Back in the Presidential Prediction Business

After a week in which the media has gone apoplectic over Trump saying Obama was a founder of ISIS, I was finally able to get some clues as to what is actually going on in Trump’s head.  First it should be noted that the entire kerfuffle is all Media generated.  When Hillary Clinton said that Trump was “the recruiting sergeant for ISIS” a few months ago, there were no equivalent media spasms that Clinton has gone too far. Instead Trump had to explain how he wasn’t recruiting for ISIS.  But of course there is no point in once again pointing out the biased coverage against any generic Republican nominee.  They have all been racist, sexist, homophobes who are literally Hitler.  But what makes Trump different is that the media has always pretended to be “objective.”  Now, they’ve taken off the gloves and admitted it’s impossible to be objective.

The New York Times columnist Jim Rutenberg made that point clear in last Sunday’s column:

“If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?

Because if you believe all of those things, you have to throw out the textbook American journalism has been using for the better part of the past half-century, if not longer, and approach it in a way you’ve never approached anything in your career. If you view a Trump presidency as something that’s potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional. That’s uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, non opinion journalist I’ve ever known, and by normal standards, untenable.

But the question that everyone is grappling with is: Do normal standards apply? And if they don’t, what should take their place?”

Clearly it’s laughable that the media thinks it’s been objective the whole time, and only now, in 2016, is that wavering.  But this is a signal I think to the rest of the MSM, that it’s time to pull out all the stops and sabotage Trump by any means necessary.  After all, if you could go back in time and take out Hitler before he became chancellor, wouldn’t you?  That seems to be the media’s position on Trump; stop him at all costs.  What are journalistic ethics compared to stopping “literally Hitler?”

But I say that just to point out the media environment that Trump is facing.  Getting back to my main point, I think I’ve figured Trump out (or at least a part of how he thinks).  A few weeks ago I wrote a post about predictions and said this regarding this year’s Presidential race:

“So when it comes to predicting this year’s race…I’m out.  I think Trump could win if his campaign confiscates his twitter account, keeps him on a steady diet of prepared speeches, and Muslims continue to be Muslim.  However all of the default conditions that make me think the Democrats have a natural advantage in Presidential years are still in play. “

But now I’ve got a clue to how Trump thinks, so I think I feel comfortable in actually making a prediction.  A few days ago on the Hugh Hewitt Show there was this interesting exchange between Hewitt and Trump regarding the “Founder of ISIS” situation:

HH: Well, that, you know, I have a saying, Donald Trump, the mnemonic device I use is Every Liberal Really Seems So, So Sad. E is for Egypt, L is for Libya, S is for Syria, R is for Russia reset. They screwed everything up. You don’t get any argument from me. But by using the term founder, they’re hitting with you on this again. Mistake?

DT: No, it’s no mistake. Everyone’s liking it. I think they’re liking it. I give him the most valuable player award. And I give it to him, and I give it to, I gave the co-founder to Hillary. I don’t know if you heard that.

HH: I did. I did. I played it.

DT: I gave her the co-founder.

HH: I know what you’re arguing…

DT: You’re not, and let me ask you, do you not like that?

HH: I don’t. I think I would say they created, they lost the peace. They created the Libyan vacuum, they created the vacuum into which ISIS came, but they didn’t create ISIS. That’s what I would say.

DT: Well, I disagree.

HH: All right, that’s okay.

DT: I mean, with his bad policies, that’s why ISIS came about.

HH: That’s…

DT: If he would have done things properly, you wouldn’t have had ISIS.

HH: That’s true.

DT: Therefore, he was the founder of ISIS.

HH: And that’s, I’d just use different language to communicate it, but let me close with this, because I know I’m keeping you long, and Hope’s going to kill me.

DT: But they wouldn’t talk about your language, and they do talk about my language, right?

HH: Well, good point. Good point. 

 

And that is when I had my epiphany. These are not gaffes or slips of the tongue.  Trump is deliberately using language that can be construed in the worse possible way in order to generate publicity.  With decades of experience at being a celebrity, he has taken to heart the publicist adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity.  And in terms of generating publicity, he’s been an outstanding success if you count it by minutes of airtime or lines of copy in print.  Certainly there would have been zero media coverage discussing poor decisions by the Obama administration leading to the creation of ISIS without Trump.  Getting those issues out there and forcing a hostile media to talk about issues they don’t want to discuss is also a success.

However in politics, that isn’t reflected in the polls.  Kanye West is great at generating publicity for him, but at the cost of it being almost uniformly bad publicity.  This may be a great strategy for getting on Page 6, but it’s a terrible one if your goal is to win a general election.  So my reason for not making a prediction on the election earlier was because I thought that Trump could easily fix his problems; stop attacking other Republicans, stick to prepared speeches and stump speeches, ease off twitter, and his polling would go back up because after all, people really don’t like Hillary Clinton and would love for an excuse not to vote for her.  But Trump thinks that generating unfavorable publicity is the ticket to success, and as long as he both thinks and acts like it is, Hillary Clinton is the next President.

God help us all, as her vengeance will be mighty!

 

 

Advertisements