Friday, July 29, 2016

President Hillary Clinton

That is what we will be hearing in January after she takes the oath of office.

The reason for this is she just has too many advantages over Donald Trump for him to overcome.

Her first advantage is her experience in presidential elections.  Essentially this is her third one.  She knows what it takes to come out the winner at the end of the final sprint to the finish line because she has already lived it twice.  If she forgets she can ask her husband because he did it twice and if that does not work she can ask the current President because has done it twice as well.  That is before considering that she has assembled an very good election team.

Donald Trump has no experience on how to win the final three months of the campaign.  In fact he has very little political experience at all.  That was glaringly obvious when he publicly suggested a sometimes hostile government hack the e-mails of an American citizen and interfere in a US presidential election.  That was just dumb and the attack ads during the next three months pretty much write themselves.

Politics is a game and like all games if one opponent has tonnes of experience playing it while the other has very little the one with experience almost always wins.

Her second advantage is the Democratic Party is united behind her.  The media has played up the dissidents from the Bernie Sanders camp a great deal in the last few weeks. However, what they forget (willfully I might add) is Bernie Sanders and most of his followers were not members of the Democratic Party 18 months ago.  Although Ms. Clinton would certainly welcome them she does not really need them because the "old" Democrats, the ones that helped Barack Obama get elected twice, are firmly behind her.  Further, they know that they have a golden opportunity to elect two different Democratic presidents back to back, something that has not happened since FDR and Truman.  As well, the election apparatus that the Democratic Party has spent the last four years building just for these next three months is also firmly behind her.

Donald Trump essentially blew up the Republican Party.  He can count on his own supporters but he cannot count on the support of the Republican "old guard".  Some will certainly support him out of habit but many others will not.  Further the election apparatus that the Republicans have been building for the last four years is in tatters.

That leads to Hillary Clinton's third advantage.  Anybody who has ever participated in an election knows that elections are won on the ground.  It is the GOTV efforts of those low level operatives and volunteers at the local level that decide elections.  Ms. Clinton, with a united Democratic Party and election apparatus behind her should be able to count on a much more successful GOTV effort than Donald Trump with a fractured Republican Party behind him.

Her fourth advantage is she is out fundraising Donald Trump.  Donald Trump has the personal resources to run a campaign but it is an open question whether he wants to spend that much of his own money.  Mr. Clinton is spending other peoples' money, she has more of it and she will not hesitate spend it all for the campaign.

Advantages three and four are going to be crucial in those tight races in the battleground states.  In state battles where the margin of victory is often only a few thousand votes having the most successful GOTV effort, to identify and pull the vote of your supporters, while having the money to campaign hard right to the very end to convince independent and non-aligned voters to support you could be the difference between receiving that State's electoral college vote or watching your opponent walk off with them.

Her fifth advantage is this is the first time a woman has a legitimate chance at becoming President.  In 2008 when Barack Obama was nominated the voter turnout of African Americans on election day hit record highs.  They came out in droves and contributed greatly to what became a landslide for President Obama.  The same is probably going to happen this time.  Even amongst women who do not like Ms. Clinton she will probably receive their votes.  I am certain that the women of the US realize the historic potential of the moment, that it might not come again for a long while and they will come out in force to try to make history.  That 103 year old women from earlier in the week who stated she is really exited that she will be able to vote for a women for President is only the tip of the iceberg.

Her sixth advantage is she is the only candidate that the "establishment" can really back.  In past elections the two parties have always nominated presidental candidates that were acceptable to the "establishment" so it divided along partisan lines and no one candidate received a clear advantage.  That is not the case this time.  The "establishment" craves continuity and Hillary Clinton virtually guaratees that.  This advantage will manifest itself over the next three month as Conservative and Liberal think tanks will publish op-ed pieces in major publications, on line and on TV talk shows warning of the dangers of a Trump presidency and extolling the virtues of Hillary Clinton.  It will be subtle and relentless.  What will not be so subtle but still just as relentless will be the treatment of Donald Trump by the MSM.  It is all owned by representatives of the "estblishment" so they will do what they can to prevent a Trump victory.  This advantage will really frost the balls of those on both the left and right who want to see the status quo changed, who want nothing more than revolution. However, it should be noted that revolutions never come from the ballot box so you should not expect it to be any different this time.

Her seventh advantage is she is competent.  She will probably be able to do the job. Despite the hype we see in the US media I am certain that the majority of Americans are like the majority of Canadians and citizens of other democracies. They want leaders who they believe will not wreck their country and/or make life more difficult for them.  It is a safe bet that Hillary Clinton will meet those two criteria while it is an open question as to whether the same can be said about Donald Trump.

The one aspect where she is equal to Donald Trump is her level of unpopularity.  Americans do not seem to like either one.  In the end it will probably be a wash.

Her one disadvantage is that there is a desire for change in the United States.  You can ask Stephen Harper (if you can find him) what that can mean to a politician.  However, you can also ask Tim Hudak if that was enough when he tried to bring down the Ontario Liberals. The desire for change can be a strong motivator but if voters do not like the change that is presented to them they will play it safe.  Again, I will point to Stephen Harper.  He won two elections, in 2008 and 2011, despite the fact there was a desire for change and the fact he was not well liked even by many who voted for him.  However, enough Canadian voters decided on both occasions that he and his government were competent enough and that the change represented by the other guys was too much of a risk to change the government.

Donald Trump would be hard pressed to overcome even one or two of Hillary Clinton's advantages.  To overcome them all is probably an impossible task and that will likely result in Hillary Clinton being the next President of the United States.

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