Posts Tagged ‘political tactics’

pinProvided even a reasonable percentage of her supporters turn out, as opposed to spending the day in a bar drowning their sorrows at what has become of America, then Hillary Clinton has already won the Presidential election.

Barring an opinion earthquake, of course. Of which, yes, there is always a tiny possibility – especially in this most unusual year – but we surely now know everything there is to know about Mrs Clinton after her much-touted thirty years in public life. The chances of anything truly dramatic coming out now is vanishingly low, especially after the Wikileaks big expose, which kept some right-wing Americans up all night with excitement waiting for the goss, turned out to be a complete fizzer.

How can we be so sure? Simple. The size of the mountain Trump has to climb.

This is famed statistician Nate Silver’s latest forecast of the likely result.

Likely election result

This takes into account a wide range of opinion polls, some traditionally favouring one side, some the other, but only some of which factor in opinions SINCE the Trump “groping” scandal broke. The CNN poll on “who won the debate” isn’t factored in, but that strongly favoured Clinton too, even though it generally overstates Clinton support slightly, a factor that CNN acknowledge.

In other words, if Trump’s scandalous remarks are not fully factored in yet, and the debate isn’t either, then this is a dire result for Trump. His position, already looking rocky, has declined further. And still has some downside to go.

This is how Trump has been faring recently:

Clinton creeps towards 50% in the popular vote.

Clinton creeps towards 50% in the popular vote.


The College starts to favour Clinton markedly.

The College starts to favour Clinton markedly.


Chance of winning

The “chance of winning” calculation looks insurmountable for Trump.


The “path to a win” problem

Most pointedly, when we look at the Electoral College likely result, Trump’s path to the White House now looks impossible, because the polls are predicting critical wins for the Democrats in Florida (up by more than three points) and Pennsylvania (up by nearly seven points), in North Carolina and Virginia by comfortable margins, and, indeed, in every other battleground state except Nevada and Arizona, and in Nevada Trump’s lead is just 4%, and in Arizona it’s “even stevens”, but then again we also know that the main newspaper in that state is now campaigning for Clinton.

Trump simply doesn’t have a route to win, on these figures. As things stand, Clinton will win 310-340 electoral college votes: more than enough for a very comfortable victory. Trump may well pile up votes in very conservative locations, but that doesn’t help him, no matter how much “singing to the choir” he does.

But the real killer for Trump is that things are going to get worse from here, not better. Blind Freddie can see that there will be some fallout from the recent furore that will be reflected in polls that will get reported by about Wednesday or Thursday, American time. How big a hit Trump will take is as yet unknown, but a hit there will be.

And as Silver argues:

Trump couldn’t really afford any negative shock to his numbers, given that he entered Friday in a bad position to begin with. Let’s say that the tape only hurts him by one percentage point, for instance, bringing him to a 6-point deficit from a 5-point deficit a week ago. Even that would be a pretty big deal. Before, Trump had to make up five points in five weeks — or one point per week. Now, he has to make up six points in four weeks instead (1.5 points per week).

In other words, Trump’s mountain is growing, not getting smaller. A gain of 1.5 points a week will require a massive sea change in opinion and there is no evidence whatsoever that is happening.

In addition, we see three more anti-Trump factors that will be starting to bite against him, given that is always a delay between things coming up and them affecting the opinion polls.

Trump’s “non payment of Federal tax for 20 years”

The expose over Trump’s tax situation is, we believe, much more telling than some people have realised. It’s simply too smug for Trump to dismiss it as “smart business” to use write offs to reduce tax seemingly forever. The idea that a billionaire doesn’t need to pay ANY tax, year after year, is a lousy atmospheric for the Republicans, especially for a party often condemned as being only interested in the big end of town. Trump’s natural support base is angry. Angry in an inchoate, unspecific way.

And they all pay their taxes, on much lower incomes. Sure, a few will say “good on him”, and a few will argue “he did nothing illegal”, but that is emphatically not the point. Most will say, “Well, f***.”

Trump’s stunt on Sunday with “the Bill Clinton women”.

No one would argue that Bill Clinton is anything other than a womaniser: it’s a near-fatal character flaw when his record is judged. But there’s a reason that Republican strategists have historically NOT gone after him as a means to get at Hillary. It’s because every time it’s brought up, it produces more sympathy for Hillary than everything else, especially amongst women voters. In desperation, Trump broke that rule. It won’t help him, and could hurt him.

Also, every time Trump brings up Clinton it reminds people of his own transgressions. His first wife accused him of rape – an allegation withdrawn after a confidential settlement. A “live” rape case with a thirteen year old plaintiff is in the courts now. Trump denies both, but, you know, so did Clinton …

The Republican backlash.

