WSJ: 'Trump's self-reckoning'

The Wall Street Journal has penned a harsh editorial about the Trump campaign, warning the candidate that time is growing short to turn things around and make the race competitive.

In listing the myriad of problems with the campaign, the journal cites history as well as the growing alarm from the Trump campaign itself that the candidate just doesn't get it and is deluding himself if he believes nothing much is wrong.

The latest stories comport with what we also hear from sources close to the Trump campaign. Mr. Trump’s advisers and his family want the candidate to deliver a consistent message making the case for change. They’d like him to be disciplined. They want him to focus on growing the economy and raising incomes and fighting terrorism.

They think he should make the election a referendum on Hillary Clinton, not on himself. And they’d like him to spend a little time each day—a half hour even—studying the issues he’ll need to understand if he becomes President.

Is that so hard? Apparently so. Mr. Trump prefers to watch the cable shows rather than read a briefing paper. He thinks the same shoot-from-the-lip style that won over a plurality of GOP primary voters can persuade other Republicans and independents who worry if he has the temperament to be Commander in Chief.

He also thinks the crowds at his campaign rallies are a substitute for the lack of a field organization and digital turnout strategy. And he thinks that Twitter and social media can make up for being outspent $100 million to zero in battleground states.

By now it should be obvious that none of this is working. It’s obvious to many of his advisers, who are the sources for the news stories about dysfunction. They may be covering for themselves, but this is what happens in failing campaigns. The difference is that the recriminations typically start in October, not mid-August.

When will Mr. Trump begin to take responsibility for the words that come out his mouth?  Not the spin put on those words by the media, but the unedited, unvarnished words that are so hateful and hurtful, or just plain ignorant.  He can't spin his own words after the fact and then turn around and accuse the press of doing its own spinning.  He can't say "Obama founded ISIS" and then say he was being sarcastic.  That's as much spin placed on an idiotic statement as anything ever spun by the media.

There is no "Trump campaign."  It's a mirage:

Mr. Trump has alienated his party and he isn’t running a competent campaign. Mrs. Clinton is the second most unpopular presidential nominee in history—after Mr. Trump. But rather than reassure voters and try to repair his image, the New Yorker has spent the last three weeks giving his critics more ammunition.

Even with more than 80 days left, Mr. Trump’s window for a turnaround is closing. The “Trump pivot” always seemed implausible given his lifelong instincts and habits, but Mr. Trump promised Republicans. “At some point I’ll be so presidential that you people will be so bored, and I’ll come back as a presidential person, and instead of 10,000 people I’ll have about 150 people and they’ll say, boy, he really looks presidential,” he said in April.

Those who sold Mr. Trump to GOP voters as the man who could defeat Hillary Clinton now face a moment of truth. Chris ChristieNewt GingrichRudy Giuliani, Paul Manafortand the talk-radio right told Republicans their man could rise to the occasion.

If they can’t get Mr. Trump to change his act by Labor Day, the GOP will have no choice but to write off the nominee as hopeless and focus on salvaging the Senate and House and other down-ballot races. As for Mr. Trump, he needs to stop blaming everyone else and decide if he wants to behave like someone who wants to be President—or turn the nomination over to Mike Pence.

Talk about delusional – the national GOP has broken with reality if they think they can stop funding the Trump campaign and save down-ballot Republicans.  The unprecedented rejection of their own nominee would give a huge opening to Democrats to portray Republicans as members of an incompetent party, not to be trusted with a majority in either the House or Senate.  By October, it would be an easy sell.

The only way Trump turns it around – and you're politically naive if you believe he doesn't need a turnaround – is if he himself stops the nonsense coming out of his mouth, develops a coherent message, and sticks with it.  The race is still winnable, given the dislike of Hillary Clinton.  But don't count on her to make some fatal gaffe.  She is obeying the very first rule in politics: never get in the way when your opponent is in the process of destroying himself.

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