Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Trump's Problems

A few weeks ago I wrote about the problems that Hillary Clinton faces in trying to win the presidency. Against nearly any other Republican, the election would be an uphill fight for Clinton. Donald Trump however has his own, unique problems.

First of all, he's an of-again, on-again Republican. He supported Carter and Mondale over Reagan. He was very vocal about not supporting George W. Bush, preferring Gore, Kerry and Obama. There's every reason to believe that he'd be supporting Hillary over the Republican nominee if it wasn't Trump himself.

He's not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination. Republicans have been against trade barriers since they caused the Great Depression. Trump is for them. On some issues, especially trade, Trump is to Hillary's left. The same is true for national defense. Trump is an isolationist, at odds with conservatives who are normally push for a strong national defense. As a Reagan Republican, it's galling to me that Hillary Clinton comes closer to the things that Reagan stood for than Trump.

Trump has no relevant experience. We suffered through 8 years of Obama thinking that he could substitute bumming around the world as a youth for actual world policy experience. We're likely to have a repeat of that with Trump.

Trump isn't really that good a businessman. Yes, he's made a lot of money - for himself. He's left a lot of wreckage in his wake. In investment after investment, Trump is the only person to come out ahead. We need a president who is looking out for the American people, not himself.

Trump has made a lot of promises he can't keep. The Wall is a big one. It won't be built. He's even said that it's just an applause line. So, where does that leave us if Trump doesn't mean his most famous promise?

Trump's vulgarity repulses a lot of voters. He seems shocked and offended by normal bodily functions of women. He stereotypes Mexicans and Muslims. He makes fun of people of the handicapped. All of this adds up and gives him the highest negatives of any candidate, ever.

Trump spent the primary alienating the Republican establishment but he needs them to be elected. So far there is little to suggest that he has made up with them.

Trump doesn't act like he's running to win. This is a big one. He ran his primary campaign on the cheap, relying on public polls instead of hiring his own pollster, and skipping many other standard expenses. He ran like a dilettante who was running a vanity campaign and didn't expect to get very far. Now that he is the presumptive nominee, he needs a national organization with joint fundraising with the Republican party. He hasn't even begun to assemble that. Pro-Hillary groups have been airing anti-Trump and pro-Hillary ads in swing states like Ohio for weeks. Trump has yet to make a significant media buy - or raise enough money to make one.

It is still possible that Trump could tap into a well-spring of resentment against the status quo or that Hillary could be indicted. Both of those are outside Trump's control.

Of the things he can control - fundraising, message, making up with former rivals and converting them into surrogates - Trump is way behind. He appears to be going through the motions reinforcing the impression that it's a vanity candidacy for him and he has no real desire to be president.

That's no way to win an election.

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