside, the Big Dog is the master Democratic electoral politician of the last half century because the demographic winds were blowing against him rather than for him).

      BTW like a lot of people, including front-pagers here, the big predictive mistake I made this cycle was failing to believe Trump’s early poll numbers. In the big picture, while the campaign has been harrowing, you would have been right if you’d just gone chalk and predicted that the candidate from each party who was leading in the polls last December would win the nomination and the Democrat would win the general (thanks to demographics and turnout) unless the economy went into a recession. We have the impression now that the candidates’ personalities and strategies mattered a lot, but I’m not sure that’s true except for the margin of HRC’s victory.

      • LosGatosCA

        The big mistake was really the incompetence of the 17 Republican clowns and Priebus.

        Just a scan of Trump quotes on Howard Stern which were readily available and, sorry, the internet pictures of Melania, could easily have done Trump in. They didn’t even need the Billy Bush tape to kill him in the primaries.

        A few push polls in early states asking questions on those topics would have been more than sufficient for the job.

        Karl Rove has conclusively proven he’s no Lee ‘Jumper cables’ Atwater.

        My mistake was overestimating the ruthlessness and competence of the Republican establishment.

        • Pat

          You have to wonder if the 17 clowns were afraid that they would have gotten push-back from Ailes for tarnishing one of Fox’s money-makers’ brands if they went that route. Getting cut off the conservative entertainment teat costs a man a lot of money.

          The clown who did in Trump in the primary would have been sacrificing his political career. And one thing we know about those guys: they aren’t the least bit altruistic.

          That’s without even considering whether the information would have made it into the conservative information bubble, which is not a sure thing.

        • DAS

          Which of the clowns could have pulled in a majority of Republican primary voters? Any candidate that could be sold as somehow a moderate would not have been able to pull away the more unhinged members of the GOP base: they would have voted for Trump (or Cruz or maybe Carson) even if Trump killed a baby on live television. OTOH, Trump gets GOP voters who would say “he made be a nutcase, but at least we can control him, and he’ll be so lazy about actual governance, we’ll get to run the show” and such voters whereas Cruz wouldn’t get such voters.

          • so-in-so

            That’s what Romney’s etch-a-sketch was for, if his manager hadn’t actually blabbed it on the Sunday TV show. Be a nutcase for the base in the primary, then roll moderate once the general starts (winking back at the base from time to time so they know you are still really into them).

            This is also what the base has gotten tired of, and maybe got wise to after that widely publicized remark.

        • The big mistake was really the incompetence of the 17 Republican clowns and Priebus.

          I used to think this, but I really don’t know. It seems more and more clear that the GOP voter base was just thirsting for someone who would throw away the dog whistle and straight-up tell them “YOU’RE RIGHT TO BE SCARED OF THE BROWN PEOPLE AND I’M GONNA PROTECT YOU FROM THEM.”

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            We can argue what was the big mistake, but the big problem is the Republican primary voters are mostly RWNJs now, making it hard for anyone who is sane to get nominated.

        • TroubleMaker13

          The big mistake was really the incompetence of the 17 Republican clowns and Priebus.

          Just a scan of Trump quotes on Howard Stern which were readily available and, sorry, the internet pictures of Melania, could easily have done Trump in. They didn’t even need the Billy Bush tape to kill him in the primaries.

          Not sure I agree. Because there were so many candidates, the votes were spread thin and Trump only needed to get a relatively small sliver of primary voters to win. It just needed to be a bigger sliver than any of the other 17. His base of racists, misogynists, and nihilistic assholes (to whom the Howard Stern quips and naked Melania photos are a plus) would probably have been enough. Even now, he’s still polling in the high 30’s/low 40’s among general election voters.

          • Captain Oblivious

            The GOP can’t field good candidates because they have shitty, indefensible policies. They’ve gotten away with McCain and Romney because those men had probably undeserved stature of the sort that would appeal to moderate low-information voters who don’t pay a lot of attention to policy. But that well has run dry.

            Trump would have beaten even a much smaller field in the GOP primaries because he was willing to say the quiet parts out loud and they weren’t. There’s really nothing more to it than that. The base shrunk to a core of bigots, ignoramuses, and nutjobs long before Trump came along.

            The idea that oppo research would have sunk Trump in the primaries is baseless. Treating women as property, spewing racists bullshit, and dodging taxes are features, not bugs, as far as the base is concerned.

    • kped

      I think this election is shaping up to be Obama-McCain, and had it been Hillary vs any of the other Republicans, I think it’d be closer to Obama-Romney, or even Bush-Kerry, but I do think Clinton would still be winning.

      The electoral map would favor her in all matchups. You might trade off Florida vs Rubio, or Ohio vs Kaisch, but they share many of Trumps vulnerabilities in terms of record, and they are prepared enough that they’d have picked at these. It wouldn’t have been as easy as this, and in some cases, depending on how the media reacted to events, it could even be a tossup, but I’m pretty confident she’d be winning against any of that 17 person field.

      But man am I glad it’s against this buffoon, so you don’t even have to worry.

      • Colin Day

        You might trade off Florida vs Rubio

        If Rubio couldn’t defeat Trump, what makes you believe he’d beat Hillary? The only state Rubio took in the primary was Minnesota.

