Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Neutering of Trump. Just Spayin'

Word is that Donald Trump is going to be acting more presidential from this point forward. Of course, not everyone is buying it, but the New York primary seems to have marked a turning or shifting point in the GOP race, if for no other reason than it looks more and more like Trump will be the Republican nominee this fall. Yes, I know that many party stalwarts are still trying to undermine his campaign and delegate count, and they say that even if Trump is 10 or 20 delegates short of 1237 that they will stop him, but that's easy to say in late April or even May. Come July, when angry Trump supporters gather in the streets or threaten to walk out or support him for a third party run, the GOP will relent.

But, as we have read over the past few days, that might not be necessary because Trump now understands that if he really wants to be taken seriously as president, he's going to have to tamp down his comments, become less controversial, and appear like, well, a politician.

Welcome to the end of the Trump phenomenon. It's not like he commands a majority of the GOP popular votes, because even his most dominant showings are barely over 50%, except for his home state, and at best he commands 35-40% allegiance among the party's base supporters. That in no way can translate into an electoral victory in the fall. He has simply insulted and lied and shifted his positions too many times for him to capture the vital center from which all presidential aspirants must live during the campaign.

Take for example, the Cook Political Report's map of electoral votes. Can Trump really win Iowa after not capturing it in the caucuses? Are Nevada and Colorado really toss-ups given what he's said about Mexican immigrants? Virginia just elected a Democratic governor. Will Trump convince enough of those voters to switch to him? The only way he can do that is by fleeing from his bombastic past and embrace a boring future.

Trump has built his campaign on the provocative and the vague, but if he wants to appeal to more voters he's going to have to leave all of that behind and hope that most voters forget that he ever said such things. This will not happen. Also, his most loyal supporters don't want another politician in the White House. They want a real maverick who says what he believes, even if, possibly especially if, it's misogynist, racist, anti-Muslim and largely made up of magazine articles he's recently read. Will they continue to support a Trump who pivots to the party line?

I would think not.

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