Two Campaigns: One Tight Ship and One Full of Leaks

National Politics
Source: George Herbert AP
Source: George Herbert AP

Vlodrop, Netherlands   Trump and his family have to be walking around his namesake tower in New York City just hopping mad. Everywhere they turn they have to wonder at sieve of a drowning campaign who is leaking to the press.

The latest flood level leak from the top of the campaign to the New York Times detailed a split between the Republican party operatives and the campaign managers quoting the Trump folks right up to the son-in-law and right down to describing his tone in a meeting with a key RNC official as “impervious.” There just simply cannot be that many people in the room when meetings happen at that level. What do you reckon? Five or six, maybe ten, but even ten seems unlikely. Can you imagine the circular firing squad that is lining up to try and pull a confession – and resignation – out of the people spilling these stories to the press of more chaos and dissension? And, with or without confessions, trust has left this campaign.

Furthermore, reading between the lines, you just have to know the Republican National Committee folks who were assigned over to the Tower, had to be the leakers. And, for all of the denials from the Chair of the party, it’s hard not to see him nodding an ascent to the leaks in order to send one last message to the Trump campaign that they have reached their limit after his fiasco around immigration in the short hours between his visit to Mexico City and his speech in Arizona. There’s nothing subtle about any of this. It’s hardball and a pitch to the head.

Meanwhile, not a peep from the Clinton campaign. Testimony from the FBI is released. Thud. Not a sound from the campaign. No lone voices or squeaks of concern. Nothing but the authorized spokesperson rolling out the script for the occasion. One report noted that Clinton has not held an open press conference since December 2015. This is a new strategy. A candidate running for president that doesn’t want press. The Clinton campaign was quickly out with a count of 350 press contacts this year, but these were curated calls from random call-ins to radio DJs to carefully curried reporters in specific, often local outlets.

We have on offer two completely different strategies emanating from the same root source. Neither Trump nor Clinton trust nor care for the press, and they all fly separately this campaign, which is also unusual, but one can’t stop talking and one can’t start. One is leaking information right and left on a sinking ship, while the other is sealed tighter than a drum. From one side we know way, way too much, and from the other, we know way, way too little.

The percentage of undecided voters is at historic levels by some reports. One set of pollsters indicated,

“Undecided voters and professed non-voters are at 29 per cent, seven times higher than in 2012. If these people were to break one way or the other before election day, they could reverse Clinton’s lead and put Trump in the White House.”

When significant percentages of both candidates’ support is based on opposition to the opponent, rather than support of the candidate, how can either of these strategies, win, lose or draw, be persuasive to potential voters, much less good for the American people?