Tuesday 11 October 2016

Clever Strategy vs Desperate Tactics: Hillary Clinton Allows Donald Trump To Survive The Second Presidential Debate.

He's Behind You! By declining numerous opportunities to take the “kill shot” against her Republican opponent, Clinton ensured that Donald Trump emerged from the debate with just enough credit to keep his candidacy alive. Had she comprehensively trounced Trump, it’s just possible that the Donald’s already fractured ego would have disintegrated completely, causing him to resign his candidacy. That is the last thing the Clinton Campaign wants.
THE SECOND US PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE demonstrated brilliantly the difference between strategy and tactics. Hillary Clinton’s performance was all about the political needs of the next 30 days. Donald Trump was fighting for his life.
By declining numerous opportunities to take the “kill shot” against her Republican opponent, Clinton ensured that Trump emerged from the debate with just enough credit to keep his candidacy alive. Had she comprehensively trounced Trump, the panic in the Republican camp would only have gotten worse. The calls for Trump’s replacement would have become deafening, and it’s just possible that the Donald’s already fractured ego would have disintegrated completely.
This is the last thing the Clinton Campaign wants. Their strategic objective is to keep Trump in the race. They are confident that he has already done more than enough to lose the presidency. What they are hoping for now is that in the remaining 30 days of the campaign Trump will do enough to deliver the Senate – and maybe even the House of Representatives – to the Democratic Party.
Considerations of strategy were nowhere near the top of Trump’s mind. His campaign was bleeding copiously and unless he staunched the blood-flow it would very soon be dead. His only tactical option was to hurl everything he had at Clinton and hope that the sheer intensity of his assault would break him out of the rapidly tightening cordon of condemnation strangling his bid for the White House.
In this he was reasonably successful. His combative performance, aimed directly at his electoral base, was just enough to hold these white, male, working-class voters in place. It was also enough to remind even his most vociferous Republican detractors of how he got to be their party’s nominee. On the issue of Clinton’s insider status, and especially on the vexed question of her deleted e-mails, Trump’s gloves definitely connected with Hillary’s jaw.
But he did not knock her out. On the contrary, in the course of delivering his wild rhetorical blows, Trump unwittingly extended the Clinton Campaign’s strategic advantage. His threat to use the powers of the presidency to put Clinton “in jail” is without precedent in US political history, recalling the very worst excesses of the Nixon White House. The Democrats will undoubtedly offer up Trump’s threat as further proof of his utter unfitness for America’s highest office.
His repudiation of his vice-presidential running-mate’s, Mike Pence’s, statements about Syria will also rebound to the Democratic Party’s advantage. Trump’s eagerness to work with the Russians (ostensibly to “defeat Isis”) reinforces the growing concern among American voters that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, will stop at nothing (not even hacking into the Democratic Party’s and Clinton’s confidential computer files) to prevent “Hawkish Hillary” from becoming President of the United States.
Between now and 8 November, Clinton’s campaign team will use Trump’s words to consolidate their candidate’s gains among disillusioned Republican and independent voters in the dozen or so “swing states” she must win to secure the 270 votes needed in the Electoral College. The Democratic Party’s strategic symphony, portraying Trump as a “clear and present danger” to the constitutional liberties of the American people, will build relentlessly to a crushing crescendo.
With CNN’s scientific poll of debate-watcher’s declaring Clinton the winner of the second presidential face-off by a margin of 23 percentage points (Clinton: 57 percent – Trump: 34 percent) Hillary’s victory march just got a whole lot louder.
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Monday, 10 October 2016.


Nick J said...

I watched. Trump came across as a clown. Hillary came across as the criminal she is, as per Trumps jail shot. I read bugger all into the "scientific assessment" or polls, all fully paid up by the status quo.

We at the periphery of empire are witnessing the sordid decline of what in 1945 was an admirable friend and ally. What this means to NZ is unclear with a Trump win. A likely Hillary win will mean that we will be forced into TPPA, aligned against China and Russia economically and militarily. Worse as Gorbachev (no great lover of Putin) stated in a recent interview the US is engaged under this Secretary of State in nuclear brinksmanship.

There is as Kunstler this week pointed out a (tarnished) silver lining to whoever wins. They will likely preside impotently over the greatest economic clusterfuck in history. We in NZ wont escape this but being at a distance in our own stormy seas may be a blessing.

My prescription: skipper our own boat, fiercely neutral, independent friends to all. That will however require the removal of Satrap John and the rebuild of NZ for all NZers and economically for NZers only. Free global trade yes, globalised financial slavery never. And the latter are who own Hillary.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Nick J

If you can't back up your claim that Hillary Clinton is a "criminal" with something resembling evidence (like a record of her conviction in an American court for something more serious than a parking ticket) then you will be permanently banned from this site.

