When Trump finally took the stage, it was clear that he was worked up about something as he quickly rushed through his usual talking points. He read the first sentence of the prepared statement: “A new audio tape that has surfaced — just yesterday — from another one of Hillary’s high-roller fundraisers shows her demeaning and mocking Bernie Sanders and all of his supporters.”
Rather than continuing, Trump demeaned and mocked Sanders himself, saying that he has “a much bigger movement than Bernie Sanders ever had” and that he has “much bigger crowds than Bernie Sanders ever had.”
.. He told the crowd to get a group of friends together on Election Day, vote and then go to “certain areas” and “watch” the voters there. “I hear too many bad stories, and we can’t lose an election because of you know what I’m talking about,” Trump said. “So, go and vote and then go check out areas because a lot of bad things happen, and we don’t want to lose for that reason.”
.. “Did anybody like Lester Holt?” Trump said, naming the debate moderator as his crowd booed.
.. Our country is becoming a third-world country.”
.. Trump read the final sentence of the statement but by that point, he had overshadowed his campaign’s planned headline with numerous other ones. And he kept adding to the list.
The Clintons, infuriated by the raft of Democrats who deserted them during the 2008 campaign, sneered at Obama’s hope and change message. Hillary protested, “We don’t need to be raising the false hopes of our country.” Bill groused, “This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.”
.. But in this election, Bernie Sanders’s idealistic young people were cast as unrealistic dreamers who wanted free stuff or, according to Gloria Steinem, dates.
.. The same Obama who sparked a revolution has now made it his mission to preserve the establishment for Hillary. He told Rutgers’s school paper in May that Sanders supporters needed to stop searching for silver bullets and recognize “we have to make incremental changes where we can, and every once in a while you’ll get a breakthrough and make the kind of big changes that are necessary.”
.. Yes we can — incrementally!
.. Showing his icy pragmatism, the president passed over his loyal vice president because he thought Joe Biden would not be as strong a candidate, given his tendency for gab and gaffes. (That was before Donald Trump made Biden seem exquisitely bridled.) When Biden didn’t take the hint, Obama sent his former strategist David Plouffe to break the bad news.
.. Emanuel, who was hosting a party at the convention that night, was rightfully upset. It was his job to warn the president of the political consequences, and after Obama decided, it was Emanuel and Nancy Pelosi who had to arm-twist the bill through with no Republican votes.
Toward the end of his speech, Sanders did briefly acknowledge that he and Clinton still disagree on some issues. But then he pointed to the Democratic Party platform that the two sides have agreed upon, describing it as “the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.” He continued, “Our job now is to see that platform implemented by a Democratically controlled Senate, a Democratically controlled House, and a Hillary Presidency—and I intend to be in every corner of this country, to make certain that happens.”
.. Perhaps nobody had informed Clinton that “Stronger Together” echoes the slogan of the Remain side, which lost the recent Brexit referendum in the U.K.
WHY THE CLINTON AMERICA SEES ISN’T THE CLINTON COLLEAGUES KNOW
Why is the Hillary Clinton described to me by her staff, her colleagues, and even her foes so different from the one I see on the campaign trail?
.. And then there is the Hillary Clinton described to me by people who have worked with her, people I admire, people who understand Washington in ways I never will. Their Hillary Clinton is spoken of in superlatives: brilliant, funny, thoughtful, effective. She inspires a rare loyalty in ex-staff, and an unusual protectiveness even among former foes.
.. Her explanation for the Gap is simple enough. “There’s a lot of behavioral science that if you attack someone endlessly — even if none of what you say is true — the very fact of attacking that person raises doubts and creates a negative perspective,”
.. if anything, people preferred watching them campaign to watching them govern.
Hillary Clinton is just the opposite. There is something about her persona that seems uniquely vulnerable to campaigning
.. Hillary Clinton, they said over and over again, listens.
.. “I love Bill Clinton,” says Tom Harkin, who served as senator from Iowa from 1985 to 2015. “But every time you talk to Bill, you’re just trying to get a word in edgewise. With Hillary, you’re in a meeting with her, and she really listens to you.”
.. Modern presidential campaigns are built to reward people who are really, really good at talking. So imagine what a campaign feels like if you’re not entirely natural in front of big crowds.
.. When Hillary Clinton ran for the Senate in 2000, she tried to do something very strange: She tried to campaign by listening. It was called her “listening tour,” and the press did not like it
.. “What they missed was she was actually listening! By the time she finished those listening sessions around New York, she really knew more about New York, about the issues there, about what was on people’s minds.”
.. These notes, Rubiner recalls, really did lead to legislation. Clinton took seriously the things she was told, the things she read, the things she saw. She made her team follow up.
