The Corner

Politics & Policy

A Failure to Communicate . . .

 . . . but what difference, at this point, does it make?

I have a delightful ex-girlfriend visiting from D.C. this weekend; she worked in the Senate way back when I did, in the 1990s, and is now an enthusiastic backer of Hillary. She flew out of D. C. yesterday midday, and arrived in Hollywood at about 10:30 p.m. Pacific time. I greeted her with the news that Republicans were panicking about Trump, and that some GOP bigwigs were canceling campaign events with him. She responded, basically, It’s no big deal – too many of them love the guy and they’re not going to dump him in any case; he could still win. It was late, she’d had an especially long day coast to coast, and we turned in.

Fast-forward to this morning. I go online and report to her, “Hey, a lot of important GOP folks are withdrawing their endorsements. Maybe this sex stuff will make a difference . . . ”

She looks at me, puzzled, and asks, “What sex stuff?”

I look at her like she’s crazy. “The stuff from yesterday – you know!”

She remains completely at sea.

At which point, it dawns on me – I had updated her last night on the most recent developments in the most recent Trump crisis, without even suspecting that she might not know about, well, the most recent Trump crisis. Turns out she had basically switched off social and other media when getting ready to leave D.C. and was therefore totally unaware of the most recent Trump crisis.

But her response was instructive nonetheless: Yes, Republicans are panicking about Trump; it’s not a big deal; they have plenty of reason to panic about him, they have done so before and will do so again; but he still might win the election.

That’s from a real live Hillary supporter. True, that’s what she thought when she didn’t have the facts about yesterday’s revelations; but in this election, how sure are we that there won’t be a bilge-tide yet to come, of more and more facts (and falsehoods, too), smearing both sides? Thirty-one days is a long, long time.

I’m thinking back right now to a D.C. dinner party in January 1998, where some friends and I, roughly equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, were all pretty much convinced that Bill Clinton would be out of office within 48 hours. (Fact check: Mostly false! He would leave office about three years later, with an approval rating of 65 percent.)

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