Slipping When It May Begin to Count
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
This was not a good weekend for Trump and the pressure is likely only to intensify as the campaign begins to stretch out; not even including what may occur in the presidential debates. The fact that Hillary appears to have received a larger post-convention bump of 7%, than had Trump also was troubling the Republican candidate.
Trump may actually finally have gotten caught up in his own bombastic style. His outrageous slight of the Khan family—which he could have just let pass—has now drawn the wrath of his own party and have begun to shake him. When John McCain finally let loose against Trump after the GOP nominee blew it again on the Sunday talk show, it became clear to some observers how large of a political liability Trump could prove to be to the Party. It is clear as some have predicted for a long time that Trump could seriously endanger Republican control of the Senate and maybe even the House.
As apologies are not in his repertoire of emotions, Khizr and Ghazala Khan knew that Trump could never respond effectively to their attack on his anti-Muslim rhetoric. The fact that he even attacked the dead Capt. Khan’s mother not speaking at the DNC, leaves one only to conclude that there is no depth to which Trump could descend to degrade people.
Ironically, it is Trump false confrontation over the presidential debate schedule that is now emerging as another absurd Trump flap. The non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) had advised the RNC and the DNC 18 months ago of the planned debate schedule. The National Football League, which once again will have two debates scheduled against night football games, denied that they had sent Trump a letter about the debates as he alleged. Meanwhile, the CPD has no intention of rescheduling the debates and Trump, despite his bluster, is unlikely to protest and not appear.
On substance, Trump appeared to be ignorant of the sequence and history of the controversy between Russia and the Ukraine. In his Sunday talk show appearance, Trump appeared to be totally winging his knowledge and understanding of the 2014 Russian invasion. While his campaign issued a correction later, Trump’s repeatedly demonstrates a lack of understanding and knowledge of world affairs. His boasting of his ability to single-handedly be able to dictate the results in international affairs gives new meaning to chutzpah.
Perhaps the most telling and dangerous signal from Donald Trump came in his first major speech today following the DNC. Speaking in Ohio, Trump suggested that Hillary would rig the election. Without elaboration, Trump implied–as he had as well at times during the primaries when his campaign’s spirits or polls were low—that his opponent would “fix” the election so he could not win. This line of reasoning could lead his followers indeed to seek to “fix” the results should he lose in November. The logical consequences of Trump encouraging his supporters to take action could even suggest plans for a coup.