Can Trump Beat Hillary?

Who knew?

W.J. Astore

You’ve seen the headlines: Can Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton?

The short answer: Of course he can.  And so can she beat him.

It’s a long time until November, and so much can (and will) happen between now and then.  But some obvious points about the volatility of this year’s presidential race:

1. Both candidates have high negatives. An NBC/Wall Street Poll suggests that 68% of voters doubt whether they could vote for Trump – and 58% of voters doubt they could vote for Hillary.  High negatives suggest lack of enthusiasm as well as antipathy.  Turned off by the candidates, many voters may simply stay home in November.  And that makes for a volatile race.

2. Trump is prone to gaffes. The man will say almost anything: Women seeking an abortion deserve to be punished.  Women reporters who challenge him are cranky from their period.  Mexican immigrants are thugs and rapists.  Muslims must be banned from the U.S.  Terrorists’ families should be hunted down and killed.  Protesters at his rallies should be punched and thrown out.  And on and on.  So far, Trump has been a Teflon candidate: His outlandish statements have not harmed him appreciably.  But how long before he says something equally offensive, or worse, as we head toward the general election this fall?

3. Trump’s business record. Trump University, anyone?  That trial should be interesting.  As lawsuits stalk Trump, how long before some past deal, either dodgy or dishonest, blows up in his face?

4. Hillary’s political record. Benghazi, anyone?  But potentially worse than Libya is the ongoing FBI investigation into Hillary’s emails.  Perhaps she’ll be cleared of wrongdoing, but the taint of wrongdoing will remain.  Indeed, a hint of scandal has always surrounded the Clintons – and it’s not just because of a “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

5. Hillary’s lack of political acumen: It’s hard to get enthusiastic about Clinton. Other than the fact she’d be the first female president (a big milestone, of course), there’s nothing new about her.  Consider her race against Bernie Sanders.  It was Bernie who drove the narrative.  It was Bernie who won the vote among the young, both male and female. Hillary is the staid old establishment.  When she raves, it’s about continuity.  But who wants continuity in America today?  What American is truly happy with the status quo (besides members of the establishment, of course)?

6. Wildcard events: Another 9/11-like attack. A bear market on Wall Street.  Wider conflict in the Middle East.  An incident with China in the Pacific.  A Russian move against Ukraine.  Will a crisis favor the “experience” of Clinton, or will people prefer Trump because “he gets things done” or “puts America first”?  As Yoda the Jedi Master says, “Difficult to see.  Always in motion the future.”

7. Finally, consider the fact that Bernie Sanders has run an issues-oriented campaign against Clinton. He hasn’t attacked her on her emails.  He’s left Bill Clinton’s past behavior out of the mix.  But just wait until the fall when the Republican attack dogs are unleashed.  Hillary is fond of saying she’s seen it all from Republicans, but with the stakes this high, I’m guessing there’s much she hasn’t seen.

So, yes, Trump can beat Clinton, and vice-versa.  The sorry fact is that regardless of which candidate wins, the country will be left with a deeply flawed leader who’ll be despised or disliked by more than half the electorate.

6 thoughts on “Can Trump Beat Hillary?

  1. I do not believe Mr. Trump said all illegal immigrants (undocumented aliens) are all criminals. It is a fact that the crimes committed by undocumented aliens is enormous, in the thousands over a short period of time. Also he did not say all Mexicans are rapists, etc. I think this article would have been better served if there were statistics on crime by undocumented aliens. Crime is a problem if you are the victim from an undocumented alien. Also he did not say he would ban all Moslems but only a pause in the process.

    Often overlooked is Hillary’s expertise in The Art of Enabling- (Bill’s many sexual imbroglios.)

    Neither Hillary Clinton nor Trump are ideal candidates, but this is the best our republic can produce. And as you say the country will be “left with a deeply flawed leader.” It is a shortcoming of the country that there are not more choices, real choices on the ballot. The duopoly has a political lock on the system, though most Americans may believe the two party system is adequate.

    We are a nation of immigrants. I do not believe Mr. Trump is denigrating all immigrants. It is a fact that this country despite its superpower mantle is unable to control its borders effectively for the security of the nation. So much is beyond the capacity of Democrats and Republicans (like passing effective legislation to prevent Wall Street meltdowns and making Medicare/Social Security financially solvent) one wonders how long these two political parties can monopolize the political system.


