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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Crooked Hillary brings down the house on the final night of the DNC

It was the oddest of scenes as Hillary Clinton strode slowly to the center of the massive stage alone on the final evening of the Democrat National Convention in Philadelphia, smiling, gesturing and pointing to the partisan crowd going wild at her appearance.

She had just been introduced by daughter Chelsea and the camera panned to husband Bill on several occasions, who appeared to even have tears in his eyes. For a person whose entire life in the public eye Crooked Hillarydepended so much on the fame and success of others, now the spotlight was hers alone.

Of course the woman seemed to love it. It was only when she started speaking that Crooked Hillary reappeared. Looking very tired, sullen and aged, I don’t recall another time when she seemed to be so flat and lifeless. It appeared to me like she hasn’t been getting much sleep lately. The grind of the campaign and the exhausting travel schedule must finally be getting to Hillary. The most talented of makeup artists couldn’t put a pretty face on that picture frame on Thursday night.

As for her speech, it dragged on for just short of an hour, a testament to some speechwriter’s rhetorical abilities in allowing Hillary to even sound eloquent at times. But whenever she tried to emphasize a point, her voice rises to a very unpleasant, screechy pitch and her eyes get real wide. Rather than sounding authoritative, she sounds whiney and nasty.

This was definitely true towards the end of the address when Crooked Hillary summarized her main point of the evening:

“Enough with the bigotry and the bombast. Donald Trump is not offering real change he’s offering empty promises. And what are we offering? A bold agenda to improve the lives of people across our country; to keep you safe; to get you good jobs. To give your kids the opportunities they deserve.

“The choice is clear my friends.”

Yes, indeed it is.

As was true with Obama’s speech the night before, I wondered if these people have some sort of detachment from reality. They’re Democrats, so falsity and deceit comes with the territory, but it’s been extreme this week – almost like they’ve forgotten that they were at the helm the past eight years and someone stole from them the opportunity to set the agenda.

First Obama and then Crooked Hillary spoke of an America that doesn’t really exist anymore, a fairytale land of happy people holding hands and celebrating diversity rather than of economic opportunities that have evaporated under crushing government regulation and economic growth that’s being shackled by the mounting national debt.

At one point fairly early on, Hillary even brought up her book “It Takes a Village” (to raise a child) in making the case she can help bring Americans together to move forward. As if a bunch of summits and gatherings is going to solve the real issues brought on by the growing terrorist threat. Pathetic.

Earlier in the day FBI Director James Comey issued a stern warning that success on the battlefield against ISIS will likely lead to more isolated terrorism incidents in the West as fighters disburse to take the cause elsewhere. The problem won’t go away, yet a center point of Crooked Hillary and the Democrats’ agenda is welcoming more Muslim immigration from the Middle East.

How can they talk of safety when they’re only encouraging if not begging the problem to come here?

But most of all, Clinton’s speech was mostly just substance free fluff. In contrast to Donald Trump who had taken a very serious tone in going over specifics in his acceptance speech, Clinton was some parts “unity” and other parts bash on Trump.

W. James Antle III of the Washington Examiner writes, “Clinton has responded to Trump's calls to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border by promising to build bridges. She has repeatedly called Trump's rhetoric divisive and said Americans are ‘stronger together.’ On Thursday, she discussed the cultural fragmentation Trump's voters are responding to, and blamed the Republican nominee for making it worse.

“’Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart,’ she said. ‘Bonds of trust and respect are fraying. And just as with our founders there are no guarantees. It's truly is up to us. We have to decide whether we're going to work together so we can all rise together.’”

I found it curious Hillary centered parts of her speech on the Founding Fathers, who would want nothing of Hillary’s plans to centralize authority in the national government. She obviously was absent the day they taught history in history class.

Donald Trump’s reaction to the speech was predictable. He didn’t like it. The Donald synopsized it in a tweet: “No one has worse judgement than Hillary Clinton - corruption and devastation follows her wherever she goes.”

Well said. I can’t help but think that’s the take most Americans will have on Crooked Hillary. No convention speech can change that fact.

In summing up the two party conventions, I can’t help but note the Republican convention was held at the home of the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers while the Democrat convention was assembled in the arena where the NBA’s worst team – the Philadelphia 76ers -- play their games. The 76ers were so bad this past season that they won seven fewer games than the next-worst team.

One party’s nominee is a champion; the other’s is a loser. It works.

Why undecided voters will eventually choose Donald Trump

Admit it. Whenever you see a new poll released you immediately jump right to the horse race numbers, digest the plus or minus margin and either feel a rush of good feeling or a surge of dread and worry. I bet it’s happened to all of us about five hundred times since the beginning of the primary race last year.

Pollsters depend on those minute differences in margin to keep politicos on the hook from week to week in a presidential election process that nowadays basically never stops.

But dip below those top numbers and you’ll find the “undecided” tally. The closer you move to an election the smaller the number becomes – or would seem to get.

For those of us who are constantly weighing candidates and information it’s sometimes hard to comprehend how anyone could be “undecided” in an election, much less this one where both candidates are extremely well known and represent such stark contrasts in personality, style, substance and background.

