A Knockout of a Presidential Contest

Boxing aficionados who remember back to the 1970s -- arguably the high-water mark for heavyweight boxing -- know that there were more championship-grade fighters active at the same time in the heavyweight division than at any other time in boxing history:

  • Floyd Patterson
  • Jimmy Ellis
  • Jerry Quarry
  • George Chuvalo
  • Ken Norton
  • Larry Holmes
  • Joe Frazier
  • George Foreman
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Jimmy Young
  • Earnie Shavers
  • Ron Lyle
  • Sonny Liston
  • Oscar Bonevena

Some of these men were champions. Some fought for the title but didn’t win. All of them were tough, skilled, hard-punching, dangerous fighters. Many would have been champions had they not had the misfortune to be fighting when all these other great fighters were also active.

Because there were so many excellent fighters active at the same time, not every possible matchup actually took place. Probably the most intriguing fight that never materialized was a match between the two very hardest punchers -- possibly of all time -- George Foreman and Earnie Shavers. What would have made this an even more fascinating fight was the fact that neither man was known for his stamina or ability to take a punch. They both tired quickly and could be floored with a good shot.

A Foreman-Shavers fight would have been a guaranteed punch-filled knockout.

Which brings us to Clinton and Trump.

By this point, there’s probably a very good chance that voters know if they’re supporting Hillary or not. Her support is well-known, easily understandable and falls into one or more of these rough groups:

  • Always Dem. “D” = my vote.
  • She’s the First Woman. That’s enough for me.
  • ABT (Anybody but Trump). Self-explanatory.
  • Close enough to Bernie to get me off the couch
  • I love the Clintons, especially Bill. Now he’s no. 2. Good enough.
  • She’ll continue my [fill in name of free Gov’t handout program here.]
  • She’ll expand my/invent new [fill in name of free Gov’t handout program here.]

Trump is a little less known. To those who know him a bit, he’s either the imperfect-but-better-than-that-lying-felon-Hillary candidate or he’s the totally unqualified, loose cannon buffoon masquerading as a presidential candidate in what is undoubtedly the greatest practical joke ever perpetrated on the American public.

But there remains a not unsubstantial persuadable group of voters who have yet to decide. The “Casually Attentives,” as I call them.

However, even the Casually Attentives have a solid opinion of Hillary. They’re either for her or agin’ her. They know her. They don’t need to “learn more” about her.

At this point, most of the CAs either think Trump’s a total dope or they just haven’t yet paid that much attention to come to a truly solid opinion... because, after all, they’re the Casually Attentives.

A very strong logical case can be made that a somewhat larger swath of CAs is potentially persuadable over to the Trump camp than the Hillary camp. A late July Ohio poll shows each candidate with 44%, despite Clinton having already run numerous anti-Trump ads in Ohio, outspending him by a 10:1 margin. Trump hasn’t yet begun to run any significant general election anti-Clinton ads. It’s amazing that Clinton is no better than tied with Trump in Ohio.

Ohio, along with Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and perhaps four or five others, are considered the real 2016 “battleground” states that will determine the election. General nationwide “who do you prefer” polls are meaningless, since the election is, of course, a state-by-state Electoral College contest.

That Trump is tied with Hillary in what is perhaps the most critical state of all, without having run any ads yet, is not a sign of strength for Clinton. As we said, her support is known and definable and not too likely to expand much beyond where it is. Trump has the greater potential to persuade the CAs.

My feeling is the debates will be telling. Clinton has the chance to expose Trump to be the rank amateur she feels he is, to show the world he’s a fraud, without the patience or inclination for deep analytical thought on matters of national import.

Trump has the opportunity to expose and highlight what he sees as her dishonest, reckless behavioural patterns, her unexplainable/inexcusable missteps on issues on the very highest level over a period of decades.

Both are no doubt hoping for that dramatic, unforgettable moment of stunned, open-mouthed unanswerabilty.

It could happen.

Like Foreman and Shavers, these are hard-hitting fighters who can’t take a shot in return, who can’t go the distance, who will wilt and fold under pressure, the likes of which they’ve never seen before. Ever.

A guaranteed debate knockout awaits.

A chilling prospect, no doubt, for supporters on both sides.