    1. The boundless cynicism of a Republican like Trump criticizing illegal immigration never ceases to amaze me. The Republican Party, as the wholly owned subsidiary of enormous corporate interests, absolutely loves illegal immigration for three interconnected reasons. First, illegal immigrants drive down wages for American workers, the principle goal of every American business. Second, since these imported foreign workers have no legal rights, they can be threatened with deportation if they do not passively submit to their own exploitation. Third, the very “foreign” nature of these exploited workers makes it easy for their corporate business exploiters to deflect the anger of unemployed American workers away from the businesses that have screwed them and onto the “culturally different” workers whom American business prefers to employ. A perfect example of the “divide, impoverish, deflect, and rule” strategy.

      Of course, the Republicans and their handmaiden Clinton “democrats” have also developed the legal-but-controllable immigrant worker tactic by issuing work-visas like the H1B permit, for example. Again, these foreign workers take good jobs from Americans, forcing desperate Americans to work in ever-more-menial service jobs — like bartenders, waitresses, supermarket check-out clerks, and security guards — for lower wages, fewer hours, and randomly changing shifts that make it impossible to find a second or third job to supplement the impossible-to-live-on piece-work employment so increasingly common in America today. And since the corporate-owned U.S. government can revoke the foreign work-visa at any time, these “documented” foreign workers can find themselves quickly deported should they attempt to join with other American workes in organizing for Laor rights in America. So, whether “illegal” or “legal,” the critical labor issues remain those of control and exploitation, and the Republicans together with their handmaiden Clinton “democrats” excel at both.

      Of course, if the Republicans and their handmaiden Clinton “democrats” really wanted to eliminate “illegal immigration” they could easily do so by making it a crime for any business to hire them. A little jail time for business owners as well as a stiff “Labor Tax” assessed against any business that hires illegal immigrants would quickly and effectively solve the “problem.” But the “problem” remains unsolved because American business absolutely loves and thrives on the “problem” of illegal — and even managed “legal” — immigration. This ersatz “problem” exists because the American Corporate State wants it to exist and has engineered its existence for the three interconnected reasons I mentioned above. This “problem” has served to eviscerate the Amerian working class economically and neuter it politically, while fabulously enriching billionaire frauds like Republican Donald Trump and those “democrats” like the Clintons who only aspire to join their rarified ranks.

      Nothing will change for the better for American workers until they organize a National Labor Party capable of denying political office — and the corrupt riches that go with it — to either Republicans or Democrats or both. I find it instantly risible that a billionaire Republican fraud like Donald Trump can present himself as one who gives a shit about American workers and their lost jobs. I find it only slightly less laughable that a nouveau-riche “democratic” parvenu like You-Know-Her can claim to care for American workers, either. As her husband Bubba Bill has always sneered at the enfeebled labor base of his own party: “They have nowhere else to go.” The time has long since passed for American workers to find somewhere else to go. The Republican/Democrat duopoly offers no avenue of escape from their neo-freudal serfdom.


      1. As an addendum in support of the analysis I have offered above, consider the following extended excerpt from George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier:

        “… It greatly confuses the issue to assume … that social status is determined solely by income. Economically, no doubt, there are only two classes, the rich and the poor, but socially there is a whole hierarchy of classes, and the manners and traditions learned by each class in childhood are not only very different but – and this is the essential point – generally persist from birth to death [emphasis added]. Hence the anomalous individuals that you find in every class of society. … you find petty shopkeepers whose income is far lower than that of the bricklayer and who, nevertheless, consider themselves (and are considered) the bricklayer’s social superiors; you find board-school boys running Indian provinces and public school men touting vacuum cleaners. If social stratification corresponded precisely to economic stratification, the public-school man would assume a cockney accent the day his income dropped below £200 a year. But does he? On the contrary, he immediately becomes twenty times more Public School than before. He clings [emphasis added] to the Old School Tie as to a life-line. And even the [“H”-less] millionaire, though sometimes he goes to an elocutionist and learns a B.B.C accent, seldom succeeds in disguising himself as completely as he would like to. It is in fact very difficult to escape from the class into which you have been born [emphasis added].

