Wise Advice To Hillary Clinton From A Wise Liberal

Franch Rich is the executive producer of HBO’s “Veep” and writer-at-large for New York Magazine. He’s a smart guy. He asks and answers an important question:

So what is the future of the GOP? Win or lose this fall, it will remain, as it has been for some time, the last outpost of old white America. Riding in on a wave of anti-Obama rage, Trump has made explicit the racial animus that was implicit in the Nixon-Reagan-Bush years. He not only wants to be the new Nixon, but the new Spiro Agnew, Jesse Helms, Lee Atwater, Pat Buchanan, and all of the rest combined. Even if he goes down, his followers are going to be creating havoc for years to come, doing their best to make real the horrific Armageddon-tinged portrait of the nation that Trump drew in his dark and corrosive acceptance speech. The white dead-enders are doomed by demography in the end, but not at the pace one might wish.

Amen to that. The end of that old GOP can’t come soon enough for me.

Rich also made a great point about how television journalists are covering Trump, followed by some advice for Hillary Clinton, advice I am afraid she won’t follow:

Watching [Trump’s acceptance speech], I was struck once again by how ill-prepared the so-called liberal press is to deal with the Trump phenomenon. Commentators on CNN and MSNBC noted some of the downsides of his speech but gave high marks for style (“very forceful,” according to Wolf Blitzer; “rousing” at its conclusion, according to Chris Matthews) as if it were just another business-as-usual political speech to be graded (on a curve). There was lots of in-the-moment fact-checking by our top news organizations — no mean task given the dense web of deceit Trump was spinning — but the appeal of the Trump phenomenon has nothing to do with facts and will not be countered by facts. Trump is about anger, resentment, hatred — stark emotions that override rationality and are immune to its niceties. Trump is utterly ignorant about any issue you can name, and always has been, but those who will vote for him don’t care. He is their voice — of rage — as he reiterated constantly from the podium.

No, the only defense we have against Trump is his opponent. She must make sure that the other America, the America that is appalled, victimized, and scandalized by Trump and what he represents, goes to the polls to vote “no.” Is Hillary Clinton up to it? I don’t know. Yes, she could win by a landslide. But she could well lose, and to believe otherwise is to live in the cocoon of, yes, the liberal media — the cocoon that gave us all of those poll analysts who said Trump could never win the nomination and who kept saying it was only a matter of time before the Republicans’ “best candidate” (that would be Marco Rubio, remember him?) would emerge from the pack to save the day.

A chilling article by Aaron Blake of the Washington Post tracking Clinton’s downward trajectory as the convention convened makes it clear how close this is going to be. While 49 percent of registered voters “strongly dislike” Trump, 47 percent feel the same way about Clinton — in other words, a statistical dead heat of detestation. She has got to rise above that — with a vice-presidential pick, to be announced imminently, who will rally voters rather than bore them, with a convention that isn’t a smug and relentlessly rational legal brief but a fierce rallying cry that also speaks to the emotions, if higher emotions than Trump’s. This is a war in which the country hangs in the balance. You don’t win wars with civility and bullet points.

A lot is riding on the Democratic convention next week and the campaign to follow. Let’s hope the convention is more than a wonk-fest. Let’s hope it is Rich’s “fierce rallying cry” that will make clear there is no one to stop Donald Trump but Hillary Clinton, her running mate, and voters set on fire with passion, if not for Clinton herself, at least for a Trump-less future.

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  1. middlechildwoman

     /  July 22, 2016

    So true. I abhor how MSNBC covered the RNC. There should have been more calling-out of the hatred and lies by a lunatic candidate and the sheep following him. Thank you, EC, for your research, especially the TV viewing, and your well-crafted blogs. I find that I have lost any tolerance for the Republican Party. I believe that Hillary and her staff will bring the optimism and hope that this still-great country needs.


  2. The appearance of rage is a component of desperation as the traditional strength of the right continues its permanent decline. Rage itself isn’t sustainable: it escalates and then it breaks, otherwise Republicans would have won every election, or the War on Christmas would go on all year round. Rage ends either in avoidance or stupid action as it completely blinds people to rational solutions.

    Rage is always misdirected and an ever wider variety of targets are required to maintain a rationalization for it, but rage is never pointed at its true source. By focusing on the targets they point at you will constantly be chasing shifting sand dunes.

    Consider you are driving on the highway and someone is tailgating you. You tap your brakes to get their attention. A fountain of rage emerges but that rage is not directed at the real cause. What is the real cause?

    Rage is expressed through pulling into the parking lot of Walmart and doing donuts, shouting, or punching your fist through a wall. It’s not expressed in the voting booth. More often than not people choose to direct their focus away from the source of their rage to avoid the costs associated with being very stupid. If their rage is so intense, they are not likely to vote at all because simply the idea of voting causes their hands to tremble.

    Republicans collectively are enraged by their own failures, their own incompetence or rather the emptiness of their phony successes, as bankrupt states struggle to cut taxes when there is nothing left to cut and struggle against abortion when it’s already nigh impossible to obtain.