Sure, the Republican Party is split right down the middle. Sure, Tea Party types will accuse all those Republicans now abandoning Trump as being the best possible reason to back him and his intra-party revolution. But not all Republican voters are Teapublicans, and they and “independent” voters leaning towards Trump will be dismayed at his own colleagues’ thumping rejection of him. Some of those voters will plump instead for the Libertarian, Johnson, some will simply stay home rather than vote for the hated Clinton. Neither of those possibilities help Trump. By contrast, the centre and left have coalesced effectively around Clinton, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein is fading.

Now opinion polls have been wrong in the past. (Most notably with “Brexit”, which we and everyone else called wrong.) But not this wrong.

Which is why we say, as we have all along, it’s all over. Somewhere, a fat lady is singing her lungs out.

Probably one that Trump insulted.

Keen students of Australian politics will recall that just prior to the Kevin07 election that saw him triumphantly elected as Australia’s Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd was “outed” for having been taken along to a New York club frequented by scantily (ahem) clad ladies,  some four years previously, after a late night dining and drinking too much.


Sources close to Mr Rudd told wellthisiswhatithink that the delivery of "Stop Work Choices Now, Protect My Penalty Rates" t-shirts were just running a little late*. To the best of our knowledge, no one in this photograph is Kevin Rudd.

Some reports claimed Rudd was asked to leave by the management after inappropriate touching of the dancers … although Rudd strenuously denied that component of the story, whilst admitting he’d been there, which he regretted. Presumably that was after he’d seen how much they all spent on champagne.

And as this report reveals, other Aussie pollies took the opportunity to fall over themselves to confess that they, too, had seen naked young ladies cavorting around on a stage at one time or another. Usually when they were young, callow yoofs who should have known better. And as nipping into a lap dancing club when sloshed is, frankly, a virtually universal Australian experience, at some time or other, this was hardly a great shock to anyone.

Now, though, when we are reliably forecast to be within somewhere between 1-3 weeks of Rudd challenging the woman who deposed him as Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, to get the top job back again, he is again in the news for the “wrong” reasons. This time for dropping the “F Bomb” (and some other choice phrases) a few times during the recording of a message in Chinese.

The video – unbleeped – is here, and I think it’s truly hilarious. Go on, click it, you know you want to.

Of course, people have immediately leapt on to the internet and airwaves to accuse someone on Gillard’s side of leaking the out-takes to damage Rudd. But Prime Minister Julia Gillard denies her office leaked the video, which also shows a frustrated Mr Rudd slamming the table.

It was anonymously posted on YouTube over the weekend.

“There have been some assertions today that somehow this is connected with my office. That is completely untrue,” Ms Gillard told reporters in Darwin on Sunday.

“My office did not have access to the material people have seen on YouTube.”

Mr Rudd said the video was embarrassing, before he flew to Mexico for a meeting of foreign affairs ministers from the Group of 20 nations. His careful remarks included:

“Anyone who’s got a touch of suspicion about them would say that if this was done, somewhat embarrassingly, a couple of years ago and it suddenly emerges now, then obviously it’s a little bit on the unusual side,” he told Sky News.

But I wonder at the motives of whoever posted it, to be honest.

Those with long memories will recall that the almost universal reaction from the citizenry of Australia to news that Rudd had been to a strip club after chugging back a few too many tubes of the amber throat charmer** was “Bugger me, he’s not a desiccated calculating machine who talks in pointy head gobbledygook after all, he’s actually just an ordinary bloke like me. You know what? I’m even more inclined to vote for him now.”

And yes, he duly went up in the opinion polls, and on to win a huge victory against incumbent John Howard, who even lost his own seat in Parliament, the only sitting Prime Minister ever to do so.

So I suspect the embattled current PM or her staffers might have had nothing to do with the latest leak at all. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she is right now heading back to her hotel room in Darwin (where she has been commemorating the 70th anniversary of the bombing of that city by the Japanese in 1942) to have a lie down with a nice cup of tea and an aspirin, cursing and swearing to herself and anyone who would care to listen, somewhere along the lines of “Fuck me drunk, the fucking Milky Bar Kid has gone and fucking done it to me again.”

Sadly for her, though, none of her advisers would be smart enough to release footage of her incoherent rage.

(*This is not true. I made it up. I know that’s hard to believe.)

(**I do not know for sure that Kevin Rudd was drinking Fosters. I just hope, that in his role as a dinky-di Aussie, that he was.)