This time in 2015 the Republican field appeared to have its prohibitive favorite – a candidate linked to not one, but two former presidents. The candidate may have lacked charisma, but had a soft tone and establishment ties that allowed the individual to raise money at rates never before seen as political pundits began daydreaming about a political cycle flush with billions of dollars of campaign contributions.
If you change Republican to Democrat then the following paragraph would be about Hillary, not Jeb, which is the real problem that team Clinton faces before the November electorate. Clinton does still have one major advantage that Jeb Bush didn’t which is that she is competing for votes not solely among a fervently anti-establishment Republican electorate, but among a much more subdued national electorate.
Hillary Clinton’s strategy has been described as a sort of "wait out the clock" game plan focused on doing nothing controversial to disrupt the massive ten point lead that she had amassed following the Democratic Convention and allow Donald Trump to continue to ravage his own image by making hyperbolic statements.
That strategy appears to be backfiring with the latest LA Times poll showing Trump leading by three points while Reuters shows Trump rallied 13 points to take a one point lead, and Investor’s Business Daily have declared that the race that was once out of reach is now tied. It seems that Trump may have baited Clinton into the trap of complacency before once again showing that he is a character of the unexpected.
In the past week Trump held a much heralded meeting with the President of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto who during the conference suggested the Republican meant well despite his comments, that there was room to maneuver on TPP and that the border is also a substantial problem for Mexico because the flood of weapons and cash from the US – a pretty major win from a PR perspective.
The Clinton team flailed to cast Trump as a "choke artist" who failed to demand in a very first meeting that Mexico "pay for the wall" right away and argued that the visit embarrassed the United States on a national stage, but even if it were true it didn’t match the optics of the moment.
On Saturday, Trump visited a black church in Detroit where he called for a "new kind of Civil Rights Movement" saying he was there to listen to the community and fight for their votes – Hillary’s team blasted the candidate saying black voters will never like him.
Trump does face serious fundraising challenges to continue to field a professional campaign team that can connect with voters face-to-face and to compete with Clinton on the airwaves after she raised $143 million in July alone, but while he is crisscrossing North America doing dozens of rallies, going to the site of the massive Louisiana flood, speaking with Mexico’s President, and meeting with black voters in Detroit, Hillary Clinton is nowhere to be seen with no campaign events planned for the next month while theories float around that she suffered lasting brain damage from a fall and always needs a nap.
Even with Clinton’s go-to "Russia and Putin did it" conspiracy theory, it seems Trump baited her – unwittingly or not – into doubling down off message to concoct one of the most bizarre narratives in modern political thought that Putin is the "grand godfather" of the alt-right movement. He invited Nigel Farage to speak at his rally and hired Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon at exactly the time Hillary’s team began floating ideas that Putin was the driving force of extreme nationalism – genius if it was on purpose.
Trump is an extremely flawed candidate whose bellicose rhetoric and untoward statements towards some minority groups – particularly Muslims and to a lesser extent Latinos – rightfully turn off a major portion of the nation. That was true even among just the Republican electorate. However, the Republican is the one driving the narrative while Hillary has completely stopped formulating a message of her own instead lecturing voters that Trump is obscene. We’ve seen this before – "Low Energy" Hillary may be in trouble.