Thursday, June 30, 2016

An American Coup

It was not so much that he made America great again, but when Donald Trump was elected president on November 8, 2016 he transformed the United States in ways that few, including he, could have imagined.
Right from the start establishment politicians and pundits just never understand Trump.  He was consistently derided as having no chance.  First it was that his repeated insults against John McCain, Megyn Kelly and women, immigrants, or Muslims that would doom him. But with each insult his fame only grew.  Then it was the claim that he could not win in Iowa but he did.  Or that his loss in Wisconsin would doom him.  Or that his tirades against the media, his name calling of Hillary Clinton, or even selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate would surely kill his campaign.  Back in June of 2016  as stories mounted about how little money he had raised, or that Clinton had double digit leads in some polls, he was still dismissed.  Nat Silver, the whiz kids of political money ball, said that Trump had barely a 20% chance of winning and who could doubt the person who had so brilliantly declared that Clinton was a cinch to win the Michigan primary .
Even as late as the July Republican convention, despite the riots and arrests outside and one final push by party elites to use the rules to oust him, some thought that Trump would not get the nomination.  But he did.
Trump’s success was in exploiting fear, prejudice, and ignorance.  These are the core elements of what most advertising does–appeal out our vanity insecurities,  and fears.  Trump as the consummate  salesman understood that.  But he also exploited the failures of the Republican and Democratic parties which for the last generation or more has sold the public on free trade, globalization, and open borders, saying that it would benefit us all.  Somewhere along the way these promises did not add up and mainstream national journalists, living in New York City, socializing on the upper east side, and vacationing in the Hamptons, for some reason just did not realize that average people were not reaping the benefits of NAFTA and free trade.  Perhaps they were too busy attending or covering the six figure speeches Hillary Clinton was giving to Wall Street to notice that most people were making less money now while working harder than they did twenty years ago.  Yes as F Scott Fitzgerald once said, the rich are different–they do have more money–but with money comes attitude and Trump played on resentment toward them and the elitism that they, the media, and the Washington establishment all represented.
Trump also understood they way that politics and entertainment had converged.  Politicians  no longer campaigned and the media no longer covered politics–both were marketed.  Trump understood the for-profit spectacle that politics had become and which the news industry wished to deny but depended on. He knew that CNN, MSNBC, and the rest could not resist a good headline and that if he dropped a comment–no matter how outrageous–the media would pick it up and it would fill the news cycle for an entire day.  Trump thus understood how getting headlines for him also meant the media  would get ratings.  They were trapped, and forced to market the presidential elections on Trump’s terms.
But Trump also benefited from running against for many a hugely unpopular and uninspiring candidate who was the face of the establishment and status quo in a year where   neither was a plus.  Clinton struggled to win the Democratic nomination against an aging self-described socialist who  never considered himself a Democrat until he decided to run for president.  Clinton should have easily defeated him, but her difficulties revealed how poor of a candidate she was.  She started a race with 70% approvals and a 50%+ lead over Sanders only to see it disappear.  Some of it yes was sexism.  No doubt there is about 30% of Americans who will never vote for a woman and thus Clinton faced problems from the start.  But she also had many other problems they were not the result of sexism but self-inflicted.
At the end of the day Clinton had no narrative for her campaign.  It was all about breaking the glass ceiling and being the first female president.  That did not cut it with young people, including women, who preferred someone who shared their politics and not simply their gender.  Additionally, whatever narrative Clinton had was one that was either too conservative for an emerging Millennial generation of voters, or one that harkened back to her husband.  In so many ways she was still running, as she did in 2008, for Bill’s third term.  Yet times had changed and what was once thought of as good public policy in the 90s was no long seen the same in 2016.
Hillary–a once youthful Republican turned New Democrat turned sort of progressive during the 2016 primaries and then back to a centrist Democrat who tried to appeal to Republican voters–was perplexed why no one trusted her.  This perplexity was also shared by her core supporters–women over 40–who saw in every criticism of her sexism.  Yet what was also perplexing  in the campaign was why Democrats supported her, let alone women or even people of color.  Clinton  who supported the death penalty, fracking, TPP and globalization , and a militaristic foreign policy, (at least until the primaries), and in the past who supported welfare reform, her husband’s crime bill, and oppose marriage equality until recently, hardly seemed like someone who Democrat or women should support.  Given her positions, it is wonder why she was a Democrat and why so many women who considered themselves progressives supported her beyond the fact that she was a woman. Clinton had a narrative problem along with an identity problem–voters did not trust her and did not like her for sexist and legitimate policy reasons.
