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“The Sunday Political Brunch”—August 7, 2016

Sunday, August 07, 2016


It’s been a wild week on the Presidential campaign with Donald Trump’s poll numbers plunging amidst GOP infighting. The big question is; can he make a comeback? The answer is yes. Let’s “brunch” on that this week:

“Where the Polls Are” – Right now the numbers don’t look good for Trump and are trending downward. Yes, they can be turned around, but that requires a number of things we’ll discuss. Right after the Republican National Convention, Trump got a bounce and the polls were dead even. In the days after the Democratic National Convention Hillary Clinton got a bounce and opened a lead of three points. Then – after a series of Trump missteps – the Clinton lead opened to eight points, and is now up to 15 points in the McClatchy newspaper poll. Trump needs to reverse the trend.

“What Does History Tell Us?” – Some races are very telling. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter was well ahead of Republican challenger Ronald Reagan in the polls; yes, even with double-digit leads. Yet in the final weeks Reagan turned the polls around, and won in a landslide. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush was well ahead of Democrat Bill Clinton and independent Ross Perot, yet Clinton surged ahead and won. My point is that it can be done, but it’s challenging.

“The Message is the Medium” – More than any one thing, Trump needs to stay on message. He needs more self-discipline in what he says, and how he responds. He gets distracted by side-shows, and feels compelled to respond, taking him down a rabbit-hole in the mainstream media and social media, from which he never recovers. His “Tweet fight” with Ted Cruz at the RNC was a waste of time, energy, and political capital. Trump WON the nomination, so why engage in a cat fight? The Twitter battle with Kazir Khan – who lost his solider-son in Iraq – was another unneeded fight that Trump should have left alone. Then the non-endorsement of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was another distraction, and polls plummeted (although now he has endorsed them both).

“Stick to the Issues” – People are worried about the national and local economies. Yes, the nation has recovered from the great recession of 2008, but the recovery is not nearly as strong as it needs to be. Workers and consumers feel very insecure. Then there is national security. With a growing number of terrorist attacks overseas and in the U.S., people fear for their safety. Polls indicate Trump scores high on these two issues. He needs to play to his strengths and appear as a strong, dignified candidate. Petty, petulant fights on Twitter are - quite simply - beneath the dignity of the office he seeks.

“Challenge Your Opponent” – Political campaigns are about defining yourself; then defining your opponent. Ted Cruz is not Trump’s opponent; nor is Kazir Khan. Trump’s opponent is Hillary Clinton and he needs to go on the offensive against her, and her only. Like any political candidate she has weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Polls indicate she has a very high level of untrustworthiness among voters, mostly due to her email scandal, the attack in Benghazi, and the recent DNC email leaks. Those are her Achilles heel and where Trump needs to keep hammering away (in stump speeches and in TV ads).

“Fuel for the Fire” – As with Trump, Clinton can at times be her own worst enemy. For example, on Friday while discussing a reporter’s question about her email accounts she said, “I may have short-circuited [some of her answers] and for that I will try to clarify.” What does that mean? Was she not completely forthright and truthful? That’s red meat in a campaign. Trump should pounce on it.

“Hillary Strategy” – Someone complained to me this week that she does not hold enough news conferences. I agree, because she doesn’t not perform well in a mob of reporters, and prefers the safer one-on-one interview, where she’s not being hit with an avalanche of combative questions. Trump was doing enough damage with his own self-inflicted wounds, while Clinton spent most of the week standing silent on the sidelines, as her lead widened. From a political, tactical strategy, that was a good idea. But sooner or later, she will have to avail herself to more press scrutiny, or she’ll look weak and timid, and perhaps concealing. Jimmy Carter bunkered down and avoided the press in the White House in 1980 with his so-called “Rose Garden” strategy. He looked indecisive and lost reelection.

“On Balance” – I’m not here to coach the candidates; rather I am trying to assess their strengths and weaknesses, because this race is simply not over until November 8. Trump needs to be more focused and aggressive, with Clinton as his sole target. Clinton needs to be more open and available, because at some point people are going to want to hear from her with more candor, and less the canned stump speech. The email mess, Benghazi, and now the DNC scandal have left a lot of lingering doubts.

“Why All this Matters” – Twenty-five percent of the electorate may still be up for grabs. Clinton has yet to secure the vast number of Bernie Sanders supporters; and polls indicate upwards of 17 percent of voters now plan to vote Libertarian or Green. Some had been Trump or Clinton supporters, but left. The two candidates need to find inroads into this significant number of voters, or risk losing them for good – and losing the election.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Trump is done, or how could he stage a comeback? Leave your comments by clicking the comment button atwww.MarkCurtisMedia.com.


Related Slideshow: Presidential Candidate’s Social Media - 2016

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Trump Facebook

5.73 Million

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Trump Twitter

6.19 Million 

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Trump Klout

88 Score 

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Cruz Facebook

1.9 Million 

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Cruz Twitter


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Cruz Klout

89 Score

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Rubio Facebook

1.28 Million 

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Rubio Twitter

1.17 Million 

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Rubio Klout

81 Score 

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Kasich Facebook


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Kasich Twitter


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Kasich Klout

87 Score 

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Bush Facebook


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Bush Twitter


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Bush Klout

80 Score

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Carson Facebook

5.07 Million

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Carson Twitter

1.13 Million

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Carson Klout

80 Score 

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Clinton Facebook

2.46 Million 

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Clinton Twitter

5.4 Million 

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Clinton Klout

94 Score 

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Sanders Facebook

3.10 Million 

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Sanders Twitter

1.44 Million

Prev Next

Sanders Klout

84 Score 


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