        • kped

          You are probably right there, I was just listing the two that could maybe in a general election flip, but I have doubts about Rubio holding his own there.

          • Captain Oblivious

            I’ll just keep cutting-and-pasting this:

            Florida is a blue state with a dysfunctional and corrupt Democratic party.

        • ThrottleJockey

          For the same reason that just because Trump cakewalked over his competition in the Primary, didn’t mean he was going to do that in the General. The General & the Primary, they’re 2 different things.

          I think Rubio or Kasich would beat Hill in the General. Her negatives are too high to win except against someone with even higher negatives than her.

          • Colin Day

            Rubio may be more likable than Clinton, but she would crush him. Kasich’s negative were initially lower, but aside from Ohio, could he really have taken a state that Trump would have lost and Obama won in 2012?

    • ThrottleJockey

      Based on her second-to-only-one historically high negatives, I’m skeptical. Enthusiasm for Hill among Dems is only slightly higher than enthusiasm among Reps for Trump (83 to 79), and Hill’s number is a solid 10 points lower than Obama’s number in 2012. [ http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/enthusiasm-donald-trump-fades-partisanship-close-poll/story?id=42815332 ]

      She *maybe, might* have been able to beat Jeb. She probably could’ve beaten Cruz. But against Kasich? Or Rubio? I’m highly doubtful. The Dems got lucky with the Trump pick. We owe one to the GOP base ;-)

      • Lester Freamon’s Tweedy Impertinence

        So, if (don’t want to get cocky) she wins the election are you going to keep referring to her as “Hill”? Because that shit is really over-familiar and disrespectful and it’s going be tiresome if I have to read and be annoyed by it for four years minimum.

        • ThrottleJockey

          “Over familiar”? That’s an odd criticism. Am I supposed to kiss her ring, or bow in reverence to her? Keep a picture of her above the door of the house? Or face toward Chappaqua and pray 5 times a day? If so, I can do those things. I’m from the Midwest though and we tend to be pretty informal. Stop calling her Hill is pretty unlikely.

          • The Dark God of Time

            Yeah, using her complete name would be much too formal and much more effort than it’s worth.

            Your hatred is ill-disguised. She really does freak you out, doesn’t she?

          • It makes some difference that she’s female.

            It’s a bit like calling Obama “Barry”. I generally use “Hillary”, “Clinton”, or “HRC”. I would use “Clinton” all the time, but it’s a bit ambiguous with Bill in the mix. But when I do, I try to be uniform, e.g., if “Hillary” then “Bernie”.

            Otherwise, it’s really easy to have implicit biases do their work.

            “Hill” is very odd and idiosyncratic so it runs the risk, regardless of intent, of being sexist. This is one of the times when it’s better to go a bit overboard in the other direction.

            • The Dark God of Time

              It’s pretty clear that TJs’ inability to assimilate the truth about Hillary and his disrespect for her puts paid to his lie about being a progressive. He’s about as progressive as Barney Rubble.

  • Hillary has been dealing with men like Trump her whole political life. Trump has likely never been forced to debate a woman as intelligent as Clinton. And it showed.

    • LosGatosCA

      Hillary has been dealing with men like Trump her whole political life. Trump has likely never been forced to debate a woman anyone as intelligent as Clinton. And it showed.

      • Pat

        Doesn’t Trump claim that he never hires anyone smarter than himself? That shows, too.

        • (((Hogan)))

          I’m pretty sure Ivanka is smarter than Trump, which includes being smart enough never to let him know that.

    • PhoenixRising

      Trump has likely never been forced to debate a woman as intelligent as Clinton

      he wasn’t allowed to hit or cut out of his will. And it showed in every tantrum he pitched.

  • wjts

    I mentioned it in the other thread, but watching Clinton debate Trump was like watching Kyuzu fight the screaming over-confident ronin.

    • demit

      That one samurai watching the fight is a dead ringer for Ben Carson.

    • Pete

      I don’t see the screaming Ronin was over-confident. To me he seems, arrogant, prickly and kinda scared. Makes the comparison even better.

  • She’s run an impressive campaign all around. And one thing that’s really made an impression on me is how much she’s learned since 2008. This is a tight ship, with no Mark Penn’s anywhere to be found. She’s put together a really great team and she’s been in control of the tempo and narrative the entire time. And as Klein observes she knows just when and how to get out of her own way while giving her enemy room and rope enough to hang himself.It gives me hope that she’s learned other lessons as well (in re foreign policy missteps).

    Has Farley done a post I might have missed on how Clinton got inside Trump’s OODA loop?

    • nolo

      Clinton learns from her mistakes and moves on quickly. That’s an excellent quality for a leader to have. Minor example: People made fun of the awkward, “Trumped-up trickle-down” line from the first debate and we haven’t heard it since.

      Maybe Sanderistas would view this as Clinton being too calculating and inauthentically changing her behavior to match polling. I view it as flexibility about the small stuff in pursuit of larger goals.

      • Dilan Esper

        Clinton learns from her mistakes and moves on quickly.

        This is very true about some kinds of mistakes, but not others.

        She has never learned the lessons from her Iraq vote. In 2008, even though it was clear the war was a clusterfuck, she hadn’t even learned that she had to admit it was a mistake, and it killed her against Obama.

