So Trump said something truly horrible in 2005. And, it would seem, Hillary’s Wall Street speeches have leaked. Or bits. And internal emails concerning them. (I guess it could turn out that these have been doctored by the Russians, in collaboration with Wikileaks. But it looks like the real deal.) This is going to make that Town Hall debate hot. But, as bombshells go, it’s hard for me to imagine anything less surprising. Everyone already knew – how could it not be? – that Clinton said cosy-cosy stuff to Wall Street folks. And Trump? Is there a single person on the planet surprised that he talks this way? (And surely it isn’t just talk.) Dog bites man. Donald gropes woman. His defenders aren’t even feigning surprise.
I’m not trying to say these aren’t big deal revelations. There are calls for Trump to drop out. Ryan has disinvited him to some event. But this latest thing isn’t more disqualifying than approximately four dozen manifestly disqualifying factors that came to light before.
I wonder what Bernie is going to have to say about these Clinton revelations. Or will he bite his tongue?
It’s interesting that information that only confirms everyone’s priors about this pair of candidates could be significantly game-changing. How can something be at once unsurprising and shocking?
I feel that my own prognosticatory radar is pretty badly fried this election. I watched that first debate and I thought Donald Trump was awful, awful, awful, awful. I thought that meant he won. Because, going into the debate, he was almost tied, and his performances to date had been awful, awful, awful, awful, AWFUL on stilts. I thought that meant he beat the spread. He didn’t seem worse in the debate than I already thought he was. Thankfully, I appear to have been completely wrong. Significant numbers of people, who have surely been watching Trump be awful for a year, decided he was awful, based on that debate. Go figure. I hope many, many more people now decide he is awful, based on a tape that proves he says exactly the kinds of things everyone already perfectly well knew he must say all the time. Duh.
I hope Democrats don’t decide Hillary is worse than we thought she was, because stuff we already knew was true turns out to be true.
I guess I can see how this tape thing benefits Democrats more when it comes to embarrassing other Republicans, who will be under pressure to distance themselves from Trump. By contrast, I can’t see Republicans getting much mileage out of pointing out that Hillary Clinton sounds like Mitt Romney when she’s in a room full of bankers. That might just cause Republicans to vote for her. But, again, this question of who can cut the more cutting ads just pushes the question back. How can it possibly change anyone’s mind to learn that what they knew already is actually true?
UPDATE: I should probably amend ‘sounds like Mitt Romney’ to ‘sounds in private like Mitt Romney in public’, to clarify that there is no 47% moment here. There isn’t really anything in the content that’s shocking or surprising. It’s just that the optics of flattering the financial industry are bad for Clinton. But surely no one thought they hired her to fulminate against their vices for an hour.