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September 08, 2015

Polls: Sanders Leads Hillary by Nine In NH; But Joe Biden Beats Sanders Nationally; But Trump Beats All Democrats Nationally

Sanders ahead of Clinton by 9 in NH.

Furthermore, Sanders has closed on her in Iowa:

In Iowa, Clinton maintains her previous advantage over Sanders -- but her lead has declined from 24 points in July (49 percent to 25 percent) to 11 points (38 percent to 27 percent); Biden sits at 20 percent.

Meanwhile, the Silver Flame of Scranton, Joltin' Joe Biden has groped and inappropriately nuzzled his way into the bosom of the Democrat Party.

Joe Biden is up and Hillary Clinton is down in a new Monmouth University national poll of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters.

Support for the vice president is building as speculation grows about his potential entry into the 2016 presidential race, with 22 percent saying they'd back him. That's ahead of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who was picked by 20 percent. The difference is within the poll's plus or minus 5.3 percentage point margin of error.

Hillary Clinton has fallen from 52% to 42% -- inEVITAble no more.

Finally, in a SurveyUSA poll, Trump beats all Democrat candidates.

Note: I actually assume that several Republican candidates perform as well or better. Still, this one finding is notable, because it upsets the a primary talking point proffered against Trump: He can't win, he'll be destroyed by Hillary or any other Democrat.

It appears he wouldn't, at least per this one poll.

Drudge is headlining this poll from SurveyUSA, not only showing Trump beating Hillary by five (45-40) but also beating Joe Biden (44-42), Bernie Sanders (44-40), and Al Gore (44-41) in potential head-to-head matchups -- a remarkable turnaround from initial polling showing Hillary decisively beating Trump. As Drudge points out, perhaps the most surprising aspect of the poll is that Trump is polling at 25% of the black vote, a number Republicans haven’t seen for generations.

In other Trump news -- there is always Trump news -- Trump said something very very stupid, claiming that he had always "felt" as if he ad been in the military because he had attended a pricey military-themed boarding school as a youngster, and so had "dealt with those people."

Allah thinks that's pretty damn stupid and so do I, but then he makes this observation about the level of Outrageous Outrage people on the right feel about stupid, outragey statements.

But there’s one other important way Trumpmania is useful, and it's gotten overlooked in the attention to all of the other benefits I just listed: Trump has clarified how many of the outrages that sweep conservative media from day to day are based on true outrage and how many are purely opportunistic, seized on only because they’re useful in making a disfavored figure squirm. Whether it's a major gaffe to demean the hardships experienced by soldiers by comparing them to your rich-kid teenaged years at boarding school depends almost entirely on how establishment or populist you are, not on whether the comments themselves are offensive. If Jeb Bush had said this? Firestorm. If Scott Walker had said it? Big trouble, although more of the "why can't Walker get it together?" variety than the "this guy has utterly belittled America's finest" sort, and that’s purely because Walker is still well liked on the right. If Ted Cruz had said it? Actually, it's hard to imagine a speaker who chooses his words as carefully as Cruz saying something this absurd, but Cruz would be largely absolved just as Trump will be because he’s an outspoken populist. He's useful to the grassroots, therefore he gets a pass. The whole "outrage" game is being exposed as a fraud by Trump, a guy who's already committed -- and been absolved of -- more conservative heresies than a much-loathed RINO like Mitt Romney could commit in two lifetimes. That's good for the movement too. American politics, especially as practiced on the Internet, needs a higher tolerance for outrages. Maybe Trump will help generate that.

I think Allah suggests this but I would make it more explicit: While the Outrageyness of the grassgroots is silly and opportunistic, so too is the Outrageyness of the Establishment class, which every day hits new heights of hysteria in denouncing Trump as a heretic.

On this particular gaffe, the grassroots is guilty of the Friend or Foe hypocrisy AllahPundit speaks of; but the Establishment trots out its own Friend or Foe hypocrisies every day -- for example, many, many left-tending positions of the Establishment are justified on the basis that they'll "help win over moderates and independents."

But when Trump suggests that hedge fund managers could afford to pay more taxes, this is not absolved with the same "this will help win over moderates and independents" sort of Centrism Is Politically Cunning thinking; instead it tends to be denounced as a heresy which utterly strips the Trump candidacy of all conservative credibility (whatever that may be, at this late date).

Let's face it, a lot of the TruCons are now pretty much admitting all their former TruCon nonsense was just silly posturing, but at the same time, the people who used to point out that TruConism was just silly posturing are now adopting a hard TruCon posture themselves.

Part of the problem is that people just can't seem to admit any flaws of their own, or of their candidates. And admitting that makes life so much simper, and more honest.

This was in fact a stupid thing for Trump to say, and it is more evidence (if you needed any more) that he considers himself an All-Being, Master of Time, Space, and Dimension (in Steve Martin's words).

One can't really spin this as a positive, and one really shouldn't spin too hard to even make it less of a negative. It's a negative.