        But even now, she hasn’t learned the policy implications of the issue– she’s still calling for endless US involvement in the Middle East, regime change, declaring allies and enemies among the warring factions, etc.

        • ThrottleJockey

          I’m not sure its true about most stuff. She continues to play hide the ball with WikiLeaks. Yes, we know the Russians hacked Podesta, but people still want answers.

          And, post-NAFTA how the fuck can she still favor Open Borders and Open Trade? What fucking planet is she living on?

        • Dave W.

          There’s a difference between “Clinton hasn’t learned from this mistake” and “Clinton hasn’t learned my preferred lesson from this mistake.” It’s possible for her to disagree with you about what the nature of the mistake was.

          • Dilan Esper

            I haven’t heard anything SPECIFIC from her that shows she thinks it was a mistake at all.

            She mouths the words “it was a mistake”, but has NEVER articulated any change in her thinking about military policy whatsoever as a result of her mistake.

            • Brien Jackson

              For context, Dilan thinks the U.S. should be backing Assad full stop.

            • PhoenixRising

              …which is another way of saying that she agrees with you that writing a blank check and handing it to Dim Son and his handlers was an error, but she still doesn’t seem to understand that you’re correct about the role of US military power in the post-USSR era.

              Dilan, pro tip: it’s gonna be a long 4 years if you insist that the woman who has earned the right to decide what the answer to that question is ‘fails to learn from her mistakes’…instead of bravely facing the reality that Hillary Clinton knows more than you do and has drawn conclusions you don’t agree with.

              • The Dark God of Time

                I'm a 12th-level intelligence. I don't make mistakes.

  • mpavilion

    I got the impression that she improv’d the line which got under Trump’s skin so much that he made the “Nasty woman!” comment — something about how even Trump would be contributing more to Social Security, “unless he figures out a way to get around it” — which is so awesome.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Great line, predictable reaction. He also got her to again effectively admit that he doesn’t pay federal income taxes.

      • q-tip

        He also got her to again effectively admit that he doesn’t pay federal income taxes.

        Flip it and reverse it, Lemieux.

        • Vance Maverick

          Him also got she to admit…?

  • sharculese

    I had a knock-down drag-out argument back in April with one of my roommates, who insisted the nominee had to be Bernie because Hillary was so tarnished that Trump would just rip her to shreds in the debates.

    You know what I said would happen: this, exactly this. Hillary Clinton is an expert at getting under the skin of a dude like Donald Trump. I knew she would make him look insane, and I knew it would destroy him.

    • wjts

      I think Sanders would have done pretty well in a debate against Trump, but I don’t think he would have been able to lay out the rakes nearly so effectively.

      • sam

        only a woman could get Trump’s goat this effectively. Because his fragile ego simply cannot stand losing to a woman.

        • wjts

          Yeah, that’s definitely part of it. But I also doubt Sanders would have had the political nous to set up something like the Alicia Machado line.

        • JMP

          As a hardcore racist, I think a black or brown man also could have goaded his ego badly – as Obama’s mockery of him did, leading to his decision to run. But certainly no white man would have.

          • ThrottleJockey

            I still think Hill would have an advantage over Sanders, or even Obama facing Trump. He might fear minorities, but he loathes women.

          • Bruce B.

            But then, it appears Trump doesn’t think of Jewish people as all that white.

            Also, it seems virtually certain at this point that Trump would have gone for cuck attacks on Sanders, and Sanders hasn’t had the personal history to prepare for those.

          • Philip

            All the antisemitism that’s been thrown around this election would’ve been brought to bear against Sanders, and any Democrat with half a brain could figure out how to win that.

            • Barry_D

              I disagree. Remember that the Trump campaign has raised the level of antisemitism, and has only occasionally been called on it.

              I honest believe that when the GOP fully embraces something, that gets mainstreamed, and the ‘liberal’ MSM will tread lightly. In the case of Sanders, they’d have gone full Froggy, and the press would have accepted it.

      • veleda_k

        I think one of Sanders’s biggest problems in a debate wouldn’t have been due to any particular flaw of his. While Sanders is not a hate filled shit spewer, he and Trump both fall into the loose “angry, ranting guy” category. Unlike Clinton, who always kept her cool, Trump versus Sanders would have turned into a competition of who could shout the loudest. And Trump will always shout louder.

        • wjts

          I don’t think it would have turned into a ranting match, exactly, but it’s probably true that Trump would have been able to needle Sanders more effectively than he did Clinton.

          • veleda_k

            Yeah, I don’t think it would have been a literal shouting match. (Sanders has more control than that.) But Sanders’s passionate, angry rhetoric wouldn’t have been such an effective contrast to Trump the way Clinton’s calm was. Trump can out bluster anyone. Clinton knew to take the opposite tack. That would have been much harder for Sanders. It would have been a total reversal of style.

            • witlesschum

              It definitely would have been a different debate. I’d like to think Sanders could out bluster Trump by calling him a thief who doesn’t know anything, because duh. But in that alternate universe we probably see some kind of centrist independent who the media would have let on stage.

              Imagine Sanders, Trump and Michael Bloomberg all yelling at each other in various sorts of New Yawk accents.

              • Chester Allman

                Imagine Sanders, Trump and Michael Bloomberg all yelling at each other in various sorts of New Yawk accents.

