Everyone is trying to figure out just what the hell Donald Trump was playing at yesterday when he basically said he hoped that the Russians had all of Hillary’s emails. Everyone is floored, flabbergasted, cannot believe their ears, etc. Why would he do this in the middle of a pretty good polling bounce?
I wrote about this last week, and it’s pretty clear now that the latest manufactured “crisis” for Team Trump is just an extension of Trump’s campaign plan all along. Trump and his campaign have figured that the best way for them to win is to constantly remain in the news, at all costs. They cannot allow Hillary Clinton or anyone else to become the center of attention, even for a moment. So if it takes saying something shocking and stupid to accomplish that, they will do it.
As I said, Trump does not have a crisis management team. He has a crisis creation team. And they have created another crisis for a specific reason:
When people stop having their mouth agape in wonder at the latest stupid thing Trump has done, it starts to settle in a little more that they really don’t care for Trump all that much. So his goal is basically to always be the subject of heated, passionate debate and never to be the subject of quiet reflection.
That’s of course why he allowed the Cruz speech to go forward last night and made the whole debacle worse by telling his supporters to boo, even though the net effect was to summarily bigfoot his own VP nominee’s acceptance speech. See, Pence giving a speech, even an important one, is kind of boring to the average person. Sure, it might have been a big deal to a regular campaign, but Trump is not running a real campaign, he is running a nationwide reality show. And what the nationwide reality show wants is neverending drama.
So Trump gives it to them. Hillary is floundering and the media is paying attention to her? Make a racist remark about Hispanics. The news is focused on a terrible event in Orlando? Make it about yourself and cause everyone to go overboard against you. Always be the center of attention. Always have people arguing passionately about you. Count on the fact that the average American doesn’t respond to facts or details, only emotional impressions.
People are saying that your convention has been boring and that your VP pick is boring? Cause a humongous controversy to erupt right before it happens. Get everyone yelling back and forth about the impropriety of Cruz’s speech and know that they will obligingly forget all the disgusting things you have done and said for the last year.
It speaks poorly of the civic health of our nation that Trump’s campaign strategy appears at this point to be working. But working it is, far better than anyone expected.
To be fair, the reason for that is mostly that most people way overestimated the intelligence of the average American, but it’s long past time that a recalibration on that score occurred.