Littwin: Panic in the presidential race

We interrupt our nonstop coverage of Republican panic in the face of Donald Trump leading in virtually every primary poll to bring you competing coverage of the oncoming Democratic panic in the face of Hillary Clinton leading in virtually every primary poll.

The sources of panic are slightly different, of course. But the truth is that you don’t have to wonder why in either case.

Republicans — at least those in the GOP establishment — worry that the Donald might somehow pull off the impossible and win (he won’t) or at least stick around long enough to make a farce of the entire enterprise (if he hasn’t already).

There’s nothing to be done about Trump, as the folks at Fox can tell you. The harder you hit him, the more he whines. And the more he whines – says the Donald himself, and usually on Twitter – the more he wins. And the more he wins, the more thought pieces we have to read to explain how that subset of Republicans supporting him aren’t xenophobes or misogynists or — in Trump talk – dummies.

When Fox is backing down, and when third-party whispers beckon, and when let-there-be-blood becomes a late-night punch line, you can see the problem. And when the trouble extends beyond Trump to would-be front-runner Jeb Bush, whose latest strategy to make headlines is to embrace his brother’s role in Iraq, even saying that the “mission was accomplished” on Iraq security under W., you can see the problem in duplicate. Or maybe 17 times over. I mean, doesn’t anyone remember when Jeb was saying he wouldn’t have gone to war in Iraq?

So how could the Democrats be panicking? Well, how could they not be? This was supposed to be the easy part, even before the gift that is the Donald emerged. It was assumed that Clinton would breeze through the Democratic primary while 17 Republicans tried to elbow each other off the stage. The Republicans are doing their part, but Clinton has managed to do whatever is the opposite of breezing, and it’s only August.

Bernie is surging, at least in states where there aren’t any minorities. Clinton’s untrustworthiness numbers are the worst of her career. It’s not just Congress on the case in the email scandal, it’s the FBI, to which she has turned over her private email server.

There’s always a scandal in Clinton World, even if most of them are faux scandals, so no one can be surprised. And if the home brew server issue predates Clinton’s entry into the race, most Democrats assumed it would be another Benghazi — 10 or 12 congressional hearings and it’s over.

But whatever else this story might hold — is it just me or do you think of certain erased tapes whenever you hear about deleted emails? — it won’t go away, any more than Trump will go away. It’s the kind of story that reporters start to dig into and never quite let go. And if it isn’t the kind of story that, in the end, does much damage, it is the kind that goes right to the heart of inevitability.

And so no one is surprised that Joe Biden, even in his grief over the loss of his son Beau, is reportedly taking steps to see whether there’s still time, and money, for him to get in the race/save the day. This would be his third try at the job, and the first two didn’t exactly go too well. Where would Biden fit in? The establishment, including the Obama crowd, is not going to desert Clinton. All the excitement in the race belongs to Bernie Sanders.

And you had to know that once the stories began, they’d start to get weird, and so it is that Buzzfeed is reporting that Al Gore is considering whether to get into the race/save the day/explain how he got so damn rich while saving the world. (OK, his people deny it, and who could believe it in any case, but that’s not the point. John Kerry is still out there. I’m sure Howard Dean is available. Is there a real alternative?)

Nate Cohn writes in The New York Times that despite what you’re hearing, Clinton is all but certain to win the primary. He notes that after Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton beats Bernie with minorities, women and in just about every other category except young liberals. And he thinks her untrustworthy numbers may not matter in a general election where the single most important factor is party ID.

But Clinton’s people are hearing from enough nervous Democrats that they sent out a memo to supporters telling them that this, too, shall pass, that the Democratic electoral college firewall is still in place, and that if you think there’s something to worry about, just read the latest from the Trump Dialogues.

The latest from Iowa — via The Washington Post — is that the TRUMP bus, minus the Donald himself, is drawing cheering crowds in parking lots from around the state. Apparently you can slap the Trump name even on a bus and it sells.

And now, it has gotten to the point where Trump is sufficiently impressed by his poll numbers — and by himself, of course — that he’s spending his own money to hire on-the-ground (or in-the-bus) staff in Iowa. The Post headlines the story this way: “An Iowa surprise: Donald Trump is actually trying to win.”

No wonder there’s panic on all sides.


Photo credit: DonkeyHotey, Creative Commons, Flickr.


  1. Sorry Mike, I disagree with you about HRC and Bernie…Either one will win the primary…that much is certain…the point is…To keep the gop from gaining any seats in congress and keep the gop out of the White House…The GOP and the Democrats are miles apart and the Dems are not in disarray…we are having the conversations we should be on our side, even with the distractions of the MSM propaganda machine turned up to 10…
    what the Democratic party needs to do is work towards reclaiming the Majority in the Senate, and enlarge our majority in the House…we have a Corrupted GOP in Colorado…The Koch brothers, and some other groups are doing their best to obscure truth, and spread their insanity…Dr.Chaps anyone?????????

  2. You bet the politicians and pundits are panicing. They have NO clue of what is going on in this country. They know what they WANT to be going on, they know what they THINK is going on, but when it comes right down to it, they don’t know a thing. They have been telling themselves they know everything for so long that when it’s clear they DON’T know, it scares them. And it should.

    They also have been in the situation that peopel HAVE listened top what they had to say, and they thnk they will always get that, no matter HOW far off in the WRONG direction they send us. They think we are STUPID enough to go along with whatever they want to sell us. We AIN’T that stupid. They are just delusional. They HAVEN’T been paying any attention, they have been flapping their faces way too long and NOT listening to anyone else, especially US.

