Speaking recently with a Republican insider provided me a very troubling, eye-opening remark. At the end of a non-political business discussion, I asked about the race. The response was that the spot polls we see on the news every couple of days are "junk" and not reliable at all. When I asked if that meant that Trump is predicted to win based on the more accurate "inside" polling, the response was "The race is Hillary's to lose, not Trump's to win."
It was like a knock on the head for me. Not only was it disappointing to hear, but it also opened my eyes to what is going on and why Hillary is acting as she is.
While there are many suspicions about her health, her frail constitution, and her lack of energy, as well as the facts about her falls and concussion, which even her husband admitted to, it doesn't fully explain why her entire campaign for the past 18 months has been away from the press and seems to live in the big-money fundraising mode. Consider no press conferences for over 250 days, the video of the "Scooby" van racing away from the press with them chasing it, her use of ropes to keep the press away from her in a walkabout she did a few months ago, and too many other examples to list here.
But this explanation makes sense.
Hillary has adopted a similar modus to the Rumble in the Jungle in 1974, when Ali went into his "Rope-a-Dope" process against George Foreman. While Foreman (played by Trump here) and Ali (played here by Hillary) had a much ballyhooed match, Ali used the technique because he was physically unable to go 10 rounds against Foreman. So the plan was to hunker down, lean back against the ropes, letting his forearms and the ring ropes take most of the shock. A few carefully placed punches kept him in the fight; otherwise, the ref would have called a TKO. Then, in the end, Ali was able to knock out Foreman just before the end of the eighth round, because Foreman had worn himself out by banging away.
In an October 30, 2014 article at the sports news site Deadspin, Michael Ezra wrote:
Coming back from three and a half years out of the ring, Ali retreated to the ropes in all of his toughest post-exile fights. Skill, courage, and strategy – the heroic things people associate with the rope-a-dope—did not factor significantly into Ali's decision to employ it against Foreman. Ali went to the ropes simply because he had no choice. Foreman could either cut off the ring or use his prodigious arm strength to push Ali into corners. Ali was too old to dance for more than a round or two, and it was too hot and humid for that in Zaire, anyway. Rather than a master stroke, the rope-a-dope was the product of a straightforward calculation against a fighter who couldn't be bothered to respond in kind[.]
So we have Trump banging away at the issues and at Hillary on a daily basis, while she leans back against the ropes with her gloves in front of her face. The press then do the counterpunching for Hillary by the way they misreport and selectively report what Trump says. Occasionally, Hillary appears in a safe venue to throw a punch or two into an area already softened up by the press for her. So we can't call a TKO, because she occasionally moves a bit, while at the same time, Trump's blows aren't landing well enough for a KO or TKO of Hillary – because the press won't report what he says accurately or, in most cases, at all.
In his autobiography, George Foreman wrote:
Muhammad began bragging about his great strategy – letting me punch myself out before delivering the crowning blows. But I know, and he knows, he had no such strategy before the fight. To say he did is to shoot an arrow into a barn and then paint a bull's-eye around it. Muhammad's only strategy had been survival. When I cut off the ring from him, he had nowhere to go but the ropes, and nothing to do but cover up. What's more true than his concoction of some brilliant strategy is that I fought a foolish fight by not letting him come to me more.
While my gut still tells me that Trump will win, a feeling bolstered by his trip to Mexico and the immigration policy speech he gave that evening, the warning that the race is Hillary's to lose causes consternation. So what do we watch for? Perhaps she will not debate Trump, and give the reason that "there is no reason to debate someone so clearly racist and unfit for the job," so why waste her time? And the press will let her get away with it. If that happens, close up and go home.
Stepping into the ring (the debates) with Trump will derail Hillary's Rope-a-Dope and possibly let her commit a fatal faux pas, which could be either a physical issue (coughing, tripping, or becoming befuddled when pressed by Trump on a point) or a verbal one (saying something that flips enough votes away from her).
It is a scary time.