Chronicles of a chronic chronicler –Earl Bousquet.
I spent much of the weekend catching-up on the Big American Race to the White House — and I still maintain that the biggest surprises are still to come.
I always held that Donald Trump would have been the Republican candidate, that Bernie Sanders would give Hillary Clinton all the run for all her money – and that Mrs Clinton may not be the best Democratic candidate against Trump.
I continue to hear, read and see that she is the preferred choice of the Democratic establishment. But, just as in the Republican case, the party establishment is not on the same side as its grassroots majority.
Trump has been able to pay his way through the primaries and beat back against all his top Republican opponents. He routed them all. They can no longer stop him so they are burning their party cards online — and threatening to support Hillary Clinton instead. But Trump is steam-rolling his way through and there can be no doubt that he will do anything more he feels he has to – anything.
In the Democratic case, Mrs Clinton needs the expected support of the Super Delegates to clinch the nomination. But there are some road blocks she is already facing – and which I had also predicted earlier.
First, I always held that the historically politically conspiratorial Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was simply sitting on the e-mail investigation to re-raise it at a time considered appropriate, just ahead of her nomination. Now they’ve done just, that with an announcement over the weekend that some 200 FBI agents are on the Clinton e-mail case — which is also its most high profile at the moment.
And then came that other Trump offensive I also expected – revival of Clinton White House philandering. Trump has promised never to go there, but changed his mind over the weekend and accused Mrs Clinton of being an enabler in the alleged extra-curricula Oval Office and Rose Garden liaisons.
As expected, Mrs Clinton has tried to brush off the FBI e-mail investigation. Asked how she felt about possibly being implicated, she flatly replied that “It will never happen!” She hasn’t responded to the effort to use the less flowery aspects of the Clinton presidential past as a trump card against her. But here too, Trump has also signalled he will not let up.
The US establishment transgresses both major parties. They are mostly against Trump and many prefer Clinton. But the polls also showed over the weekend that while Mrs Clinton may be the establishment candidate, Bernie Sanders has a better chance of defeating Trump. (One poll gave Mrs Clinton a 41% chance against Sanders with 53%)
I watched and listened to the discussions and debates in the US press and it was quite clear that the Democratic Super Delegates will have an important decision to make in the weeks ahead. Sanders is closing in on Mrs Clinton even as she is increasingly being regarded as a possible liability — especially should the FBI implicate her.
At the level of establishment politics in America, the presidential dynasties are also at play here. Trump trumped the chances of a third Bush at the White House after November. But Mrs Clinton has spent the last eight years wanting to be the next President Clinton and the first woman Commander in Chief of the US armed forces. Her dynasty clearly thinks its their turn.
But American voters have been expressing growing skepticism about Mrs Clinton, with more throwing support behind Sanders as time goes on. Many see her as still being in bed with Wall Street and the military industrial complex.
Millions of independents who support Sanders also complained of being barred by the rules from voting for him during the primaries. But they are throwing their money and support increasingly behind Sanders, who neither Establishment America nor the FBI has so far been able to sully publicly.
Against this background — and with Trump already predicting the Republican Establishment will come around rather earlier than later — the weeks and days ahead should yield a few more trump cards from The Donald.
But for all the reasons offered, I still hold that Hillary Clinton may have to do much more than she actually can to stem or reverse the growing tide of uncertainty to eventually trump Trump.