September 14, 2016

Is this a new Donald Trump?

Oliver MackenzieRebel Columnist

Over the past few days, Donald Trump has done the unthinkable: he’s shown restraint.

After Hillary Clinton’s health crisis on the weekend, Donald Trump has demonstrated real political acumen. His constant refrain is that he hopes “she gets better” — a message untempered by speculation about further health issues.

He’s been on-point and on-message. He even stayed in control after being baited by a television personality for a hotter take

This kind of restrained, media-aware messaging wouldn’t seem out of character from any other nominee. But from Trump, it’s a welcome change of pace. It shows that Trump understands what it takes to avoid another Khizr Khan debacle (or at least is listening to minders who do). It shows that there’s a level of understanding from his campaign that the kind of health rumour-mongering Trump was indulging in before Clinton’s collapse would seem grossly inappropriate now.

Trump is finally acting like a general-election candidate should act. He hasn’t made unforced errors for the media to exploit.

And there’s plenty of reason to think that he’ll win if he keeps course. The Democrat-led US federal government is presiding over a weak economy, and is headed by an unpopular president. These two factors should tilt the election in favour of the Republican candidate.

This is doubly true given the Democratic presidential nominee’s uniquely unpopular status among the general electorate. Hillary Clinton has a well-earned reputation as a cold, calculating career politician. As a result, she has a net unfavourable rating, a dubious feat for anyone seeking elected office.

Clinton’s recent medical fiascoes put her in an especially poor position. If her issues are compounded by a “low-energy” debate performance or further health problems, Trump will leave her in the dust.

If Donald Trump was a Mitt Romney or John McCain-style candidate, he’d be leading by miles. His offensive, media-grabbing antics allowed him to win a plurality of the Republican primary electorate, but those same antics have pushed away the more moderate general electorate. He’s left himself open to countless media smears, smears that have dissuaded would-be supporters.

Trump’s base of support — middle and upper income whites — is narrow. He doesn’t have much ground to make up (most polling averages have him just a couple of points behind Clinton) but he may need to attract support from unlikely places. Even Trump’s most diehard supporters have to acknowledge that pushing away wide swathes of the electorate isn’t a winning general election strategy.

With a bit of political acumen, Trump will win this election in a landslide.

We’ll see if he stays up to the task.


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commented 2016-09-21 15:00:33 -0400
I’ve long maintained Trumps bluster was him being ‘crazy like a fox.’ It bought him plenty of free press and put him front and center of every news cycle every evening, often with much ridicule from pundits. What suited him in the GOP primaries surely wouldn’t fly in the general election where he needs to attract undecided’s and possible anti-establishment Bernie supporters and he’s savvy enough to understand that, and his hiring new campaign managers reflect that realization. In fact, the ‘bullies’ are starting to look like the mainstream media and the Clinton Campaign who can’t seem to use the word “Hitler” enough. Anyone with even an elementary understanding of history recognizes this as hyperbole at best and disingenuous.
commented 2016-09-15 01:17:19 -0400
Jack Pallance the media had a lot to do with Romney losing.
Andrew who says he can’t? Bill is a scumbag, and Hillary is not being herself and you know it.
commented 2016-09-14 20:50:01 -0400
Trump, realizing that he can’t win by being Trump, has polished himself up into… Bill Clinton.
commented 2016-09-14 19:13:02 -0400
True, but Romney ran a lousy campaign and seemed to think the job would just given to him on a silver platter. Didn’t help he was a bit of a RINO anyways.
commented 2016-09-14 18:26:31 -0400
Jack Pallance hard to beat the media and whiney minorities , you need to factor that in. Minorities seem to be waking up a bit, but they still seem to prefer welfare state plantation enslavement.
commented 2016-09-14 18:04:18 -0400
Trump is a little rough around the edges but is a man full of compassion and empathy. The raging fire of this bullshit campaign perhaps has refined him.
commented 2016-09-14 15:04:07 -0400
Romney and McCain were total losers. McCain couldn’t beat an out of nowhere 1 term state senator. Romney couldn’t beat that same Senator despite the fact the economy was absolute shit. They would be getting their asses totally kicked at this point, probably losing to even a dead candidate.
commented 2016-09-14 14:52:28 -0400
Unfortunately, Obama is not that unpopular right now. It might be because he is not the focus of many news stories right now, but 58% in a poll yesterday does not indicate unpopularity.
commented 2016-09-14 13:08:47 -0400