You think you’ve got a tough job? How would you like to be the guy or gal who was supposed to keep Donald Trump on message? The Trump campaign had a gift of an opportunity to make some inroads against Hillary Clinton last week and the candidate personally blew it.
Tuesday FBI Director James Comey spoke for 15 minutes and during that time provided the Trump campaign a gift so potent that if I worked that campaign I might start believing in Santa Claus again. There were several points in the FBI’s findings that portrayed Clinton in less than a favorable light and were easily convertible into Trump talking points.
Instead of focusing on Comey’s comments with laser like precision and the tenacity of a bulldog Trump gave them scant attention in his rallies. When he did speak of the situation he reverted to his schoolyard name calling act. That worked well with Bubba in the primary and with his rally audience which is largely made up of Bubbas. What a political pro would know is that the rallies are the basis of news coverage which is picked up by non-Bubbas whose votes will be needed in November.
Trump spent considerable time criticizing MSNBC/NBC journalist Chuck Todd. The vast majority of the people attending Trump rallies don’t know who Chuck Todd is, seldom watch him or both. To the persuadables who are watching news clips of Trump criticizing a respect journalist with childish taunts he looks stupid and anything but presidential. Trump may think he is the entire enchilada but the campaign is either at or nearing the point where Trump needs favorable treatment from major media outlets more than they need favorable treatment from him. They already have him for better or worse.
Trump apparently doesn’t realize he is now in the finals of a big tournament. Sure he has won up to this point, but that was largely against “the Sisters of the Poor”. While the GOP primary field was large it was extraordinarily weak. In the early going the size of the field allowed a limited appeal candidate like Trump to triumph. An argument can be made that on paper the only formidable opponent was Jeb Bush. I’m anxiously waiting for the tell-all book(s). It almost appeared Jeb was running reluctantly; perhaps out of a sense of obligation or entitlement. He really didn’t seem to be enjoying the campaign.
The weekend before last the Trump campaign tweeted out a message with Hillary Clinton’s picture superimposed on a plethora of $100 bills and featuring a six pointed star. In America six pointed stars are most commonly associated with the Star of David and therefore Judaism. It turned out to be a re-tweet from a well-known right wing anti-Semite. The campaign soon replaced the star with a circle.
A smart politician (Trump is definitely not one) would have let it go and trained both barrels on Hillary. Instead Trump spent more time on defending the star. Going so far as to say he wished the picture hadn’t been altered and that he could defend the use of the six pointed star.
The Trump campaign has made a practice of courting extremists many of whom are openly anti-Jewish. The interesting part is that it doesn’t appear Trump personally is an anti-Semite in the least bit. I am an open Trump basher and I’ll even join that conclusion. Trump has made so many zany statements, is so obviously unqualified for the job of President and has so many skeletons in his closet why is he allowing himself to be unnecessarily tarred by keeping alive a story that was about to fade from the news cycle?
Breaks like this are few and far between in a Presidential campaign. It is like a turnover in the last two minutes of a championship basketball game. If your team is the recipient of one they have to go down to the other end and score. Trump dribbled it off his foot, out of bounds and then picked up a technical in the process. If I’m grading him he doesn’t get a star for that performance!
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