Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Going Negative Again

Unfortunately for Joe Biden, other Democrats, and the country, Sam Nunberg, who had informally advised Donald Trump in his first campaign but is sitting this one out, is wrong when he maintains

It’s fantastic to have the 2016 group back together, but the facts are the facts. He barely won and he has done nothing at all to grow out his support. He can’t win on nostalgia. It’s not the same race. This is not going to be about slogans or themes, it’s going to be about what you did for me and why I should reelect you based on your record,He can’t just fight the last war. It’s time to adapt or die.”

Nunberg had heard that the President is bringing back the old gang, veterans of the 2016 campaign and

The reinforcements are arriving as Trump comes to terms with the idea that he cannot run the type of campaign he had planned for years — one that looked feasible as recently as January, according to three campaign and White House officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations.

Trump had expected to run on the back of a strong economy before the pandemic crippled it. He had hoped to revive a number of culture war and “deep state” accusations while facing a Democrat from the liberal wing of the party whom he could try to paint as socialist. He wasn’t expecting the more moderate Joe Biden.

Good thinking, Einstein. Even prior to the pandemic (let alone the scenes of hundreds of thousands of people, some of them violent, in the streets) I had ridiculed the idea of Trump running for re-election as steward of a good economy. I understood that ultimately voters would understand that the economy was not as great as the mainstream media (I'm looking at you, MSNBC) was portraying it. Hillary Clinton thought voters realized in the fall of 2016 that the economy was working for them. She got her comeuppance for thinking that after eight years of President Obama, people actually were satisfied with their lot in life.

They were not when Gallup found that 37% of voters surveyed from November 1- November 6 of 2016 believed that the country was on "the right track" while 62% believed it was on the wrong track. They are not now. Rassmussen found in early October of 2019 that only 36% of respondents thought the country was headed in the "right direction" with 57% believing it was on the "wrong track." When the numbers improved to 46% positive, 50% negative in early February, it represented the high water mark during the Trump presidency.

That was the best Trump could manage and he really seemed to believe at that time that he could sell Americans on the idea that America had been made great again. But he is no happy face candidate.

The President, governing (or not) where 27% of voters give their country's direction a thumbs-up and 66% a thumbs-down, appears finally to have been shaken out of his complacency.  Donald Trump never has been about competence, optimism, or cheerfulness. He always has been about bitterness, resentment, and anger, which he channels extraordinarily well. This is what he is.

It is no longer a matter of somehow convincing Americans that God is in his heaven and all is right with the world. We know the country is in bad shape and likely to get much worse. It is a matter of who is going to be blamed for the "American carnage" Trump claimed during his inaugural address to see, but which was really a foreshadowing.

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