On the other hand: Can we all be grown up and admit that we all have flaws, and so do our candidates, and in the final analysis, there are few flaws which are absolutely disqualifying?

Everything on the internet -- including from those who pretend a sort of rational, #SmartPolitics analysis -- is always such jumped-up, This Is The Most Important Thing Ever nonsense. This hysterical overreaction lasts for a day or two, then a new Most Important Thing Ever thing is discovered, and the former Most Important Thing Ever is forgotten, and the hysterical shrieking beings about the new and forever Most Important Thing Ever.

It was a stupid thing for Trump to say. There's no spinning that. However, the implicit conclusion the Establishment wishes all to draw from it -- ...and therefore you could never so much as entertain the thought of voting for such a man -- is even stupider.

Anthony Weiner is an arrogant, strutting jackass of a philanderer and liar, and yet he would almost certainly be a better mayor of New York City than Bill DiBlasio.

It has become the standard insult lodged by the Establishment anti-Trump chorus at, for example, National Review, to say of this latest Trump outrage, And of course the Trump supporters won't care about this.

Well, hang on there, Buddies. Some Trump supporters do "care" about Trump's frequent descents into stupidity and pettiness. What you are actually accusing them of is not caring as much as you claim they should care.

By implication: How much you, yourself, care.

But the anti-Trumpians always claim that every Trump stupidity should always be cared about to the exact same extent -- to the extent they stop supporting Trump entirely, and look for a "more electable" candidate (even though that particular talking point now seems to be getting close to its expiration date).*

How about a little bit of honesty from the anti-Trumpians, like this: You do Not care about these Trump remarks as you claim, and you claim that such remarks are the sort of things that would flip a Trump supporter to a Trump opponent.

But in fact you never supported Trump, and so it's rather easy for you to claim that every single damn thing out of Trump's mouth is worth "caring" about so much as to flip support into hostile opposition.

In fact, I'd say it's more than easy -- I'd say it's hypocritical, phony, hysterical, and a touch dishonest.

For example: I "care" about this particular stupid thing Trump said to the exact same extent the Anti-Trumpers "care" about his alleged unelectability. Now that he appears to be electable, the Anti-Trumpers will not suddenly flip to being Trump supporters -- they didn't really care about that, they just thought other people ought to.

It's disingenuous to offer up arguments that are utterly irrelevant to one's own decision-making.

If a particular argument fails to move you yourself, you really shouldn't present it as some critical factor in any thinking person's decision-making.

Many on the establishment right are chiefly hostile to Trump on the basis of class-based disgust at him. Not only is he a boastful vulgarian (higher-class people do not proclaim their superiority; they instead suggest it by more subtle means), but he's also an immigration skeptic.

And there is no getting around this: The Establishment right is quite pro-amnesty, for a mix of reasons, including their inability to get past the idea that erecting any real barriers to immigration is "racist."

And to be racist is, of course, the worst sin a member of the Comfortable Class could be accused of; and so this is largely about establishing oneself as "not racist."

But it's considered a rather nasty remark on the right to go tossing about the "racist" charge at anyone who disagrees with your political position; and thus we have this alternative method of disqualifying Trump, by claiming every other thing he says must be completely disqualifying.

Eh, it at least keeps the "racist" charge under wraps, but at this point I think I'd rather have the honest but ugly argument that anyone who supports Trump or who wants to limit illegal immigration is a "racist" for whatever reason (and I'm curious to hear what those reasons actually are), than this continued polite-but-completely-dishonest game of trumping up every Trump remark into the So Bad It's Practically Racist and Thus Disqualifying category.

Let's have an argument, an actual out in the open argument, about the real issues at stake, instead of this never-ending game of trying to squelch disfavored ideas via the Buzzfeedy tactic of Uproar about everything.

As Peggy Noonan said, "America is in play." Meaning, everything taken as Sacred Dogma is now open to question. The old tactics, which usually hold, of just shouting things down as contrary to received dogma are useless at a time such as this.

* I don't think the candidate they have in mind is Jeb; I think the candidate they have in mind (to the extent they have one in mind) is probably Marco Rubio, who they view, wrongly, as an "acceptable compromise" between grassroots and Establishment, and polished, professional candidate to boot.

But he's not an acceptable compromise to many -- especially not if one of your top issues is ending illegal immigration.

And that sort of prioritization of issues' importance can't be argued about via a War of Gaffes, that is, just saying "Your guy said this dumb thing, so you must accept my prioritization of issues."

Of course that would never, ever work. Certainly none of Rubio's supporters dropped their support when the NYT reported some quite-real concerns about Rubio's billionaire patron.

The way to get people to accept your preferred policies and your preferred order of prioritization of issues is to actually talk about policies and prioritization, not engage in this silly, endless He Said a Dirty Word tattle-taling.

On America Being In Play, See Also... Michael Barone on the possibility of a major political realignment.

As I feel currently doomed to lose, forever, in the current alignment, I have little to fear and something to gain from a shake-up in the coalitions.

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posted by Ace at 01:48 PM

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