Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Slaying history and everything in its path
Trump's recent visit to Gettysburg is telling in many regards. While he compared himself to Lincoln, his campaign looks more like Robert E. Lee's infamous charge on Pennsylvania that ended badly in defeat, and paved the way for the Union to take back the South. Trump's campaign has come to epitomize the Southern Lost Cause, built solely on defiance with no real plan to govern if god forbid he was able to seize the White House.
We saw that with George Bush, although he at least proved shrewd enough to know how to temper his message to get crossover votes. Not Trump. He keeps charging up the same hill time and again despite the heavy casualties. You almost feel sorry for Kellyanne Conway as she tries to explain her boss to the media long after all words fail.
The most amazing thing about Trump's campaign has been the utter disregard for what we would call strategy. His advisers had to know that this election would come down to a handful of states as have the last six elections. Surely, they tried to clue Donald in on how the electoral math works and get him to focus on these states. Instead, it seems Donald goes where he wants regardless of whether he has any chance in that state or not.
Mostly, it seems he is looking for photo ops, and Gettysburg was as good a place as any to launch more broadsides at Hillary. I guess he felt hampered by the format of the Al Smith Dinner, forced to veil his harsh rhetoric in jokes, most of which fell flat. He spit out all his venom on the Civil War battlefield, vowing to erase all traces of Obama's administration within his first 100 days in office, as if we haven't heard that before.
This no doubt appeals to teabaggers, especially those with Southern roots, but falls on deaf ears to the general electorate. The only thing Trump's Gettysburg speech showed is how far apart the Republican Party today is from that of Lincoln seven score and thirteen years ago. The GOP more closely resembles the tattered rebel soldier crawling home after a series of defeats, still vowing to fight another day.
It would take a miraculous turn of events at this point for Trump to prevail in November but he continues to exhort his followers to fight, although you have to think most of them have given up hope at this point. The polls look really really bad, even Rasmussen was forced to concede Hillary holds a slight edge, when other polls have her up by as much as 12 percent.
Pennsylvania is so far out of his grasp at this point that you have to wonder what value Gettysburg has other than to try to project himself as Lincoln. However, there was nothing in his speech to indicate he had any sense of history much less current events. Lincoln might as well be a vampire hunter for all he knows.