Yet Clinton was supposed to win according to pundits and politicians.  But she did not.  She selected Tim Kaine from Virginia and played conventional politics in a year when the normal rules of politics changed.  Similar to Frank Skeffington in the Last Hurrah who never understood how the  New Deal had changed politics and therefore was clueless to how the old rules of campaigning had changed.  Clinton campaigned like it was 1992 again, just like she did in 2008.
The election came down to a core of swing states again, with Ohio and Florida again decisive.  The media and Clinton were distracted by Trump’s huge negatives and by how well she was doing in the popular vote and fund raising comparatively.  She went toe-to-toe negative campaigning but in the end Trump was able to dig deeper, go nastier, and insult better than her. He knew fear, prejudice, and ignorance would make the difference.  Benghazi, her e-mails, and all the other rumors around her stuck along with the image of Crooked Hillary.    In the end, Clinton, like Gore in 2000, won the popular vote by racking up huge majorities in Democrat states, but she lost among swing voters in swing states, handing the Trump-Palin ticket  an Electoral College victory.
Trump’s January 20, inauguration and swearing in were a made for TV event.  The inauguration ball and swearing in was held at the Trump International Hotel at 1100 Pennsylvania Ave in Washington, newly remodeled and just down the street from the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania  Ave. The cost of doing both was billed to the taxpayers and Trump of course profited from it, serving also Trump champagne and steaks. At his swearing in he also announced that Air Force 1 would be sold to save tax payer money, replaced with a Trump charter jet that would be rented by the government from him.
Trump’s inaugural speech–or rant–was exactly what was expected from him.  He said that his first order of business would be to expel all Muslims from the US, along with deporting all immigrants from Mexico. He also renounced NAFTA and all the free trade agreements with China and issued a 40% tariff on their goods.    He issued orders suspending enforcement of Obamacare and declared all EPA orders null and void. Palin was put in charge of a special task force on energy and the environment, and he declared all federal lands open to mining and drilling for oil. Drill Baby  Drill was now the official policy of America.
Trump thought he could simply push through want he wanted but with a Republican House and Senate that flipped to the Democrats, he found that they were less they willing to do his bidding.  He insulted in bipartisan fashion but it did little good.  As the economy began to tank Trump saw his approval rating slip more.  Legal challenges to his orders and actions mounted, coming from both Congress and citizens.  The cases began to choke the federal courts, necessitating Supreme Court review.  But since the death of Scalia the Court was operating one justice shy and it did not look as if Trump was going to be able to get through his judicial appointments.
But whatever one can say about Trump he finally achieved the impossible–he got the Democrats and Republicans to agree on one thing–his impeachment.  Fed up quickly with his presidency there was bipartisan agreement to impeach him.  By the time Trump was to be impeached Palin had already resigned.  Trump was without a vice-president and his impeachment was for self-dealing and disregarding the Constitution and the Supreme Court which had declared many of his act illegal.  This left Paul Ryan as the successor.  Except Trump refused to leave office, defying both the Congress and the Courts.
But Trump’s troubles did not stop there.  Following up on comments he made during the campaign, he ordered th US out of NATO. He ordered troops out of Japan and South Korea, and he torn up the nuclear agreement with Iran.  Early on  much of the career diplomatic staff at the State Department had resigned, leaving the US with few trained officials.  Trump named almost all of his friends as ambassadors, but they shared a common Trump trait–no diplomatic tact.  Soon the US was rhetorically fighting with everyone–even Great Britain who elected their own Trump like figure after Brexit, and President Le Pen in France. Tensions escalated in the Middle East as reaction to the Muslim US ban kicked in and domestic and international terrorist attacks against the US mounted.  Tensions with Iran, China, and North Korea reached a fever pitch, and finally Trump began talking  about nuclear weapons to be used to resolve all these disputes.
Finally the day came, July 4, to be exact.   Trump ordered the military leaders to act or face removal. With the Joint Chiefs of Staff worried about what Trump would do next, and seeing that Congress and the Courts were unable to restrain him, they did they only thing they thought patriotic to save the United States.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Trump, Brexit, and the Failure of Mainstream Politics and Economics

The Brexit vote and the rise of Donald Trump have stunned the world.  Neither should.  They
are both the product of the failures of mainstream politics and economics, especially the overselling of both in terms of how they would benefit the world and more specifically, the middle and working class in the UK, the US, and perhaps around the world.
