The Atlantic vs. Access Hollywood

by admingene on September 7, 2020

September 7, 2020

The Atlantic vs. Access Hollywood

With the article just released in The Atlantic, have we now reached the point in the campaign that is most comparable to the 2016 release of the Access Hollywood recording?  And why may this year be different?

Just to review:  The infamous Access Hollywood recording was released on October 7, 2016.  On October 28, 2016, FBI Director James Comey announced that the FBI was re-investigating Hillary Clinton, essentially saying, “Maybe we were wrong, maybe she really is a crook.”  According to data compiled from Real Clear Politics, between October 10 and October 27, over the course of 31 national polls, Clinton led Trump by 6%.  Between October 28 and Election Day, November 8, over the course of 19 national polls, Clinton’s lead shrank to 3% and in the actual vote, she won the popular vote by 2%.  The difference can be explained by the fact that before Oct. 28, a majority of the many voters who disliked both candidates were choosing Clinton.  After Oct. 28, and on Election Day, a majority of these voters chose Trump.

Today, Trump faces another personal campaign crisis with the charges made in Jeffrey Goldberg’s article and corroborated by several news organizations, including the AP, NY Times, Washington Post, FOX News and CNN (and by now, perhaps others).  In short, Trump has frequently expressed disdain for people who serve in the military.  In his mind, to serve is to be stupid, to get captured or wounded makes you a loser, and to be killed while serving makes you a sucker. 

The big question is: will this affect the election?  I think it will.

Yes, I know his attacks on John McCain and Gold Star families have not derailed his campaigns in the past.  But now he has a track record, people know who he is, and these allegations confirm and heighten this profile.  He has been attacked by many retired military officers, including some who worked for him in the White House, like Gen. James Mattis.  And a recent poll of active military by the Military Times showed Biden leading Trump by 4%.  This last is highly unusual.  Military members have always favored the Republican over the Democratic candidate for President.  It takes a lot for active duty military members to oppose an incumbent Republican Commander-in-Chief.

Undermining the staying power of this issue on voters’ minds, there will be various books released, some as soon as this week, that will further expose how incompetent and unfit for office Trump is.  Two within the next week are Michael Cohen’s book and probably of greater importance, Bob Woodward’s new book.  More important because: Woodward had access to Trump; interviewed him for his book; and focuses much of the book on Trump’s response (or non-response) to the pandemic.

It will be hard for any single story about Trump to maintain the public’s attention.  However, I believe that as the dust settles, there will be untold numbers of Americans who will remember Trump’s opinions of those who serve or have served in the military.  Having had a son who served in the Middle East, the Biden campaign will continue to make this a point of differentiation between the two candidates.  And every time they do, Trump will look worse.

As for the initial question I posed, yes, this year will be different.  Joe Biden is not Hillary Clinton.  There are no large scale doubts about his honesty and integrity.  There can be nothing to compare with James Comey’s actions in late October, 2016.  Even if the Attorney General tries to drum up something against Biden, voters will see it for what it is, a political hit job with no basis in anything but Barr’s and Trump’s twisted minds. 

The article in the Atlantic may very well, finally, be the issue that lasts throughout the fall.

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