Hillary has failed where both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump excelled: She has not framed the debate.
Facts don’t matter if you have a frame, even if the frame is a lie. Donald Trump knows that.
Trump has no facts and, in fact, he has a complete contempt for them.
But Trump has a frame, and that alone has been enough for him to close the gap.
Trump’s frame is that America is weak, failing, impotent, and sliding down hill.
He tells us that the American Dream is dead, and he bangs on the strings of fear, especially the fear of lower middle-class white men who suspect that their era of assumed entitlement is over.
America is in decline?
It’s complete nonsense, of course -- the kind of lie the Russians and the Chinese used to spin in order to try to erode American influence overseas.
But who needs Russian or Chinese propaganda machines now that Donald Trump is on stage?.
Putin has found his sock puppet, and the fact that is has orange hair and orange skin does not seem to matter.
Someone needs to ask Trump what military is better? What economy is better? What country does Donald Trump wish he lived in rather than the United States, and can we buy him a one-way ticket to that destination?
U.S. unemployment has never been lower, and the stock market has never been higher.
More Americans have health care than ever before. More Americans are going to college than ever before.
But none of this matters, because Trump has ginned up a frame of fear, and a lot of Americans like to be scared -- they pay extra money for that kind of thing down at the amusement parks.
The obvious antidote to fears based on lies is American pride based on honest facts, but the political Left has never been very good at patriotism, and it shows at the moment.
Is everything in America perfect? Of course not.
We are Americans and we will always seek to improve.
But is a lying, narcissistic, Putin-loving, hate-mongering gas bag the way forward? It is not.
American needs control of its borders, but it does not need to fan the flames of hate to do that.
America needs to balance its budget, but it does not need lessons from a bankrupt tax cheat who depends on federal subsidies and bailouts.
America needs a coherent foreign policy that stands for free markets and free people, but it does not need an apologist or a cheerleader for dictators in Russia or North Korea.
Most of all, America needs someone who is not an emotional cripple who can be baited into intemperant action with a tweet.
A lot of Americans want to "shake things up," but the wrong way to do that is with a 20-megaton nuclear bomb.
Donald Trump, quite literally, does not understand that. At his national security briefings, he kept asking why he could not just use a nuclear bomb whenever he wanted.
The exasperating part of all this is that Bernie Sanders had a frame. All that Hillary had to do was to reach out and embrace it.
Fight corporate corruption.
Go after the fraudsters, liars, and gilded CEO's who pay their workers peanuts while jetting around in corporate jets with their name on it.
Trump is a perfect example of the type -- a made for TV villain who is sticking it to taxpayers and construction workers, small businesses, and working mothers.
He is a New York effete; a rich kid with a gold-plated bathroom who has never walked a farm field in his life, and who has never loaded anything -- not even groceries into the back seat of a station wagon.
Hillary could be making mince-meat of Trump if she embraced Bernie's frame. The problems is that Hillary does not really believe in Bernie's frame.
It's not that she's in love with corporate liars, cheats and theives; it's that she **knows** so many of them. It's not an accident that she and Bill were both at Donald Trumps's wedding -- this is the crowd she has hung with for the last 30 years. Hillary and Bill may intellectually and emotionally care about Americans at the bottom of the US economic ladder, but they also do not want to paint with too broad a brush when it comes to corporate corruption and profiteering.
And so, instead of painting with too broad a brush, she has not painted with any brush at all.
What will Hillary do to the banksters? To the pharmacy phraudsters?
Who knows? More to the point, who believes?
It's getting pretty late in the day for Hillary to give us a reason to vote for her.
Right now, her message seems to be "I'm not Donald Trump," but it's not clear that's going to be enough to win. To win, she needs to embrace a simple frame, and that frame needs to be patriotic and the OPPOSITE of Donald's Trump's twisted puffery for the KBG's Vladimir Putin.
America is great right now. Love it or leave it Donald Trump. Here's an open airline ticket to go fly anywhere else in the world that will have you.
If she was smart, she would have the ticket bought and paid for, and hand it to him on stage.
That's how you win.