Donald Trump made more unforced errors in the last two weeks than I have ever seen a candidate make, certainly at the presidential level. Two weeks ago the New York businessman was riding high. All he had to do was act quietly self-confident, focus on the issues, and concentrate his fire on the Democratic opposition while extending an open hand to his fellow and gal Republicans in unity and the nomination would have been his easily.
Yes, there were plenty of angry people against him — pundits, politicos and others — but he still could have done it.
But no, as elementary as the above advice was even to a relative political naif, Donald continued to act as if it was the second week of the campaign and no slight should go unpunished. I’m not going to recite all the errors here, some of which are indeed over-rated, because that’s not the point. That would only encourage Trump and his supporters to see themselves as victims, something that is never helpful. The results in Wisconsin are there for all to see. Trump has only himself to blame. He is in danger of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
But it’s not too late. Trump is still in the lead and has time to adjust his campaign. But he must be capable of change, real change. To be blunt, he has to grow up. No more clichés about “winning so much you’ll be tired of winning” or juvenile insults like “Lyin’ Ted.”
We want to see a potential president and, no, that doesn’t mean being “boring” as Trump said he would be on the Hannity show. The best presidents are anything but boring. They’re great leaders like Reagan and FDR (yes, obviously conservatives have problems with him but he rallied us through WWII).
Trump’s got to think beyond his army of disaffected older middle class white males. This doesn’t mean he has to abandon them — they have legitimate grievances. But he must open his campaign by addressing the concerns of others — women, minorities and young people. He should be creative in this regard. Conservative principles work for these groups too. Why not go talk to them about it? Be surprising. Trump started that way, but now he’s just repetitive.
And no more of this punching back twice as hard nonsense — unless you’re punching someone really important. Remember the maxim – you don’t punch down, you punch up. If you want to punch, take aim at Hillary Clinton or, for that matter, Vladimir Putin, not “Little Marco,” Carly Fiorina, or whoever.
And speaking of Putin, no more of this silly boasting about the Russian autocrat calling you a “genius.” Putin is an ex- KGB agent. They’re not interested in being your friend. They’re interested in destroying you — or, at the very least, stealing your money. You don’t have to make the same dumb mistakes as George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton, staring into Puti-poot’s eyes or pressing some idiotic reset button. It’s not by accident that Putin’s billionaire kleptocrat cronies are all over the newly released “Panama Papers.” They’re criminals, pure and simple. Hillary’s cronies have turned up in those papers too. (John Podesta’s brother.) Why don’t you start talking about that?
This has become a serious game now. Cruz, in his solid Wisconsin victory, has done Trump a serious favor. It should be a wake-up call. In all probability Republicans are headed for a contested convention. Trump has to learn the managerial skills to deal with that — and fast. And Cruz will not be Trump’s only adversary. Many forces will be in play in Cleveland, including, needless to stay, the establishment that is not without power. If Donald doesn’t start acting presidential today, he’ll be hard-pressed to convince delegates that he would make a better nominee than Paul Ryan, problematic as such a choice would be. Trump (and Cruz) voters would simply stay home in that case, handing the election to Hillary who might, at that point, already be indicted. Or Bernie could be the nominee and we’ll all be wearing blue Maoist pajamas. Who knows what’s going to happen? This is one for the history books — depending on who’s writing them.
UPDATE: As one who has been sympathetic to the Trump campaign, I agree with the Daily Caller’s Tucker Carlson that their statement after the Wisconsin loss is not particularly encouraging.
Roger L. Simon is a prize-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His next book – I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already – will be published by Encounter Books in June 2016.
Some early comments on I Know Best:
“Do you want to know who is largely responsible for the decline of America in the last half century? And do you want to know why? Roger Simon has written the answer in an original and significant book.” – Dennis Prager.
“Roger L. Simon’s riveting I Know Best fires a bullet into the heart of political correctness. In his inimitable style, he exposes the insufferable moral narcissism that is tearing our society apart.” – David Limbaugh.
(Artwork created using multiple Shutterstock.com images.)