Political campaigns are odd creatures: There’re born, grow like crazy, live in chaos, then die on a set date. Back in the late 1970’s, Republicans leaped a generation ahead of Democrats in the arts (from fundraising to communicating with voters) of nourishing these strange creatures.
But those days are gone.
At their convention in Philadelphia the Democrats have set out to reform Hillary Clinton not by denying her vices but by telling stories of her virtues: How she’s been a good mother, how as a mother she cares about children, and how, after 9/11, as a Senator she cared for victims.
That is not happenstance – it’s calculation: Virtually every Democratic speaker, from Michelle Obama to Elizabeth Banks, didn’t mention the word ‘mother’ by accident. And the calculation doesn’t end there – look at Hillary Clinton’s political ads. Her campaign has fixated on Independent voters, the ticket splitters who will decide the election.
Not only does Trump lack ads, the bombast in his speeches at rallies is alienating those same voters – Trump reinforces the thing about him that troubles Independents most.
Hillary’s campaign manager – without a shred of proof – accused the Russians of leaking the DNC emails to help Trump. It was an outrageous charge. Trump’s reaction: He called on the Russians to go a step further saying, Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails (deleted from Hillary’s private server) that are missing.
Clinton’s response? “This has to be the first time a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” said a Clinton advisor.
Donald Trump, in a large part, is the creature of the Republican base’s disillusionment with the Political Establishment in Washington. But it appears the Republican Establishment’s foibles go beyond governing – they include an inability to master the most fundamental needs of a political party in a democracy: The ability to communicate with voters and win a public debate to convince people to vote for a Republican candidate.