                That would actually be great entertainment, though. They’d have to hold the debate over breakfast at a diner in Queens. Maybe allow for occasional interjections by the waitress and other patrons.

                • so-in-so

                  Town hall format!

                • (((Hogan)))

                  You call this toast?! It’s not even beige! Take it back! And bring me some real maple syrup, not this crap!

          • nemdam

            This. I think Trump would quite easily get under Sanders skin by talking about how he’s a communist thief who hates money, hates success, hates America and wants government to take everything and socially re-engineer our lives. Since Sanders always doubles down on his ideology, I could easily see him always being on the defensive. And no, saying Trump is greedy and Wall Street is evil would not be an effective counter. Also, given how irritated Sanders was whenever Clinton would attack him, I have little doubt that Trump would get under his skin not unlike how he did to Jeb!, Lyin’ Ted, or Little Marco. And when Trump can get under someone’s skin, watch out.

          • ThrottleJockey

            I’m disappointed that Sanders didn’t take Trump’s offer to debate one another back during the late primaries. That would’ve been Must Watch TV.

    • so-in-so

      What does the roommate say now?

      • sharculese

        He’s studiously ignoring the election, because part of it is that he just hates Hillary Clinton, and assumed there were enough people like him to make the election unwinnable.

        • D.N. Nation

          Where’s his regular Jacobin column?

          • nemdam

            Nah, he’s better than that. He’s writing for the Intercept.

            • ThrottleJockey

              Beats Salon.

    • Gregor Sansa

      I have to admit, I was more confident about Bernie than Hillary. Not because I thought she’d collapse, but just that the tightrope she had to walk was narrower, and I thought that wouldn’t let her get in the tough hits.

      But now, I can’t imagine how Bernie could have done this better. He’d still be winning, and he might even have a better chance in places like Indiana or Missouri or Kansas. But the fact that I can even mention Kansas with a straight face means that Hillary is killing it. And she’s doing it as a progressive. My hat is off.

      Even on the no-fly zone…. I mean, when Obama backed off of that, I thought he made the right choice, and I counted it as a point for him and against Clinton. But Syria really could not be worse right now, and a counterfactual where there have been 20% Syrian deaths, but the US relationship with Russia and/or Turkey is significantly worse, and maybe a US plane or two have been shot down or something… living in that world, I’d blame Obama for all the bad, but honestly that world would be better than the one we have.

      So on the “Hillary Clinton war crimes” side of the ledger, we’re left with: Iraq war vote (let’s say, 1% of responsibility for 1.5 million deaths; that’s 15K); Honduras mishandled (let’s say that if she’d done amazingly well the murder rate would have risen by only half what it actually did; that differential might be around 5-10K; Libya fuckup (possibly 30K); something something Israel (less than 1K so far); and… um… I’m pretty much done. So, all told, 50K. The Clinton foundation saves several times that many lives a year; in counterfactual world where Hillary never existed and Clinton foundation money had gone to Hypothetical Foundation which is 80% as effective, there are more deaths than in this one.

      • nemdam

        And don’t forget the Libya counterfactual where if we don’t intervene, Gadaffi is killing civilians on his own. So less than 30k, and it’s not inconceivable that the intervention saved lives in the end.

    • djw

      That’s….even dumber than “Clinton can’t be Trump because this year the election is about One Thing, insiders v. outsiders…” which was the variant of this nonsense I heard the most.

    • kped

      I can go through my comment history, but over here, I said there were going to be two major events that would help her win. One was the conventions, and my reason was the speakers. Even weeks before they happened we knew that it would be Bill, Biden, Warren, Sanders (maybe), and Obama (didn’t know his wife would give a barn burner of a speech, but she did, so add another), and that Trump would have…Palin maybe? Rudy? His kids? I knew that would be a brutal contrast, and it was. I didn’t know Trump would make a fool of himself debating the gold star family, but the train wreck was clear to see.

      The other was the debates. Anyone who saw Trump brag about his dick on stage should have seen this coming. Anyone who watched Hillary at the Benghazi hearings should have known how good she would be in this. Hell, she won every debate with Sanders, and he was far better at it then Trump was.

      Having said that…I don’t feel like a genius for seeing this months before it happened. I just can’t believe people thought a 70 year old could change his behavior this late in the game. Changing is freaking hard, especially when you have that ego.

    • PhoenixRising

      I knew she would make him look insane, and I knew it would destroy him.

      Look?

      • (((Hogan)))

        In fairness, he was insane long before she came along.

      • recurse

        Yes, look is the correct verb here.

        The election was never going to hinge on Trump’s sanity—there aren’t enough people paying real attention for that. It was always going to come down to appearances, and if he could keep the insanity hidden for long enough that it didn’t matter.

  • He said something really near the beginning about how “angry” Clinton was, and I kept expecting him to push on that, but he didn’t unless you count the “nasty” remark he managed to get in at the end.

    • Thrax

      He helped her out by being scattershot in his attacks on her. Sorry, no one believes that Clinton is “angry” and full of “hate,” and you’re not going to convince anyone that it’s true just by saying it. Smart politicians exploit the doubts that the voters already have; in this case, it would be about her honesty, trustworthiness, etc. But he barely touched on that in any of the debates.

