Via the Daily Rushbo, the best part of this is Rush’s voice dropping into a sort of audible leer when he talks about the ecstasy Clinton-haters will feel when Daddy Trump gives ’em what they want. If he’s this raspy with excitement now, what’s this show going to sound like once Trump actually gets to work on her? Good lord.
He’s correct, though. And I’ll go beyond that: An all-out daily ad hominem attack on the Clintons may be Trump’s best play in the general. Who the hell wants him at the mic taking stage directions from Paul Manafort about how to act fake-presidential? It’d be like asking a gangsta rapper to perform something from the Great American Songbook. Trump has gotten where he is by channeling … I was going to write “the Republican id” but that’s unfair to the majority of Republicans who didn’t vote for him. Let’s go with “the reactionary id.” That being so, I think the Lewandowski approach makes more sense than Manafort’s: Just let it rip. What does Trump have to lose by doing so? He’s a heavy underdog with an historically terrible favorable rating for a major-party nominee. No one’s going to buy his magical transformation into a more subdued statesmanlike figure who supposedly gives a rip about policy, and the adoring fans he already has will quickly grow annoyed by it.
He’s gotten where he is by convincing Republicans that boorishness is the heart and soul of political incorrectness, political incorrectness is the heart and soul of populism, and populism is the heart and soul of conservatism. He might as well stick with that and be as, ahem, politically incorrect as he can be towards the Clintons. They’re the perfect target for that sort of attack too, not because (as Rush says) no one ever lays a glove on them but because Hillary’s nomination rightly annoys Americans as an example of rotten dynastic elitism. Running a ridicule campaign at them for four months would be the rhetorical equivalent of hitting the king in the face with a cream pie. It’d be Jeb Bush all over again. And like Jeb (but unlike Bill), Hillary has the ideal combination of traits to make her an object of populist mockery: She’s hyper-privileged, the elite of the elite, yet also underwhelming, which plays into Trump’s “rigged system” critique of undeserving people getting all of the rewards in society while the little guy suffers. Essentially, he’ll be the kid from “The Emperor’s New Clothes” except with a presidential spotlight.
Will it get him elected? Nah, probably not, but diminishing Clinton and trying to turn the election into a referendum on political correctness stands a better chance than Trump trying to sound out the words of some domestic policy speech that Stephen Miller wrote for him. I think that’s what he’s been getting at lately in grumbling about how the “woman card” is all Hillary has to play. That’s his cloddish way of making the point I just made about the undeserving elite advancing in society for reasons other than merit — cloddish because it risks offending women who have succeeded in their own careers due to merit but still face skepticism from men from time to time. Hillary’s going to make Trump pay for it, and Trump being Trump, he’s going to make it easy for her. Paul Waldman:
Clinton will have so many different paths to attack Trump on issues of concern to women that she may not know where to start. But don’t be surprised if she baits him into insulting her in ways that every woman voter will recognize. A barbed comment about his age here, a joke about his hair there, an implication about his virility over there — and Trump will respond with a sexist tirade the minute he hears about it.
Just the fact that the critique is coming from a woman — and even worse, one with her own power — will send Trump into a rage. I promise you that at some point Trump will call Clinton ugly (even if he doesn’t use that word), because he plainly believes that proclaiming his lack of sexual interest in a woman is the most cutting insult he can offer.
Few candidates have ever appealed more directly to anxious masculinity than Trump, and every time he gets in a new flame war with someone like Megyn Kelly, many of his supporters are overjoyed. Trump voters pine for a return to the familiar social hierarchies of the past — one part of Making America Great Again is a return to an imagined time when everything was perfect and certain kinds of people knew their place. Yet for every voter who thinks that, there are more who could not want to go back any less.
In this as in foreign policy, for a guy who’s supposed to be a loose cannon, Trump’s reaction to provocations is actually highly predictable. Hillary will bait him this way, and he’ll respond just as Waldman says. I think some of Trump’s fans will end up helping her out too. I’ve already seen pics of people showing up to his rallies in “Trump That Bitch” and “Cruz Sucks But Hillary Swallows” t-shirts. There’ll be more of that this fall, encouraged by the transgressive joie de vivre of Trumpmania, and the media will start paying attention to it. I think Waldman’s right about the basic calculus: Hillary will be betting that there are more Americans, especially women, who are alienated by Trump’s ridicule shtick than are attracted to it. I’m not so sure that’s true among men — a campaign to diminish the would-be first woman commander-in-chief will find a receptive audience in many places — but it’s probably true among women. And given how piss-poor Trump’s ratings among women already are, he’d need a lot of men to break for him to offset her advantage. But as I say, what’s the alternative? Trump issuing weekly white papers on domestic spending? Insults are who he is. He might as well play to his strengths and start writing “cankles” zingers. If he puts on a good show, maybe voters will hold him over for a four-year stand.
In lieu of an exit question, here’s a fun new stat out of California about voter registration:
I’m sure there won’t be any similar anti-Trump registration surges among Democrats in swing states. Right?