.. You do not need to assert any grand patriarchal conspiracy to suggest that a process developed by men, dominated by men, and, until relatively late in American life, limited to men might subtly favor traits that are particularly prevalent in men.
Talking over listening, perhaps.
.. “Listening is something women value almost above everything else in relationships,” says Deborah Tannen, a Georgetown linguist who studies differences in how men and women communicate. “The biggest complaint women make in relationships is, ‘He doesn’t listen to me.’”
.. Women, she’s found, emphasize the “rapport dimension” of communication — did a particular conversation bring us closer together or further apart? Men, by contrast, emphasize the “status dimension” — did a conversation raise my status compared to yours?
.. Talking is a way of changing your status: If you make a great point, or set the terms of the discussion, you win the conversation. Listening, on the other hand, is a way of establishing rapport, of bringing people closer together; showing you’ve heard what’s been said so far may not win you the conversation, but it does win you allies. And winning allies is how Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination.
.. One way of reading the Democratic primary is that it pitted an unusually pure male leadership style against an unusually pure female leadership style. Sanders is a great talker and a poor relationship builder. Clinton is a great relationship builder and a poor talker. In this case — the first time at the presidential level — the female leadership style won.
.. Campaigns built on charismatic oration feel legitimate in a way that campaigns built on deep relationships do not.
.. Elaine Kamarck argues that “successful presidential leadership occurs when the president is able to put together and balance three sets of skills: policy, communication, and implementation.”
.. The problem, Kamarck says, is that campaigns are built to test only one of those skills. “The obsession with communication — presidential talking and messaging — is a dangerous mirage of the media age, a delusion that inevitably comes crashing down in the face of government failure.”
.. Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination by forming a coalition. And part of how she forms coalitions is by listening to her potential partners — both to figure out what they need and to build her relationships with them. This is not a skill all politicians possess.
.. “Because they don’t listen, they can’t ask good questions. They can’t absorb the information you’ve given them.”
.. “Not just hear the words people are saying but really hear what the implications are. That’s where she’s good. In fact, she’s better than anyone I’ve ever worked with.”
.. But Clinton doesn’t just listen to learn — she listens to flatter, to win allies. “If you are going to suck up to people who write memos, reading their memos is the best way to do it,” says one official who has worked with her, who admits to being pleased that Clinton had absorbed his work.
.. A staffer from her time at the State Department recalled her habit of inviting career foreign service officers to meetings and then referencing something they’d written deep in an old, obscure report. “It made their year,” he says.
.. In her answer, she offhandedly, but knowledgeably, referenced Congressman Jim Clyburn’s 10-20-30 idea, which would force agencies to spend 10 percent of their appropriated funds in communities where 20 percent of the population has lived in poverty for more than 30 years.
Most people listening to the interview probably wouldn’t really linger on the paragraph, but you can bet Clyburn will notice Clinton’s comment, and it will mean something to him.
.. People in Washington do not expect those in power to be particularly attentive to their work or curious about their past, and Clinton uses this to her advantage. “You hear people say, ‘She’s so different in person,’” says Podesta. “That’s what they’re finding so appealing. When people don’t know her well and they encounter her, people are taken with the fact that she is interested in them.”
.. In each case, Clinton is contacted by somebody who’s smart and credible but doesn’t have a ton of political clout. In each case, the message is that the policy her husband is either administering or making is flawed in some very technical way. And rather than ignore that message, or become defensive about it, she listens. She dives into the details — details that would numb many professional policy staffers, to say nothing of most politicians.
.. People who are on the other side of Clinton’s focus — who know how rare it is for a major politician to take a deep interest in their wonkish obsessions — find themselves unusually enamored of Clinton.
“When you’re with her,” says Tom Nides, who served as Clinton’s deputy secretary of state, “you know she is actually listening to you in a way most people in her place don’t need to do. That’s why she has that level of loyalty in the people who have been around her a long time.”
.. Clinton’s great mistake, her vote for the Iraq War, is an object lesson in the dangers of listening to the wrong people. “If left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons,” she said, having listened to the wrong intelligence assessments.
.. She justified her vote by saying she had listened to President Bush and she would trust him — “I will take the president at his word that he will try hard to pass a UN resolution and will seek to avoid war, if at all possible” — and there is probably no sentence she has uttered that she regrets so bitterly.
.. The stories of Clinton receiving a midnight email from an old friend and throwing her campaign into chaos are legion, and it was all the worse because she often wouldn’t admit that’s what was happening, and so her staff ended up arguing against a ghost.
