The Corner

Politics & Policy

The State of Trump

I may not like it very much, but what Trump is doing on the NRA and the terror-watch list goes to what I thought was his potential promise as a candidate. Since he isn’t an ideologue or a conservative, he would be free to be highly flexible and run from the center as it suited him. I believed Trump would be centrist in content and outrageous in demeanor. So far, the latter is completely swamping the former.

All the progress Trump had made after becoming the nominee in unifying the party and in polling vis-a-vis Hillary has been washed away in pointless and often self-obsessed controversies (although he was inevitably going to give back some of the polling advances after Hillary wrapped up her nomination). It is one thing to discomfit your party or triangulate against it if you are benefiting yourself or achieving some other important goal. Trump has alienated elected Republicans without helping himself in the least.

Now the dynamic in the presidential race resembles a government shutdown, with Republicans in disarray, sniping at one another, and scurrying for cover, as they are opposed by a unified Democratic party (with two big megaphones rather than one — President Obama and nominee Clinton). The disarray will probably get worse, because if there is one thing that the Republican establishment can’t abide it is poor poll numbers, and Trump has been below 40 in the last five polls. He has done that to himself, even before the Democratic ad campaign against him has begun in earnest.

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