From sometime in 1964:
Barry Goldwater is a patriot and he loves his country too much to allow himself to become President.
I was in high school when my friend read that to me. We laughed. It was funny because the premise was true. Barry Goldwater was indeed a patriot. And it was funny because the conclusion was absurd.
The logic seems less absurd today.
Something keeps Donald Trump from running an effective national post-primary campaign. It is possible that it has something to do with patriotism. After all, who can read the mind of another? I suspect it is something more obvious.
News reporters have counted heads. They say that the Trump organization employs 30 staffers to run a national campaign. With one widely publicized firing, and one subsequent resignation, that number may well be a couple less. I do not pretend any special knowledge about national campaigns. But I have come to trust the judgment of some political experts.
Those experts tell me that the country is, in fact, composed of 50 states.
So we have 30 staff people covering 1⅔ states each, on average. The root of the staffing problem may be money. Even devout followers like to be paid.
The Trump campaign does have money problems. I confess 1.2 million dollars seems like a lot of money to me and that’s what the Trump campaign says is on hand. If some beloved relative died and left me that much, I’d like to think I would be overwhelmed by grief. Family, church acquaintances, and personal associates, those I believe be good judges of character, seem to have a different opinion of my likely reaction. It is truly a lot of money.
Imagine giving your spouse 1.2 million dollars with the understanding that exactly $1,000 a day had to be spent, no more and no less. And you would not see each other again until your spouse had spent every last dime. If you made that gift next January, January 20, 2017 – that date comes to mind for some reason – you would not see each other again for three years, sometime in May 2020.
That’s a long time, and that’s because 1.2 million dollars is a lot of money.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign reports 42 million dollars on hand. Scientists tell us that 42 million is more than 1.2 million. If you gave your spouse 42 million dollars on January 20 with the same agreement, one thousand a day, you wouldn’t be apart for only 3 years.
You would see each other again 115 years later, in January 2132. 3 years with Donald Trump, 115 with Hillary Clinton.
So….what’s going on with Trump and the money?
Some reports say donors are holding off because they see Donald Trump as a phenomenal loser. That could be true.
Donald Trump says the reason is actually that he has not yet begun to fight. So maybe it’s all part of a Trump master plan to make Democrats everywhere over‑confident – right down to our socks.
One report may strike a special note of insight. The word is that the Republican National Committee impressed on the Trump campaign the special need for a fund raising effort: a personal effort by the candidate. So they gave Donald Trump a list of 24 names of those most likely to give huge amounts that would keep your spouse away for many hundreds of years. Mr. Trump promised to call all 24 large donors.
He called 3 of them and stopped, leaving the other 21 without a call.
Why would he do that? I think there is a plausible reason why he gave up on them. He would have had to tell 24 successful people that he needs their money, that he needs them, that they and their efforts are valued. Donald Trump doesn’t sing the It’s‑All‑About‑You song. It’s always about Donald.
News analysts speculate about what sort of campaign is needed this year to win. The overwhelming fact, the elephant everyone sees, is that both candidates are viewed negatively. The outcome may hinge on which candidate becomes less unpopular than the other.
Even Fox News analysts, who normally could be counted on to be more Republican than Republicans are, don’t pretend their guy is likable.
Look, we’ve never had a general election with two candidates that are as unliked, by as many American people. These contests are often a referendum on who would rather have a beer with on election night. There’s gonna be a lot of voters drinking alone.
– Alex Conant, May 17, 2016
If that is true, and it stays true, the election will not depend on the issues, or even on personalities. It will depend on focus. If the election is about Donald Trump, 2017 will see the inauguration of a new President Clinton. If the election is about Hillary Clinton, it will be President Trump.
Political PACs are not allowed to coordinate with candidates. But that doesn’t mean they can’t read the papers or stare at an internet browser. I suspect those committees do take a few cues from news reports.
Those siding with Hillary Clinton have begun promoting her in more humane settings during quieter moments. She seems to be taking some some of Joe Biden’s strengths, speaking in conversational tones, leaving Donald Trump to scream at his crowds.
If I am right, her unpopularity, the cloud that hangs over her, comes from decades of endless smoke blown by the eternal conservative smear machine. So the soft breeze of the positive side will help immeasurably. But what do I know? I’m a knee-jerk liberal jerk. Just ask my conservative friends. Hip pie leftist to the bone, just short of a comm‑eye pre‑vert.
Even if Secretary Clinton goes positive, the negative will predominate. The consensus seems to be solidifying: in a negative climate, the candidate who becomes the focus will lose.
Both candidates have begun attacking the other. But it does not take a discerning ear to detect a difference.
Hillary quotes Donald Trump, offering critique along with evidence in the form of his own words. It is not a dispassionate analysis, this being a campaign. But it is analysis. Here’s the charge, here’s the evidence. These are his own words.
Donald is reduced to “crooked Hillary” for candidate Clinton, to “Pocahontas” for Elizabeth Warren. His attacks are direct and, to the untrained ear, unconvincing.
Hillary Clinton highlights Donald Trump, arguing that he lacks the temperament and motivation to serve the people well. Donald Trump attacks Hillary Clinton, and Elizabeth Warren and President Obama and other Republicans, often in spectacular and controversial fashion. Hillary puts the spotlight on Donald. Donald puts the spotlight on himself.
His motivation became explicit a few days ago as he basked in the glow of another public appearance. I think his words tell us exactly why he could not continue calling donors to explain his need for their help, making them the focus, even for the length of time a telephone conversation might take. I think it explains the overblown rhetoric that discourages Republicans and motivates Democrats.
He is having the time of his life. He glories in each precious moment. He lives for that moment.
I’ve been on the cover of ‘Time’ magazine so many times. And the cover of everything. I feel like a super model, except like times ten. Okay?
It’s true. I’m a supermodel. I’m on the cover of these magazines. I’m on the cover of the biggest magazines I don’t even know about and I can’t even read the story because if I did, I wouldn’t get any work done. I’ve never seen anything like it.
– Donald Trump, June 18, 2016
at a rally in Phoenix, AZ
The Republican nominee will not make the Democratic nominee the central figure for the same reason he can’t make each donor feel special.
It’s a classic convergence of interest, the win-win outcome everyone wants:
The Clinton campaign would like Donald Trump to be the center of public attention.
Donald Trump craves that attention even more.
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