It was a fatal week for Trump. Many commentators, including pro-Republican ones, think there is no chance it will get better.
Donald Trump seems not to notice that the pre-election season has ended and that he has already been nominated. Instead of insulting everybody around him, including his allies, he had better attack Hillary Clinton every hour of every day.
The Firefighters’ Conspiracy
Last week, the billionaire was focused on attacking Khizr Khan (the father of a soldier who died heroically in Iraq) because this man dared to criticize him at the Democratic Convention. Trump concluded that the reason Khan’s wife was silent during her husband’s speech was because Islamic women don’t have the right to take the floor.
The Republican candidate has accused the firefighters of conspiring against him because they did not want to admit more people to his meeting than was allowed by regulations. “So I have to tell you this. This is why our country doesn’t work. We have plenty of space here. We have thousands of people outside trying to get in. And we have a fire marshal that said, ‘Oh we can’t allow more people.’ ... And the reason they won’t let them in is because they don’t know what the hell they’re doing. Hey, maybe they’re a Hillary person. Could that be possible? Probably.” By the way, there were 1,100 people in the adjacent room, not “thousands.”
However, this is not all. In an interview with the Washington Post, Donald Trump declined to support the Republican politicians (specifically Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan and Sen. John McCain) who have, in the past, criticized him, and who are now seeking re-election. “In this country … we don’t need weak people,” the billionaire said about Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who dared to make the following statement: “The Khan family deserves nothing less than our deepest support, respect and gratitude, and they have every right to express themselves in any way they choose.”
As a result, Trump has lost his advantage in the polls, which he had gained after the Republican National Convention. The polls show that Hillary Clinton has overtaken him by 9-14 percent points. The blog FiveThirtyEight (which foresaw the results of the presidential race in 49 of 50 states in 2008 and after four years, accurately predicted 50 out of 50) is giving a 26 percent chance of victory in November to the Republicans and a 74 percent chance to Clinton. What was Trump’s answer? He said the polls might have been manipulated. What is more interesting, he also claims the elections are likely to be manipulated. When asked why he thought that, he answered that he had heard rumors and felt there was a chance it could happen.
A group of Trump’s most devoted supporters, such as Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee, have taken an even more absurd line of defense. Huckabee says Trump will act more sensibly when he becomes the U.S. president. Really? The best way to check that emoter’s mental health is by giving him access to the Gold Codes? “You know, the same way drunk people always calm down once you give them back their car keys,” satirist Seth Meyers mocked.
Unfortunately, it is difficult not to laugh when we read about Trump’s meeting with a foreign policy expert, who Trump hired to teach him about these issues. During the three hour long briefing, the Republican candidate asked three times why, if the U.S. has nuclear weapons, it can’t use them. And after the meeting, he concluded that the fastest and most effective solution to the issue of the Islamic State would be a nuclear attack on its territory (northern Syria and mid-western Iraq).
The Uninformed Voters
The rest of the Republican establishment may blink at their chosen one’s antics, but, to put it brutally, they knew what was coming. The party’s elites decided not to block the billionaire’s nomination, because they had considered it the only way to win in this presidential race. The most devoted Republican electorate is melting down more and more. Republicans cannot count on women’s votes (who are many more than men in the U.S.) nor those from Latinos, African-Americans, other ethnic groups or the young electorate. However, Donald Trump has proven his capacity to gain undecided voters, who can tip the balance in his favor.
What is this magical group, which raises the biggest emotions among commentators and generates advertising expenses disproportionate to its size? The undecided, people who have not yet supported a candidate, are not only disappointed by politicians’ elites but also by their own lives. According to a survey by Ipsos Institute (commissioned by Reuters), a typical representative of this group is a white, middle or low educated person who earns less than $25,000 per year. In total, the undecided can constitute up to six percent of all voters and many of them live in the Midwest, including the swing states of Ohio and Wisconsin.
The media often calls this group of people “uninformed voters.” On the other hand, Bill Maher, in his HBO show “Real Time,” has dubbed them “white trash.” What is worth mentioning is that insulting this group is not completely fair. Neil Newhouse, a public opinion strategist, has claimed that 54 percent of them are “Walmart Moms,” whose problem is not the national U.S. budget but the budget for their house, including petrol expenses and food for their children. They neither watch TV news nor read newspapers because they do not have time for them; they’re fighting for their survival. Only their salary prevents them from falling down.
The swing voters are disappointed with Obama; they do not believe Clinton is capable of changing anything for the better. Frustration among undecided voters has transformed into aggression. They vote not to choose the better candidate but to choose the lesser evil. In this way, they want to let off steam and land a punch on the political elites and everyone who has ever been successful in life.
However, the 2016 election is different from the pre-elections, which were attended by only the most obstinate of Trump’s supporters. It is difficult to reach the White House by winning only the votes of frustrated people. Unless Trump stops acting like a spoiled brat (and it is hardly possible to change when one is 70 years old), he will not gain more moderate voters. Without them, he will become only an object of ridicule in the American history of demarcation.