Is it my imagination, or has Trump been relatively non-controversial lately?
Do you remember how Trump got lots of free publicity in the past year by saying approximately one outrageous and controversial thing each week, like clockwork? And do you remember how you thought his outrageous approach could never be a winning formula in the general election?
I’ve been saying since last year that Trump’s path to victory is simple. All he needs to do is STOP saying controversial things for the last several months before election day to prove he can control himself. Plus, voters have short memories. So whatever Trump does in the coming months will be more important than whatever happened last year. And lately he’s been more presidential, at least by Trump standards.
But here’s the fascinating part, at least to me. Trump’s consistency in being outrageous has created a situation in which we’re all expecting more of it. Now Trump is in a position to get man-bites-dog publicity (the best kind) simply by being non-controversial. And the longer he maintains this new approach, the more newsworthy it becomes. By late August you might be seeing headlines of this nature:
TRUMP PIVOTS TO SERIOUS
CAN TRUMP KEEP UP THE PRESIDENTIAL TONE?
HAS TRUMP CHANGED?
Now consider what Clinton and Trump each need to accomplish – and quickly – in order to win in November. Clinton needs to prove she is not crooked, which is now impossible because the head of the FBI has publicly certified her as crooked. At least that’s how it looks to the public. The public heard the FBI say Clinton broke the law, followed by a decision to not prosecute. That taint won’t wash off by November.
Trump, on the other hand, simply has to NOT do crazy-racist-sounding things for a few months. If he stays presidential (mostly) from here on out, people will believe he can moderate his scary persona at will. That’s all he needs to prove.
Clinton’s task of proving she is not crooked is literally impossible at this stage. But Trump’s task of NOT being outrageous for a few months is somewhat easy. He’s already doing it, and I don’t see him breaking a sweat.
You also have to factor in the Gingrich effect. No matter who gets tapped for Vice President, Gingrich has already created intellectual cover for Trump. Were you worried that Trump is dumb and under-informed? You don’t have that concern about Gingrich, even if you dislike him. Gingrich solves for Trump’s perceived intellect gap with Clinton. Expect Gingrich to have a key role in Trump’s government.
The new Quinnipiac poll shows Trump now leading in 4-out-of-5 battleground states. Most of the polling was done before the FBI announced its email server decision. Do you know what else was happening during that time to influence polls?
In other words, Trump didn’t do anything outrageous for a few weeks. That’s all he needs to do from here on out – more nothing – to win in a landslide. The “Crooked Hillary” harpoon he landed a few months ago is bleeding her out. Trump’s glide path to victory involves picking his cabinet and acting serious for a few months. That’s all it will take. (Expect a few mini-outrages just for fun.)
Speaking of glide paths, you might like my book, even though those thoughts are not connected.