It’s that perfect point in time to savor, a moment frozen in crystal before the outcomes click into place. The last sunny fall day of safe normality. It’s the moment just as people begin to grasp the new reality.
What has been increasingly strident contempt and dismissal has finally given way to open panic and desperation.
Perhaps many thought the fall of Hillary would somehow go unnoticed but I’ve watched her polls plummet a half point per day since 9/11 and the videos have racked up millions of views.
Even going with the kindest, most official accounts, it’s lose/lose for her. She’s already admitted she’s lied about her health claims of “overheating” and “allergies” only after being left with no avenue to evade. Everyone knows the coverup would have been successful if not for a private citizen or two with smartphones. If it was contagious pneumonia all along why was she out shaking hands and hugging kids? In even the best possible case for her, ignoring everything else, she’s still a compulsive liar who has no qualms about getting other people sick to further her aims. Appearing weak at the memorial of a time Americans craved strong leadership, the abject humiliation of being dragged around by mere peasant guards like a sack of potatoes, remains devastating.
That’s before we even consider anything else. Let’s for a moment still put aside all the theories of her long term maladies and simplify this. The fact is she spent all of August with low key campaign events, her only rallies being tightly controlled and scripted with small audiences.
Once her lead started to melt with her near absence of campaigning it became less and less plausible she was just letting the clock run out.
Tellingly, she only surfaced into sight for major holidays and memorials when she absolutely had to and still struggled with the best medicine in the world to prop her up. Even the bare minimum was too much. She was like a whale followed by a whaling vessel getting speared every time she came up for breath, each harpoon with an airbladder tied to it to make staying submerged progressively more difficult.
Keeping this as simple as possible, I went to the website for each candidate to look at their scheduled events. Trump of course, is doing 3 events in 3 states per day.
Hillary had 1 more rally in North Carolina with only luncheons and other small events as far as I could tell for the rest of her campaign. Even with these, Hillary appeared to be doing less than 1 event per day while her VP, her campaign manager, and even her daughter are doing 90% of the actual campaigning. It now appears even Obama, a sitting president, is campaigning for Hillary, a presidential candidate, instead of doing his job. Now this is what desperation looks like.
9/15/2016 in Greensboro, NC was Hillary’s final test, her absolute last chance. The obvious thing she needed to do was give an hours-long speech worthy of Fidel Castro in front of a real audience. Nope. Another scripted lifeless “event” in a small auditorium that barely lasted 20 minutes. That she did not do the obvious thing leads to the inescapable conclusion that she cannot. The reason does not even matter. As of this writing there’s still about 9 days until the 1st debate. 9 endless days of a ship adrift getting pounded with relentless broadsides. Today is the day of parity with both coalitions looking each other right in the eyes before one passes the other up forever and we see just who is on the wrong side of history. As of this moment, if we add CO, IA, NE, NC, NV, OH, FL to Trump’s electoral map based newly favorable polling, he’s already won. If any of MI, VA, PA, WI, NH, OR flip before election day it starts to move into landslide territory.
By the first debate, if it even happens at this point, Trump will probably already be ahead
(Update 9/25: Appears I was wrong about this part, 2 NBC Polls and McClatchy have gangraped the numbers to 2.5 in Hillary’s favor although state polls continue to drift Trumpwards. Also the POTUS, FLOTUS, former politicians and former cabinet members, lots of celebrities have started actively campaigning for absentee Hillary which seems to have genuinely helped a bit. However, I was stunned to see this kind of immense political capital squandered in a single flash in the pan. Celebs like Kardashian are already learning from their mistakes and shifting to a more neutral stance. Damn, they are burning through their reserves over a month too early!)and the delicious panic, tears, and despairing wails at a climax. The inability to campaign alone would have sunk Hillary by election day. A politician who can’t campaign is like a musician without fingers. Her “basket of deplorables” disaster, plus the 9/11 collapse are just bonus points. I have written plenty on human nature on this blog and one of the constants is that people despise weakness. It’s an instinctual directive that comes eons before mere party loyalties and let’s face it, most people just go to their day job not caring about politics and end up voting for the stronger force, whatever it may be.
In my head I get images of winning a war of attrition in Civilization 4. The enemy’s armies cluster in their cities watching helplessly as their roads, mines, and cottages get leveled back into the stone age and my coffers fill with plunder, each turn sealing their fate more tightly than the last. Brahm’s 1st Hungarian dance from the game’s soundtrack plays as the death spiral winds down, and another road gets demolished with a crisp slapping sound, their last trade route cut off.
I’ve spent happy hours on twitter, politico, huffington post, r/political discussion, r/politics savoring their screams like Lord Yabu from Sho-Gun. Actually, their jedi backflips of rationalization and denial might be even better. “But FDR hid an illness too!” “But HW Bush threw up!” “But Romney in 2012!” The very best treat was the comments on New York Times opinion pieces. Lots of snobby upper middle class douchebags who have enough smarts and education to understand the social order they knew is collapsing and what it means for them. As much as I like tantrums fueled by pure emotion, it’s more delicious still to witness the paroxysms of those who lucidly perceive impending apocalypse.
As for Hillary, the situation remains indescribably poetic. She is at the end of her life watching her world begin to fall apart all around her. The beautiful irony is that most of it was her own making. At this very moment, Europe is slipping away to the right largely because of the human waves sent over by her disastrous bungling in the Middle East and North Africa. Her selfishness in running while sick is about to destroy her party’s credibility with everything it’s worked for soon to be dismantled by her rival. In the end, she’s been the best friend ever to radicals who would have passed their days skulking in the shadows if not for her. Images from great revenge stories pop into my head. I think of Titus Andronicus—truly in the end, she’s being fed her own children baked into a pie. I think of the Punisher movie with evil Travolta told “Made you kill your wife. Made you kill your best friend” before he’s dragged behind a car through a lot full of exploding cars.
One final set of images: Back in the primary I always envisioned Trump’s rivals having this moment, especially Jeb. In underwater movies, it’s the cracks that appear in the window before the cockpit implodes from water pressure(The Abyss provides a great example). In space operas, it’s the sparks and shit that fly around, giving the pilot a warning they’re about to blow up. The character gets those last couple of seconds to have a horrific realization and flail around impotently—that’s Hillary and her supporters at this moment.