If Gary Johnson doesn’t make the debates, I think Trump will dominate Clinton. She’s the plodding planner, and the great moments in Presidential debates are spontaneous, unscripted. I don’t think Reagan planned on saying, “There you go again.” He was an actor, and he could do improv. Trump’s got his own, more aggressive schtick, and he’s quite good at it. The contrast between the freewheeling Trump and the canned rhetoric we can expect from Clinton is all in his favor. And he won’t hesitate to turn the tables on the moderators, as Romney disastrously failed to do. His superficial knowledge of the issues won’t hurt him too much. That’s baked in, and the voters know less than he does. He hires people to the details.
Johnson’s the wild card. He’s sharp as a tack, and has done this all before. If he’s man enough to stand toe to toe with Trump, challenge him, and refuse to back down an inch he could have great debates, with great effect. He could even knock Trump off his game. If you’re a Never Trumper you should do what you can to help him get to the 15% he needs. What else have you got?
Because nobody knows how this election will shape up. All the experts, with all their fancy charts and algorithms, don’t know any more than you or I. If politics had a volatility index, this year would be off the charts. Nobody knows anything.
I’ve been studying, and practicing, politics for over half a century, and I consider myself smarter than the average bear. As Babbie enjoys pointing out, I gave her absolute assurances that Trump would never be nominated. There are people who know more about politics than I do, like Michael Barone, and we all got it wrong. So I’m out of the prediction business. For all I know, Trump could be a successful President, in the vein of James K. Polk, a thoroughly unlikable man, and one of the more accomplished Presidents in our history. I’d bet against it, it’s highly unlikely, but nobody knows anything.
If all Trump did was improv, he’d be broke. But I think he knows what he doesn’t know, and relies on employees, and, above all, his family and Ivanka. He’s besotted with her, and I can’t blame him. It’s the way I feel about my granddaughter. I would do anything for her, would never do anything to embarrass her, and Trump feels the same way with Ivanka. If he outsources the hard stuff to people like Mike Pence, Harold Hamm and Peter Thiel, and listens to his daughter, he could be sort of normal. Kind of.
I read some social conservative raising hell about Thiel’s appearance. It makes me think the term “religious right” is a Reagan relic. They got into politics over 40 years ago to fight Roe v. Wade, and they seem to have petered out. I didn’t see it, but the standing “o” given Thiel was the best thing to come out of the Convention. The millennials are repelled by Bible thumpers. If Cruz wants to win in 2020 he needs to leave his Bible at home.
Babbie and I are babysitting in a small bedroom community not far from Silicon Valley. It’s around 90% white, with some Asians and just a fairy sprinkle of blacks. I’d guess it voted about 80% for Obama, and it’s very tolerant and progressive, and the people are pleasant, for the most part. In 2016 this should be Johnson country.
But I have a Monopoly game to play, and planning to do for when my girl comes up for a few days to visit. Oh happy days.