By Mark Green
True, all pundits mis-overestimated the Republican base. But as the General Election de facto now begins, Shrum & Frum discuss Trump's cumulative "Joseph Welch" moment due to four re-enforcing events: Clinton's pounding, Trump U fraud of average people, attack on a "Mexican" judge, and media shift from complicit to critical. Then: We analyze trends and odds for anticipating Nov 8. And is an implosion more likely than a comeback?
Clinton-Trump Turning Point? We listen to Clinton tear the bark off Trump, citing his bizarre tantrums as termperamentally disqualifying him from being President and Commander-in-Chief. His response: "She's pathetic... a low-life... should go to jail." Q.E.D.
Shrum agrees that Clinton was very effective "at blending humor and critique in her San Diego speech" especially as contrasted with a GOP presumptive nominee "who has not made the pivot to a general election candidate." Frum views this from his own personal perspective: "I'm a target of her speech. If we look at a brick and plate glass window, do I want someone to throw the brick when I'll have to pay to clean up the glass? America has a lot more to lose from a bad president than a gain from a good one."
Shrum suggests that Clinton also needs a positive vision for her candidacy so that people can trust her as running "for a reason beyond just herself."
Then a consensus: a cumulative shift this week based on corroborating events that'll likely result in a 5-10 point Clinton win.
First -- beyond Hillary's haymaker -- they agree that, like Bain Capital to Romney, his Trump U. problem exposes an Achilles heel that proves him to be a "con man" (Romney) and "Cheating Donald" (Nader). Second, Trump's unhinged comments that a federal judge of Latino descent cannot fairly hear the Trump University case confirmed his explicit racism and disdain for the rule-of-law Third, his presser attacking the media for questioning his Veterans donations seemed to spark a change from treating him as an entertaining joke to a serious threat to our governing system, especially after he called journalists "disgusting, disgraceful, sleazy." Live by the sword...
Frum adds one footnote: Could the violent protests aimed at Trump supporters in San Jose enable him, as Nixon & Wallace did in 1968, to counter-attack against "thugs"? Bob adds that he's dismayed by "people deluded into thinking that psychic satisfaction is a political strategy" and hopes that Sanders and Clinton repeatedly denounce that approach.
Two final variables: Can credible ex-GOP-governors at the top of the Libertarian ticket potentially hurt the Republican nominee - yes IF they somehow get to the 15% test to get into the Fall debates. And mutual charges of "lies!" probably won't count for much given the content bias of each side that the other lies, even though Politifact added up its surveys and found that Trump said untrue things three-fourths of the time he spoke and, of 10 candidates reviewed, Clinton was the most honest.
Given a widespread hand-wringing among Clinton supporters because of close national polls, do Shrum-Frum agree with the Host's LATimes analysis this coming Tuesday that, based on trends and this particular pairing, she'd win easily? Bob concurs because "of Trump's obvious terrible temperament and the demographic corner he's painted himself into." But while he predicts a possible10 point margin, Frum thinks it'll be closer to a five point one.
Host: If the real comparison of Joseph Welch doesn't illuminate readers, please consider Elia Kazan's 1947 film, A Face in the Crowd. It follows a quick-talking entertainer who chats/sings his way on TV and Radio to enormous national popularity among working stiffs...until he betrays himself as a gifted charlatan. Did Trump this week conclusively show that he's an erratic bully without the record, experience, judgment to be President? Let's see what early week polls say......and then whether Trump can even stay as nominee and survive the backlash after being exposed as an erratic, bullying racist who could sink his party for a generation.
Bernie, Again. There's still a split whether Sanders should or will announce Tuesday/Wednesday that his successful insurgency was at a mathematical end, or keep pushing to gain more leverage in any talks about uniting before or at the Philadelphia Convention.
Explained Shrum: "Sanders is leading not just a campaign but a movement and he has to now say that he'll keeping fighting for votes to gain leverage to bargain for process and policy changes at the Convention.." Bob bets that he acknowledges the math and ends his attacks on his party's presumptive nominee shortly after Tuesday though some of his supporters won't be as acquiescent (Cornell West - how long after HRC's nomination will it take for him to hold a presser to denounce her for some heresy?) Frum's not so sure.
Host: Some positions are hardening as the contest comes to a close. Susan Saradon, an ardent Sanders supporter, announced that "Hillary is more dangerous than Trump" and she'd start a war in Iran in a few minutes as President (despite being influential supporter of the Iranian nuclear arms deal that aims to do the exact opposite). Justice Sarandon added that Hillary would be indicted over her email server. My friend Allen Roskoff, a Sanders delegate, was quoted in Politico as threatening to disrupt the Convention (like animal rights purists charging a Sanders stage this week, alarming Secret Service men?).
On the other side, one disgruntled Sanders supporter wrote that he thought his candidate was turning into a Tanya Harding who couldn't win her ice-skating competition so she encouraged others to knee-cap rival Nancy Kerrigan (which happened). http://bit.ly/1PdtUIy
And an African-American Sanders backer support thinks that it's white privilege and indulgence for Bernie Bros to hate-on Hillary because they won't suffer like minority Americans - especially deportable Hispanics -- if a person appealing to racism actually becomes president. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/06/05/the-white-entitlement-of-some-sanders-supporters.html
Best Prediction: Bern Bros today think it's "Bernie or Bust". Within the month they'll grudgingly agree it's "Clinton or Trump" and morally and politically wrong to make the perfect the enemy of the good.