It’s early July, and up to this point in the 2016 presidential campaign, it would seem that Donald Trump would have succumbed to a death by a thousand cuts. He has continued to go renegade in his campaign style, going off the cuff and saying things that can be deemed outlandish.
The amazing thing is that it has not killed his campaign. You can credit his durability to a weak opponent in Hillary Clinton. Trump has also mastered the 24 hour news/media cycle. He says something controversial, the media gets all apoplectic, Trump condemns the media for being bias and lying, Trump calls Hillary corrupt, and everyone moves on.
Wash, rinse and repeat.
With all of the damaging things that he has said that would normally destroy a campaign, Trump remains very viable, and he is even in the statistical margin of error in head to head polls with Clinton right now. It is utterly amazing that his support has not fallen off a cliff, but with four months to go, it has sprung a golden opportunity.
Trump does not need to continue to insult journalists, hammer away at any Muslim immigration, or act childishly thin-skinned. Essentially, the bully portion of his campaign can stop. He has a rock hard basement of support of about 40 percent, and there are a lot of undecided voters out there that he can sway.
None of the recent polling has Hillary above 46 percent, and she is the most known quantity in U.S. politics ever. With the departure of Corey Lewandowsky two weeks ago, it signaled a change in the Trump strategy.
Lewandowsky was a proponent of “let Trump be Trump” on messaging. He encouraged the off-the-cuff remarks, but that has run out of steam at this juncture. It is hard to argue with its success since Trump won the Republican Nomination, but there needs to be serious restraint to take the ball across the goal line.
He needs to be presidential, but still act like the nonpolitician that he is. Attacking Hillary Clinton is something he needs to continue to do. Force her campaign to answer questions about her scandals and put her on the defensive. Attacking your direct opponent is obvious, but he needs to stop attacking everyone else.
The press, Muslims, former GOP primary opponents, and others do not need to be given the time of day for someone running for president. It never pays to punch down because all that does is bring you down as well.
With Hilllary Clinton continuing to run a weak campaign with lagging trustworthy numbers, an email scandal that festers, and a lack of a coherent message, this opens up a huge window for Trump.
Allowing Paul Manafort to take over as the head of the campaign should help on his image and messaging … if Trump listens to him. Trump needs to trust others when they are seeking to restrain him.
It was fun to win a primary being a completely apolitical bomb-thrower, but this is the big leagues. Trump needs to hone his populist message about jobs, laser focus his offensive on Clinton, and cut out the petulant attacks.
His campaign has dealt itself a lot of blows, but Trump is still standing. It’s the 9th round of a 12 round bout, and Hillary is not as strong as expected. Trump can win this election, but it will involve some soul-searching on his part.
Kevin Broderick serves as a consultant for a Fortune 500 Insurer in the Employee Benefits marketplace for large employers. He received a finance degree from Providence College. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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