For those of you who are dying to find out whom these “undecided” fence-sitters might be, pollster Frank Luntz provides an answer.

Dividing undecideds into two groups,  Luntz writes in Time, “The first are useless. They simply don’t know or don’t care about the candidates and/or the political process. They’re the ‘low-information’ voters that conservative talk radio hosts love to hate. They tell themselves that they’re fact-based arbiters. But really, they’ve applied only haphazard thought to forming a cogent worldview. And what they ‘know’ is often wrong. But their mistaken assumptions are held with such stubborn passion they refuse to hear an alternative viewpoint…”

I’ll get to group two in a second. Through numerous conversations with people over the past year, I’ve found quite a few who fit into group one. Sadly to say, this is the type of reaction I get when asking younger people (friends of my kids) about the election. Civics is definitely a lost art among most of the younger crowd. When they’re not touting Bernie Sanders they basically don’t have a clue about any kind of systemic issue. Ask them “Who is the Speaker of the House?” or “What does the First Amendment protect?” Forget it.

But many adults are just as bad. My family really loves Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia), for example. Whenever we go there, people invariably assume, “Oh, you must be taking the kids to Water Country or Busch Gardens.” When we tell them we prefer to spend our time in the Colonial City, they give us a rather quizzical look, like, why would you go there instead of an amusement park?

I tell them we’re just getting in touch with our liberty roots. They still don’t get it.

Call me a cynic, but as long as these group one folks have access to their iPhone or a TV screen they’d much rather fill their heads with Instagram or the Disney Channel than concern themselves with their own future.

Low information voters? That doesn’t even begin to describe them. Don’t these people talk about anything at home with their families? Or are they hiding some sort of latent preference behind their professed ignorance and are just afraid to announce it publicly?

I definitely agree with Luntz – these people are useless.

Which brings me to group two of the undecided voters. Luntz explains, “They will decide the election. They are the none-of-the-above voter. They know a lot about both candidates and don’t like either one. (Can’t blame them, really. Two fundamentally flawed candidates clamoring for votes in a fundamentally furious nation.) They cannot stomach the choice between ‘crude’ and ‘corrupt’ (their words, not mine). These voters are like children living through a bitter divorce; watching with a mixture of fear and disdain as their parents argue, knowing they will soon be forced to choose with whom to live—a decision with no good outcome.”

I would actually include many of the #NeverTrumpers in this category, even though they’ve already announced who they won’t vote for, know the process well and are generally well informed on the candidates themselves.

The reason why I’ve put them here is because they’re really not willing to listen to reason or persuasion. They’re so fed up with the way things are in America but it seems like they’re even angrier with the parties and candidates to the point they’re psychologically unable to carry on a civil conversation without flying off on a tangent whenever the subject comes up.

The “undecideds” don’t like discussing politics and pass themselves off as somehow above the fray and would much rather talk about a forecasted thunderstorm on the way than consider a rather simple binary choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

And I think their silence is one of the reasons why Donald Trump is getting more support than most people realize. People don’t want to discuss Trump because they’re afraid of being branded as a bigot, sexist, racist, homophobe who wants to march everyone who isn’t white and a Republican off to a concentration camp where they will be waterboarded until they shout “Make America Great Again!

I’ve even had friends compare Trump to Hitler…and who wants to be lumped in with him?

How will the undecideds eventually break down? Luntz concludes, “This campaign season has been as unpredictable as it is unprecedented. The one commonality is the oft infuriating whims of the proverbial and desperately coveted undecided voter. But pay close attention. As someone who has listened to them for a quarter-century now, the candidate that is most engaging and least offensive is the candidate who wins this essential bloc—and therefore the election. They’ll tell you, and tell themselves, that they’re voting for the candidate with the best ideas. But they’re really voting for the one who they believe is most ‘on their side.’ In the end, subtlety will sway more undecided voters than the sledgehammer.”

In other words, whichever candidate can offer the most change with a smile on their face is going to grab the mythical undecided voter this year, according to Luntz. I’m not a pollster, but I’m guessing this furious group of undecideds he describes – which includes the ever-shrinking cohort of #NeverTrumpers – is going to go Trump in November, just as they went heavily for Obama in 2008.

And it’s not because Trump is so great or because his sometimes jumbled ideology is seen as superior by these people. No, they’ll choose Trump because he’s not Hillary. To everyone but her most ardent supporters, Hillary is like a contagious lesion that must be excised at all costs.

Trump may not be the best alternative in many people’s minds, but they’re going to go for the straight talking non-politically correct entertainer over the screeching establishment ulcer.

The question is whether they’ll admit it to anyone before they get into the voting booth on November 8.

#NeverTrump media gets an “A” for their English papers, but what about the election?

One of those #NeverTrumpers who, if he has a secret preference for Trump is doing a pretty good job of hiding it is Kevin D. Williamson of National Review.

Williamson was one of the first to declare a never-ever orientation to the leading Republican candidate during the primaries and now party nominee and it appears as though the months and multitude of Crooked Hillary revelations hasn’t changed his mind any.

