A Democrat National Committee-engineered nomination.
A press that dismisses serious questions as conspiracies, and Republicans as racists.
A campaign that scorns personal interaction and relies on technology.
A candidate who is isolated, and in some areas completely absent.
A smattering of lackluster rallies with dozens of participants.
A highly compromising laptop in the hands of U.S. intelligence.
A final-stretch Barack Obama appearance in deep-blue Philadelphia.
A Republican opponent who is packing stadiums while inspiring arts, crafts, music, and dance moves, but is behind in all major polling.
And “Saturday Night Live” skits that fail to trigger so much as a chuckle.
Does all this sound familiar? It should, because it describes Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president. For a few sweet weeks after she lost, these were the topics of dozens upon dozens of public media chest-beating and garment-rending sessions.
How could they have missed such obvious signs of a rotten Democratic campaign, they asked the heavens, and not seen such clear signals of Republican enthusiasm? Today, just four years later, we’re living it all over again. So what happened to the soul searching, and how did the pundit class end up back in the exact place, trying desperately to undo history by repeating it to a tee?
After November 2016, Democrats wondered what they’d done wrong — what Her had done wrong. Had they forgotten white working voters? (Yep.) Had they sacrificed the concerns of the ordinary Americans for the luxury problems of the elites? (Yes.) Had they taken victory for granted, confident that voters would not support Donald Trump? (Mmhm.) Had they skipped Wisconsin? (Yeah, they did that).
Reporters wondered what they’d done wrong, too. The Huffington Post did a whole “Listen to America” tour of 25 cities, 19 of which were blue, and there was a general call to listen to the country and dispense with the contempt.
Where’d all that go? The short of it is more important things came up. The new president’s attorney general was a Klansman, for one. Or was he a Kremlin agent? Russia took center stage before it was traded in for Ukraine before going back to Russia again.
Somehow, four short years after the Democratic Party and their media allies publicly went through what recovering alcoholics call “a moment of clarity,” they relapsed. They are doing it all again, bit for bit, and play for play. They even brought back Black Lives Matter, that national organizer of violent racial hatred that last led to the 2016 murder of five Dallas policemen. The whole gang is back.
Few Democrats are truly excited for Joe, a candidate foisted on the faithful by a party leadership terrified of the hyper-popular radicals in their midst.
News outlets are asking the former vice president what his favorite ice cream is while issuing press releases assuring their audience they won’t cover his family’s corruption. Only Thursday night, in a strong final debate, were major channels forced to carry the allegations for more than a few dismissive moments.
Committed to pandemic street theater, Democrats have largely discarded field offices and door-knocks, relying instead on digital campaigning.
The candidate is so isolated from Americans that his own campaign staff must look away while drinking water, and he dared not even shake hands with his running mate. With few public appearances and even fewer questions, neither he nor Kamala Harris are present in the states they need to win.
A highly compromising laptop once owned by Hunter Biden is in the hands of U.S. intelligence, with more and more damaging evidence of corruption emerging daily, amplified by a brazen Big Tech campaign to censor the news.
Obama, who struggles to hide his disinterest in his former vice president, made an eventual appearance, opting to hold a rally in deep-blue Philadelphia. He hopes to recreate the black support that helped him win Pennsylvania twice but failed to materialize when he visited for Her.
Although behind in all major polling, Donald Trump is packing stadiums. Trump flags, tambourines, and switchblades are sold on the side of the road, homemade mailboxes bear his likeness, skydivers and boaters wave his banner across the horizon, and teenagers try to learn his dance moves.
And once again, “Saturday Night Live” skits fail to trigger so much as a chuckle.
This Election Day could go either way, and nothing is for certain. Nothing, except for one thing: We haven’t learned a thing.