The Other McCain

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Hillary Is ‘Freakishly Unpopular,’ @MattYglesias Painfully Voxplains

Posted on | September 15, 2016 | 1 Comment

Harvard-educated liberal genius Matthew Yglesias.

That people don’t like Hillary Clinton is hardly news to anyone who has paid attention to American politics since 1992, but among the Manhattan-based, Ivy League-educated liberal elite, the well-known problem of Hillary’s unpopularity was something they hoped could be changed by such P.R. strategies as having her dance with Ellen DeGeneres. The Clinton machine was able to steamroller past Bernie Sanders in the Democrat primaries, and when the Republicans nominated Donald Trump, all the “experts” believed that Trump’s deficiencies as a candidate would render irrelevant whatever remained of Hillary’s unpopularity.

 

Alas, no. The most recent polls show a clear trend toward Trump who, in the span of five weeks, has gained more than 4 points in the Real Clear Politics average of national polls (from 39.9% on Aug. 9 to 44% as of today), while Hillary has lost 2.6 points in barely three weeks, falling from 48.4% on Aug. 27 to 45.8% as of today. That was before the release of the latest Fox News poll, which has Trump leading Clinton 46%-45%. Skeptics may laugh that off, but even the CBS/New York Times poll has Hillary clinging to a bare 2-point lead, which means that Democrats need someone to explain to them how badly their hope is sagging. Cue the Juice Box Mafia’s Harvard-educated Voxplainer, Matthew Yglesias:

Hillary Clinton’s ongoing campaign to paint Donald Trump as unacceptable in the eyes of most Americans is working. It’s just not good enough. That’s the message of the spate of recent polls showing a dramatically tightened race that Trump may even be narrowly winning.
The truth is that Trump is not doing well. Even Trump’s very best recent polls . . . show him receiving fewer votes than Republican candidates usually get. . . .
The problem is that Clinton herself is doing worse. Because despite her campaign’s emphasis on Trump’s weirdness and unpopularity, that isn’t the only force shaping this race. It’s profoundly unusual across two other dimensions — the strength of third party candidates and the weakness of the frontrunner — that will probably prevent Clinton from ever opening up a sustained comfortable lead unless she can do something to make herself better-liked.
Clinton is a freakishly unpopular frontrunner
Despite a couple of days’ worth of bad polls, Clinton still leads in national polling averages. It remains the case that if the election were held tomorrow, she would win.
In that context, her 42-56 favorable/unfavorable split in national polling is truly, freakishly bad. . . .
Lambasting Trump while being unpopular herself would be a clear winning strategy in a zero-sum head-to-head race. But in a four-sided race, where the two lesser candidates aren’t receiving much scrutiny from the press or the campaigns, it tends to have the side consequence of pressing a lot of people to [Libertarian candidate Gary] Johnson or [Green candidate Jill] Stein. . . .

You can read the rest if you enjoy watching a liberal intellectual squirm in embarrassed agony, as I’m sure you do. Yglesias deeply wants to offer an ideological explanation of Hillary’s woeful unpopularity, to say that it is the Democrat’s lack of progressive credibility that is preventing her from pulling away from Trump, but that’s not really the problem at all. The brilliance of Trump’s stock phrases — e.g., “Crooked Hillary” and the “rigged system” — is that it cuts across simple Left/Right categories to reach the kind of grassroots resentment of well-connected political insiders which has been fueling American populism since Thomas Jefferson went after John Adams’ Federalists in 1800. All the “experts” have so underestimated Trump’s mass appeal for so long that if and when the Republican does pull into a clear and sustained lead over Hillary, the Elite Pundit Class will be exposed as frauds and fools. This would be such a truly beautiful sight to behold. Their gloom would likely be as hilarious as anything since the 1988 flop of Mike Dukakis.

(Hat-tip: Memeorandum.)

UPDATE: Pain? You want to see liberals writhe in pain? Trump is beating Hillary by eight points in Iowa and leading by 3 in Ohio.




 

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