Let’s not forget Williamson was the one who argued that unemployed working class voters are to blame for their own situations and should simply abandon their homes in pursuit of some more promising opportunity, as if they were thrown out of their jobs because of the geography involved rather than self-destructive government policies.

It’s a snobby attitude, very characteristic of the establishment ruling class in government, big business and the media.

Perhaps of his elitist orientation, Williamson projects some sort of noble longings on this year’s presidential candidates. He writes of Trump in National Review, “Trump being Trump, he has spent years driving home the point — ‘I am the new aristocracy!’ — with his usual vulgar aesthetic, all that ersatz Louis XIV furniture and his mania for gold-plating and gold-leafing anything that sits still for more than 20 minutes, including the seatbelt buckles on his airplane. Of course he went bankrupt trying to build a Taj Mahal in Atlantic City: For a man obsessed with building golden monuments to himself, the prospect of playing Mughal emperor must have been irresistible.”

To his credit, Williamson also makes the case that the Clintons are just as feverishly in pursuit of aristocratic status. His piece is extremely well written, as usual, and will no doubt expand your vocabulary after you’ve finished looking up some of the words he uses.

But in reading Williamson’s material, I’m not quite grasping what the point of all of it is. Even if it were true that the Trumps and Clintons fancy themselves as some sort of fantasy kingdom builders, it doesn’t advance the argument one bit in trying to deal with the 2016 election. Donald Trump is the Republican nominee; Hillary Clinton is the Democrats’ candidate.

By bashing both major candidates as unworthy of the office of the presidency, Williamson’s articles have devolved into little more than taking up space on some internet server somewhere.

All Williamson is proving is that he’s very good at writing English papers. Very well, Kevin. You get an “A.” Now what?

By continuing to dally on the sidelines, Williamson and other #NeverTrumpers are essentially waiting for the day after the election when once again they’ll have a purpose in critiquing the next administration.

Until that time, they’re just undecided voters writing fluff about nobility and family dynasties, not really adding any value to the conversation. Reading them is a waste of time. I wonder how long it’s going to take them to realize it.

Trump admits it’s personal with the non-stop bash fest that was the Democrat convention

With the conclusion of Hillary Clinton’s speech last night, the Democrat convention came to a close roughly one week to the hour after the Republican event concluded in Cleveland.

Both conventions were quite harsh on the other party’s candidate and understandably so. That’s what party conventions do – make their candidate sound like the greatest person ever and the other party’s nominee seem like the devil.

Politicians are required to have thick skin, but at some point, even they must take the verbal lashings personally. Donald Trump admitted as much the other day.

Nick Gass of Politico reports, “While trying to take the barrage of Democratic National Convention attacks against him in stride, Donald Trump admitted in an interview with Fox News aired Thursday that he cannot help but ‘take it a little bit personally.’

“’Well, they don't all hit me, but some of them do. And they try to hit you as hard as possible. And it's mostly false stuff,’ Trump said in an interview with Brian Kilmeade on ‘Fox & Friends’ that was taped Wednesday, before the latest night of the convention that saw high-profile speakers like vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine, Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama going directly after the Republican nominee.”

Trump will get his chance to retaliate somewhere down the road, of course, but with both nominees settled and the party conventions now in the history books, he’ll have to think of some new and creative ways to reach people.

With both candidates so well-known already, it’s a race to pin a label on the other that will stick in the minds of voters. Trump seems to have found his with “Crooked Hillary,” but can he demonstrate the kind of message discipline it will take to carry through to Election Day?

Trump should definitely keep the focus on Hillary’s ethics issues, but he also needs to pound jobs, trade, immigration and most of all national security above all else. And it wouldn’t hurt to talk about cultural issues in some context either.

If he ends up winning in November, all the “personal” stuff will already be out the window.

Is Mitt Romney about to endorse a pro-abortion, pro-marijuana candidate?

Finally this week, the media made quite a big deal over the lack of participation at this year’s GOP convention by the two living Republican presidents and previous party nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney.

It’s been a constant topic of speculation as to what the Bush family, McCain and Romney will do about voting in this year’s election.

Now comes word Romney is considering going third party. Jessie Hellmann of The Hill reports, “Mitt Romney may make a late endorsement in the presidential race — but not for the Republican nominee. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson said he's been in discussions with the 2012 GOP nominee and is hopeful of an endorsement.

“’I think he's considering the possibility of doing this,’ Johnson said in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer Thursday. ‘Actually endorsing the two of us,’ he said, referring to his running mate, Bill Weld.”

Romney, of course, has been one of the leading voices of #NeverTrump and was widely rumored to be considering getting into the Republican race as the “White Knight” establishment savior prior to the convention when he could have potentially had a chance.

No one was surprised when Romney didn’t end up endorsing Trump before or during the GOP convention, but if he goes Libertarian, that would be quite a shocker.

I doubt such a move would drive many undecided voters into the Libertarian camp, but it might actually end up helping Trump. As a leading figure of the Republican establishment, Romney repels more people than he attracts.

And wouldn’t it be ironic if the clean living Mormon Romney chooses a candidate who favors gay marriage and legalizing marijuana?

It’s hard to believe, but the 2016 election might just be getting even stranger.

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