      • John F

        Sorry, no one believes that Clinton is “angry” and full of “hate,”

        wingnuts do.

        As someone at 538 mentioned Trump has a habit of making references to Breitbart themes, but he doesn’t explain he simply refers to them assuming the audience knows what the reference is about. I have no doubt that a critical mass of audience members at his rallies do get such references, the general public? Not so much

        • Thrax

          wingnuts do.

          Fair enough. Should have said: low-information voters in the mushy middle, some of which Trump has to win, don’t view her that way. A lot of them don’t like her, but that’s not why.

          And you’re exactly right about the shorthand references to things only hard-core right-wing partisans understand, like “Sidney Blumenthal” as a metaphor for all the evil in the world. Whenever he did that, I sat back and said “good, there’s another completely ineffective attack.”

  • Thrax

    I was optimistic too, but she exceeded my expectations. I knew she was a good debater, but debating Trump isn’t like debating anyone else, and I wasn’t sure how she would deal with the barrage of lies and insults. Answer: fine. (I would have preferred she point the audience to nonpartisan fact-checkers rather than her own website, but on the whole I think the “that was false, check it out for yourself, now here’s my point” approach worked out.) She made the right choice in ignoring his characterizations of her–he made himself look bad; no need for her to complain about them. And as Scott says, she was pretty deft in getting under his skin and causing him to lose his composure; I definitely didn’t foresee that. (Though, as I pointed out in another thread, she missed an easy shot in this debate–when he bragged about how great his company is and how he wants to run the country the same way, she could have said “You’ll make the country declare bankruptcy four times?” That would really have pissed him off.)

    • mpavilion

      That’s funny, I was thinking the same thing this morning, about how that would have been a good line. I think she’s been very wary about interrupting him (even for a good zinger); she even apologized when she did it in the last debate (“I’m sorry to interrupt, but I have to correct that point…”). The strategy has been to make him the “interrupter,” I guess.

      • Thrax

        Hmmm. Looked at the transcript, and that was at the end of a “segment.” So perhaps you’re right–the only way to get that zinger in would have been to interrupt, and not interrupting was a strategy that worked well for her.

        TRUMP: Well, I think I did a much better job. I built a massive company, a great company, some of the greatest assets anywhere in the world, worth many, many billions of dollars. I started with a $1 million loan. I agree with that. It’s a $1 million loan. But I built a phenomenal company.

        And if we could run our country the way I’ve run my company, we would have a country that you would be so proud of. You would even be proud of it.

        [more Trump blather about ISIS]

        WALLACE: All right. We are going to get to foreign hot spots in a few moments, but the next segment is fitness to be president of the United States.

    • science_goy

      Rubio tried a similar line during one of the GOP debates, and Trump had a comeback at the ready about how he’s built huge companies and employed thousands of people, while as a politician Rubio’s never done anything substantive. Kind of like his claim that Clinton’s never accomplished anything in 30 years of public life. It might’ve been a good zinger but I don’t think it would’ve caught him off-guard.

  • Jordan

    Ya, I was one of those “Clinton is fine, sure. But she isn’t really good at this winning competitive elections thing” people.

    I was wrong.

    • sharculese

      I’ve never understood this attitude. She went up against Barack Obama, one of the greatest campaigners of the modern era, a dude who never had to fight for it, and she made him fight for it. Her skills aren’t flashy but they’re still impressive.

      • wjts

        He had a hard fight (which he lost) against Bobby Rush in the IL-01 primary back in 2000.

        • sharculese

          I view that as his JV season.

          • wjts

            Fair enough.

          • petesh

            And the Senate race was basically a pre-season warmup.

          • Jordan

            Sure, but his Senate election was also a JV one. His one great campaign was his primary against Clinton.

        • Denverite

          He had a hard fight (which he lost) against Bobby Rush in the IL-01 primary back in 2000.

          It would be pretty hard for the “Hyde Park Candidate” (read: Jewish Candidate, and yes, they really called him this back then) to beat a prominent former Black Panther in a district that at the time was about 70% African American.

      • Dilan Esper

        I’ve never understood this attitude. She went up against Barack Obama, one of the greatest campaigners of the modern era, a dude who never had to fight for it, and she made him fight for it. Her skills aren’t flashy but they’re still impressive.

        To use a horse racing analogy, it matters that she was odds-on on the tote board going into that election.

        • sharculese

          But it turned out the oddsmakers were working off faulty information.

        • So, wait….before 2008, people had a good sense of the fact that Obama was one of the greatest campaigners of the modern era?!?! What?

          Indeed, in fact it was *more* impressive that she recovered *as well as she did* in her *first* campaign against the surprise tiger Obama 2008 turned out to be. She had Mark Penn on her team, for chrissakes.

          ETA: What sharculese said.

      • Jordan

        Well, part of it is a begging the question issue. Obama was clearly very good and hired very good people. But almost any Democrat would have creamed McCain, and he maybe outperformed Romney by a bit over what would have been expected by replacement-level candidates?

        Obama’s reputation as one of the greatest campaigners ever is his beating Hillary Clinton.

    • wengler

      She’s facing a giant oompalumpa. A bog standard Republican would be winning this election.

      • Pat

        You aren’t paying much attention, are you?