The roots of the Brexit and Trump begin in what some call the Neo-liberal restructuring of the world that begin in the late 70s and 80s with the rise of Thatcher and Reagan.  Faced with severe economic slowdowns in the UK and the US, the criticism was that the economically liberal policies of the welfare state had created high inflation and unemployment–stagflation.  The solution was to cut taxes, economic regulation, and weaken labor unions.  The theory–part of the supply side economics mantra–was that we needed to free up corporations to invest, to give them more flexibility to innovate, and to remove barriers to invest.
The Conservatives in the UK under Thatcher and then  Major and the US under Reagan and George H.W. Bush cut taxes, government regulations, waged war on the unions, and embraced international policies that took Neo-liberalism globally.  The result was GATT, NAFTA, the WTO, and other international free trade agreements that opened up the borders to capital and to some extent, labor mobility.  Yet Labor under Tony Blair and the Democrats under Bill Clinton similarly  embraced such policies, as did Cameron, George Bush, and even Obama.  All of them accepted as legitimate globalization as we know it, along with policies that embraced tax cuts and deregulation.
Even Obama–whom many Americans think as so liberal–really fell into this trap.  Upon taking office in 2009 he continued the economic policies of his predecessor that bailed out the banks but not the home owners after the 2008 economic crash, he endorsed TPP as a trade agreement, and otherwise  at best only made marginal changes in the Neo-liberal economic agenda.  Even the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank were no more than market-orientated approaches to addressing social-economic problems.  Yes, the Republicans in the US obstructed Obama, but he never did really oppose even in his first two years in office with large Democratic majorities the core trajectory of Neo-liberalism.
This Neo-liberalism was politically solid by politicians and the major parties in Europe and the US as economically a win-win for all.  It was described as producing the greatest economic good for all.  Mainstream economists–sitting from the luxury of their tenured chairs or luxurious offices a top Wall Street, described free trade, globalization, and economic restructuring as economically efficient–both in a Kaldor-Hicks way (the greatest good for the great number) and Pareto (producing the winners without any or significant losers).  The few jobs lost in manufacturing would more than be made of by the benefits of free trade.  Together, orthodox economics and the mainstream parties sold the world, or at least voters in the US and UK, a story of economic prosperity.
Yet it never happened.  Somewhere along the line the economic benefits did not trickle down.  Wages have stagnated over the last 40 years, the gap between the rich and poor exploded, and the loss of manufacturing and other jobs has totaled in the tens of millions. The working class has disproportionally taken the hit, with the costs of Neo-liberalism falling on them while few of the benefits reaching them.
Now combine that with another political failure–the Bush War on Terrorism, He and Blair  launched politically disruptive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that have destabilized the Middle East, creating the forces that have nurtured ISIS and the crisis in Syria that has now thrown millions of refugees across Europe. In the US, NAFTA helped destabilize the Mexican economy, creating the impetus for immigrants there to flee to the US for jobs.
The result is economic insecurity for many white working class, major parties largely blind to their fate, and a ready scapegoat of immigrants to blame.  Enter Brexit and Trump.
The Brexit vote is a statement that the status quo is not working.  The vote in the UK to exit was mostly in working class England.  In the US, the core of the Trump support was originally among white working class without college educations.  The same who supported Brexit, those who have lost out in the last generation or two  who perceive it is the immigrants who are taking their jobs.    The British Independence Party, Donald Trump, and others such as LaPen in France are appealing to economic insecurities, fear of immigrants, nationalism, and simply racism and religion.  And their appeals are effective.  Brexit gives credence to claims that trump has tapped into a phenomena that might put him in the White House.  Hillary Clinton, while enjoying many political advantages, seems largely clueless to the Neo-liberal paradigm of which she is a part.
Yes, all of this is disgusting, but given the failures of mainstream politics and economics to address or recognize the world it has created, the reaction here should not be a surprise.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Why Orlando Will Not Change the Politics on Gun Control (Okay, Maybe a slight chance)

After Representative Giffords was shot they said it would change the politics on gun control in
America.  The same was said after Aurora, Colorado.  Sandy Hook.  Charleston.  And Waco. It’s too unlikely that Orlando will change the politics on gun regulation.  The reason is simple:   The political forces and incentives to change the laws just do not exist as a result of the political geography in the United States.
