Thursday, August 4, 2016

Trump Back in the Weeds: Three Reasons This Distraction May Hurt Long-Term

Donald Trump and Khizr Khan
Photo of Khan:
Donald Trump simply can’t stay focused on the real job, which seems surprising for someone who has made millions in big real estate deals.

Once again, he is bogged down in a multi-day fight with someone peripheral to the Democratic campaign, the parents of a war hero. No one commenting on this election is confident in suggesting that his behavior may cause long-term damage, but the timing and the nature of the last six days of interviews and tweets appear more serious than attacks on Judge Curiel last June and his previous altercations.
  1. The public and media are more attentive, with the conclusion of the back-to-back conventions. They are looking for the bounce. And it appears Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are winning the early post-convention polls with significant margins (6 points CBS, 9 points CNN).
  2. One of the main goals of the Republican Convention was to provide a show of unity. Given Senator Cruz’s unwillingness to endorse and the absence of so many party leaders, the effort was a mixed success. Nonetheless, it put the party’s dysfunction in the rearview mirror and shifted the attention to Trump and his vice presidential nominee, Governor Pence. His newest fight with the Khan family has led numerous party leaders to distance themselves from him again. A fifth or more of the Republican Party is still not committed to vote for the ticket. His behavior is hurting, not helping the effort. 
  3. Party leadership desperately wanted Trump to “pivot” to a focused, disciplined campaign aimed at the Democrats and Clinton’s vulnerabilities. Instead, they got a repeat of his behavior that reinforces the Democrats’ claim that he simply does not have the temperament for national leadership. He appears thin-skinned, petty and obsessive about criticism. And, of course, he is being accused of frequently attacking minority populations. His family and friends claim he’s not prejudiced, but in these altercations, he often appears to be. 
Has the sheer number of fights damaged his reputation with wary Republicans and undecided voters? It’s early, but the target, length and timing of this fight make it a major distraction, and possibly the accumulation has hit a tipping point.

1 comment:

Dave Barnes said...

1. Never fight with a Gold Star Mother. You lose.
2. Focus. He cannot. See the blow-by-blow interview with WaPo.
3. Don't wish for a Purple Heart. It is not awarded for avoiding VD during the Vietnam War.