The State of the Mid-Season Race

The New York Yankees have traded away their three best players and pretty much the rest of the season in exchange for better prospects in the hopefully near future, The Wichita Wingnuts are holding a comfortable 6.5 game lead in the double-A American Association’s southern division, and with help from an adorable rifle-toting teenaged girl America has already staked a lead in the Olympics medal count. As the stock markets are closed over the weekend our next check of the standings is the Real Clear Politics average of presidential polls, which currently shows the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton edging up to a 7 point lead over Republican nominee Donald J. Trump.
This strikes us as a fair assessment of the race at the moment, given how widely reviled both candidates are and how Trump had an even worse past week than Clinton did, which took some doing. There are a couple of polls showing Trump behind but within the margin of error, but a couple of others showing Clinton with a landslide lead, and even most Trump’s loyal analysts agree that it all averages out to a substantial if not insurmountable lead for Clinton of 7 or 8 or even 9 points or so. When you throw in the third and fourth options of Libertarian Gary Johnson or Green Jill Stein, both of whom are polling conspicuously far better in their crazy election than their parties ever have done, the Clinton lead is narrowed to 6 or 7 or 8 points or so. A savvy sports fan’s closer look at the all-important electoral map will reveal that he’s behind but still in contention in some key swing states, clinging to a slight lead in a couple of others, losing ground in several more, and suddenly having to worry about a few states that more traditional Republicans long took for granted.
There’s a whole lot of baseball and presidential politics left to be played between now and the cool of November, and we’ve been following both sports long enough to expect surprise endings, but at this point in a season the teams that come from behind are usually making adjustments. Nothing in the political press suggests that Trump is making any personnel changes, or adopting new tactics, or even bothering to master the fundamentals of the game. Trump is being outspent on the widely-watched Olympic broadcasts and the rest of the airwaves to make the case that he’s a puppet of Vladimir Putin, a President of the United States who somehow has an over-50-percent approval rating and is therefore the most admired man in American politics is making the poll-tested argument that he lacks necessary temperament to be commander in chief, and Trump is responding with the schoolyard taunt that his opponent is “Unstable” Hillary “Rotten” Clinton, which will no doubt delight his so-loyal-he-could-shoot-someone supporters but do little to convince that pesky 60 percent or so of the rest of the country that he’s particularly presidential.
Clinton is indeed rotten, as we’ve been publicly complaining since long before Trump was contributing to her campaigns and inviting her to his third wedding and telling everyone what a great President she would be, and it appalls us that the current rotten president is so unaccountably popular, but we’d much prefer a Republican nominee who could make that case in more compelling terms than a schoolyard taunt. That seems to be where the race stands, though, and from now on we’ll try to pay more attention to baseball.

— Bud Norman

One response

  1. At the risk of repeating ourselves, we will repeat what we said recently:

    “We head into the latter part of the week we have Bud pretending to be a Republican, calling the Republican nominee nuts and saying how sorry he is that the Republican nominee isn’t doing better. I’m reminded of the bully who beat the snot out of a woman and after raping her wondering why she isn’t as perky as she once was.”

    But there is a lesson or two from history that should warn the editors of National Review, Weekly Standard and Redstate.

    As a history buff we’ve read a lot about the history of the Republic which got its start with a rebellion against the King of England. Now despite what most people think they know about the American Revolution, it wasn’t all that clear-cut in the minds of the people in 1776.

    John Adams, who knew a thing or two about his neighbors, estimated that about a third supported revolution, a third supported the King and a third sat on the fence. Others estimated that the Tories and the Revolutionaries were around 20% with the majority uncommitted. Ben Franklin’s son, William, was a Tory and rarely, if ever, spoke with his father after the war.

    The fence sitters went on with their lives as well as they could. Even when a war rages, the majority of the people, even when they have an opinion try to keep their heads down and live as normally as possible and try not to get involved.

    Among the revolutionaries there were a few notables who switched sides. One was the head of Washington’s personal guard who tried to feed him some poisoned peas. He failed. Another is better known, a Revolutionary General who was a hero but who had a falling out with his fellow revolutionaries and conspired to give up the fortifications at West Point. He felt that he had been passed over for promotion, others took credit for his accomplishments, and he was accused of corruption but acquitted. His name was Benedict Arnold and his name became synonymous with “traitor.”

    Things don’t usually go well with turncoats. The British gave Arnold a large bounty (£6000) and a military commission as Major General, but nobody really trusts a traitor. It’s dangerous. He could betray you again.

    Which is why after the electoral defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964 the political futures of Nelson Rockefeller, George Romney and William Scranton, whose principles required them to abandon Barry Goldwater, discovered that, when the cheering of the press stopped, they carried the mark of Cain. It’s dangerous to trust someone to have your back who stabbed someone else in the back previously.

    Rockefeller, Romney and Scranton were also Underpants Gnomes:

    Phase 1: Defeat Wild & Crazy Goldwater.
    Phase 2: ?
    Phase 3: Receive nomination from grateful Party.

    Principles are wonderful things. Viewed objectively, Benedict Arnold had a case. He was treated shabbily. He made a decision and it didn’t turn out quite as he would have wanted. On the other hand he died in bed in London. If he had succeeded it’s possible that America in 2016 would be Her Majesty’s Dominion in North America and the history of the world would have been different.

    The lesson from history is that friends who become enemies are never trusted by either side.

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