Monday, June 13, 2016

Trump Can’t Wing It Forever

The problem with accomplishing the impossible is that it leaves the impression doing so can be routine. In that mind-set may rest the question of whether Donald Trump has a shot at the presidency.
Give the man credit: He broke every law of political physics and still won the primary. He rambled; he barely spent a dime on TV; he skipped entire states; he ignored delegate math; his focus group was himself. An entire generation of political consultants is debating checking in to a psych ward.
His impossible victory in hand, Mr. Trump is proceeding as if he can win the general election the same way. Fundraising and advertising? Mr. Trump told Bloomberg that he had no plans to raise the $1 billion his campaign initially estimated, since “I get so much publicity” and free airtime. He wrapped up the nomination more than a month ago, yet only this week did his national finance team hold its first official meeting.
A data operation? The real-estate mogul last month said the whole know-who-your-voters-are thing is “overrated.” After all, he says he can reach nearly 20 million people on social media. How about a fully staffed campaign operation? No need. Mr. Trump is running a bare-bones effort—reported to be about 80 people in total—and he told the New York Times that such leanness is “smart.”
In short, he’s winging it. He continues to operate on the assumption that he will bask in free airtime forever, that the masses will flock to him come November, that he can tweet his way to the Oval Office. And perhaps, given his primary achievement, he gets the benefit of the doubt.
Save one thing: It isn’t working. Mr. Trump’s past rule-breaking succeeded because of a crowded primary field, in which Mr. Trump was the most entertaining figure, and in which the press didn’t have a stake. It succeeded because a decade of specific frustrations had made conservatives unusually open to his style and message.
Read the rest of Kim Strassel's op-ed HERE.

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