Donald Trump defies convention yet again. It’s a trait which has worked for him up to this point, securing his status as the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee. Critics may be tempted to start placing their bets on his success, if for no other reason than becoming sick of being wrong. But the world is full of paupers who bet on the continuation of a trend in spite of evidence, and Trump’s latest unconventional approach could be his undoing.
Typically, at this point in a presidential campaign, when the candidate has secured status as the presumptive nominee, they shift their focus to uniting their party. It’s common sense. You need your side to be, you know, on your side. The task can be difficult after a contentious primary, which we have surely just experienced.
But Trump seems to harbor little interest in uniting anybody. From the New York Times:
Donald Trump’s behavior in recent days — the political threats to the House speaker, Paul Ryan; the name-calling on Twitter; the attacks on Hillary Clinton’s marriage — has deeply puzzled Republicans who expected him to move to unite the party, start acting presidential and begin courting the female voters he will need in the general election.
But Trump’s choices reflect an unusual conviction: He said he had a “mandate” from his supporters to run as a fiery populist outsider and to rely on his raucous rallies to build support through “word of mouth,” rather than to embrace a traditional, mellower and more inclusive approach that congressional Republicans will advocate in meetings with him on Thursday.
Trump’s strategy is replete with risks. Roughly 60 percent of Americans view him negatively, according to pollsters, who say more-of-the-same Trump is not likely to improve those numbers. While a majority of Republican primary voters said they were looking for a political outsider, Trump will face a majority of voters in November who prefer a candidate with political experience. Many Republicans think they will lose the presidency and seats in the House and Senate if he continues using language that offends women and some racial and religious groups.
Trump has said elsewhere that, “This election isn’t about the Republican Party, it’s about me.” He has said that he doesn’t want some people in the party to support him. He’s doubling-down on a divisive rather than inclusive campaign.
Question: if Trump says he doesn’t want Republican support, why not oblige him? If Trump says that this election isn’t about the party, but about him, why not let him run an independent campaign? Why should any self-respecting Republican give one red nickel to a man who says he doesn’t need it? Why should they vote for a man who says he doesn’t need them?