Donald Trump is ready to run his presidential race his way — with a "scorched-earth" strategy that burns the GOP establishment, rallies his base and dampens Democratic voters' turnout, the Wall Street Journal reports.
"It’s so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to," Trump tweeted Tuesday in a preview of the new strategy.
Kevin Madden, a GOP strategist who worked on the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and George W. Bush, told the Journal Trump’s approach will likely pump up turnout among his base, "but alienating his own party and swing voters won’t grow his vote."
And, he added: "His remarks and tactics can have the adverse effect of energizing the Democratic base."
Trump has been losing ground since his first debate performance that was largely panned — followed by a report on his nearly billion-dollar business loss that may have shielded him for years from federal taxes, a public spat with former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, and last Friday, the emergence of a 2005 hot-mic video in which Trump uses sexually aggressive language to describe women.
Trump met with advisers at Trump Tower last Friday night — and then they resolved to implement the "scorched-earth" strategy that had been held in reserve, one unnamed adviser told the Journal.
The campaign then recruited three women who'd accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct, and a fourth angry at Hillary Clinton for her work as a legal-aid lawyer defending a man accused of raping the woman when she was a girl.
Only five people in the campaign knew the four women would appear with Trump before his second presidential debate with Clinton the following Sunday.
But according to the Journal, his fiery performance at the debate "might have stopped his political bleeding."
A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows him trailing the Democratic nominee by 9 percentage points among likely voters, though his standing improved after his performance in Sunday’s debate, particularly with Republicans.
"I may be limping across that finish line," Trump told a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Monday night as he predicted victory, the Journal reported. "But I’m getting across that finish line."
On Tuesday, he launched his attacks on both GOP politicians who've turned their backs on him in recent days — and at Clinton.
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