The Phony Campaign

2016-05-15 Update

Bernie's still hanging in there at PredictWise, with the underlying bettors wagering that he still has a 2% shot at becoming your next President.

Query String Hit Count Change Since
2016-05-08
"Donald Trump" phony 578,000 +22,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 560,000 +11,000
"Bernie Sanders" phony 347,000 -20,000

Meanwhile, I'm wondering: where's Gary Johnson?

Maybe I'm optimistic, but over the next 176 days or so, we're going to hear a lot of stories about how both Trump and Clinton are lying, power-hungry, unprincipled dangers to liberty, prosperity, and peace. These stories will be persuasive, because true.

So I think Gary Johnson has a shot, if he's on the ballot in enough states. Heck, I think Mister Mxyzptlk would have a shot against these two.

Back to the real phony news:

  • In New York Magazine, Ed Kilgore looks at the advice Hillary is receiving to shift her positions to appeal more to either Sanders/Warren leftists or to more moderate folk. He says nay: "Hillary Clinton Shouldn’t Be ‘Pivoting’ to the Left — or to the Center"

    If all this hypothetical "pivoting" and "moving" makes you a little dizzy, how must it seem to voters whose main concern about Hillary Clinton is that she seems a tad too calculating and inauthentic — in a word, phony? Not so good. And since it's these personal characteristics, and not her positioning on an ideological spectrum, that are arguably the biggest source of her relative unpopularity among general-election participants, perhaps she should keep that pivot foot un-planted.

    Here's the problem with Ed's argument: let's posit there's a bloc of voters that somehow aren't currently convinced of Hillary's phoniness. Isn't it obvious that these voters are either willfully blind or ignorant enough so that they wouldn't care if she "pivoted" left, center, or right, or toward new dimensions beyond that which is known to man?

  • In this week's "well, of course he did" department: "Donald Trump masqueraded as publicist to brag about himself".

    The voice is instantly familiar; the tone, confident, even cocky; the cadence, distinctly Trumpian. The man on the phone vigorously defending Donald Trump says he’s a media spokesman named John Miller, but then he says, “I’m sort of new here,” and “I’m somebody that he knows and I think somebody that he trusts and likes” and even “I’m going to do this a little, part time, and then, yeah, go on with my life.”

    Do Trump supporters care about stuff like this? Recent history says: not so much.

  • Even though (or maybe because) they tap into the same rich vein of voter attitude, there's no love lost between Bernie and Trump:

    In an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday, Mr. Sanders didn’t leap to defend Mrs. Clinton, who has come under heated attacks from Mr. Trump. But when asked about whether many votes for him were essentially votes against Mrs. Clinton and for Mr. Trump, he showed how little affection he has for the billionaire businessman: “I think the people of America, the more they see Mr. Trump, understand that he’s a total phony, that what he said yesterday is not what he’s going to say tomorrow. That he is a pathological liar and that he gets a lot of media attention for attacking people but that is going to wear thin.”

    In response:

    For his part, Mr. Trump, in a Fox News interview earlier in the day, said he now plans to call Mr. Sanders “Crazy Bernie” — not typically a term of endearment.

    Reminds me of grade-school playground feuds, albeit at a lower intellectual level.

  • And…