This year I have already given several dozen talks on the 2016 elections, seeking to make sense of the politics this year.  To do that I have drawn a contrast, examining how American politics  has changed since 1976 compared to today.  My discussion begins with drawing a bell curve.  The curve  represents the distribution of American public opinion in 1976. If one were to look at a series of survey s or polls we would find that the vast majority of public opinion converged toward the center.  Yes there were some far right and left voters, but a large percentage of the public shared a powerful consensus on a range of social, economic, and foreign policy issues.
With the majority of the public sharing similar views, it also made sense for the Republican  and Democratic Parties to nominate centrist candidates.  After all, that it were most voters were and if you want to win nominate candidate centrist candidates.  In many ways, in 1976, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford were good examples of that; two candidates who ideologically were not that far apart.
Additionally, we know back in 1976 that both the Democrat and Republican Parties were more coalitional and less ideological than today.  There were liberal Republicans in NY and New England and conservative Democrats in the South.  The two major parties had liberal, moderates, and conservatives among their ranks.  Such ideological diversity made bipartisanship possible and in 1976 the percentage of straight party-line votes was quite small compared to today.  Additionally, in 1976 political scientists estimated that about one-third of the 435 US House of Representative  seats came from swing districts–those where either a Democrat or a Republican could be elected.  It was these swing districts too which helped drive bipartisanship.  Representatives there had an incentive to work across the aisle–become too partisan on one side and you would lose an election to someone on the other side.
But 40 years later politics has changed.  Today the state of public opinion looks more like a camel’s back–a double  hump curve.  The percentage of voters describing themselves as moderate has decreased and the percentage saying they a liberal or conservative has increased (although those who say they are very conservative has increased far more than those who say extremely liberal).   This means that the center of the Republican and Democratic parties is moving apart from one another and that within each party candidates who wish to win their nomination must increasingly appeal to where their shifting bases have moved.
Why the electorate has bifuricated and sorted itself out in such a way that partisanship and ideology overlap is a product of many factors.  These include the embracing of civil rights by the Democrats, social issues such as abortion and LGBT rights, generational shifts, and economics. All this has contributed to a sorting.  But another sorting is occurring–geography.
At the same time that America has become more conservative and liberal it has also become more segregated many ways, including politically.  We now politically sort ourselves out with Democrats choosing to live in the cities and inner-ring suburbs, Republicans in outer-ring suburbs and rural areas.  The Red and Blue states the media describes really are red and blue cities, regions, even streets and blocks.  We wish to live near others who share our political views and avoid those with whom we disagree.
We have created overwhelming Republican and Democratic areas.  Nationally now the best estimates are that barely 20-25 House seats are swing.  Instead 95% are securely one party.  Candidates from these safe seats have no incentive to compromise politically and if they do they will get primaried from the right if a Republican or from the left if a Democrat.  Geography reinforces  and exacerbates partisanship and extremism.
The result is that now there are fewer bipartisan bills and a greater percentage of straight party-line votes than in 1976.  Evidence suggests that the most conservative Democrat now is still more liberal than the most liberal Republican.  Fewer swing districts and more safe seats mean polarization.
One result is that there is a cluster of core issues over which there is manor disagreement.  One example is guns.  There are some regions of the US where there is strong support for gun control and some where there is not.  These are areas where guns are and are not part of its culture.  Representatives from the gun regions in so many ways are actually representing their constituents  interests in the same way were those from the non-gun regions represent their voters.
Simply put, representatives in areas such as the south or rural areas have little political incentive to support gun control.   If they do they face political reprisals from within their party.  On  top of that, the NRA supports these candidates, occupying a powerful interest group role to reinforcing Republican, rural, and outer ring-suburban opposition to gun control.
Those who favor gun control include urban dwellers, people of color, women, and Democrats.  They do not live in the Republican areas or at least in sufficient numbers to matter politically, or they do not vote sufficiently Republican to move Republican voters.
Now consider Orlando.  It is perhaps an issue about LGBT phobia and how someone targeted  a gay night club.  This issue might move some but think about it–how many in the LGBT community  are voting Republican, identify Republican, or even live in Republican areas in sufficient numbers to move Republican Congressional members?  To be blunt: LGBT issues are not the kind that receive support from the Republican community and casting Orlando as such will not change the political debate or vote .  In addition, because the killer was Muslim it implicates another set of wedge issues, terrorism and Islamaphobia, there too is little indication that it will alter the political debate and forces within many pro-gun districts to support ne gun regulations.
