All things considered, last week seemed relatively subdued compared to the two that preceded it, but it began with a highly anticipated bang. The dance had been unfolding before our eyes for nine months. The tension was building, swirling, growing, almost like a baby growing in his mother’s belly. Now finally, the painful birthing pangs began, and the baby was about to be born.
1. The Megyn Kelly Interview
We’d all been waiting for this, especially the girls. Megyn Kelly, who was so emblematic of Donald Trump’s “woman problem,” interviewed him last month, and now that interview aired. It was widely panned and drew far poorer ratings than expected, but it did its job.
The interview was basically girl-talk, and Donald Trump was glad to do it, but without ever looking like a girl. He kept his strong, alpha male frame and showed that he “got” Megyn Kelly, and by extension, women. He accepted her girl-crush on him (made very evident to even the least astute observer when she babbled about giving him her number) graciously and with masculine authority, while also appearing vulnerable when needed.
Trump’s played the strength card to such an extent that he often appears scary. That’s his problem. To use an analogy, Donald Trump has passed the attraction phase with flying colors. Now it’s time to enter the comfort phase of the seduction. He’s been doing that somewhat, but the Megyn Kelly interview was the most visible manifestation of his comfort pivot. Though the interview wasn’t as wide-reaching as expected (or hoped for by Megyn Kelly and Fox), it was symbolic. Recent polls show Donald Trump making some inroads with women. Hillary Clinton now does worse with men than Donald Trump does with women. It’s still too early to tell whether this victory will be a decisive (strategic) one, but it was still a very symbolic success. He turned an “enemy” into an asset, and Donald Trump will continue to build on the interview to show that he “gets” women and that they can be comfortable with him.
2. Potential Supreme Court Justices
After the Megyn Kelly interview aired, Donald Trump released a list of people he would pick for the Supreme Court if he were president. It was a brilliant move on multiple fronts:
- The list was highly praised by the conservative Republican establishment. The cudgel of at least one Supreme Court seat being up for grabs in this election is one of the most effective Donald Trump has in shoring up the support of a party establishment that tried everything it could to stop him. This list played it to the hilt.
- It gave him something else to point at if anyone else were to accuse him of desiring to pick his sister for the court (not that important in the grand scheme of things, but that tactic is now off the table for his enemies).
- Only presidents pick Supreme Court justices. This list makes you think past the sale and see Trump doing the work of a president in your mind’s eye. It helps even more that Donald Trump’s list is now generating more attention and chatter than the actual president’s (Barack Obama, if you remember) pick, Merrick Garland, who is languishing before the Senate which won’t give him a hearing. Once again, Donald Trump appears to be the incumbent president. No one else exists.
3. That Meeting with Henry Kissinger
Donald Trump had a nondescript meeting with Henry Kissinger this week. On the one hand, this could shore up fear that he “doesn’t know” about foreign policy. On the other, meetings such as this could undermine his brand as the ultimate outsider who’s going to shake things up and fuck up the globalist establishment. We’ll have to see where these kinds of things go.
4. The NRA’s Endorsement
Everyone saw this coming, so it comes as no surprise. Guns won’t be a big issue in this election, so it’s basically just a necessary motion for a Republican nominee.
5. More Polls
Some new polls were released this week. They painted a complex picture, but they all showed a competitive race. As of this date, Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton in the Real Clear Politics national polling average for the first time. It’s only a .2% point lead, but it’s still a significant milestone compared to what the “experts” had been telling us as recently as two months ago. Donald Trump is not, in fact, going to be another Barry Goldwater. That much is clear. More importantly, the polls continued to show statistical dead-heats in states like Florida and Ohio. The polls also showed him making inroads with women (mentioned above) and shockingly enough, young voters. Some Bernie Sanders supporters are indeed beginning to display openness to Trump, just as I predicted months ago when I began writing Stumped: How Trump Triumphed.
While this “Trump surge” is usually mentioned as primarily being the result of him unifying the Republican Party while the Democrats are still divided, a more interesting correlation is also making itself felt in certain select circles:
I’ll let you be the judge.
6. She Just Can’t Close the Deal (and Other Troubles)
The Democratic Party had two contests this week. Bernie Sanders won in Oregon and “lost” in Kentucky. Hillary Clinton “won” there by less than one percentage point.
This “victory” is in fact worse for her than an outright defeat. As Bernie Sanders supporters were saying that the system was rigged beforehand, and have raised accusations of electoral fraud concerning her campaign (with some merit – the exit poll discrepancies with the actual results really do raise some eyebrows), the result plays right into Donald Trump’s “Crooked Hillary” linguistic kill shot.
Congratulations on your “win,” Hillary!
But not content to play into only one of Trump’s linguistic kill shots, Hillary Clinton, prior to the voting in Kentucky, said that she would put her husband in charge of revitalizing the economy. Aside from this being stale, it affirmed Trump’s “woman’s card” linguistic kill shot, because it reminded voters that Hillary Clinton is running on her husband’s coattails. The only thing Hillary Clinton she has going for her is that she’s a woman who managed to marry Bill, and would be a total loser otherwise. This once again made the public think of her in that context.
Get ready. This was just exhibit A in the large museum on this topic to be built prior to November.
And as for her signature issue? Hillary Clinton was silent once again on Donald Trump’s attacks on her regarding women, remarking that “she’s going to run on the issues.” This silence will be perceived as a tacit admission of guilt. As I mentioned before, Donald Trump has completely preempted the “war on women.” It is no longer available as a viable tactic for Hillary Clinton on the strategic board.
Result: Decisive Victory
Do you want to know how to avoid being perceived negatively and how to refrain from making the mistakes of persuasion that Hillary Clinton has made in her lackluster, utterly embarrassing campaign where she can’t even convincingly close the deal against a 74-year-old socialist? If so, you need to read Stumped. It will show you how to make a positive, offensive plan to dictate events on your own terms, how to effectively counterattack your opponents, and how to make yourself popular with people you never thought you could reach before.