    The right and the left wing pundits think that we WANT Hilary, but they’ve never actually ASKED US about it. Since Bill left office, she has been thrown around as the OBVIOUS choice, the ONLY choice, the inevitable choice, especially by the right. THey WANT to run against her SO badly they are ready to nominate her themselves. Only thing is, LOTS of us DON’T want her in the office.

    Hilary is the representative of big money. That is a given. We don’t NEED another freaking big money grubbing jerk of EITHER sex in the office. We need someone who understands that PEOPLE matter, NOT money. We’ve had MORE than enough corproate nonsense shoved down our throats, and now that there is a chance for someone ELSE, LOTS of us are more than happy to take it.

    In my Longmont neighborhood, there is ONE political sign up in ANY yard. It’s for Bernie. If you ask people whether it’s THEY who should get a fair chance in this country, or we should just keep making the rich welathier, hoping they might let us have a scrap or a crumb, MOST people are smart enough to say give ME a fair chance. Republican voters, not so much, but some of them can be convinced to vote for their OWN interests, too. And if they find out what Bernie stands for, those people will be on his side, too.

    And that is a fundamental difference between the right and the left in this country, anymore. The left wants people to do well, and for big monehy to take a back seat. The right just wants to make life as miserable for as many people as possible, and thinks that is good leadership as long as the rich keep sending them more “campaign contributions”. Why ANYONE votes for such sadism is beyond me.

    Yeah, thosd in charge SHOULD be nervous. They are totally out of touch, think things are going along just fine, and want to make things even meaner in this country. Why vote for that when you can make life BETTER for everyone?

    Bernie is the ONLY choice if you care about human beings. Period.

  3. For a guy who believes Donald Trump cannot win the Republican presidential nomination, Mr. politics-isn’t-complicated Littwin sure gives him a lot of column space.

    Of course, if he didn’t he’d have to find other ways of avoiding the inconvenient truths about the full extent of Mrs. Clinton’s political problems, especially within her own party.

    This from the Boston Herald”

    “Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has rocketed past longtime front-runner Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, a stunning turn in a race once considered a lock for the former secretary of state, a new Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll shows.

    Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has rocketed past longtime front-runner Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, a stunning turn in a race once considered a lock for the former secretary of state, a new Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll shows.

    Sanders leads Clinton 44-37 percent among likely Democratic primary voters, the first time the heavily favored Clinton has trailed in the 2016 primary campaign, according to the poll of 442 Granite-Staters.”

    Or this from The Hill:

    “Democrats are seeing warning signs after a new poll showed Hillary Clinton losing three swing states and deep in negative territory on questions of character.

    The poll, from Quinnipiac University, surveyed voters in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia. President Obama won all three states in both of his presidential election victories, but they went for former President George W. Bush almost as uniformly in 2004 and 2000.

    When the pollsters tested Clinton against leading Republican contenders Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, she lost every state to every opponent.

    Among the most alarming findings, from a Democratic perspective, was the indication that Clinton, widely considered the party’s front-runner, would lose Colorado by 9 points to Walker and would lose by at least 6 points to any of the three candidates in Iowa.”

    Mrs. Clinton’s supporters are being urged not to panic which is, of course, exactly the same advice given to the passengers on the Titanic.

    And what does Mr. Littwin think of Democrat presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders? Well, here are a few notable quotes:

    – Bernie Sanders is “a benign summer fling”
    – “At this point (Bernie Sanders) is not even a Democrat”
    – “(Bernie Sanders) won’t hurt (Hillary)Clinton, who will win the nomination, and probably the presidency, because Republicans insist on demonizing her and Democrats will insist on defending her.”

    And because Mr. Littwin has such a good handle on politics he couldn’t possibly be wrong. Right?

    ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

    “But I’ve always had a pretty good handle on politics. For one thing, it’s not that complicated.” – Mike Littwin

    “Hillary Clinton has never won a competitive election. This can’t be repeated enough. She beat Republican Rep. Rick Lazio for her Senate seat in 2000. And she defeated a mayor from Yonkers in 2006. In her first competitive race, the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, she began as a heavy favorite and she lost.” – The Week

    “Under the hashtag #100Days100Nights, users on Instagram and Twitter are issuing a stark warning: two Los Angeles gangs are betting which one can kill 100 people—in a gang, or innocent—within the next 100 days.” – Daily Beast

    “The resistance of liberals in the media to new ideas was enormous. Liberals think of themselves as very open-minded, but that’s simply not true! Liberalism has sadly become a knee-jerk ideology, with people barricaded in their comfortable little cells. They think that their views are the only rational ones, and everyone else is not only evil but financed by the Koch brothers. It’s so simplistic!” – Camille Paglia Salon

    “The Iran deal, then, is good enough for the president because it delays until after the end of his term any reckoning with what he himself describes as an anti-Semitic revisionist troublemaking power.” – Matthew Continetti

    “I support anyone’s right to be who they want to be. My question is: to
    what extent do I have to participate in your self-image?” – Dave Chappelle

    “A 24-year-old Kuwaiti-born gunman opened fire on a military recruiting station on Thursday, then raced to a second military site where he killed four United States Marines, prompting a federal domestic terrorism investigation. Three other people, including a Marine Corps recruiter and a police officer, were wounded, according to law enforcement officials: – New York Times

    “This new Dream, seeking revolutionary change in how America works, is not only impossible, but based on the faulty assumption that black Americans are the world’s first group who can only excel under ideal conditions. We are perhaps the first people on earth taught to consider it insulting when someone suggests we try to cope with the system as it is—even when that person is black, or even the President.” – John McWhorter, Daily Beast

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Folds of Honor
    Veterans Day – November 11, 2015

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