Articles

What Donald Trump Needs Now

May 05, 2016
257f4d87037fef55efba903e54a2d3ef

No one has seen anything like this. Donald Trump—without past political or military experience and facing a formidable Republican field—bludgeoned 16 opponents into submission, rewrote the rule book and became the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee.

As extraordinary as this is, Mr. Trump’s success was achieved only by inflicting tremendous damage to the party. To win the general election in November, he must now unify a GOP with a deeper divide than it has faced in more than half a century.

Mr. Trump must disabuse himself of the notion he expressed last week that he “can win without” party unity. As if to prove it, Mr. Trump—on the morning he routed Ted Cruz in Indiana—implied that Sen. Cruz’s father was involved in President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. This was nuts. Winning the presidency is difficult for Republicans under normal circumstances; Mr. Trump’s scorched-earth tactics have left deep wounds that make victory more uncertain.

To heal his party, Mr. Trump should approach the convention gingerly. He shouldn’t mess with the rules or upend the platform and must energize the GOP with his vice-presidential pick.

He has promised that he would announce a list of the sort of people he would consider for Supreme Court picks. So he should do it. They would immediately be targeted by Democrats, but that would be a useful reminder to Republicans about what they stand to lose if Hillary Clinton is elected.

Mr. Trump should also offer the names of those he would consider for his cabinet. This will ameliorate concerns about his temperament and team. But for heaven’s sake, make certain that they are comfortable being mentioned. No more suggesting he’d appoint Carl Icahn as Treasury secretary, only to have Mr. Icahn say he wouldn’t serve.

For the general election, the Trump campaign is behind in everything: digital operations, the ground game, advertising, you name it. The campaign must add new people and talents but would be wise to leave the ground game to the Republican National Committee. Sign the “joint fundraising agreements” that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and the GOP Senate and House campaign committees must have to collect the resources necessary for a massive voter turnout effort that is beyond the Trump campaign’s abilities.

Mr. Trump should also avoid attacking Mrs. Clinton in ways that hurt him and strengthen her. He is already in terrible trouble with women: In the April 14 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 69% of women rate him negatively, 58% very negatively. So stop saying things like: “Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5% of the vote.” He was lucky her response to that jibe was so lame. Next time it won’t be.

Mr. Trump must also retool his stump speech. Voters will tire of The Donald if he doesn’t have a second rhetorical act with far fewer insults and more substance. Reading more speeches from a teleprompter, particularly on the economy, will help. The Trumpistas argue that voters don’t need details, but those up for grabs in November do. These speeches will put meat on the bones of his policy views and yield new material for the stump.

To read more visit WSJ.com

Related Article

098c6b8dea719a1e88fc7129146adb5d
January 18, 2018 |
Article
In a Wall Street Journal interview last week, President Trump said if he were to “terminate” the North American Free Trade Agreement, it “would be frankly a positive for our country.” ...
F9a7d41d2a83d7d4b789adfd11f0e9bc
January 11, 2018 |
Article
Long before the presidential election, the populist candidate’s mental state was under attack. The New York Times ran a series over several days suggesting he was unfit for office. ...
7d32cd4afe265ae7d7cf7f666b4a00f0
January 04, 2018 |
Article
Batting .633 in baseball is terrific, but merely adequate in the forecasting game. On Jan. 4 of last year, I made 30 predictions for 2017. Nineteen were correct. A gimme: President Trump tweeted often (more than 2,300 times).  ...
Db0fe3fee0fc466635a832743dc13e33
December 28, 2017 |
Article
As the year’s remaining days dwindle away, let us remember some who left this life in 2017. Michael Novak was a kind, brilliant Catholic philosopher whose majestic 1982 book, “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism,” made a powerful case that free men and...
Button karlsbooks
Button readinglist
Button nextapperance