Donald Trump beat 12 other GOP candidates to win the GOP nomination for president, despite strong opposition from virtually all of the power brokers in the party, by successfully tapping into the anger and frustration of much, if not most, of the voting public. His candidacy has been buttressed by the fact that all polls report that approximately 75% of Americans feel that the country is “going in the wrong direction.” These same polls have disclosed the public’s deep distrust of politicians, Congress and the government. Trump is none of those. Clinton, on the other hand, is a politician, has served in Congress, and has been in government for the better part of 30 years. Furthermore, she is strongly disliked and deeply mistrusted by a majority of the voters.
So, what’s the problem? Why is Trump several points behind instead of being far ahead? The answer is simple and easy to discern, but, at the same time, very difficult, if not impossible, to fix (especially at this late date). Trump’s biggest nemesis, whom he cannot seem to beat is ….Donald J. Trump, or, more specifically, Trump’s mouth.
He is his own worst enemy. He, also, is disliked and mistrusted by a majority of voters. More importantly, whenever a new scandal has come to light, such as the IRS’ bias against conservatives, Clinton’s emails, or the Clinton Foundation’s irregularities, any or all of which should have provided a substantial boost to his campaign, he has managed to say or do something ill-advised to counteract it. The most obvious examples, among many others, would be his curious and ill-advised decision not to release his tax information, the Access Hollywood tape, the accusations of sexual harassment and his refusal to pledge not to challenge the election result on the basis of it being “rigged.”
In my opinion, this last one was particularly damaging. The last debate was Trump’s last chance to turn the election around. Most people believe Trump had outperformed Clinton up to that point. Unfortunately (for Trump), all people will remember is that comment.
For a bright, successful man, he can be very stupid. He knows that the Clinton campaign and 90% of the media despise him. He knows that anything he says or does can and will be twisted or exaggerated for political purposes. So, rather than being circumspect, he runs his mouth. I know he’s not a politician, but come on!
Regarding his taxes, in a previous blog I strongly urged him to release them. I am sure that he has had the best tax advice available, and it is extremely doubtful that he broke the law. As far as paying no taxes, so what? All he has to do is denote that he followed the law, and, anyway, who would voluntarily pay more taxes than required? It’s a non-issue, easily foiled.
In addition, the “rigged election” issue is a loser, even though history demonstrates more than a few elections with “irregularities.” If you doubt me, research the NY governor’s race in 1793, the Chicago and Texas voting in the 1960 presidential election, and Florida voting in the 2000 presidential election (the infamous “hanging chad” election), among others. As the late Casey Stengel was fond of saying: “You could look it up.”
Trump’s “rigged” comment probably refers to what his supporters believe is the Dems’ and media’s white-washing of Clinton’s irregularities, if not illegalities, but such vague accusations do not advance his cause. He should have simply said he would accept the decision of the American people, and that’s it. He could still it challenge later. That’s what both Gore and Bush did in 2000. (Nixon, despite his unsavory reputation in other matters, was a stand-up guy in the aftermath of the 1960 election in that he declined to challenge either the Chicago or Texas voting.)
It appears likely that, despite being on the “right side” of most of the issues in the eyes of most voters, Trump will lose, and, perhaps, by a sizeable margin electorally. When all is said and done, he will have no one to blame but himself.