      • Taylor

        …a giant oopalumpa that took down sixteen other candidates for the GOP nomination, including for example governors that took down Democratic opponents in states that should lean Democratic.

        What could be behind this unwillingness to give this female candidate her due?

        I wonder…..

      • djw

        Nah. If there actually were such a thing as “generic republican” they’d be running even, maybe, but unfortunately for the GOP, they can’t nominate an abstraction. And the actual humans they could nominate all have flaws Clinton is well positioned to exploit.

      • Aaron Morrow

        If a “bog standard Republican” can’t win more than his home state nowadays, sure.

        Cruz or Rubio? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

      • Anna in PDX

        Name one.

        • PJ

          Dole! Kemp! McCain (2000 vintage)! Chaffee! Crist! Specter! Schwarzenegger! Jeffords! You know, REAL Republicans!

        • Captain Oblivious

          Also, too, the electoral map hugely favors Team Blue. Some of those “swing states” were never really all that swingy, and they’ve gotten less swingy because of demographic trends.

          Even Texas could be blue by 2024.

          But there’s no “bog standard” Republican any more of the Romney-McCain-Bush class. They’re all nut jobs and/or grifters or personality-challenged hacks like Kasich.

          • tsam

            Even Texas could be blue by 2024.

            I will hit peak schadenfreude when the epic tantrums and crying over this happens.

            • Jordan

              I get sad when I realize Ohio may well probably be red at this time (but not that sad, Texas>Ohio in basically every way).

      • Jordan

        That is some part of it. But there is no way Clinton leads for this long by this much when a bog standard Republican should be winning this election without being very good at what she is doing.

  • Joe_JP

    Remember how people kept on saying she was a bad candidate? How she should stop making it about Trump?

    • nolo

      People underestimate Clinton all the time. And she almost always end up embarrassing them.

      • Bruce Vail

        Yes, I am often guilty of that.

        I watched all three debates pretty closely and she was the clear winner in each. Her staff of spin doctors deserves credit, too, for redefining all of the debates around The Donald’s loathsome personality.

      • tsam

        This probably works in her favor. Underestimating an opponent is dangerous.

    • John F

      Remember how people kept on saying she was a bad candidate?

      yes.

      How she should stop making it about Trump?

      no.

      • Joe_JP

        I did. I saw more than one person saying she was too focused on Trump, should do more to promote her own brand.

  • sam

    I kept saying this EXACT THING to people during the primaries – that HRC is a really good debater, and they would look at me like I had three heads and be like “well, she’s…OK” or point out that she’s never had really stiff competition…

    People remember Rick Lazio as a weakling nobody in part BECAUSE she crushed him under her shoe in the debates. not the other way around. He blew up his entire career by challenging her. That’s not just “luck”.

    She held her own in every debate against the guy we consider the greatest single orator of our current lifetime (Obama) and the inspirational guy who started a massive youth movement (Bernie). Was she perfect? no. But she DEFINITELY learns from her mistakes. She studies like no one else.

    And sure. She was lucky enough to have an opponent this time who thought he could coast on whatever his scary version of “platitudes” is.

    She was pulling the political version of Ali’s rope-a-dope across all three debates.

    • John F

      People remember Rick Lazio as a weakling

      Growing up and well into my adulthood my old Congressional District had an annoying habit of electing pretty boy empty suits for the longest time, Thomas Downey, followed by Rick Lazio. I’d met both, there was just no there, there, at all.

      Anyway, after Lazio was Steve Israel who is pretty good as Congress Critters go- but they redrew Congressional lines and suddenly my mother discovered one day that her Congress Critter was no longer Israel but the incomparably loathsome Peter King… she was/is not happy

      • sam

        Oh, he was definitely the JV replacement when Giuliani dropped out, but he was keeping within a respectable margin vote-wise until that debate. After that, it was basically game over.

    • randy khan

      I’ve been moving towards the view that Clinton actually is the perfect candidate against Trump – she’s good in adversarial contexts, she prepares really well, she’s essentially unflappable, and she’s really, really disciplined. (The latter is different from repeating talking points – it’s about focusing on your objectives, not the shiny object in front of you.)

      • Pat

        All of these reasons are why she’ll make a great president.

  • Karen24

    Funny thing. Making your entire philosophy “Government SUCKS!!” Means that your political party produces rather bad politicians. Who could have known?

    Also, Clinton really is a very good politician. I — cautiously, with as many digits crossed as my aging joints will permit — look forward to seeing what she, her husband, and especially Obama do now.

    • so-in-so

      And “Government can’t do anything right” does not produce great policy planners. I am so surprised.

    • Philip

      The post-White House Obamas are going to be incredible

  • LWA

    I’m liking Clinton more and more. I was never a hater, but was lukewarm about her in the primaries.
    But she has shown me that she really is the best possible person for the Presidency.

    Her coolness, dispassion, resolve and command ability is just what I would hope to see in someone who might preside over another 9/11, or complex foreign policy issue like Syria, or even just juggling the many domestic interest groups and issues like Social Security and immigration.

    • Bruce B.

      Agreed very strongly. I always get impatient when people want to talk about policies bloodlessly, without reference to the people who’ll implement them. Clinton is showing precisely the qualities I want in an age of frequent crises and persistent Dunning-Kruger cultists.

