The media masses are buzzing about a comment by Donald Trump that they think may mean he is preparing to lose.
Trump sees his role as telling the truth, he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” and “and if at the end of 90 days, I've fallen short ... it's OK. I go back to a very good way of life.”
Aha! He’s looked at the polls! He knows he’s toast!
Uh-uh. To me, it’s not just a candid remark, but a very human one, reflecting the fact that Trump gave up an exceedingly comfortable life as a wealthy businessman to make his improbable run. Aren’t we all sick of politicians who blindly predict victory the day before the election when they know full well they’re about to get wiped out?
Besides, while the media consensus is captured by the new Time cover—a melting orange face, with the headline “Meltdown”—Trump could still win this thing. He’s down in the polls, ricocheting between controversies and at war with the media, but he’s also within striking distance in the key states, such as Florida and Ohio, that he would need to win.
But let’s say Hillary Clinton, who ripped Trump while offering a laundry list of economic programs yesterday, comes out on top. Could she push through her agenda?
The Washington Post has an intriguing piece that concludes: probably not.
For starters, the Republicans will almost certainly hold the House, and even if the Democrats take the Senate, they would control no more than 54 seats—short of a filibuster-proof majority.
Plus, James Hohmann writes, “many Republicans will insist Clinton has no mandate to govern. They will try constantly to de-legitimize her and do everything in their power to make sure she’s a one-term president.”
He cites a Philip Klein piece in the Washington Examiner:
“Given where the race is headed, the most likely outcome of the election is this: Clinton wins as Americans reject Trump. But, despite a victory, she will still remain broadly unpopular and distrusted among a public that probably won't have paid much attention to her actual policy proposals.”
And then there’s the undeniable fact that little has gotten done inside the Beltway for a very long time. Congress couldn’t even agree on funding to fight the Zika virus before leaving town.
“Bigger picture, and perhaps most importantly, a new president will not be able to break the gridlock that grips Washington without systemic change,” Hohmann writes.
Interestingly, Steve King, the very conservative Iowa congressman, said yesterday that while he supports Trump, “I’ve sat across the table with Hillary Clinton eye-to-eye, and when you’re working outside of staff and outside of the press, she is somebody I can work with.”
Clinton would obviously preserve the liberal gains made by President Obama. But where she’s moved further left to coopt part of the Bernie Sanders agenda, even a divided Congress isn’t likely to play along.
But first she’s got to get to the White House. And that’s hardly a sure thing, even if Trump might enjoy lounging around Mar-a-Lago.