Charles Krauthammer muses about Donald Trump, the presumed Republican nominee for president, and bemoans the fact that he is the manifestly weakest candidate to put up against the morally and legally compromised Hillary Clinton. The bill of particulars is familiar to experienced Trump watchers, from his infatuation with conspiracy theories to his tendency to say alarming things. He is the one candidate that Clinton can entertain the hope of beating. Krauthammer also notes how Republican movers and shakers ranging from House Speaker Paul Ryan to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are moving to support Trump in the hopes of guiding, advising, and even educating the mercurial real estate tycoon. Everything depends on Trump’s willingness to learn and take good advice. Besides executing a coup at the Republican National Convention, Republicans have no other alternative.
Trump will rightly think that being outrageous has served him well so far. He has defeated all comers, ranging from establishment pols like Jeb Bush to tea party favorites like Ted Cruz. Hillary Clinton certainly represents a target-rich environment where it comes to ridicule and calumny. But, as the kerfuffle with the Hispanic judge proves, it is possible for even Trump to go too far.
The fact of the matter is that Trump has broad appeal to a large segment of the electorate who have become fed up with mealy-mouthed political correctness. Conservatives have been called names such as racist and sexist so many times that the insults have begun to lose their meaning, As James Lindsey recently wrote in All Think, a lot of Americans have concluded that these accusations are meant to shut off debate. So when Trump gets accused of racism, as Elizabeth Warren did obligingly in her audition for being Hillary Clinton’s running mate, he just gets more attractive, even if in his case the label has some validity.
The same strategy of casting Trump was unacceptable was tried on Ronald Reagan, albeit a different politician and man than the current candidate. Reagan was a mad bomber who was going to destroy the world while despoiling the weak. Reagan presented a persona that was the exact opposite of the stereotype, using humor to deflate his enemies. He went on to defeat President Jimmy Carter in a landslide.
Reagan suggests a path to a similar thrashing for Hillary Clinton. If Trump can temper his passion and anger with a touch of reasonableness and geniality, he will win the election. #Donald Trump #Election 2016 #GOP