- - Wednesday, August 31, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Hillary Clinton and the Democrats — and a considerable number of Republican summer soldiers who play “can you top this” with each other to see who can say the most hateful things about their party’s nominee — thought they had Donald Trump’s number.

He was ignorant, a blustery racist, a blowhard bigot and maybe even guilty of mopery, a little bit crazy and unable to learn from his mistakes. He wouldn’t take the advice of anyone and he would be buried under a landslide for Hillary Clinton. No foreign leader would deign to talk to him, because he wouldn’t know what to say, anyway. The polls would soon reflect the dimensions of the anticipated landslide.

Hillary and the naysayers were clearly flummoxed that President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico invited the Donald to meet him at Los Pinos, the presidential palace in the Chapultepec Forest in central Mexico City, and the Republican nominee quickly accepted. He not only braved the anger and contempt The New York Times said he would find there, but was treated respectfully, seriously and as if the president of Mexico thinks he might well be the next president of the United States. (He’ll entertain Hillary later.)

Mr. Trump, for his part, acted presidential, speaking respectfully of both his host and his host’s country, further infuriating the Never Trumpers. He did not back away from his criticism, blunt and always offered with the bark on, that uncontrolled immigration from Latin America is more than the United States should and would tolerate. America, like Mexico and all other nations, has the right to protect its borders and the right to preserve its culture, traditions and history. There would soon be a new day in Washington.

But there was more than that in Mexico City. He correctly said that NAFTA has given Mexico more than it has given the United States, and he told President Pena Nieto that the flow of jobs from the United States to Mexico and the world must stop. But he said, rightly, that both countries can achieve prosperity and the happiness that comes with prosperity, and set out five goals for the United States and Mexico to share.

These are ending illegal immigration, securing the border and the sovereign right to build a wall if that is necessary, dismantling the drug cartels and stopping the movement of illegal drugs and the money that comes with the drugs, improving NAFTA (a 22-year-old agreement that must be “updated”) and “keeping industry and manufacturing wealth in our hemisphere.”

Hillary, who installed the unprecedented pay-to-play culture at the State Department and presided over a gusher of foreign contributions that overflowed the vaults of her family foundation, was left Wednesday with nothing to say about Mr. Trump’s day in Mexico but more of the same — he’s ignorant, a slob and doesn’t know anything about foreign affairs or building relationships with other countries. “Getting countries to work together was my job every day as your secretary of State,” she told the American Legion Wednesday in Cincinnati. It was a job second only to collecting cash for favors and considerations to come.

The public-opinion polls, which were to have measured the size of the prospective Clinton landslide by now, show nothing of the kind. A new Los Angeles Times poll shows the Donald over Hillary by more than 3 points. This follows a Reuters poll which shows the race on the eve of Labor Day all tied up. Everything gets serious after Labor Day, and this looks like a horse race.


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