Today’s stories in Electoral Vote are chock full of bad news for Trump, most of it self inflicted:
- Trump seems to be doing everything he can to keep the feud between himself and the family of slain American soldier Humayun Khan alive, and keep it in the news. How bad is it? Trump friend and political advisor Roger Stone just called Khizr Khan a Muslim agent who is working with the Clinton campaign on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood, and claimed that the killed soldier himself was planning a suicide attack on American soldiers. With virtually all national media and many prominent Republican politicians condemning Trump, you would think this is a story that Trump would like to go away, but it is Trump himself (and his friends) fueling the fire.
- The gloom-and-doom Republican convention made its viewers less likely to vote for Trump and the Democratic convention made viewers more likely to vote for Clinton.
- Clinton now leads in the national polls, erasing any gains that Trump made over the issue of Clinton’s email server and leaked emails.
- In the critical swing state of Florida, a major Republican has switched her affiliation to independent, and called Trump “a total narcissist—a misogynist—a bigot.” Clinton also gained the endorsement of Mack Cuban, a popular billionaire reality TV star.
- Trump, perhaps sensing that he is becoming the biggest loser ever, said “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged.“
- Not content to malign families of fallen American soldiers, Trump started attacking firefighters. Who’s next? Police officers? Jesus?
- Trump is taking fire from many fellow billionaires. We already mentioned Mark Cuban, and Michael Bloomberg assailed Trump at the Democratic convention, but now Warren Buffett is attacking Trump for not releasing his tax returns. Watch for Trump to fire back, keeping the story of his tax returns in the news.
- And finally, Trump is antagonizing Speaker Paul Ryan by praising his primary opponent. Pissing off the highest ranking politician in your party can’t be a good idea. Even if Trump wins, he just might need the cooperation of the Republicans in Congress.
UPDATE: Trump is now repeatedly calling Clinton “The Devil”, and Roger Stone said that if Trump loses “we will know that there’s voter fraud. If there’s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election of the winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government.” It sounds like he is calling for civil war.
Plenty of candidates make gaffes, though these actions amount to more than that. They veer between reckless, careless, and just plain mean. The only through-line is Trump being Trump, with no apparent strategy greater than that. At this post-convention time for party consolidation, with everything magnified in the final 100 days before Nov. 8, this looks like a candidate who senses he is losing and is not happy about it.