A certain species of fatalism has taken hold among our political classes in general and among Democrats in particular. The idea is that, because Trump has successfully broken so many of our rules — he dispatched a supposedly deep bench of GOP challengers while spending virtually nothing, and while blowing past norms that used to require candidates to adhere to some nominal standard of respect for facts and consistency — it must mean he has a chance at blowing apart the old rules in the general election, too.
And so, you often hear it suggested that Trump can’t be beaten on policy, since facts and policy positions no longer matter; that he is going to attack in “unconventional” ways, so there is more to be feared; that he may be able to ride Rust Belt working class white anger into the White House in defiance of demographic realities; and that he has some kind of magical appeal that Democrats fail to reckon with at their own extreme peril. I don’t mean to suggest Trump should be taken lightly or to denigrate those worries; I have on occasion shared them, too.
But what if this is all wrong? What if it turns out that Trump can be beaten with the relatively conventional argument that Clinton’s priorities and policies are better for a majority of Americans than his are, and with a more effective series of negative attacks on him than he is able to land on her? Maybe the world hasn't gone as crazy as the GOP primaries have made it seem.Gee, a campaign about issues and not personalities.
Instead we get personal attacks and salacious digs about his hands from the press and the world of pundits, who are so ill-informed that for months they thought he wore a toupee. The National Review called him an "ape" in its first account on his candidacy when he entered the race. Faux Philosopher George Will inferred that Trump is the town drunk, which is rather insulting considering it is well known that Trump's older brother, an alcoholic, steered Trump into a lifetime of sobriety. Perhaps Will reads only Cato.
The personal attacks do not work. All they do is make the race a referendum on Trump, with Trump as the victim.
Trump has had a campaign based on ideas: Building a wall and deporting illegal aliens to solve the border problem, re-negotiating free trade pacts, and balancing the budget with a one-time tax increase. But any new idea is considered blasphemy by the Conservative Commentariat that sits on its tax-exempt foundations and leisurely opines on capitalism. Whenever they start losing an argument they shout FREE MARKET, and then call you an ape. (Don't worry. My book in July takes care of the insider's club.)
The Donald beat the pundits who are stuck in the 1980s. Hillary and her 1960s liberalism are next.
Anyway, I praise Greg Sargent for acknowledging what should be obvious, but isn't to those in Washington.