Blog - Matt Lewis
I've always thought President-elect Donald Trump had at least a shot to win the General Election (as this video from way back on May 4, 2016 demonstrates). I also always thought he had a chance of being a very good president. It's just that there was a huge range; Trump was always a high-risk, high-reward gamble that I wasn't willing to take.
As I said on Election Day, I think my knowledge of the history of modern electoral politics makes me more skeptical of seemingly fantastical scenarios where, say, a Republican wins Pennsylvania or Michigan. Being an "insider" can sometimes be a curse. Wisdom is good, but conventional wisdom is bad. But know this: Every year I have people (typically someone running for U.S. Senate or Congress) come to me and tell me they are going to do the impossible; they are going to pull off some miracle. And I'm just too stupid or cloistered to see it. And you know what? They end up going down in flames 99 times out of 100.
A few weeks ago, I traveled to Wisconsin and spoke about the campaign. I told the audience that there were only two scenarios where I could envision a Donald Trump win: The first was a huge October surprise, and the second was Donald Trump stringing together a couple of weeks without going off script. Amazingly, both came to fruition. Trump closed the election in arguably his strongest position of the entire campaign.
As I prophesied back in August, I won't be voting on Tuesday. This is a first for me, and while I see it as a legitimate form of passive resistance (or, at least, a defensible decision—all things considered), it is one of the least popular stances I have taken thus far in my career.
It's that time of year where we take our best stab at guessing what will happen. (Admission: In politics, as in sports, nobody ever really knows what will happen.)
With less than a week to go before this election season is mercifully over, I thought I would provide some counter programming and talk about something more hopeful. As regular readers know, I'm a fan of podcasts, and I recently stumbled across a simple (yet profound) way to help discover your life's calling.
A study conducted by the Media Research Center found that legacy TV networks are attacking FBI Director James Comey over Hillary Clinton at a ratio of 3-to-1:
If FBI Director James Comey's "October surprise" has any electoral fallout, it is more likely to be in U.S. Senate races than in the presidential race. For one thing, this scandal buttresses their message; several vulnerable Republican Senate candidates have already essentially conceded a Trump defeat, and they have enacted a triage strategy of arguing that a Republican Senate is vital to provide checks and balances against "crooked Hillary."
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a piece titled: "Danger: What If Russia Helps Trigger A ‘Rigged’ Election Scare?" In it, cyber security expert Igor Volovich warned that "The erosion of democratic institutions is [Putin's] true objective."
Regular readers of this space will know that I am fascinated by the topic of media bias. And the most interesting kind is not obvious or even intentional. For example, a reporter might approach an individual story objectively—but the real bias already occurred upstream, when the decision was made regarding which story to cover. This is called selection bias.
For years, I have heard rumors that Eleanor Roosevelt carried on a lesbian relationship. I think there's even a rather crude joke about it on HBO's "Veep." But I had no idea there was written evidence until I received Susan Quinn's book from Penguin Press, titled Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady.
My immediate take on last night's debate can be found here, but I wanted to add a couple of quick insights.
In the wake of James O'Keefe's latest video, a Democratic operative is "stepping back" from his role helping the Hillary Clinton campaign. As CNN notes, an edited video suggests the operative "and other staffers hired people to attend Donald Trump's campaign rallies and incite violence."
Like every other responsible citizen, I'm concerned about Donald Trump's preemptive declaration that the election is rigged. Odds are that nothing will come from this, but I believe he is playing with fire (and the American people are the ones who will be scorched).
In his Friday column, Matthew Continetti notes that paroxysms of populism are cyclical and that economic growth is the cure. He's correct, but there's no guarantee that will happen.
In 1998, Dr. James Dobson was stunned by the public's ability to "rationalize" Bill Clinton's behavior. In a public letter, he lamented the fact that as long as Clinton did a good job in office, many Americans felt that "it’s nobody’s business what he does with his personal life.”
I'm accumulating a growing list of "lessons learned" from the Donald Trump campaign, and here's one sure to make the top ten: The mainstream media still matters.
The internets are having a good laugh at a Trump supporter who is calling Beyoncé fan Hillary Clinton hypocritical for criticizing Donald Trump's sexually aggressive rhetoric.
Over at the Weekly Standard, Jonathan V. Last makes the observation that "Trump is all tactics and no strategy. Clinton is all strategy and no tactics." This, I think, is spot-on. And, as James Carville and Paul Begala wrote in their book Buck Up, Suck Up...and Come Back When You Foul Up, "Strategy is hard. Tactics are easy."