The American news media is diligently fulfilling its obligations to its corporate sponsors by restricting the public discussion of the presidential campaign of 2016 to the two candidates, out of the three contenders, favored by the establishment: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton is, of course, the absolute favorite of the establishment, she is a fully bought-off influence peddler yoked to the service of the Big Money, and presents the most popularly appealing package enclosing the the most thoroughly toxic content: unhindered oligarchy.
Donald Trump is tolerated by the establishment because they have no choice, he has commandeered their Republican Party, which fell before the ferocious assault of Trump’s army of populist white supremacist anti-socialist (they think) proletarians.
Bernie Sanders is detested by the establishment because he is a man of impeccable character, morally untarnished history, great wit, humor and experience, and he is fighting tenaciously for the public good. All this bodes ill for corporate-funded political corruption and the many who depend on it for their daily bread (cake).
One of the angles being pushed at the moment by the media, on the wished-for contest between Clinton and Trump, is that of the relative advantage or disadvantage posed by each of their preferred candidate’s massive (and net) un-favorability rating among the public. Bernie Sanders has a high (and net) favorability rating among the public, so establishment media minimizes mention of him.
While the un-favorability ratings of Clinton (57%, of which 46% is strongly unfavorable) and Trump (57%, of which 45% is strongly unfavorable) are comparable, I think the sentiments behind the disfavor of each are different. Against Clinton is disgust, while against Trump is embarrassment.
People who disfavor Hillary Clinton know about her long history of unprincipled ambition, careerism, influence peddling and shameless cupidity. This disgusts people who disfavor her, and such disgust gives them a personal sense of moral superiority, which comfortably distances them from her.
People who disfavor Donald Trump are repulsed by his crude and boorish bigotry and loutish buffoonery, despite his talent for entertaining bombast, and his truthfulness regarding the pain of the white (and black) American proletariate, and the draining bloody waste caused by America’s foreign military adventures and its imperial pretensions. This embarrasses people who disfavor him, because they agree with much of what he says, but they don’t want to be publicly connected with the bigotry, boorishness and bombast even if they secretly agree with it. Embarrassment springs from the shame of sensing that one is not really morally superior to Trump, which uncomfortably shortens the distance to him.
Despite these two flavors of disfavor, people who see their personal interests and illusions advanced (and aversions forestalled) by either Hillary or Donald will vote for whichever applies.
Superficially, it would appear that Trump’s public image carries more liabilities than Hillary Clinton’s, and he is thus less likely to win in November. But, Hillary Clinton has no margin left for improving her public image or erasing her many failings from the public record. In fact, Hillary’s image may suffer serious further abrasion as more of the public takes in the critical report by the State Department’s Inspector General, on Hillary’s illegal (and hacked) private e-mail server while Secretary of State. And, there is always the very well-known possibility for a very-justified criminal indictment, though I would guess the Obama Administration would try to prevent that. So it seems more likely that Hillary’s favorability will decrease rather then increase with time.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, would have an easier time improving his public image than sinking it further. He only has to moderate (he can’t eliminate) his intemperate boorish bigoted bombastic buffoonery to improve the public’s view of him, as “presidential.” Whether he has the discipline, foresight and cleverness to carry off a public image rehabilitation is not clear at this time. But, now that the Republican Party machinery is behind him, I am sure that the best public image rehab doctors will be retained to operate for that purpose. So, I think Trump’s favorability is likely to increase with time.
Today, it was announced that Bernie Sanders will debate Donald Trump (“for charity”) in California before the June 7 Democratic primary. As a Bernie supporter I naturally assume that Bernie will trounce Trump. However, regardless of how that debate unfolds, it is a certainty that the biggest loser will be Hillary Clinton.
A Sanders-Trump debate will highlight:
1, the fact that Hillary Clinton reneged on her commitment to debate Bernie in California before the primary (dismissiveness of millions of voters),
2, the “presidential” images of both Sanders and Trump, since they would be engaged in an inter-party debate,
3, the failure of past and proposed Hillary Clinton politics (without her present to rebut this) by the mere presentation of Sanders’ and Trumps’ alternatives,
4, the actual debate of principles that the public wants between their two major “anti-establishment” champions.
This debate could be the imaginary snowball that initiates an avalanche of anxiety in the minds of Democratic Party super-delegates terrified of being buried by a “dump Hillary” movement.
It is two months before the party conventions, and five months before the general election.
Poll: Election 2016 shapes up as a contest of negatives [22 May 2016]