This should have been a good week for the man with the small hands and peculiar hair. He continues to lead in the polls for the three big remaining Republican primary states — New York, Pennsylvania and California. Paul Ryan, who could have imperiled his path to the nomination, declared that he wouldn’t run. His campaign manager got off on charges he roughed up a reporter. And career right-wing kook and marital rape advocate Phyllis Schlafly stood firm in her endorsement of him.
But Donald Trump is grouchy because he is used to always getting his way, but arcane Republican primary, caucus and delegate selection rules are slowing his march toward the Cleveland convention and his dream of the White House and his own version of the Republican big tent — internment camps for immigrants and other undesirables.
Trump's problem is that he hasn't been paying attention while preening for the masses and ripping off with snappy one-liners, which has allowed Ted Cruz, who is paying very close attention to the grassroots, to rack up delegates in states like Colorado that were Trump's for the taking were his staff and supporters there more concerned about staying on top of the process than beating their chests. (Heck, even two of Trumps kids aren’t registered to vote in the New York primary.)
And that while exploiting corporate rules has been a piece of cake for him compared to exploiting the rules of a party he has repeatedly disparaged even if the GOP's rules do, by gosh, tend to favor the front-runner. Which he unmistakably remains and is likely to remain when he wins most if not all of New York's 95 delegates next Tuesday.
I still harbor the suspicion, as articulated here a couple of weeks ago, that Trump is preparing to be a sore loser and inch out of the race -- somehow -- because his history shows he would be unable to cope with his certain loss in November, and his disorganization at ground level in places like Colorado, which he technically won while ceding its delegates to Lyin' Ted, indicates he would have a hard time winning the nomination if it extends beyond the first ballot.
And doncha know, if the process was truly rigged, Jeb Bush would have a lock on the nomination and Trump really would have something to be grouchy about.
Hillary Clinton's negatives are mind boggling and nearly as bad as Donald Trump's. Which makes my head want to explode because, while not exactly the personifications of good and evil, Clinton has more integrity and experience in her pinkie finger than Trump has from stem to stern. And she is a progressive, while Bernie Sanders is a fantasist, as the Democratic debate last night again showed. And Trump, of course, a fascist.
My view has been that Clinton's negatives are driven by the relative success of what she calls the "vast right-wing conspiracy," which has been slinging mud at her ever since she came to Washington nearly a quarter century ago, and that there are a whole lot of people out there who, while not admitting it, don’t like her because she is a woman and is on the verge of becoming the first woman president.
But it obviously goes deeper than these things. My Facebook followers are a pretty damned savvy and engaged lot, so I asked them why so many people had negative views of Clinton. A sampling of their responses:
"She’s too pragmatic. Get things done now for the sake of getting things done now. Better that she would stand for some principles even at the loss of some accomplishments. Because of this she is seen as flip-flopping or being too clever for our own good."
"She's a lying, corporatist war hawk who is backed by Wall Street and the energy lobby."
"I don't get real straight answers about why people don't like her. They hate her and can't back it up and won't read about her. Total shutdown. I guess it's just because of hearing a few bad things about her. Non-political friends keep saying she's a liar, but can't tell me what she lied about. Or, they are the real Hillary haters who will give you ten thousand reasons why they hate her and all of them could be dispelled easily with a little research. I have given up trying to figure it out."
"She says she’s against fracking unless it is heavily regulated, but was very active as secretary of state in pushing fracking in countries like Bulgaria that have few or no environmental regulations that would have protected the people."
"Arkansas et. seq."
"Could be because she is a liar responsible for the death of innocent Americans."
"Her ties to fossil fuel and Wall Street lobbies."
"She's a Republican by what she votes for and against whose money she takes!"
"I think she's also paying the price for her husband's arrogance. In the 80's, he delighted in strategizing rings around the Right. He could have been the best, except he got reckless and couldn't keep his pants on. . . . A lot of that animus transferred to her."
"She's a wonderful bureaucrat but I', going to have hard time voting for her as she is so in bed with the establishment and I'm ready for a revolution."
"Add an army of over-the-top zealots for Sanders. incensed by rhetoric from the Right and Left. Angry rhetoric doesn't have to make sense."
"I think she's Nixon in drag, but compared to the current crop of GOP candidates, that makes her the only Republican moderate. I'm voting for her if that's the only option."
"The right-wing misogynists account for maybe half of the people who dislike her. The rest of us are going on her record."
My own problems with Clinton have been oft-stated: Her unsatisfactorily tepid response to her husband’s serial infidelities. Being one of 374 people in Congress who drank the Bush kool aid on Iraq. Providing bad advice to the president on overthrowing the Libyan regime, although she is unfairly blamed for the Benghazi attacks. And she has vacillated on environmental issues of concern to me.
But none of these negatives should or will prevent her from becoming the nominee and the next president.
POLITIX UPDATE IS WRITTEN BY SHAUN MULLEN, A VETERAN JOURNALIST AND BLOGGER FOR WHOM THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IS HIS 12th SINCE 1968. CLICK HERE FOR AN INDEX OF PREVIOUS COLUMNS.© 2015-2016 SHAUN D. MULLEN.
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