The primaries are basically over. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have cleared the tracks for the general election, and if you think that the noise over the last year leading up to this moment were pretty awful, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Margaret Carlson at Bloomberg:
Trump rallies are almost always the same because the candidate resists advice to grow in his candidacy. A rant about his wins, the polls, the wall, Obamacare, rotten deals and the awfulness the media (which made him). There is always one protester to be escorted out — though politely now — and interesting political wear hawked outside, a small demonstration of Trump’s ability to create jobs. As he begins to focus his heaviest insults on Hillary Clinton, the merch has evolved, too. So now you can own a T-shirt adorned with slogans such as “Hillary for Prison,” “Trump the B—ch” or one comparing Monica and Hillary that is too blue to quote.
There is one moment of suspense: Will the Good, Presidential Trump show up along with the Off-the-Cuff, Stream-of-Consciousness, Insult-Spewing Trump? The candidate’s new aide, the Republican establishment-whisperer Paul Manafort, was dispatched to the Republican National Committee’s meeting in Florida last week to court the very party officials that Trump accuses of running a rigged system. Manafort described the serious, presidential Donald who is known only to those who see him when the cameras are off.
This is a novel twist on an old trope about the real human said to inhabit every candidate. There was a funny Al Gore inside the somber one. There is another Clinton who approves staff proposals with a chipper Okey-dokey, Artichokey, douses everything with hot sauce she carries in her bag (for “health reasons,” of course), and throws her head back in raucous laughter when amused.
This may be the first time in political history that a candidate’s been urged to be more Gore-like. The Trump you see — spontaneous, one-of-the-crowd, seeming to be having fun — is not the real man. We’re to believe that within the reality show star is a more authentic persona, ready to be chiseled onto Mount Rushmore, as stiff as a pinstripe and grim as an accountant.
I doubt that there will be any meaningful discussion of policies or governmental priorities between now and the middle of November, and if there is, you’re not going to find it amidst the yelling, the catcalls, the bombast, and the myriad mini-scandals that will be drummed up by the cable channels in order to fill the air and their ad revenue accounts.
So I suggest you get a streaming account like Netflix or whatever passes for something that you can use to amuse or educate yourself for the next seven months while the hurly-burly’s done because there won’t be any need for you to pay attention until you go vote on November 8.
It’s gotten to the point where reruns of “Law & Order: SVU” on TNT are more uplifting.