Saturday, September 03, 2016

It Ain’t Over Till it’s Over!


 
Politics is like sports in so many ways.  We have seen a boxer glide through a match racking up wins each round only to let his guard down and be clocked by his opponent and knocked out in a later round.   #hocopolitics
In baseball recently, the Colorado Rockies were on the way to a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers, pummeling the National League West leaders 7-1 and 8-0.  In the third game, the Rockies were up 8-2 going into the 8th inning.  They thought they had it nailed down.  The Dodgers had different ideas and scored 3 in the 8th and 5 in the 9th to pull out an astounding and unexpected 10-8 victory.

Of course, there have been thousands of other examples of come-from-ahead losses in sports as well as politics.  In Maryland, the 2014 gubernatorial race had the Lieutenant Governor, Democrat Anthony Brown, fresh off a decisive primary victory, and in this very blue state, his campaign felt it was a lock.
He took off a month after the June primary, employed a ridiculous campaign strategy, and elevated a little-known Republican who never held an elected office in his life to become a credible candidate.  The upshot was that many Democratic voters stayed home allowing Larry Hogan to win in shocking fashion, which impacted at least one key down ballot race.

The lesson in all this is never assume anything, never take anything for granted, work your butt off, and never let up.  Because as the great philosopher Yogi Berra famously said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Hillary Clinton, please pay attention.  You are giving the real impression, correct or not, that you are coasting and that could be costly—not only in terms of your losing your last shot to make history but by allowing the most unfit, dangerous, bigoted, ill-informed, erratic, insufferable, self-absorbed, unqualified con artist to take the reins of our nation.  So it is not just about you, Secretary Clinton. All of us who love our country have a stake in not allowing this man, Donald Trump, to ever become president.

Ever since the conventions, Trump as stolen most of the news. His campaign is the lead in most broadcasts when they move from weather disasters to politics.  That’s not always a good thing for him because of his numerous unforced errors of which many are cringe-worthy.
Nonetheless, he is giving the impression that he’s trying hard and making some inroads in polls as you have remained in the background.  Any news about you is tied to controversies over “those damn emails” and the Clinton Foundation entanglements with the State Department.

Of course, fundraising is crucial. By staying largely out of sight, however, you’re feeding into the ludicrous, fabricated narrative that you lack stamina and are in poor health.  Don’t let the Trump camp “swift boat” you on that one. 
To right the ship and to prevent an utter disaster, for what it’s worth, I have some suggestions for you and your campaign.

Be visible. You have the lowest favorability rating in your career and fortunately Trump is considered even less trustworthy.  It’s hard to repair such damage but engaging with the voters and presenting a positive rationale for your presidency could help. 
Also, hold a press conference or two.  They are making hay with a countdown of how many days you have gone since the last one.  Why should Trump be the only one to receive free media?

You’re a seasoned pol who has ably withstood tough questions from the press (and investigators).  By avoiding such encounters, it reinforces the trustworthiness problem.  This is an example of how being too cautious could backfire. Surely, if Trump is described as being “presidential” (by his own spinmeisters) just for ambling up to a podium, you can demonstrate your gravitas by taking on the media.   
Debate prep.  I understand that much of your time spent out of camera range has been devoted to preparing for the debates.  It’s a good idea to be ready as these confrontations will undoubtedly be the best chance for either candidate to seal the deal.

I do hope you’re not spending too much of your valuable time on policy. As we know, Trump is weak on all areas of policies and if pushed to deal with them, he will come off as a high schooler who didn’t do his homework.  You will clean his clock on all matters of policy because you are coherent and have deep knowledge in all facets.
However, this is not a policy election; it is a personality election. Many people who say they’re voting for Trump are doing so not because they like him, but they detest you.  The same goes for your supporters including high profile Republicans.  They will vote for you because they don’t want to see Trump as President.  This has more to do with the individuals involved and not so much differences in policy.

The one strategy that you are employing that is extremely effective is to continue to paint Trump as unfit to be commander-in-chief.  During the debates you should work on getting under Trump’s skin.  Senator Elizabeth Warren has been successful in that regard so you should consult with her.
Trapping Trump during the debates and plucking his nerves will play into your strategy.  He will be frustrated, and because he can’t control himself without a script, he will likely implode in front of tens of millions of voters.  You will then have several “there you go again” moments to reinforce his unfitness for office.

I realize your schedule will get busier on Labor Day and beyond and we will see more of you.  The election is too close for comfort to assume you will win.  A lot of things can happen between now and November that can change on a dime.  History has shown that it ain’t over till it’s over.
Therefore, my advice is to assume you are tied and go gangbusters to grab the win.  The country needs you to win. The world needs you to win. 

Good luck.

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