Overall, the simple point here is that there is little chance that Orlando will change the debate and politics on gun control.  The one slight chance is that if the LGBT community can unite with other gun regulation forces, creating a powerful bloc of voters to challenge the NRA.  But even them it will require this new bloc to leverage political power in areas where there is little support for LGBT issues and a lot for guns.  Until and unless this happens, do not look to Orlando to change the politics of gun control.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

How the Associated Press Crossed the Journalism Ethics Line in Declaring Clinton had enough Delegates to Clinch the Democratic Nomination

AP ethically blew it on Monday.  It did that when after 5 PM and just hours before the critical California primary it declared that Hillary Clinton now had enough delegates to clinch the
Democratic nomination.  AP’s decision to run this story, along with the mainstream too repeating it, especially Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and the Washington Post, was an enormous breach of journalistic ethics in a year where traditional norms of media impartiality and objectivity seem already gone.
Factually it is simple.  AP on Monday night June 5,  filed a story declaring that Hillary Clinton now had enough delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination even before the remaining primaries, including that in California, would be held on Tuesday, June 6.  That estimate was based on its calculation of earned delegates plus super-delegates.  So what is the problem with that story?  There are several.
First, technically the super-delegates do not vote until the convention.  However they may say they are pledged, they can change their minds on how they will decide up until they actually vote at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in July.  While they may be pledging for Clinton, nothing says that events between now and the DNC could not lead them to change their mind.  While potentially unlikely, big wins by Sanders in California and other states, along with polling data suggesting him to be a stronger candidate, might be fodder for him arguing that he and not Clinton  should get the support of the super-delegates.  AP’s story is thus based upon their interpretation and the counting  of the stated intentions of super-delegates and not upon real earned delegates.  Thus, factually depending on how one cuts it, the AP story may not be true.
But the bigger problem is the timing.  The story ran simply hours before the last big primaries when there will be little if no ability by Sanders to counteract the report.  Sanders’ campaign was given effectively to opportunity to comment or to offer rebuttal that can reach voters and supporters in a way to challenge this AP declaration of the state of the campaign.  AP has not so much reported the news as it did create a story that potentially creates a self-fulfilling prophecy  that favors Clinton.
News reporting can produce what is known as the bandwagon effect.  Political scientists and  behavioral psychologists have described the bandwagon effect as a situation where when journalists declare a candidate to be a winner–based on polls–it impacts voting in several ways.  First, it depresses voter turnout for those who might have considered voting for the loser.  Second, it may convince independent voters to go with the winner and not necessarily with their choice whom they have heard as having been declared the winner.
There is empirical data supporting the bandwagon effect.  It supports political theories by the like of Alexis DeTocqueville, James Bryce, David Riesman, and Elizabeth  Noelle-Neumann, all great political scientists or sociologists, who described the powerful role that public opinion plays in swaying voters or individuals.  Why should I go with my preference when the majority says otherwise?  No one wants to go with a loser, we all want to support winners.  The best application of the bandwagon effect is how it is used with advertising.  The famous “three out of five doctors recommend” or polls describing customer preferences are more than efforts to describe factual situations, they are meant to sway opinions and get people to buy your product.  Another variation of this is called the Hawthorne effect where psychologists have noted how that when human subjects are being told they are being observed they change their behavior.
AP’s report on Clinton’s clinching of the nomination hits directly at the bandwagon effect.  It runs the risk of altering election turnout and results in several states and thereby crossing the line from reporting news to effecting the news.  It is like a journalism Hawthorne effect.  This type of reporting is unethical and crosses the line from impartiality and objectivity to being a newsmaker,  potentially favoring one candidate over another.
But this would not be the first time AP blew it.  Back in the 1980s William Brandon Shanley put together a documentary entitled “The Made for TV Election,” narrated by Martin Sheen.  It described overall how the mainstream television media reported the 1980 presidential election and slanted coverage to maintain ratings and market share.  But central to the documentary was how on election night AP called the race early for Ronald Reagan over Jimmy Carter on election night while  polls were still open on the west coast, including in California.  As a result, evidence suggested that when voter heard of the AP call as reported on television, voters walked away from polls or in some cases changed their voting preferences.  This documentary was a major indictment of the television  news media–and no mainstream television station or news service has ever chosen to show it or discuss it results.
