More of the Same
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
If the 2016 presidential election campaign had a candidate that the public liked, if would be no contest. Fortunately for Hillary, Trumps negatives are so overwhelming that even his new team is unlikely to be able to repair the damage; assuming he even let them. For her part Hillary—in those areas which she can control—seems to continue to make unnecessary mistakes which persist in creating negatives for her electability.
Clinton cannot control WikiLeaks and whether there will or will not be any more releases flowing out, but it should have been reasonable that 80 days before Election Day there would not still be more emails being “discovered” with potential negative impact on her candidacy. Her actions are somewhat similar to Richard Nixon who believed in the Watergate days that he also was invincible.
Hillary continues to deliver strong substantive presentations but she is not meeting the public at all but staged rallies, much like Trump. The press are reportedly scrambling for greater access but she is determined to keep her profile low and more focused. Let Trump continue to make mistakes and let her campaign and her surrogates continue to lead the counter attack.
Trump may be using more teleprompter speeches but he still goes off message and now is enmeshed in trying to extricate himself from impossible contradictions of his previous ravings, a switch which only his true believers can accept. It would appear based on a deeper analysis of polls that the damage that Trump did to so many segments of the Republican base may well be irretrievable to the Republican Party prior to November 8.
The Trump campaign also continues to do baffling things which can only continue to alienate traditional Republican voters. It is a mystery why the Trump campaign would want to be seen campaigning with the leader of the right-wing, neo-fascist, United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader, Nigel Farage. Trump already has the anti-immigrant vote, Farge’s pro-Brexit support does not resonate well with many of the traditional GOP. Bringing Farge to Mississippi—where Trump is speaking to a white audience in the Deep South—does not expand his campaign’s support in any way.
Between now and the first debate on Monday, September 26, little is likely to change. Barring a dramatic international event or a terrorist attack neither candidate is likely to change strategies. Hillary’s seems in place and Trump’s is still evolving. Assuming the polls do not jump dramatically over the next few weeks, it is likely to be more of the same. With only three weeks after Labor Day until the debate, the American public will only be treated to more ads and the same rhythms.