  • veleda_k

    I really appreciate that Vox article, as well as this post, and
    this piece by John Scalzi. Good to see Clinton really getting credit for this. I’ve become thoroughly sick of people insisting that Clinton is a horrible candidate, and only Trump’s totally spontaneous meltdowns saved her. Not only is that ignoring the realities, but, come one. Can people stop declaring that the little woman never would have succeeded if a man hadn’t made it easy for her?

    • Halloween Jack

      H.A. Goodman and Walker Bragman can’t. It’ll be 2024 and the country will be celebrating the Martians helping us reverse global warming using the burning bodies of the last ISIS diehards as a catalyst, and these two clowns will be huddled in a corner, furiously tweeting that Julian Assange is going to release some more emails, and this time…

  • King Goat

    I think Clinton did well, and I’m very happy she did, but if a QB did great passing on the Jets I wouldn’t necessarily think they’re great passers. It’s not genius to get Trump into saying foolish things, that’s his nature. Trump said all kinds of things that would be damaging in the primary debates too, it’s just that GOP partisans liked his nutty comments.

    • veleda_k

      Clinton could cure cancer with a wave of her hand and single-handedly negotiate lasting peace in the Middle East, and King Goat would just sniff and declare that not solving climate changed proved her inferiority.

      • King Goat

        Actually, I’ve always said she’s a very competent person whose efforts to make life better for people over decades is admirable.

        I was critical of her as choice of nominee because I think she had significant weaknesses as a candidate. I still do, but thank goodness the GOP made a choice of a much, much worse nominee.

        • randy khan

          As I said above, I think she may have been the perfect candidate against Trump. Better than Sanders, frankly.

          • q-tip

            Yeah, but what if the REPUBLICANS has nominated Bernie Sanders? How would she be doing THEN, huh?
            (These counterfactuals are fun to BS about, but I think it’s ridiculous to use them as EVIDENCE of Hillary’s – or Bernie’s – shortcomings.)

        • science_goy

          Think of it this way: was there anyone in the slate of GOP primary candidates who would have been a better nominee than Clinton? Anyone whose vulnerabilities she and her team couldn’t have handily leveraged, given her performance over the past 6 months?

          If anyone the GOP could have put up would be worse than her, then her success ceases to be a result of “luck,” and instead can maybe attributed to the fact that she’s really, really good at this stuff — whether or not you agree with her record or all of her policy positions (which I don’t).

        • Halloween Jack

          Democracy Hillary Clinton is the worst form of government candidate, except for all the others.

    • advocatethis

      I think it’s easy to overlook what Clinton has done in the debates because she makes it look so easy. So many times she resisted the temptation to interrupt Trump or respond to some of his outlandish comments and ideas, allowing him all the rope he needs to hang himself, while she serenely smiles. She makes it seem effortless, but it’s not. I can’t tell you how many times I shouted out responses to what he was saying and in this thread you see people commenting on how they would have interrupted or responded at various points. But she just stands there, usually showing no more emotion that resigned bemusement at what a boob she has to stand up there and tolerate, occasionally slipping a shiv to the kidneys. It’s what she did to the Benghazi committee and what she’s done to Trump in three debates. I don’t think most politicians could do it. I think the shit storm that has been directed at her for the last three decades left her uniquely prepared for this moment.

      • Pat

        I think the shit storm that has been directed at her for the last three decades left her uniquely prepared for this moment.

        I’m going to second this, and suggest we call her the Raincoat President (instead of Teflon).

  • JustRuss

    Clinton’s successful execution of this strategy has been, fittingly, the product of traits that she’s often criticized for: her caution, her overpreparation, her blandness.

    Yeah, who wants a national leader who’s cautious and overprepared? Does this idiot recall what happened in Iraq under the previous administration. And fucking “blandness”. Hey, say what you will about Hitler, Kim Jong Il and Genghis Khan, they weren’t bland.

    • sharculese

      I don’t think Ezra Klein, of all people, thinks caution and over-preparedness are bad qualities. He’s just pointing out the irony.

      • Aaron Morrow

        I think that’s Klein’s version of mocking the conventional vision of mainstream punditry, which does deserve JussRuss’s contempt.

  • Whidby

    Well, let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks quite yet.

    There’s still almost three weeks to go.

    As always elections are won by GOTV efforts.

    The Clinton campaign is (to say the least) very well organized. Go online and sign up to do what you can.

    • The Temporary Name

      Well, let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks quite yet.

      Do we all have those to suck?

    • MAJeff

      Well, let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks quite yet.

      fuck off.

    • MyNameIsZweig

      Well, let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks quite yet.

      Ooooh, a Pulp Fiction quote. So well-chosen, relevant and totally up-to-date.

      • GeoX

        …what a weird thing to complain about.

  • Lord Jesus Perm

    Good post, with one small quibble:

    This unraveling isn’t something that just happened, though. While Trump is predictably worse in a one-on-one debate than in a crowded field, he’s also no longer up against a bunch of tomato cans who have no idea how to provoke him

    I’d argue that it’s moreso that the other Republicans literally couldn’t attack Trump effectively, since they would need his supporters if he dropped out.