.. In an exhaustive review of private communications from her 2008 campaign, Joshua Green wrote that “her advisers couldn’t execute strategy; they routinely attacked and undermined each other, and Clinton never forced a resolution.” Under duress, Clinton’s process broke down, and her management proved cumbersome, ineffective, and conducive to staff infighting.
.. Clinton’s daily speeches reflect the more prosaic trade-offs of inclusivity. The laundry lists she often gets criticized for are no accident; they’re the product of a process in which many groups and many advisers are consulted, and Clinton wants to make sure they see the contribution in final product.
.. It is hard to say what she stands for because she has not singled out a few very large, very ambitious ideas on which she would like a mandate to govern.”
.. Compounding these potential problems is that there’s one group Clinton absolutely can’t stand hearing from: the press. She believes the media offers wall-to-wall coverage of trumped-up non-scandals that ultimately prove hollow. She resents the fact that when the stories finally fall apart, the press just moves on, but the damage lingers in the public’s view of her. And, well, she’s right. Whitewater, Travelgate, Benghazi — there’s no politician who has been at the center of so many scandals that have turned out to be worth so little.
.. Republicans and the media really have treated her unfairly, so why shouldn’t she dodge press conferences and conceal transcripts?
.. A start might have been refusing Goldman Sachs’s 2013 offer to accept $675,000 for three speeches. Now, instead, Clinton has pocketed the money and refused to release transcripts of the speeches. It’s an action at odds with the charge that she’s an endlessly calculating politician — no politician concerned only with her future electability would have given those speeches.
.. Her answer is that the media abdicated its role as gatekeeper of a civil, substantive discourse. “I do think — and I keep saying this, because I believe it — I think the media environment where people are rewarded for being outrageous, for yelling at each other, for saying things that are untrue without being held accountable for it has contributed to this attitude of divisiveness and separation,” she said.
.. Asked at a Democratic debate to name the enemies she’s most proud of making, she replied, “The Republicans.” For all her talk of finding common ground, of reaching out, of respecting each other, she stood up, on national television, and said she’s proud of the enmity she inspires in roughly half the country.
.. Within the space of a couple of sentences, Clinton refuses to apologize for calling Republicans her enemy, says she works well with them, blames them for saying worse about her, laments that this is how politics works now, and then says, “We’ve got to try to get people back to listening to each other.”
.. Republicans often complain of leaving meetings with Obama after being lectured about their own political self-interest. He seems more interested in hearing himself talk than in listening to what they want, they complain.
.. “The Republicans I know think she’s just as horribly liberal as Obama but she’ll be better at compromising and working with others.”
.. Colleagues say Clinton uses the tension between her and Republicans to her advantage. Former adversaries feel awkward when they first meet her — they expect bad blood, bitter feelings, sniping. Instead, she’s friendly, charming, interested in them. She treats them like an old friend. She — here it is again — listens intently to what they say and tries to find common ground.
.. If someone spent years defaming me, trying to destroy my career, trying to destroy the careers of the people I love, I would probably have a bit of trouble befriending them. Most people cannot compartmentalize like this. It’s probably not healthy to compartmentalize like this. But Clinton does it.
The vice president’s presence on the trail is the one that’s most telling to Democrats close to the Clinton campaign, who have been waiting for months for the triumvirate of Obama, Biden, and Warren to take to the battleground states and amplify the former secretary of state’s anti-Trump barrage. To them, it signals the arrival of a new phase of the campaign in which the highest-profile Democrats imaginable, likely including former President Bill Clinton and possibly Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders, join Hillary Clinton in making the case against the presumptive GOP nominee — and for her.
.. “The Republicans also have a lot of talent, but they don’t want to be associated with Donald Trump.”
.. Sending him into Scranton, his hometown (and the city where Clinton’s father grew up), gives Biden the chance to help defend Pennsylvania for Democrats after Trump has promised to put it into play with his appeal to blue collar and middle-class white men whose industries have been hit hard by multinational trade deals.
.. Painting Trump as a threat to laborers’ way of life, the materials directly echo the message that party officials expect to hear from Biden.
“That’s what he did in ’08 and ’12. He’s reprising that role,” said former Pennsylvania Gov. and Democratic National Committee Chairman Ed Rendell. “Where surrogates have an effect is not necessarily in persuasion. It’s about turnout. Joe can remind the blue collar, white working class guys of all the things that the Republican Party has done to deny them help.”
When Senator Sanders cries, “The system is rigged!” no one asks, “Just what specifically does that mean?” or “What facts do you have to back that up?” Facts are seldom allowed to contaminate the beautiful vision of the Left. In 2015, the 400 richest people in the world had net losses of $19 billion. If they had rigged the system, surely they could have rigged it better than that.