At this writing, the electoral map at Real Clear Politics has awarded Hillary Clinton 272 electoral votes. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that Donald Trump is on course to lose the presidential election. This conclusion leads one to ask: “How to you spell LANDSLIDE”? Here is a tutorial.
L is for Loony. Exactly how Trump is perceived by a vast majority of voters leading to the widely held opinion that he does not act “presidential” enough to hold the office.
A is for Arrogant. One of Trump’s personality traits that is considered a turn-off.
N is for Narcissistic. “An excessive preoccupation with or admiration of oneself” as defined by Free Dictionary.com. At this point, Trump’s image replaces the definition.
D is for Divisive. During his presidential announcement speech on June 17, 2015, Trump’s inartful anti-Mexican statement registered “DEFCON 1” on the divisive scale. Against all odds, his campaign sustained that highest level during his victorious primary season. Eventually, Trump’s extraordinary divisiveness not only fractured the Republican Party but created discord, disdain, and disenchantment among independents and key demographic groups whose votes are needed to win the White House. Even though Trump is now trying to negate his past divisiveness, the damage is done. The video is forever.
S is for Strategy. Up until last week’s installation of new campaign leadership, there has been no strategy by design. Exactly what Trump’s longtime friend and advisor Roger Stone told me during a February 22, 2016, interview:
Trump is his own strategist, his own speechwriter, his own logistician, his own press secretary, and he is entitled to it. It’s his own money, his own name and you can’t argue with how it has worked. No one puts words in Donald Trump’s mouth, no one. He runs his campaign by telling you what HE thinks.
And what about Trump’s long-term campaign strategy? “There is none; Trump only takes the campaign a few days at a time.”
Even under new campaign management, the personality behind the no strategy-strategy will remain constant. Trump explains it best: “You know, I am who I am,” he told a Wisconsin television station on August 16, “It’s me. I don’t want to change.”
L is for Loser. A moniker that Trump often pins on others, but will never accept nor apply to himself under any circumstances. So what will happen when he earns the loser title early in the evening on November 8? Anticipating this, Trump began laying the groundwork to deflect. It first started on August 2 when Trump told the Washington Post, “If the election is rigged, I would not be surprised.”
Continuing the “loser” deflection by playing the blame game, at a rally in Connecticut on August 13, Trump said, “I’m not running against crooked Hillary I’m running against the crooked media.”
Yes, there is much truth to the “crooked media” accusation. But no different than the negative press treatment received by John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.
However, Trump himself is partially responsible for his frayed media relations and press acrimony considering that he revoked press credentials from Politico, the Washington Post, and Huffington Post to only name a few. In the land of a free press, the media always has the last word — a political fact that Trump has yet to grasp.
In the end, the “Trump is a loser” narrative will be viewed as poetic justice from his primary rivals, Republican leaders, and voters who think that Trump hijacked their party.
I is for Improvement. When Trump’s new advisors took over last week, the performance grade on their candidate’s report card was “needs much improvement.” This prompted Trump’s dramatic conciliatory speech when he said he “regretted” words that “caused personal pain.” That is like treating a bullet wound with a Band-Aid. Improvement, if it really does happen came about months too late and here is why:
After becoming the presumptive nominee in early May, party leaders expected Trump to grow into the role of presidential candidate. They assumed that he would study and learn about issues, deal effectively with the media, act, speak, and sound like a future commander-in-chief. Unfortunately, instead of improving, Trump’s performance steadily declined. Now the “new Trump” will be mocked because you never get a second chance to make a first impression, especially when running for President of the United States.
D is for Destroy. Today, Republican leaders are not just worried about losing control of the Senate, but also losing a double-digit number of House seats and worse case, the House itself. Donald Trump has the potential to do what Obama could not — destroy the GOP’s control of the Legislative branch. Thus, here are two types of messages you can expect to hear soon:
- If you are voting for Hillary, but don’t trust her, help the Republicans keep the Senate and the House so we can stop Hillary’s ultra-liberal agenda from raising your taxes.
- Attention Mr. or Mrs. GOP and independent voters — we understand that you might be tempted to stay home on Election Day, but your Congressman and Senator needs your vote to prevent “crooked” Hillary from gaining total control of the U.S. government.
E is for Electoral College. Last week, NBC News proclaimed that Hillary Clinton has “surged past” 270 electoral votes, earning 288. That is 18 more than needed to win the Electoral College and the White House. (As previously mentioned, Real Clear Politics polling averages indicate Clinton has reached 272 votes.) Here is a quick synopsis why in August, the presidential race looks as if it is effectively over.
Trump has not expanded his movement that began and ended with mostly older, white, male, disgruntled blue-collar “fed-up” voters.
Trump is a non-traditional presidential candidate who, we found out too late, is incapable of morphing into a traditional general election candidate. In fact, Trump believed (up until last week) that he did not need to act, operate, and spearhead a campaign in the manner befitting a traditional presidential candidate.
Trump, up until this point, has been reluctant to buy, build, expand, or embrace the traditional elements and tools needed to win a modern presidential campaign. Undoubtedly, his new campaign leadership will try to build and move the equivalent of campaign mountains, but will it be too little too late?
From the beginning Trump has had no message discipline and, as a result, his campaign message has been clouded and adrift. That may change going forward, but Trump is always going to be Trump, so expect the unexpected.
Since Trump is not well-versed in issues, factual errors have burst from his mouth. He then spent many painful news cycles trying to clarify. Under new management, this might improve, but it’s hard to undo the damage done.
Trump has had no filter, as witnessed by the earlier words of Roger Stone: “He (Trump) runs his campaign by telling you what HE thinks.” Can this change?
Currently, Clinton’s tremendous Electoral College lead is largely based on Trump’s self-inflicted voter perceptions that he is unfit for office, uninformed, unstable, a racist, and up until last week, appearing more unhinged. How does one reconcile all that?
Finally, I will close with a Trump campaign personal experience. Since Trump is not running a traditional race, large rallies are the centerpiece of his campaign. In South Florida on August 10, I had the opportunity to attend one, along with about 12,000 others. Going in, I considered this a cultural and historical experience.
Trump entered the arena like a conquering hero. He initially came on strong and for about 10 minutes totally engaged the audience. Then he rambled on for the next 40 minutes, slowly damping the crowd’s initial enthusiasm.
During his speech Trump mentioned that Obama was the founder of ISIS, which later dominated the news for three days, but hardly registered inside the arena.
What I thought were Trump’s most significant statements of the night did not receive any press. It was when Trump mentioned how “all of a sudden” he is being “challenged on his temperament.” He shouted, “My temperament is one reason why I have built such a great company.” Then he declared the most memorable line, “My temperament is going to win this for us, folks.”
(Refer to the letters “A” for arrogant and “N” for narcissistic.)
Later, while discussing Trump’s failing campaign with a well-known GOP strategist, I lamented that Trump is heading toward a landslide, and he responded, “or a mudslide.”
Unfortunately, either by “mud” or “land” Trump will sweep Republicans off the cliff.
Cross-posted at the Washington Examiner