Boxing aficionados who remember back to the 1970s -- arguably the high-water mark for heavyweight boxing -- know that there were more championship-grade fighters active at the same time in the heavyweight division than at any other time in boxing history:

  • Floyd Patterson
  • Jimmy Ellis
  • Jerry Quarry
  • George Chuvalo
  • Ken Norton
  • Larry Holmes
  • Joe Frazier
  • George Foreman
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Jimmy Young
  • Earnie Shavers
  • Ron Lyle
  • Sonny Liston
  • Oscar Bonevena

Some of these men were champions. Some fought for the title but didn’t win. All of them were tough, skilled, hard-punching, dangerous fighters. Many would have been champions had they not had the misfortune to be fighting when all these other great fighters were also active.

Because there were so many excellent fighters active at the same time, not every possible matchup actually took place. Probably the most intriguing fight that never materialized was a match between the two very hardest punchers -- possibly of all time -- George Foreman and Earnie Shavers. What would have made this an even more fascinating fight was the fact that neither man was known for his stamina or ability to take a punch. They both tired quickly and could be floored with a good shot.

A Foreman-Shavers fight would have been a guaranteed punch-filled knockout.

Which brings us to Clinton and Trump.

By this point, there’s probably a very good chance that voters know if they’re supporting Hillary or not. Her support is well-known, easily understandable and falls into one or more of these rough groups:

  • Always Dem. “D” = my vote.
  • She’s the First Woman. That’s enough for me.
  • ABT (Anybody but Trump). Self-explanatory.
  • Close enough to Bernie to get me off the couch
  • I love the Clintons, especially Bill. Now he’s no. 2. Good enough.
  • She’ll continue my [fill in name of free Gov’t handout program here.]
  • She’ll expand my/invent new [fill in name of free Gov’t handout program here.]

Trump is a little less known. To those who know him a bit, he’s either the imperfect-but-better-than-that-lying-felon-Hillary candidate or he’s the totally unqualified, loose cannon buffoon masquerading as a presidential candidate in what is undoubtedly the greatest practical joke ever perpetrated on the American public.

But there remains a not unsubstantial persuadable group of voters who have yet to decide. The “Casually Attentives,” as I call them.

However, even the Casually Attentives have a solid opinion of Hillary. They’re either for her or agin’ her. They know her. They don’t need to “learn more” about her.

At this point, most of the CAs either think Trump’s a total dope or they just haven’t yet paid that much attention to come to a truly solid opinion... because, after all, they’re the Casually Attentives.

A very strong logical case can be made that a somewhat larger swath of CAs is potentially persuadable over to the Trump camp than the Hillary camp. A late July Ohio poll shows each candidate with 44%, despite Clinton having already run numerous anti-Trump ads in Ohio, outspending him by a 10:1 margin. Trump hasn’t yet begun to run any significant general election anti-Clinton ads. It’s amazing that Clinton is no better than tied with Trump in Ohio.

Ohio, along with Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and perhaps four or five others, are considered the real 2016 “battleground” states that will determine the election. General nationwide “who do you prefer” polls are meaningless, since the election is, of course, a state-by-state Electoral College contest.

That Trump is tied with Hillary in what is perhaps the most critical state of all, without having run any ads yet, is not a sign of strength for Clinton. As we said, her support is known and definable and not too likely to expand much beyond where it is. Trump has the greater potential to persuade the CAs.

My feeling is the debates will be telling. Clinton has the chance to expose Trump to be the rank amateur she feels he is, to show the world he’s a fraud, without the patience or inclination for deep analytical thought on matters of national import.

Trump has the opportunity to expose and highlight what he sees as her dishonest, reckless behavioural patterns, her unexplainable/inexcusable missteps on issues on the very highest level over a period of decades.

Both are no doubt hoping for that dramatic, unforgettable moment of stunned, open-mouthed unanswerabilty.

It could happen.

Like Foreman and Shavers, these are hard-hitting fighters who can’t take a shot in return, who can’t go the distance, who will wilt and fold under pressure, the likes of which they’ve never seen before. Ever.

A guaranteed debate knockout awaits.

A chilling prospect, no doubt, for supporters on both sides.