I think almost everyone can agree that Trump needed to have some message discipline imposed on him after a disastrous span of ten days saw him plummet in the polls. However, I think what the campaign is doing to Trump is terrible and is going to really hinder Trump’s ability to come back in this race.
Let’s mention something that I think is pretty obvious at this point: Trump is terrible with a TelePrompTer. Awful. And he isn’t getting better. If I were a Trump supporter who took time out of my day to come hear Trump speak, and instead of his normal speech I got one of his TelePrompTer disasters, I would be furious. Whatever you think of the content of Trump’s usual, extemporaneous-style speeches (and the content is objectively crap), they are at least entertaining, and that’s what Trump’s supporters want.
Moreover, if Trump continues with this new chained-to-the-TelePrompTer style, he is going to lose the free media coverage that has been the lifeblood of his campaign. Why do you think the media tunes in to Trump’s events at great length no matter what else is going on? Because of the possibility that Trump will say or do something crazy on live TV, and because it’s fun to watch him rant and rave. If he’s doing his Jacob Silj impersonation every time they tune in, keeping to a tight and boring script, they’re soon going to stop even paying attention to what he does. This will pretty much end any chance he has to make a dent in Hillary’s now-commanding lead.
Trump has to be entertaining and unpredictable for this to succeed. I think it says a lot about his campaign staff that they can’t trust him to be himself and just give him some advice like “stop attacking other Republicans” or “don’t say anything offensive” and trust that he can take that advice to heart. If they believe the only way he can be kept in control is to literally put words in front of him that he is required to say, they don’t have very much faith in him at all. And it also doesn’t say a lot about Trump’s confidence in himself and his own ability to do this right, especially after all he’s come through, politically.
I get why elected Republicans might prefer this version of Trump, because at least it won’t be doing further damage to their election chances. If Trump wants to actually stand a chance of winning, though, he needs to ditch it ASAP and go back to his original style – with perhaps a little bit of discipline thrown in.