What AP decided to do in 1980 was to say that not every vote counts.  It did the same with  its Monday story and the mainstream media echoed that message.  It declared the race over hours before a new round of voting would occur.  The AP could have waited 24 hours to issue the story but it choose–ethically wrong–to run the story for the purposes of getting a headline.  The rest of the media ran the story too for headlines and audience.  But this story is not the first instance of journalism ethics taking a backseat to profits.  Repeatedly this year one has seen the media slant headlines or hype stories to enhance ratings or readers which means to maximize profits. This is not reporting the news, it is marketing or selling it and that is not what journalism is supposed to be.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Words matter--Or Why Clinton May be too Smart for her Own Good

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." H. L. Mencken 

Words Matter.  The words people chose to use tell us a lot about them.  The same is true with politicians and in the case of  Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton one finds a fascinating contrast in language.  With the help of my research assistant I did a rhetorical analysis of three speeches of Trump and Clinton.    Our conclusion is that Clinton may be too smart for her own good.
For Clinton we examined her March 9, 2016, presidential debate comments, her April 19, 2016 New York State primary victory speech, and her recent and most talked about June 1, 2016 foreign policy speech.  For Trump it was his March 10, 2016 presidential debate comments, his April 19, 2016 New York State primary victory speech, and his April 27, 2016 foreign policy speech.  The comments or speeches selected gave us a wide range of speech types but also they shared patterns in terms of time or potential content.  What did we find?
First in their March debates in terms of content  Trump displays language with more emotive or feeling types of meaning.  Clinton is more likely to use language that evokes logic.  The choice of words seems to confirm stereotypes about the two candidates in terms of him appealing to heart, her to the brain.  For linguistics, Trump’s rhetoric is more characteristic of the language of feeling that women use, Clinton’s a logical structure stereotypical of male language. Trump spoke at a 7th-8th grade level, using few words with more than two or three syllables.  Clinton spoke at an 11th-12 grade level, rich with polysyllabic words.  By way of comparison, the average adult in America reads at a 9th-grade level and the average newspaper is written at an 11th-grade level according to Impact Plain Language Services, although some are at lower or higher readability levels.
In their respective April 19, New York State primary victory speeches Trump used 1,022 words and spoke at a 9th-10th grade level, while Clinton used 1,516 words at an 11th-12th grade level.  There was no noticeable difference in one using more logical or emotive language.  If anything, an examination of their two speeches displayed more parallels in word choices than during the debates.
Finally, compare their foreign policy speeches.  Clinton again spoke at an 11-12th-grade level and 36.4% of her words were monosyllabic.  For Trump he too spoke at an 11-12th-grade level–uncharacteristic of his normal speaking patterns–but 60.8% of his words were monosyllabic.
For Clinton her ten most used words were:
America 26
world 25
country 24
Donald 23
Trump 23
president 17
nuclear 16
need 16
more 15
it’s 15

For Trump his ten most words were:
president 25
world 25
foreign 24
policy 22
again 21
America 19
look 16
we’re 16
allies 15
one 15

For their respective foreign policy speeches one finds some overlap in words yet an overall reading of the two speeches found both of them appealing to emotions, but again this was more characteristic of Trump’s rhetoric than Clinton’s.
What we see is that Trump overall speaks at a more simplistic level and more emotive than does Clinton whose choice of words display more complex word structures and appeals to logic.  Of course many will conclude that this proves that Clinton is smarter than Trump or that she is speaking to smarter audiences than he.  That may or may not be true.  But a different conclusion is that Trump more often speaks to the heart, Clinton to the brain.  Clinton seeks to persuade with logic, Trump with emotion.  For those who know anything about persuasion, appeals to facts and logic often are less successful than appeals to emotion.  .  Advertisers know this and that is why they are successful in getting us to by their products.  Trump as a salesman too knows this.  In addition, he is speaking a language closer to what more people can understand.
What all this suggestions is a rhetorical style for Trump that is potentially more effective in moving people–one way or another–than Clinton’s language.  Clinton’s language may suggest she is too smart for her own good if she wants to win the presidency.  Clinton's rhetorical style may suggest she is assuming American's are smarter than they are or that Trump is proving that Mencken may be correct after all.