    When he was demonizing Muslims or attacking Mexicans, how exactly were Cruz/Bush/Rubio/etc. going to distance themselves from that without also pushing Trump’s voters away*? Hillary’s in no such position in a general election. She can effectively attack Trump because she has her own coalition to back her up.

    *There’s also, or course, the very obvious point that the other Republicans agreed with Trump on many issues, but weren’t as loud and upfront about it.

    • The Temporary Name

      When he was demonizing Muslims or attacking Mexicans, how exactly were Cruz/Bush/Rubio/etc. going to distance themselves from that without also pushing Trump’s voters away*?

      You attack the person and agree on the issues. The Trump scams are numerous and obvious and nobody touched them.

      • King Goat

        Rubio called him a con man and pointed to his scams. Pretty sure I remember Cruz did as well. It’s just GOP partisans don’t hold that against Trump, they see the conned as weak and deserving of being conned and the con man as having a strength, which they worship.

    • I disagree; there was an obvious line of attack for a savvy Republican politician. DJT let his misogynist freak flag fly in the primaries, but no one pressed this very much. Any one of his opponents could have made it an issue and done some oppo on his statements and treatment of women; it would have had the twin benefit of fighting the perception that the Republican party is anti-woman. But none of them have any interest in or credibility on this issue. Hello, guys? Maybe consider that women are more than half the electorate..?

      BUNCH OF FUCKING AMATEURS.

      • TroubleMaker13

        You’re assuming that Trump’s misogyny and treatment of women is a liability wrt his base. It’s not, it’s a feature.

        • iiii

          The established Republican position is that women are pets – beloved members of the family, to be cared for and cosseted and prevented from making independent reproductive decisions. Trump said, in front of a live mike, about as crudely as possible, that he thinks women are meat. Establishment Republicans have generally reacted with the same visceral revulsion they’d have if he suggested barbecuing Fluffy.

          If someone had come up with that tape during the primaries, it would have solidified Trump’s standing with the other women-are-meat misogynists, yes, but the women-are-pets crew would have fled, retching. It might have been enough to sink Trump.

          • veleda_k

            Very good summation.

  • Karen24

    I would do a number of moderately disreputable things for a copy of the suit she’s wearing in that picture. Also, someone needs to market a line of HIllarywear pantsuits like, yesterday.

    • N__B

      I believe they’re all standard* Ralph Lauren.

      *Albeit tailored rather than OTR.

      • Captain Oblivious

        Any store that sells genuine Ralph Lauren or any other top designer line will do alterations for little or no charge. It’s something a lot of women don’t ask for because they don’t realize it’s not just a service for men buying suits.

    • petesh

      I’ll confess to having scoured the ‘tubes for a match to the windbreaker Obama wore on the campaign trail in 2012. Found one rather like it, which I still use to break wind, so to speak.

    • PhoenixRising

      Is there a Nordstrom where you live?

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    it’s really weird how important it is for people to keep saying, “well, Hillary isn’t all that great, but” and then everything else they go on to write amounts to “she is pretty damn good at this business”

  • Solar System Wolf

    Always the tone of surprise.

  • JB2

    One of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman “Miss Piggy.” Then he called her “Miss Housekeeping,” because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name.

    Oh man, that was good, especially that absolutely perfect micro-pause before “hanging around”. She obviously knew about the dressing room stuff that would emerge a few days later, and she set it up perfectly. Just a cold-blooded assassin. Donald is still wondering what happened.

  • kped

    If Republicans want a shot at winning in 4 years, they have to do 1 thing: Clear the field. The reason Trump was able to win was he could split the vote and win with 30%. As long as they are so fragmented, with each candidate having a sugar daddy billionaire, they are doomed to repeat this mess. So…I hope they don’t read my advice!

    • Jay B

      I dunno. All of those loathsome assholes have SOME constituency in the Party, but not all. Well, except for Graham — funny, closeted, overheated war mongers are a constituency of one. But who clears the field for Kaisch? Cruz would think he could beat him. Rubio has no fire, but hung around even still. They all fantasize they can be president. And they have utterly unrealistic expectations that they DESERVE to be President. To whom would Tom Cotton say, ‘nah, you go ahead?’

      These people aren’t team players. They are zealots.

    • Unforeseen consequence of the Citizens United decision. And, as we’ve seen, every billionaire, being born on third base and convinced they hit a triple, is unable to believe that they AREN’T the smartest guy in the room…

    • Captain Oblivious

      The only chance the Republicans have in four years is either (a) HRC mishandling a 9/11-level attack on the US, or (b) Republicans killing off large numbers of female and non-white Americans.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        Or (c) – a recession.

      • veleda_k

        Well, I wouldn’t rule out (b).

    • brettvk

      I’ve wondered if this cycle’s autopsy would include creating some sort of internal controls and/or vetting system to thin out the herds and prevent the next megalomillionaire candidate. But I think something like that would be so contrary to the sentiments of the base and the lower echelons of the party. They are authoritarians, but they want to believe that everyone has an equal opportunity to become Big Daddy.

    • Colin Day

      Abolish winner-take-all-primaries?

  • RobertL

    That’s such a great photo. Lazio thinks that he’s in the driver’s seat, but Hillary’s got that little smirk and she’s thinking: “Sucker…I’ve got you right where I want you.” And he’s got no idea.

It is main inner container footer text