The “measured path” looks more like a dumpster fire. Trump has confounded supporters, critics and the media with varying versions of an immigration plan, one that was supposed to be fixed in concrete, so to speak, and require a “deportation force” to round up 11 million people in 11 months or so. As Jeb Bush summed up, “I don’t know what to believe about a guy who doesn’t believe in things.” Mark Krikorian, of the anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies, had his hopes up that someone would finally oppose any form of legalization. Now with Trump’s mimicry of the Gang of Eight, he calls Trump’s flip-flop “the last straw.”
Meanwhile, Trump has insulted African Americans and Hispanics with his assertion that their lives are a “disaster.” (Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe hit the nail on the head: “Well, basically the implication is, ‘Your life sucks.’ ”) Who could resist such a charmer?
When Hillary Clinton beat him over the head with his own record and affiliations, the campaign sputtered, shooting out one indignant press release after another. Interestingly, it did not dispute the facts enumerated in Clinton’s speech.
Finally, Trump is still wasting time in places such as Mississippi and has a single puny ad buy. Is he running for president? If the entire electorate consisted of Sean Hannity’s audience, he’d be ahead by a mile.
Like we said, a dumpster fire. The “measured path” is nowhere in sight.
Moreover, because Trump’s campaign remains dysfunctional and erratic, Priebus’s hope for Trump to be ahead or tied on Labor Day (just 10 days away) seems like a pipe dream. He’s behind 10 points nationally in the Quinnipiac poll and 7 points behind in the Reuters/Ipsos poll. He’s losing by more than 5 points in the RealClearPolitics averages in Michigan, Virginia, New Hampshire and Colorado. He’s down by smaller margins in Florida and Ohio, but he may also be in trouble in red states such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Arizona.
Anyone think he is going to make up those deficits (not in just one outlier poll) in 10 days? We didn’t think so.
So the question will come back to Priebus and the RNC, who should be hanging their collective heads in shame for having enabled Trump every step of the way. (Priebus and other party leaders, months ago, could have delivered the sort of indictment Clinton did on Thursday, exposing and condemning Trump’s noxious views and alliances.) If by Labor Day the likelihood of a landslide remains strong, what then?
Maybe Priebus finally stops excusing Trump’s frenetic behavior and unhinged rhetoric. Maybe he gives his own speech declaring that Republicans know better than to call African Americans’ lives a “disaster” and demanding that Trump fire Stephen K. Bannon. Alternatively, Priebus could bless a batch of “Don’t give Hillary a blank check” ads, officially pivoting away from Trump in a last-ditch effort to save down-ticket Republicans.
We fear that he will do the opposite and cling ever tighter to Trump, thereby affixing the stench of Trump’s racism to the GOP. In doing so, he’ll risk more House and Senate Republican seats. More important, Trump’s taint will then call into question the continued existence of the GOP. The party that cannot denounce, reject and shun Trump is a party on the verge of extinction.