Donald Trump is currently wandering around the country, in search of his version of the American Dream. The idea that with a little luck, a lot of money, and way too much ego, a man can become the dictatorial ruler of a free country. Just promise you’ll mess with the segments of the population that your base doesn’t like, and they’ll crowd-surf you into the White House.
From POLITICO: 3 August 2016: “Trump: ‘I don’t know why we’re not leading by a lot'” (bracketed portion theirs):
“We go to Oklahoma, we had 25,000 people. We had 21,000 people in Dallas. We had 35,000 people in Mobile, Alabama. We have these massive crowds,” the Republican nominee said. “You’ve got thousands of people outside trying to get in [today], and this is one hell of a big stadium.”
Donald Trump apparently doesn’t understand how elections work in the US of A. And nobody has explained it to him, either. Oklahoma, Texas, and Alabama, massive crowds, but not representative of the general election.
Until yesterday, he was still refusing to endorse Paul Ryan. Apparently he didn’t understand that those sorts of shenanigans were supposed to end with the convention. That it’s now time for the general election, where you knuckle down and do what you can to bring it home. Disunity is not part of that, yet there’s Trump, his tiny thumb in the eye of Ryan.
Now, the plausible explanation for that is that Ryan might lose the primary to a Trump-backer, and Trump was trying to stay neutral for that scenario. But the speakership does not pass to the challenger, so it made little sense. If Nehlen, the challenger, wins, Trump doesn’t gain much by being loyal. But if Ryan wins, Trump loses something for not backing a leader in his party.
Trump is unfit to be a nominee, to say nothing of the presidency. He’s unfit to enroll in a non-entry-level course in political science.
This seems like the third or fourth time they want to do a reset on Trump, but a Trump-reset only lasts until the smoke clears, then he’s his same old self. They got him to use a teleprompter a few times. They fired people, cleaned the stables. He went and met with the legislative leadership at least two or three times in reset-type attempts. And yet there they are, back where they started.
The reset they need isn’t even on the table. They should be looking at reaching out to non-base voters (in ways other than trying to convince African-Americans that immigrants are the source of their woes (i.e., attempting to foment more racism)), but at this point, about three months out, they just want a reset that will stem the bleeding. They just want the candidate to stop the self-harm. They want an intervention.
The candidate they have is still crowd-testing new nicknames for his opponent. Still fascinated with his adoring crowds and watching cable news rather than the bootstrapping rapid-learning he said he would be able to do to be ready to be president in 2017. Still saying the dumbest first things that pop into his head. Taking issue with the debate schedule. Claiming the election will be rigged.
But that’s not to write Trump off entirely. It’s just to say that we can write off any notion that Trump will ever be presidential, whether or not he succeeds in being elected president. We can mark down that he will not be fit for office, will not become fit. We can close the book on any real pivot or reset.
The Daily Beast: 5 August 2016: “How Paul Krugman Made Donald Trump Possible” tries to make the case that Democrats said the same things about Mitt Romney, and therefore they helped create the mess that is Donald Trump. But Mitt Romney, without defending every whit of criticism, was fit to be president (had experience, understood politics). Some of his policy choices would have been bad news, and his business record sat firmly in the area of parasitic capitalist, at least on some deals. He was far from an ideal choice, hence the clothes-shopping primary of 2012 where the voters tried everybody from Herman Cain to Rick Perry before settling on Romney.
The reason for the Democratic rhetoric is that the Republicans keep picking candidates reflective of bad policy. So long as the policies remain the same (and Trump is at least 60% Republican in policy), including anti-women, regressive taxation, and the rest, the same rhetoric applies. If you want to see a real reset in Democratic rhetoric, you must first have a reset in Republican policy. Like a Trump reset, that seems implausible. They read the autopsy of the 2012 race, and they did zero—nothing—to address it. Then they went out and picked someone who makes Romney look reasonable in comparison. The Democratic rhetoric was spot on in 2012, the Republicans just picked someone even worse in 2016.