Last night, there was an interesting discussion on Lawrence O'Donnell's program The Last Word. They were talking about how now that President Obama has endorsed Hillary Clinton, he'll be campaigning for her. And Vice President Biden will be, as well. And Senate Minory Leader Harry Reid has made clear that he will, too. And Elizabeth Warren has already been a forceful speaker for Secretary Clinton and will continue to be, whether she's the VP nominee or not. And what that means, too, I'm sure is that so will Democratic leaders like Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and people like Sen. Barbara Milkulski, Sent. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Al Franken, Rep. Chris Von Hollen and more and more. You know they will, and many have already said so, and more will. And it's likely that you'll even get Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has made it clear that he'll be active in making sure that Donald Trump does not become president.
She'll also have former President Bill Clinton campaigning for her. And as much as Donald Trump is going to try to smear Bill Clinton, it's worth remembering that the Republicans tried impeaching him and he left office with a 66-percent approval rating. It was in all the newspapers. People know who Bill Clinton is. And they really like him. And he's probably still the best campaigner in all of politics today.
Now, start naming all the Republican leaders who are going to hit the campaign trail to support Donald Trump and tie their careers to him and his "brand." Given what they've said about their party's nominee this week, basically calling him a racist, I think you can be pretty sure than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan won't be on the list. Or Sen. Lindsay Graham. Or Sen. John McCain. Or pretty much any. Including any former presidents. Or former presidential candidates.
It's not likely that Jeb! Bush won't, and John Kasich hasn't committed to it either, despite taking the pledge that they would.
There will be a few. Marco Rubio has said he will -- though he's also said that Donald Trump is a con man and that he shouldn't be given the nuclear codes. So, that sort of diminishes his support, and you know it will be brought up by the press. And Chris Christie, wildly unpopular in his home state of New Jersey and throughout the GOP, will, as he pushes for the VP nod. (It's worth noting that both Rubio and Christie will be leaving office soon and aren't running for re-election, and so have pretty much next to nothing to lose.) And maybe there will be several others. Sarah Palin (R-AK-half-term) no doubt, perhaps the most widely-disliked and ridiculed VP nominee in U.S. history. But it's hard to envision any who carry much weight in the Republican Party -- or (more importantly) have much substance across the U.S.
But you're not going to get many, most notably congressman who are running for their own re-election and don't want to be painted with Trump racist misogynist colors. Nor many senators, unless they're in the Deep South and have come from seats Republican districts anyway, where their support won't add much.
The point is that when all these Democratic national figures criss-cross the country campaigning, they'll get a lot of local coverage -- if not, on occasion, national coverage, given some of their prominence. And this includes every Democratic candidate running for the House and Senate. And Donald Trump will largely have to rely on himself alone, with some lesser lights here and there. Now, he might thank that all he needs is Donald Trump (which is a pretty fair guess) -- but that's not how you win the presidency. That's only how you get attention. As Tip O'Neill famously said, "All politics are local." You campaign locally to convince people locally why you understand their local interests and needs. And you get the local media coverage. Donald Trump can't even begin to spread himself that thin, no matter how wispy thin he himself actually is.
But it's not just media coverage that makes local campaigning so critical, rather than speaking at a rally that gets covered on TV, or sending out a Tweet. It's that local campaigning helps strengthen the local party and Get Out the Vote ground game. And in the end, that's pretty much what matters most. Not just getting people who want to vote for you -- but making sure they actually get to the polls and actually vote.
The realities of the campaign will change drastically between now and November. And I do think we may end up getting some Republican leaders campaigning for Donald Trump (R-Trump Tower). But I stand pretty firm in thinking that we won't see many, and what I'm saying here with the imbalance heavily on the Democratic side will hold true to the end.
And could get worse. As Donald Trump does.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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