One of the salient features of this election season, and it will probably be studied in exhaustive detail by academics, is how the Clinton campaign lost control of the campaign narrative despite being protected by a news media that seemed willing to virtually take transcription from the Clinton campaign and launch attacks against Trump using Clinton press releases. Phil Bump, writing in the Washington Post, shows why the race is slipping away from Clinton. There is one word that is killing her: email.
Gallup is in the happy position of talking to a lot of Americans all the time, enabling it to get a good sense of the ebbs and flows of cultural and political attitudes. It also tracks what people are hearing about the presidential campaign from out in the world, dutifully noting whichever Donald Trump misstep or accomplishment is dominating any seven-day period. And week after week, writing down the word “email” when Americans are asked what they’re hearing about Hillary Clinton.
Since July 11, that’s the word that’s been the most common response when Gallup asks what people have “read, seen or heard about Hillary Clinton” over the preceding few days. In eight of the 10 weeks since the middle of July — a period that covers both conventions — email was the top response, with convention edging it out during the week of the Democratic convention and health taking the top honor in the most recent week, following Clinton’s fainting spell at the 9/11 Memorial.
The Post charts the words most associated with Clinton over time:
Pretty incredible. When you look at the word association you begin to wonder who in the hell the 11% of Americans are who think Clinton can be believed. Virtually every word associated with Clinton is a reminder that she is dishonest or sick.
Now let’s look at Trump.
The word “bear”, we’re told refers to “bear arms”, that would be firearms not the ursine appendages. The only possibly negative word association is “Muslim” which appears right after the Khan speech at the DNC convention. No where it in there do you find a negative image of Trump associated with the news coverage about him.
You can postulate that people are writing off Trump’s goofs as “oh, that’s just Trump saying stupid sh** again” while Clinton’s email, the Clinton Foundation, and her health are all easily understood stories and they all speak to dishonesty and a general unfitness to be president.