        As prosperity declines, social anomalies grow commoner. You don’t get more millionaires [who can’t pronounce their “h”s], but you do get more and more public-school men touting vacuum cleaners and more and more small shopkeepers driven into the workhouse. Large sections of the middle class are being gradually proletarianized; but the important point is that they do not, at any rate in the first generation, adopt the proletarian outlook. Here am I, for instance, with a bourgeois upbringing and a working-class income. Which class do I belong to? Economically, I belong to the working class, but it is almost impossible for me to think of myself as anything but a member of the bourgeoisie. And supposing I had to take sides, whom should I side with: the upper class which is trying to squeeze me out of existence, or the working class whose manners are not my manners? It is probable that I personally would side with the working class. But what about the tens or hundreds of thousands of others who are in approximately the same position? And what about that far larger class, running into millions this time – the office-workers and the black-coated employees of all kinds – whose traditions are less definitely middle class but who certainly would not thank you if you called them proletarians? All of these people have the same interests and the same enemies as the working class. All are being robbed and bullied by the same system. Yet how many of them realize it? When the pinch came nearly all of them would side with their oppressors and against those who ought to be their allies. It is quite easy to imagine a middle class crushed down to the worst depths of poverty and still remaining bitterly anti-working class in sentiment; this being, of course, a ready made Fascist Party.”

        Cynical Republican party frauds like Donald Trump clearly understand — and count on — what Orwell had to say here. More importantly, though, Democtatic Party frauds like You-Know-Her either don’t understand or could care less. The Republican fraud Donald Trump may or may not win the U.S. Presidency in November, but I have no doubt that fraudulent Republican Party Trumpism — i.e., neo-fascism — will.


  2. “A Russian move against Ukraine.” ?????????

    This comment truly amazes me. I can’t believe I actually read it.

    Anyone who knows anything about Russia today understands that the Russian people want as little as possible to do with Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has great support among the Russian population — especially among the million ethnic Russians refugees driven out of their homes in east Ukraine by the neo-nazi thugs installed in Kiev by the U.S. and NATO — but he has no mandate for involving Russia in Ukraine other than keeping hostile NATO military forces out that country and away from Russia’s borders. Other than that national security issue, which includes some low-level, self-defense weaponry for the ethnic Russians defending their homes and communites in east Ukraine, the place can rot in its own corrupt sewer as far as the Russian people care.

    What “move” against Ukraine? Against NATO forces in Ukraine, perhaps? Well, you bet your ass. But one has to separate Ukraine as a failed state from U.S. and NATO military forces threatening Russia’s borders. The U.S. will get WWIII if it does anything so insane as trying to militarize Ukraine as a way of undermining Russian national security. The Russians do not want a fight in Ukraine or anywhere else along their borders; but they won’t run from a fight, either, should the U.S. and NATO stupidly insist on starting one. And after fifteen years of losing two wars against barely armed nobodies in Iraq and Afghanistan — and now, Syria, the U.S. military ought to think long and hard — if one can even associate “thinking” with the U.S. military — before starting a fight with the Russians in their own neighborhood. Most likely the U.S. will get nothing but a humiliating rout, should it try.

    The corrupt oligarchs and neo-nazi thugs — along with a few U.S.-installed moron “technocrats” like recently resigned Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (or “Yats, as neocon Clinton underling Victoria Nuland called her pet choice for running Ukraine) — have made such a mess of the country that no one in Europe wants to bail them out any more than the Russians do. And when the U.S. taxpayers learn how many billions of dollars their own government has flushed down that bottomless drain thanks in large part to former Secretary of State You-Know-Her, I suspect that the political repercussions will claim quite few scalps — and deservedly so.

    The Russians know everything about the Ukraine and its forty-six million people. They have grown sick and tired of subsidizing Ukraine’s bankrupt economy run by a pack of theiving oligarchs. They will protect their strategic naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea and try and help out the ethnic Russian population still suffering from neo-nazi shelling and economic blockade, but other than that, the Ukrainians can get out of their own mess if they can. Americans, on the other hand, don’t know doodley squat about Ukraine and have no business there anyway. But should Americans permit their bungling, belligerent government to intrude where it doesn’t belong, they will deserve anything and everything nasty that happens as a result.

    What “Russian move on Ukraine”?


    1. Mike: As you know, my brief article was written from the perspective of the Washington Establishment, which sees any Russian involvement in Ukraine as meddling (at best), and which pumps up Putin as the next Stalin in a resurgence of the Cold War. From this perspective, I can see the possibility of a pumped up “crisis” with Russia, involving Ukraine, later this year, together with lots of posturing by Trump and Hillary about who’ll be tougher on Putin.


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