Sorry, Republicans: It’s no act
By Jennifer Rubin May 8 at 12:00 PM
Donald Trump is the presumptive presidential nominee, but that recognition has not made him any more presidential.
He is still insulting political critics in the GOP, perhaps not realizing he needs over 90 percent of the GOP vote to have any chance to do even as well as the last two GOP losers. He still employs surrogates who are mind-numbingly vapid (attacking adoption?!?) or boorish (populist huckster Mike Huckabee instructing the speaker of the House to “lead, follow or get the heck out of the way”). He still shows no interest in learning basics — whether it is the obligation to uphold the “full faith and credit” of the United States or knowing who runs the Islamic State. None of this should be surprising. He is not an intellectually curious person, nor a modest one. It is a dangerous combination: He does not know — or won’t admit — what he does not know.
He has always bullied and bought his way through life. He cannot imagine anyone resisting him (a soldier refusing to commit war crimes, a principled Republican refusing to endorse him). He brooks no criticism, even from a usually obsequious cable TV personality.
All of this leaves him utterly incapable of the first task of any presidential nominee — unifying his party. In fact, he does not want to unite it. “I am confident that I can unite much of it. Some of it, I don’t want. I mean, there were statements made about me that those people can go away and maybe come back in eight years after we serve two terms.” Trump’s insistence on maintaining loopy views and inability to win over even Republicans have spurred throngs of elected officials to decline endorsement, an unprecedented phenomenon. His own shortcomings have launched a thriving movement to find a third candidate. (Mitt Romney — with 100 percent name ID, a donor network and the affection of much of his party — and Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska seem to be the top candidates.)
As a result, the party is arguably more divided than it was at the beginning of the week. As impressions harden, the task of shoring up his support just among Republicans becomes more daunting. Ineptitude increases the chances of an embarrassing defeat, which in turn discourages people from wanting to be his running mate — or even give him money. He begins to take on the aura of, well, a loser.
The GOP would have been fortunate had Trump’s blunderbuss routine been something he could easily discard. Instead, all those people “wanting to send a message” to political elite are finding out just what they bargained for, a dim thug who is alternately scary and clueless. Worse, he is easily mocked. In our cynical, jaded culture, that gives even someone as staid as Hillary Clinton the chance to seem more in touch. She can wink at the audience. “Yes, I know, he’s just a buffoon,” she can signal to voters. “Can you believe what he just said?”
Trump will have some good days, and Clinton will have some bad ones. However, Trump is proving incapable or unwilling to be anything but a boorish billionaire, a caricature of a rich person. That is quite limiting, in practice, as he finds out how diverse, tolerant and skeptical are voters outside his cult of personality. He’s collected about 10 million votes, predominately from white, lower-income and less educated voters. He is going to need about 65 million votes and at least 270 electoral votes. Instead of multiplying his followers, he is dividing them. If this week is any indication, he will be hard-pressed to do as well as the last two GOP nominees. They were losers, too.
This journalist has posted some very conservative pieces in the Washington Post. I think she has a very good grasp on reality, the reality that Trump is living in an alternate universe (as his followers are) if he thinks he will win in November.