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Hillary and Trump
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Hillary and Trump

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

It would seem that the New Hampshire primary might be a psychiatrist’s field day in considering why the Clinton and Trump campaign are going where they appear headed and how the respective candidates are responding to these directional changes. The only unifying factor between the two campaigns is the fact that both of the campaigns are in trouble. The major difference between them is a sense that Hillary understands what is developing and admits—at least to herself—that she needs to figure out how to stop the bleeding. On the other hand, part of Trump’s DNA is never to admit that he could even be in trouble, in need, or could lose.

No one denies that Hillary will be in the race until the end. She has the resources, the team, and the ground game to stay the course. While she still remains the odds on favorite, Sanders’ performance has been remarkable. He has gotten money, following, and support which could well sustain him even beyond March 1, Super Tuesday. If the two are still very close at that point the delegate counting will start to get very serious.

To try to avoid having to carry the fight with Sanders to the finish, Hillary must somehow change her style and approach. She is being rejected even by many Democrats because they resent her style, her perceived arrogance, her sense of entitlement, her lack of humility or humor and her inability to change. Hillary may be very angry that the American people may be prepared to deny her the right be President–for the second time–; but that is precisely what many American people find especially disconcerting about her. They want her to earn the nomination not wanted to be crowned.  

As for Trump, if his margin of victory—as predicted in the polls—were to plummet or even lose in New Hampshire as happened to his poll lead in Iowa, Trump may be back to Atlantic City and playing golf sooner than he ever expected. With the Rubio roll having begun, some of the other so-called establishment aspirants are now shooting for Cruz’s head, figuring that Trump is very much on the road to self-destruction. For them to fight back against Rubio they need to besmirch Cruz.

Trump’s New Hampshire ground game—like his team in Iowa–is also reported to be lacking. Rubio followers streamed in from Florida to try to match the Cruz effort. Meanwhile, Trump just blasts away believing that he knows better—as he has always suggested about everything else in the world. His problem is that Joe Six-Pack loves what he says, is delighted that Trump is so honest, confirms all their biases, but is also maybe beginning to accept the fact that running for President is not a reality show. It is not a joke and a string of ugly one-liners. The problem will be whether they will now run to Cruz, Rubio, or their televisions and just stay home. Aside from this group, it seems that the GOP debate stage will have considerably fewer participants after Tuesday night; after which it could get really ugly.     

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