What Is Trump Betting On?
The latest shakeup in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has the look and feel of throwing stuff against the wall, hoping eventually something will stick.
In this case, Trump is betting on, well …
I’m not sure.
Choosing Steve Bannon, a down-and-dirty operative from Breitbart News, to lead his campaign was widely seen as a signal that Trump was going back to the bare-knuckles style that he employed to win the Republican nomination.
While it may well get to that point, Trump actually has been more subdued in the last few days. He isn’t making as many headlines. Much is being made that he is following more of a standard, prepared script now — reading his speeches off of a teleprompter, for instance.
That may sound like a small thing, but some of Trump’s strongest barbs came when he appeared to be adlibbing. His speeches appeared more stream-of-consciousness than coherent thought.
According to polls, Trump’s volatile temperament is widely seen as a major negative, but millions of his supporters would argue that it is honest candor instead.
So what’s the deal?
Which Trump are we going to get?
I don’t think there is any way to tell for sure. I have long since given up trying to predict where this oddball campaign will go next.
Whatever he does, though, Trump had better do it quickly.
The presidential polls are forecasting win in November by Hillary Clinton. A sampling of several polls shows that while Trump has closed the national gap on Clinton in the last week, she still leads anywhere from 6-8 percent. Plus, she seems to have a firm electoral grip.
That is not exactly news, since she has held a substantial lead in both popular vote and electoral math for several weeks.
That has ignited an automatic response from the Trump supporters, who argue that the polls are rigged and … blah, blah, blah.
Trump loved the polls during the primary when they showed him winning in many states. And one of his rivals, Marco Rubio, blasted polls that showed Trump routing him in the Florida primary.
Rubio said he had data that showed he would win.
He did not win. Rubio was routed.
All this flap over polling brings back memories of Election Night in 2012, when Fox News declared that Ohio had chosen President Barack Obama, ensuring victory for the incumbent. That sent GOP operative Karl Rove into a meltdown on Fox News, arguing pointedly on camera that it just wasn’t so.
When asked what method they used to give Ohio to Obama, a numbers-cruncher in the Fox election room declared, “Math.”
Only once since 1936 did the projected presidential winner lose the election. That, of course, was Harry Truman’s win over Thomas Dewey in 1948. Truman wound up winning by 5 points, the margin pollsters predicted he would lose by.
I suspect Trump knows the numbers are speaking truth, which is why he now has his third new campaign head in about as many months. And if the numbers show that move isn’t working either?
Well, it’s still about 2 ½ months before Election Day. There is plenty of time for another change.