I am not going to tolerate AltRight slander on Bowalley Road. If you can't disagree with someone without criminalising them, then you are not welcome here - ever.

manfred said...

Chris, Nick J is one of our nicest posters. Which is quite refreshing in a sea of some posters going on and on and on about immigration and someone trying to push their Thatcherite version of social credit in every.single.post without exception. If you tolerate the overt racism of jh but tell Nick J off for floating a conspiracy theory that many reasonable people have fallen victim too, then you are operating a double standard. And I say this as a passionate Hillary supporter.

Polly said...

Trump is, amongst other things, a draft dodger, bigot, racist and a outrageous liar and I would spit on him.
I fervently hope that Hillary beats him.
However I believe he is right about the Russians, Assad and Syria and so do millions of other people.
Should she become the President then America needs to change tack in Syria otherwise the world will move into a extreme danger zone.

Ripper said...

I watched the debate yesterday. Trump at his nasty best.

What we hear from Trump throughout this campaign is not much different from a white working class old piss-head at about 11.30pm on a Friday night at a Cossie Club.

Ill-considered nonsense that you realise on Saturday morning was just groundless piss-head bullshit.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Somebody was explaining to me that Trump can't actually withdraw within 30 days of the election. It's technical, but they can't actually replace him within that time limit, because the formalities actually need longer than that. Not only that of course but some people have already voted – many people have already voted. So I don't know how that would play out if Trump were replaced. Whether in fact that is what would happen in practice I don't know, because if he dropped dead I assume he would have to be replaced. But that's the theory. So I suspect that Trump just got better, and Hillary pretty much stayed the same. After all, the only way for Trump pretty much was up. :)
It all might get a bit complicated anyway, talking about criminality – because Trump is under investigation for various things that may well be considered fraud. Which if elected, could lead to his impeachment? (I guess if he is not elected it doesn't really matter.) In which case we end up with a not quite so nutty but much more ruthlessly fundagelical Pence. Who might stand a better chance against Clinton, but personally I would sooner have Trump simply because he's an unknown factor, and Pence has a record which I despise. So goodbye to Roe V Wade for a start. And Planned Parenthood. And economic prosperity for ordinary people.
But let's face it, Clinton should win. If she can't when after all this, then she should never have been in politics to begin with.

Nick J said...

On the principle of guilty until proven innocent in a court of law I will withdraw. I will say however "in my opinion" which incidentally I share with others such as Galloway and Tariq Ali. Ask the same of the dead in Iraq Syria and Lybia.

So adieu Chris, I will leave your site. By the way this AltRight crap: by your own standards put up or shut up. Look in the mirror.

Tony Richards - freedom advocate. said...

Chris, what do you think the 'kill shot' from Clinton could have been, if she had used one, just speculating here?

Chris Trotter said...

To: Nick J.

Apologies for the hair-trigger response Nick J. It was over-the-top. Trump and his ilk have really got me spooked and I took it out on you.

Please return to the battlefront and keep firing.

Nick J said...

Thanks Chris. Apologies for my hair trigger reply. Our real job? Beating both of the bastards.

greywarbler said...

Hey hey. Chris you are right and Nick J was an over-bitter-hitter and wallowing in hyperbole, but please a warning this time. Nick J is a good poster, I always enjoy reading his stuff. Can his apology be accepted? And Nick J don't get too dark, we need to keep hoping and working. Your analysis sounds possible, but let's keep thinking how to go round the obstacle.

The way you explain the USA situation is interesting Chris. Keeping cool, calm and carrying on allowing Trump to drown in his own spittle!

greywarbler said...

Sorry Chris I didn't read to the end. My bad. Just throw away my words if you will. I have plenty more!

David Stone said...

Hi Chris
At first I thought the whole 90 minutes was going to be on Trump's tragic adolescent boasting , Mrs Clinton partook a generous helping of the delicious fallout , and then after a brief foray into his foolish counter of her husband's escapades, claimed " When they go low you (I ) go high " only she had left it a bit late.
Though mercifully it did move on it never climbed out of mindless trivia till Syria came up , and Syria ought to be completely dominating this presidential contest because it could be that how the next US president handles this mess that their predecessors have made will change the world as we know it. Some observers think the wrong next move by the US presidency may end it. I wondered when Mike Pence's statement on Syria was reported how it would fit with Trump's view ,and was not at all surprised by his instant clear disagreement , I expect Pence's earlier statement was deliberately made to push Trump into a position that the republican establishment knew he disagreed with, and he wasn't having a bar of it.
Hillary on the other hand said clearly she still want's to impose a "no fly zone " over Aleppo . No one asked her, not even Trump though he should have , if she imagined that Putin and Assad would meekly comply and Just let American planes fly around bombing who they chase to instead, or whether she thinks they would not comply but retaliate, and shoot down her invading airforce. And if the latter then what would (will) she do next ? And what will they do next? And what will she do then? And what will they do then . Night night.
Cheers David J S

P S I bet the democrats have been keeping that 10 yr old Trump embarrassment tape for when it was needed, just before wiki leaks emails started to arrive.

