The Phony Campaign

2016-07-03 Update

Bernie Sanders continues to hang in at PredictWise. (But why does the word "dingleberry" come into my mind as I type that?) While Hillary continues to hold onto her phony lead, Donald Trump is making a strong charge:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
"Hillary Clinton" phony 570,000 -1,000
"Donald Trump" phony 516,000 +61,000
"Bernie Sanders" phony 335,000 -22,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 24,200 -48,200

  • Jeff Greenfield is a good liberal Democrat, but also honest enough to write a column headlined "Is This Why Hillary Clinton Is Trusted By So Few Americans?"

    Greenfield's theory:

    It really does appear that both Clintons regard themselves as so removed from the grubby motives that tempt lesser mortals that they are to be judged by a wholly different set of standards.

    If that's the theory, you can surely find the facts to fit, starting with Bill's secretive meeting on a private jet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Greenfield also recalls (a) Hillary's comment that she and Bill were "dead broke" as they left the White House; (b) her justification for he $675K Goldman Sachs speeches; (c) her claim that “every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported”—well, except for those who were victimized by Bill; (d) their behavior during the Lewinsky affair; (e) her 180° reversals on trade policy, gay marriage, and Iraq.

    Greenfield obviously had size constraints on his column; like anyone else paying attention, he could have rattled off many more examples off the top of his head.

    The problem with his theory that the Clinton's believe they should "be judged by a wholly different set of standards": there's zero evidence that the Clintons view themselves as bound under any ethical standards whatsoever. They have appetites—yuuge appetites—for power, money and (in Bill's case) sex—and the only constraint they feel is can we get away with it?

    And they mostly do. Thanks to fools like Greenfield, who keep making excuses and looking for complex justifications for despicable behavior.

  • A lefty named Conor Lynch attempts to explain: "Why Millions of GOP Voters Bought Into Trump's Phony Populist Act".

    Donald Trump does not come across as a typical plutocrat — and if he did, it is doubtful whether he would be the leader of a new right-wing populist movement in America. Though the billionaire was born into great wealth and privilege, and started running his father’s $200 million real estate firm in the 1970s (a lucky break?), he has a very down-to-earth and unsophisticated way of communicating; as crude as the stereotypical drunk uncle and as slick and self-assured as a used-car salesman from New Jersey.

    All true! Yet not delivering on the headline's promise: why did millons of GOP voters buy into Trump's phony populist act?

    Lynch's analysis turns out to be (let's be kind) flawed by his Manichean view of the world: "the people" versus plutocrats. So, after much anti-capitalist babble:

    […] Trump’s diatribes against the liberal and technocratic elites are not completely unfounded. Right-wing populists like Trump have been able to succeed because Democrats have become less egalitarian and more elitist over the years.

    That's where his logic takes him.

    I have an alternative explanation of why "millons of GOP voters bought into Trump's phony populist act". They were stupid.

    That theory probably won't win me a paid columnist gig at Salon, but it's simple and fits the facts.

  • The populism thing was on a tear this past week, with even President Obama adding his two cents: "Obama takes shot at Trump as a phony populist".

    In an international summit dominated by the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency, President Obama criticized the presumptive Republican nominee as a phony populist and told Mexicans and Canadians that Mr. Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric doesn’t represent the views of most Americans.

    Whatever, Barry.

    Populism is dressed-up demagoguery, whether it's employed by Democrats or Republicans. (Although it's cute to see Democrats miffed when Republicans are politically successful at it.)