Chris Cillizza is not as annoying as most CNN commentators, but he made major mistakes in his analysis yesterday. Cillizza talked about Bruce Springsteen’s view that Trump will win again in 2020 because the Democrats have not come up with a candidate that can beat him.
Cillizza quoted Springsteen, a 69-year-old liberal rock singer from New Jersey, as saying, “I don’t see anyone out there at the moment … the man who can beat Trump, or the woman who can beat Trump,” Springsteen said of the potential 2020 Democratic field. “You need someone who can speak some of the same language [as Trump] … and the Democrats don’t have an obvious, effective presidential candidate.”
Chris, what are you doing? My cat could tell you Trump will win the next election, but you are an editor-at-large with CNN, and you are providing the political views of an old beatnik, as though they are significant? In my estimation Springsteen is about as savvy politically as your average bus driver. In fact, his Dutch father was a mostly unemployed bus driver. He was also a schizophrenic bully, who would address Bruce as “outcast weirdo misfit sissy boy.” I think we can agree Dutch was probably not too bright politically.
How about Bruce’s Italian mother? She was a poor, strict Catholic, working as a secretary. It is not hard to assume she voted for the Democrats and had little knowledge of politics. Now we have Bruce himself. Here he is at 33. Tell me he looks like someone you would go to for political advice.
Can a person gain a lot of political knowledge and wisdom from singing? Bruce dropped out of education after high school, and teachers described him as being a loner and only wanting to play his guitar. He also had a long battle with depressian and saw a psychotherapist three years after the photo above was taken. His wife witnessed his bouts of mental illness as he struggled with depression. Cillizza quotes Springsteen saying of Trump, “He’s deeply damaged at his core,” and, “Anyone in that position who doesn’t deeply feel those ties that bind is a dangerous man, and it’s very pitiful.” Was Springsteen talking about himself or Trump?
Chris, unless Bruce went off and studied politics and economics somewhere, I will assume his political knowledge is on a par with my cleaning lady. Why, if you are interested in expert opinion for a political analysis piece, would you take his political views seriously?
That is problem one.
Problem two is that you and Bruce approached Trump the wrong way. You wrote, “One would think that, given the expected size of the field, there would be at least one candidate — and maybe a few — who Springsteen believes can take on and beat Trump.” You have assumed that it is not about the Democratic Party platform but rather a person. It appears that neither you nor Bruce considered that the Democrats lost the last election because of their policies.
Imagine a guy with body odor, halitosis, and bad teeth. Girls refuse to go out with him. Along you and Bruce come to give the slob your advice. “It’s because of your clothes and car,” you announce, gleefully. “Get new ones, and all should be well.”
The guy buys a new suit and a new car, but nothing changes. What now? “It must be your music,” Bruce suggests. “And your hat,” you advise. He buys new music and a new hat, but still, the girls shun him. As you scratch your heads, confused, I tell the guy, “You need to shower every day, use deodorant, have your teeth fixed and brush them three times a day.” Problem solved. Now the girls are all over him.
The problem with the Democrats winning has much less to do with leaders and personalities as it has to do with policy. Since Trump won office, what plans have they put forward? Nada. All they have done is lie about Trump. They have no policies. You can get Elvis Presley himself, back from the grave, to run, but without good strategies, you will lose.
Problem three is that you are obsessed with his words, and campaign speeches, thinking that he must have achieved success this way. You list all the things he said during his inauguration speech, looking for clues. This is like a witch doctor and the first man to invent fire. Trog, the fire maker, shows the tribe, which makes the witchdoctor jealous. He looks around for the ‘magic’ Trog must be using. “What’s under your armpit?” he asks, poking a stick.
“Nothing,” Trog replies, pushing the stick away.
“How about in your pouch?”
“Tinder,” Trog explains. “To catch fire.”
“What spells did you use?” the witchdoctor demands.
“None,” Trog shrugs. “It’s not magic. It just works.”
“Get him!” the witchdoctor orders. “He is a demon!”
You and Bruce are behaving like the witchdoctor, Chris. You think that Trump’s policies could not possibly be the reason he won. He must be using some kind of magic, so you seek it out. There is no magic, just good policy. Trump voters include the blue collar workers you harp about, but they also include many millions of highly intelligent people who are right in front of you. Open your eyes and look around. Open your ears and listen. Take your remote control out of your safe, dust it off and change channels from CNN to Fox News, to see what those smart people are saying. Or does Bruce still think there are 57 Channels and nothin’ on?