Burning Down The House

Ken AshfordElection 2016, PollsLeave a Comment

It should be easy, I hope, to understand my blog’s reliance on Twitter, rather than these more thoughtful posts.  It’s not because we live in a Twitter world where everything is reduced to sound bites (although, we do).  It’s because events move so incredibly fast this political season that there is no time to pause and realize exactly where we are.

Last Friday morning, for example, Trump made the incredible statement that the Central Park Five — five young black men who were accused, jailed and exonerated for a Central Park rape — were actually guilty, even though DNA evidence matched the known rapist who admitted to the crime.  Amazing.  Stunning that a presidential candidate would take this position in the absence of DNA evidence and common sense.  And yet, before anybody could digest that, there came the Access Hollywood tape of Trump admitting to sexual assault of women (and using bad language while making that admission).  And although that was widely covered, it was done breathlessly, because very soon we were into the debates.

So…… puff, puff, pant, pant…. here we are.

The effect of late last week on the race cannot be underestimated.  The tape destroyed Trump.  But he only made it worse.  Rather than do a heartfelt mea culpa (what I am sure was the Kellyanne Conway approach), Trump read unconvincingly from a prompter in a taped apology, within which he chastised Bill Clinton for being worse.

It did not work.

Recall how easily provoked he was with Hillary Clinton’s mere mention of Alicia Machado in the first debate (which seems like an eternity ago).  He doubled and tripled down on the attacks on her.  But that was nothing compared to how flustered and knocked senseless he was by the Access Hollywood “grab ’em by the pussy” tape.  By the time of the debate, Trump was full-on Breitbart.

He threatened to jail his opponent.  He called her the devil.

Pundits said it was red meat to shore up his base.  I could not disagree more.  Trump’s base was never bleeding out.  As Trump correctly said months ago, he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, and his base would support him.

No, this was not strategic anything.  This was testosterone.  This was Steve Bannon, editor of Breitbart.com and Trump adviser.  He got Trump to set aside the Kellyanne Conway approach.

Has it worked?  Of course not.  Bannon brought Trump into the bubble where, like Trump rallies, it looks like Trump is winning and can do no wrong.

But being in the bubble requires vigilance.  You have more enemies than Hillary.  Your enemy now is reality.  So you attack CNN.  You attack the “biased” polls, except for the online ones which show you crushing your opponent.

Does Trump believe this?  Or is this a scam?  Does he know he is burning down the house?

I suspect he does, but he believes it is a movement.  And he will burn down the Republican party and build something greater from the ashes.  I am pretty sure that is the hope of Steve Bannon.


And the first step in that?  Attack the GOP party.  And that’s is where Trump is going to now.  Check out these two tweets:


First he says that Paul Ryan and others are not giving support, then he attacks Paul Ryan.  The truth is, Trump — despite being the nominee — has given very little support to the party and others running in it.  Trump only knows loyalty one way — the hallmark of a dictator.


That’s right.  This is Trump the way he wants to be.  Up until now (apparently) he’s been “shackled” by… I’m guessing… political correctness (or what many of us call “decency”)

Naturally, it is dividing the GOP.  Do they stand with Trump or not?  And it seems to be…. not.

The consequence?  Trump is losing…. badly.  Here are the prediction sites this morning:


Note that the most bullish for Clinton — Nate Silver’s 538.com — gives her an incredible 83% chance of winning.

Here’s the breakdown for each state:


All the prediction sites give Hillary the 270 EVs needed to win without even winning a swing state!  And that is because some states are no longer swing states — most notable, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Colorado.

Can Hillary still lose?  Sure.  I wouldn’t want to bet against ANYTHING in this election.  But Trump’s new “unshackled” strategy?  Well, while it may feel good to Trump, Bannon, the alt-right, and Russia — it’s a losing strategy.