There is something in the way that presidential candidates treat people which says a lot about their character.
Hillary Clinton is said to be so nasty to everyday people that her Secret Service detail consider protecting her a ‘punishment’. She verbally abuses the very people keeping her safe.
Donald Trump, meanwhile, gives greenskeepers $100 bills.
I heard a discussion on French talk radio last week about Jacques Chirac. One of the panellists said that he has long been credited with greeting and treating everyone the same, from servant to head of state.
Trump is more in the Chirac mould than Clinton’s, that’s for sure. He enjoys getting along with people. This month, he met with Republican leaders, held a private meeting with Paul Ryan and gave a one-on-one interview to Megyn Kelly. We saw his art of the deal in play.
Trump also congratulated Sadiq Khan in becoming Mayor of London. Khan’s rebuff disappointed Trump, who told Piers Morgan (the first Celebrity Apprentice winner) that he would ‘remember’ the mayor’s words.
No doubt Trump will be able to resolve the situation in person the same way he did with Megyn Kelly. Kelly approached him for a private meeting of reconciliation. Khan has invited him to London, although he stands by what he said earlier.
The former president of Mexico, Vincente Fox, has also invited Trump to his country — and apologised for his foul language about the proposed wall. Breitbart held an exclusive interview with Fox on May 4:
“I apologize. Forgiveness is one of the greatest qualities that human beings have, is the quality of a compassionate leader. You have to be humble. You have to be compassionate. You have to love thy neighbor,” Fox explained to Breitbart News while sitting in the hotel of the J.W. Marriott in Santa Monica, California on Wednesday afternoon.
It was clear from the interview that Fox does not approve of Trump’s proposal but is willing to talk to him.
In other news, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson agreed to donate a record-setting $100m to a Trump super-PAC. The NRA endorsed the candidate and more members of the GOP elite are boarding the Trump Train. On May 20 Politico opined:
The Never Trump moment is over …
The thawing has slowly but surely begun – and it’s visible everywhere — from mega-donors like Foster Friess rallying Republican governors to Trump, to Mitt Romney’s allies agreeing to raise money for him, to leaders of the Never Trump movement conceding their cause is lost.
Friess, incidentally, was Rick Santorum’s main financial backer in 2012.
Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees reassured Republicans, who no doubt imagined the alternatives from Clinton. It’s no wonder the party’s base is moving towards the real estate mogul.
Even some of Bernie’s people are moving his way.
With regard to delegates, the New York Times reported on May 1 — before the Indiana primary — that the support from Ted Cruz’s was already waning:
It turns out that delegates — like ordinary voters — are susceptible to shifts in public opinion. And as the gravitational pull of Mr. Trump’s recent primary landslides draws more Republicans toward him, Mr. Cruz’s support among the party’s 2,472 convention delegates is softening, threatening his hopes of preventing Mr. Trump’s nomination by overtaking him in a floor fight.
That same day, Newt Gingrich told Fox News that if Trump won in Indiana on May 3:
Then the fact is the next morning he is the nominee. Not the presumptive nominee, he’s the nominee. It’s going to happen.
The psychology of crowds has been at work here. Indiana was the turning point. Cruz had a public meltdown on polling day and pulled out of the race that night. Ted Cruz is now just a memory. So is John Kasich, who dropped out on May 4. Everyone, including delegates, likes backing a winner, so most will plump for Trump at the GOP convention in July.
Bustle noted on May 4:
The #NeverTrump candidates did everything in their power to stop the billionaire’s rise, but it’s too late for sad attempts at keeping delegates from voting for him at this point. Trump might not get all the delegates, but he’ll certainly get enough.
Paul Manafort says he is on track to secure delegates for Trump which will happen on, if not before, the targeted date of June 7. After Oregon, which he won with over 60% of the vote, Trump now has 1,161. On May 8, Manafort told Fox News Sunday:
There will be no contested convention. We have plenty of time to put the party together and I think you’re going to see a successful united party in Cleveland.
Where the general election is concerned, a Rasmussen poll published on May 2 already showed Trump with 41% support nationally compared with Clinton’s 39%. Rasmussen also noted:
Trump also now does twice as well among Democrats as Clinton does among Republicans.
On May 4, Nate Silver wrote:
Republican voters ultimately did go for Trump … In fact, they intervened to wrest control of the nomination back from the delegates.
Oddly, what was supposed to kill Trump’s candidacy — the loss in Wisconsin — actually helped it. Silver explained the illustration accompanying his article:
If you plot the share of the vote Trump received in each state on a graph, it resembles a step function with a sudden lunge upward after Wisconsin, rather than a smooth upward projection.
Larry Johnson, who once worked for the CIA and now has his own consulting firm, is an ex-Hillary supporter and an ex-Democrat. On his No Quarter website, he published an excellent numbers analysis explaining why Trump is likely to win in November:
Time for a reality check and the numbers do not lie. In 2008 at this point in the primary season the Republicans had 15,924,026 votes. Today that number is 25,681,936. The Republicans are closing in on an increase of 10 million more votes.
The picture on the Democrat side of the ledger is the opposite–they have gone from 28,035,615 in 2008 to 21,683,681. That is a precipitous drop of 6.4 million votes. That is not a sign of great enthusiasm for either Bernie or Hillary …
The economic damage from Free Trade, especially NAFTA, is real and the voters are speaking up. It is the establishment in both parties, who have profited from these deals, that are deaf to these voters. Donald Trump understands this point and will beat Hillary to her political death with this message.
Even The New York Times had to admit that Trump:
quickly earned the trust that so many of those voters had lost in other fixtures of America — not just in its leaders, but in institutions like Congress, the Federal Reserve and the big-money campaign finance system that Mr. Trump has repudiated, as well as in corporations, the Roman Catholic Church and the news media.
In The New York Review of Books, Elizabeth Drew summed up Trump’s appeal:
The same characteristics that have made Trump a celebrity—the outsized personality, the ability to read and play to the public’s mood—made him a successful candidate for the nomination. On his long-running television show, The Apprentice, the hero was a decisive man (“You’re fired!”) who brooked no nonsense. Millions of people believe those traits could produce an effective president.
She also quoted Michael Steele, the former GOP chairman:
… the challenge for Clinton is whether she can meet Trump’s populist appeal and show empathy, “that sense of being a part of the everyman and woman.” This came naturally to her husband when he ran in the 1992 election, but it doesn’t to her. And then Steele got to another aspect of Trump’s appeal: “that intangible side of him—his personality, his mannerisms, his message that resonates with voters day in and day out.” This side of Trump, Steele said, is “what’s going to make this a very competitive race.”
No one cares what Speaker of the House Paul Ryan thinks. House allies started breaking with him in favour of Trump the first week in May. On May 20, The Christian Science Monitor predicted that voter support for Trump’s policies will sway Mr Speaker:
We’d guess that in the end it indicates Ryan will find a way to endorse Trump without Trump actually changing any of his own policies. Their meeting last week in Washington seemed to indicate things were already trending in that direction. The House speaker will remain co-chair of the Republican National Convention. He won’t stalk off the podium in a huff.
In the first five months of this year, Trump’s Republican opponents spent nearly $100m trying to sink him. Trump spent only $38m during that time.
I can’t help but think of the line from Glengarry Glen Ross: Always Be Closing. Trump is always closing. He has said many times to his audiences, ‘We’re going to win’ and ‘You’ll get tired of winning’.
Of course, six primaries remain between now and June 7, but the future looks bright, just like the long days of May.