Dennis Frank said...

Re the Hillary/criminal thing, normal usage of the term is a person convicted of a crime, so Chris was right to complain. Nick was using the term loosely, seems to me, to refer to her having broken the law in respect of her privatising her official emails. I agree with Nick that she may have broken the law, but the traditional principle of justice applies: innocent until proven guilty.

Trump's eleven-year-old male chauvinist rant seems to have collapsed his poll rating substantially, but he ought to maintain resolve & pretend that he's matured since then. I'm no longer able to prefer he wins - he really does seem a man of little substance - and I've drifted into sympathy with those who see the woman as the lesser of the two evils. Either way, no good will come of this election. Putin has never been luckier.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

According to John Oliver, if Clinton broke the law with her emails so did just about every other president/Secretary of State. I'm not her greatest fan, but she has been investigated to the hilt and not prosecuted. As I said, Trump is more likely to be facing criminal charges.
Anyway, I'm having far more fun watching stuff like this.


And of course the inimitable Samantha Bee, wondering why all we get is 7 Days, which on a good day is pretty good, but played more for laughs than politics.

Victor said...

I'm not a Hillary fan either, although I would certainly prefer her to Trump.

But I can't see that she necessarily had any nefarious motives for privatising her emails. If she had, I've missed it.

Nor can I exclude the possibility that(as someone almost as ancient as me) she might be a total duffer online and not have been fully aware of the enormity of what she was doing.

There again, given the office to which she's aspiring, her poor judgment of such matters might be even more of a cause of concern than any nefarious intent.

OMG! Imagine a befuddled Reagan transported through time to the internet age!

Victor said...

On the subject of Chris's objections (now withdrawn) to Nick J's earlier post, both Hillary and Bill have been investigated time and time again (probably more than any other figures in US political history).

It started more than four decades ago when Bill was the "Boy Governor" of Arkansas and Hillary was viewed by conservative locals as "Hell in an Alice Band", Bill's original crime probably being that, as a kid from the wrong side of the track, he had simply no business being in the gubernatorial mansion.

Vast amounts of public and private funding have since been thrown at probes into this unlovely pair's alleged machinations. But very little has ever come to light apart from Bill's erotic shennnanigins.

So I think it's right to object to comments that assume Hillary's criminality to be axiomatic. Even so, I'm glad Nick J is allowed to keep on posting here.

David Stone said...

The claim is that the reason for her using a private server was, and has been for previous secretaries of state, that private emails can be erased , whereas mail through the proper official state server , while secret and protected ,are on permanent record and can be accessed in the future by competent authority if need be.

Bushbaptist said...

Interesting viewpoint:


greywarbler said...

So imagine - Ronald Reagan (Homer Simpson like) being advised by his Security Advisor: Now don't touch that red button!
Reagan: You mean this one. Oh damn, what happens now?

greywarbler said...

I had a look at that link put up by Bush Baptist and it refers to the strategy of triangulation. I hadn't heard of this and if some also haven't here is the link that took me to the site. I haven't read it yet so don't know how explanatory it is but offer it here and will come back to it myself when I have time later. I expect it will be as useful and relevant as BushB's link was.

Victor said...

David Stone

My younger techy pals tell me that Hillary had no absolute guarantee that she could remove all trace of the disputed emails, although, I accept, she might have believed that she had. .

But please don't ask me to defend the above point with detailed reference to technology. I'm too ancient and need to rely on the opinions of others.

Dennis Frank said...

Those sites are merely engaging pseudo-triangulation, which is when contenders mis-use the concept to mislead others. A triangle has three points, the third being unrelated to the polarity of the other two - which is the key point. I didn't see any reference to any third option. Just a ruse to mask the old polarity while recycling it. Blair's third way was a similar deceit.

When both political polarities are wrong, the clever player rejects them and chooses a genuine third option whether it be independent, non-aligned, or something new. That's why the Greens adopted `neither left nor right, but in front' more than 30 years ago.

Charles Pigden said...

Dennis Frank writes (I presume taking the viewpoint of a PR consultant) 'Trump's eleven-year-old male chauvinist rant seems to have collapsed his poll rating substantially, but he ought to maintain resolve & pretend that he's matured since then.' The problem with this is that it is not a very plausible thing to say. 'In those days i was a mere callow youth of sixty, but now that I am a mature man of seventy I see that this kind of sexist locker-room talk is regrettable. That was me then, but this is me now. You can do a lot of growing up between sixty and seventy!' Somehow as a line of patter it does not quite wash.

