I don't know how I have found myself with a new sabbatical assignment, but it seems to be the case. What is it? Reassuring folks--friends, acquaintances, people I meet in Europe and Canada, etc--that Trump will not win.
Last night, I spoke at a synagogue as one of my colleagues had recommended me to his Rabbi. The theme of the talk was: the Rise and Inevitable Fall of Donald Trump. The keys to the argument were that the primaries and the general elections are two different processes, and what it takes to win the former may not be all that helpful to win the latter. I also made arguments about the weakness of the opposition in the primary, which facilitated the ethnic outbidding that worked for Trump, and the strengths of the Clinton campaign. Much of this should be familiar to Spew readers.
After my talk, folks came up mostly to argue about my answer* to the Netanhayu and HRC question (will the relations be better? Yes, but not much since US and Israel have some real differences and the Dems have a multiethnic constituency that includes Jews and Muslims and pro-Palestinian folks), but several wanted to get more reassurance about Trump. The problem is that Trump has created two sorts of fear--that whites are under assault in the US and that Trump might win. Obviously, two different audiences are feeling these kinds of fears.
I do think the second set of fears might be productive--getting folks to vote (including some American ex-pats in Canada who have not voted recently in the US). Folks worry about complacency--that people are taking for granted that Hillary will win and will not vote or they can vote for a third or fourth party candidate. Um, have you talked to anyone lately? Lots of panic. I think concern is productive, but not sure panic is. The good news is that Brexit happened (sorry, UK), which will do much to encourage people (yo, young folks!) to vote and not to waste votes for protest candidates. The stakes are, indeed, mighty high.
Indeed, I started my talk by suggesting what the stakes are this time: that Trump's promises include defaulting on the debt (hellooooooo depression), breaking NATO, ripping up NAFTA, sucking up to Russia (goodbye to generations of European stability), and on and on. I also read a key quote that references the Holocaust as Trump is, indeed, the closest thing to Hitler the US has had. Sorry, Godwin.
But as I keep saying: HRC has a smart, disciplined, organized, funded, learning campaign, with the electoral college and demographics on her side. What does Trump have on his side? White supremacists, Putin, and ?
Why do I feel it is my role to reassure folks about Trump's inevitable defeat? I am not exactly sure. I guess I just don't want people to be so stressed out for the next four months. Anyhow, don't take my word for it. Just keep an eye on the fundamentals--not just the absence of major war and the presence of low inflation/low unemployment, but also that the Democrats are united and have their stars out fighting for Clinton while the Republicans are divided and sending the D team out.
* I learned at my second job talk a long, long time ago that I should never speak in public about Israel as I do not research/study it while everyone who cares thinks they are an expert. Does not lead to productive conversations.