For those of us who predicted the inevitable, watching
Of course Trump wouldn't hesitate to attack
The Trump squall is not over, alas. But it's nonetheless obvious that we will someday soon look back on this as the beginning of the end of Trumpmania.
The reason his demise is all so predictable is that personality eventually shines through. A few politicians are capable of hiding their truly unpleasant personal qualities, but it takes enormous effort, and sooner or later the mask slips. In general, what you see is what you get in politics, which is why the most successful politicians have personalities suited for the profession: They are basically likable; they can and want to connect with voters; they can act natural because they are natural politicians.
Back in the real campaign, there's an interesting lesson in Trump's ineluctable fate. For months I've argued that
And that's still true. But a brand is also strongest in the abstract. A Clinton may beat a Bush, but voters won't be asked to vote for "a Clinton," they'll be asked to vote for a specific Clinton, namely Hillary. Jeb's last name is a problem he can transcend by being himself. Hillary's last name is an asset she damages whenever she's herself.
We saw something similar with
She's still an obvious favorite for the nomination, but it's telling that the Clinton campaign is already trying to lower expectations for the
The point is that personality matters a lot, and no one would confuse Clinton's personality as a secret weapon. It's been a cliche for three decades for Clinton's defenders to say, "If only you could know the Hillary I know." That's an unintentionally damning defense. It may be true that she's a wonderful friend to her friends, but as a candidate, she is a remarkably uninspiring, un-charming and un-compelling woman who has every bit as much of a problem connecting to ordinary people as
In truth, Bush is not a contender for the role of "the Most Interesting Man in the World" in those Dos Equis commercials either. But he is showing himself to be a grown-up who is neither easily rattled nor interested in pandering to the crowd. He can get ahead of his family name in a way Clinton clearly cannot. Moreover, nearly all of the other