Victor said...


Hopefully, Nancy would have intervened. She seems to have been running the show for much of Ron's second term, with a bit of help from her astrologer.

The qualitative decline in the US Presidency during my lifetime has been extraordinary.

I missed out (just) on FDR but dimly remember Harry Truman, that quintessential 'Everyman', with the wisdom and maturity of someone who'd experienced more than his share of common place adversity.

Ike and JFK were both, to my mind, far superior to most of their successors and I suspect that LBJ's memory would now be deeply revered, had he not listened to the siren song of the military and the "brightest and best" on his NSC.

And then came a crook, followed by a whole string of third-raters or worse, with Obama possibly an exception, though the jury's still out on him.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"You can do a lot of growing up between sixty and seventy!"

Love it. And as more complaints are coming out, and some of them go back into his 30s – we could suggest that he didn't do much growing up between 30 and 60 either.

Dennis Frank said...

You're right, Charles. I was being satirical. Trump does strike me as surprisingly immature. But the thing is, it works for the crowd he's playing to. I assumed he'd realise he has to go beyond them & demonstrate gravitas to win the center as well. He seems to not grasp this necessity.

Re her astrologer, Victor, I have a copy of Joan Quigley's book about it. She did the scheduling of all the important meetings for Ron - primarily those summits with Gorbachev. I suspect her expertise in getting the timing right contributed to their success in bringing the Cold War to a close as much as the personal chemistry between the two leaders. Needless to say, given the general tendency of astrologers to be delusional, I don't expect any reader to agree!

I rate Eisenhower (too young to have observed Truman) for his public warning about the military/industrial complex and its looming threat to democracy. Unusual authenticity from a mainstream pillar of the establishment! Probably the last time a US president exercised his moral authority in an appropriate timely way...

Obama, definitely third-rate. Still I suppose one cannot prevail against one's controllers and I ought not to be so critical.

Victor said...

Dennis Frank

My memories of Truman don't go beyond watching him on a newsreel of what must have been the 1952 Democratic Convention, viewed on a nine inch TV screen in postwar suburban London.

It's memorable to me because my old man used it as an occasion to interfere in my education, pointing out Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt and Adlai Stephenson and filling me in on the background.

I suspect that my father saw "Give 'em hell Harry" as an exemplar of the ordinary man who does his best in a role he'd never asked for, just like so many during those years.

Ike could have had the nomination of either party in 1952 and, at one point, Truman tried persuading him to run on the Democratic ticket. The ex Commander-in-Chief was a natural centrist and became a promoter of inter-state highways and of the massive expansion of higher education.

He thoroughly disliked his Vice President, loathed Joe McCarthy and, in 1956, briefly considered running for re-election as a Democrat. Such was his prestige that he'd probably have won.

Victor said...

Dennis Frank

As far as Obama is concerned, I wouldn't judge him too harshly, given the declining potency of the federal administration in every sphere other than making war.

Between the markets, the lobbies, the deep pockets of a resurgent plutocracy,the 24/7 news cycle and the media-inflated idiocies of right-wing populism, there isn't much space for promoting significant domestic change.

Similarly, in foreign policy, it's hard to define what success would look like, given a multi-polar world and the shadowy but potent threat of non-state actors.

In some senses, it was a whole lot simpler when the job primarily consisted of defeating Hitler or containing Stalin and his heirs. And the job's been made significantly harder by the unprecedented collapse of US "soft power" under the atrocious "W" administration.

That said, the "Imperial Presidency" was essentially FDR's own genially imperious creation. Some of his predecessors were figures of substance (including, notably, his Republican cousin, Teddy). But the norm was respectable mediocrity (e.g. Rutherford B Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, Chester Arthur or Calvin Coolidge).

So maybe we're just returning to "normalcy", with Obama, in my estimation, slightly better than normal.

Victor said...


I've never made the mistake of growing up but can't imagine ever behaving so grossly.

Nor, I suspect, can you.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Victor. I've been following this with much interest and just a touch of schadenfreude. What really gets me other people who keep saying it's just locker room talk. As if it makes a difference whether he grabs them by the pussy or by the vagina. But this is simply the entitlement of the rich and powerful. You will notice that none of the women that he abused were on anything like the same level as himself.

Victor said...


And his comments about and to the Venezualan beauty queen were a classic example of a privileged person mocking one who was less so.

The guy's just a s..mbag.

I understand and to a great extent sympathise with the current rage against the establishment. But there must be a better vessel for it than this.