    The average person is oblivious to what the government is actually capable of doing. It took decades for people to realize that nothing was being done about abortion, and it took decades for people to realize that everything had been done about abortion. It took even longer for people to realize that their livelihood was destroyed by tax cuts for the rich and that’s far closer to home and more widespread than abortion and you can still enrage people with a no context comment about government inefficiency. So, as an enraged person you feel that cutting funding for services you depend on will somehow teach “the government” a lesson? That’s an example of rage-induced stupidity. But how is that moment surviving into the voting booth? It’s not.

    In a way this refutes the idea that progress has to be slow. It’s not a main refutation, it’s sort of self-refuting, but you can definitely see that the jump from progress to government inefficiency is a complex argument not possible by anyone trapped in a fit of rage.

    Instead of that fit-of-rage moment, politicians set their hate on the candidates themselves. When you go into that voting booth, you hate that candidate, that asshole, that feeling doesn’t go away. That’s why nominating Clinton was so unfathomably stupid.


  3. ansonburlingame

     /  July 23, 2016

    Well Duane, welcome back into the fray. I had not realized you were blogging again until someone told me such a day or so ago. As you know, I too had stopped my own blog and have yet to resume it. But now that you are back, I will check in from time to time simply to try to counter some of the more far fetched liberal views herein.

    Not only did I stop blogging; I also stopped all public writing, particularly in the Globe for the last seven months. I simply needed to take a break from public politics. It has been depressing, to say the least both locally and nationally. But most important, given the state of affairs, locally (don’t let me get started again on local public education) and in the presidential race, I found that I have few if any new thoughts to resolve many or our extraordinarily difficult problems. The only thing about which I am certain is that neither the Democratic Party nor the GOP come anywhere close to convincing me they (either one) have much to say at all.

    I did write one Globe column recently (and caught hell from my wife) in which I stated that for now I can vote for neither Clinton nor Trump. I also stated that if I was still on active duty as a naval officer I would seriously consider resigning my commission if either becomes the next Commander in Chief. But unlike Justice Ginsberg, I will not consider moving to another country. Too old and not enough money to do so!!

    To me, still claiming to be an independent conservative, there is no conceivable way for Trump to win the Presidential election. He will receive, at best about 40% of the national vote (but about 60% in Jasper County) and that will be from angry white men of various persuasions. Trump nationally will be the Claude Akin of recent past in the Missouri Senatorial race, a disgrace to any thinking conservatives.

    So fire at will herein against Trump and I will not rise in his defense. What I will try to contribute is my own conservative critique of some of the positions espoused by progressives, policy issues that will continue to blow up in the face of America. You and most of your readers will not like what I write herein, but someone has to try to state, constructively if possible, opposing views on policies, not personalities.

    Bottom line to me at least is somehow America must slow the progressive march towards more and more Socialism. As you and your readers get mad when I post comments keep in mind one thing. Ask yourselves how in the hell any country can find a way to pay for all the things you call for from the federal government.

    Having said that, I challenge anyone to give me a ballpark figure of what the national debt will be after just four years of Hillary at the Helm. My own answer to that question is about $25 Trillion, come January of 2021. Given our current financial situation of about $19 Trillion in such debt, that figure is about $5 Trillion too high. As well if “you” win back both the House and Senate, which might just happen, I suspect a top new tax rate to be about 70% with little or no reduction in taxes for lower or middle income Americans.

    I look forward to renewing our “combat” herein. But remember, politics aside, I respect your continuing efforts to make us just like Europe, so to speak!! A little over 2 centuries ago, America was begun in rejection of things European. Now we seem like we want to emulate them!



    • Welcome back, Anson. I know what you mean about needing a break. I stopped writing for many months for the same reason. Trump, though, made me get back to it. Later on I will comment further on what you have said here. I am leaving town for the weekend and don’t have time to address the points you made. But, again, welcome back to the debate!



    • Anson,

      Glad to see you’re back. You might think of setting up a new blog so we can have some more back and forth.

      Anyway, here you speculated what the debt might look like under Trump and Clinton. I asked that same question some time ago and found an answer in the WSJ, not exactly a liberal rag. Looks like Trump would raise the debt by an estimated $11.5 trillion over the next 10 years, while Hillary would pile up a modest $1.25 trillion.

      Here’s the link if you want more: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2016/06/26/study-sees-debt-jumping-under-trump-staying-steady-under-clinton/

      Be glad to discuss that with you any time, or anything else for that matter, now that you’re available.



      • Herb,

        To butt in here, I am amazed at how none of that matters. Not even to WSJ editorialists anymore! Trump has no coherent economic policy, no understanding of economics, no knowledge of how the WTO works, etc. But none of it matters. He is a cult figure. And right-wingers, like many of those who write editorials for the WSJ, are hoping that he is so ignorant they can mold him into a supply-sider, should Americans be stupid enough to put him in office. That’s really what is going on with those establishment folks on the right who aren’t openly–and patriotically–hostile to him.



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