This is all a fairly striking thing to say out loud – or, technically, in private setting but meant for public consumption – since it amounts to saying that Trump has just been playing his supporters for rubes and he’s really a friend of the insiders after all. But the audaciousness of the claim and even the improbability of Trump’s ability to sell a dramatically different version of himself aren’t even the biggest issues.
“I’m not toning it down,” Trump told a cheering crowd of 3,000 people, packed into a high school gymnasium in Waterbury, Connecticut. “Isn’t it nice that I’m not one of these teleprompter guys?”
Why should he tone it down? He’s winning right now. I’ve been saying all along that approaching Trump as a politician, animated by ideology, is a mistake and it’s one everyone has been making since the beginning.
I don’t believe for one second he actually hates Muslims, or Mexicans, or Putin, or that he cares at all about working class people screwed over by trade imbalances. He’s a businessman. He’s got a line that sells.
(Which doesn’t make the line any better or him any more admirable, by the way. The opposite.)
All the hue and cry over the past four months about stopping Trump somehow by beating him politically was motivated by this same mistaken belief. You want to stop Trump? Should have made him an offer back when he was only a blip on the radar. Should have made him a deal. Shut up and sit down, Donald, and you can be VP. Shut up and sit down, Donald, and you can run the party (could he do worse than Reince? Doubtful). Shut up and sit down, Donald, and we will make it worth your while.
Shut up and sit down, Donald, because you’re wrong, is not a deal. It’s an insult. You don’t make a deal starting with an insult. You don’t make an appeal for the good of the party because that’s not in his interests. You don’t make an appeal for the good of the country because that’s not in his interests either.
You make him an offer that enriches him and improves his standing in the world and right now the only offer America seems to be making is Republican Party nominee for the presidency of the United States.
Why would he tone it down unless there’s a better offer on the table?