The past few weeks have been terrible for Donald Trump’s campaign. At this point, everyone knows about his attacks on a judge, but there have been a few other stories that have been reported that I think did not get the attention that they merited.
In the aftermath of Trump’s attacks on Judge Gonzalo Curiel, Senator Mark Kirk un-endorsed his campaign; Congressman Fred Upton announced that he isn’t planning to endorse “off track” Trump; Governor John Kasich said that he “just can’t” endorse Trump; Governor Larry Hogan said that he doesn’t “plan to” vote for Trump. All of this has been happening in the context of several dozen delegates to the RNC planning to try to dump Trump at the convention by freeing the delegates.
With all of this as background information, five more events continue to stand out:
Trump’s failed endorsement: a few days before North Carolina’s primary, Trump endorsed Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, who was one of his first House backers. Ellmers ended up struggling to come in second place, and she became the first Republican Member of Congress to be defeated in a primary. Her loss was due almost entirely to redistricting (and she lost to another incumbent who was running in the same district), so it doesn’t make sense to blame him for her loss. However, it shows that he has fairly poor judgement in terms of what races he gets involved in (this is, to date, the only primary he has endorsed in). This of course bodes poorly for others who have endorsed him.
Trump isn’t alone in his failure to have his endorsements translate into success. Bernie Sanders has endorsed several candidates for office, including Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s primary opponent. Like Trump, only one of the candidates Sanders has endorsed has had their primary roll around, and she was decisively trounced. Lucy Flores was endorsed by Sanders months ago, and she losted by double digits to a candidate whom Harry Reid had endorsed. As far as I can tell, she is the first one of the candidates Sanders has endorsed to be voted on, and the results speak for themselves. Flores ran for Lieutenant Governor in 2014 and lost the general election by a massive margin, so it is also possible that she is not the best candidate. Most of the energy of Sanders’s supporters has been directed at defeating Wasserman-Schultz as well, so this race was not a perfect example of his political clout.
New York pollster: Trump is convinced that he can put states such as New York and California in play in the fall, and in his quest to put New York in play, he hired…the pollster who predicted that Eric Cantor would win his primary by 34 points. John McLaughlin has had several successful contracts (he was worked for Bibi Netanyahu, Congressman Lee Zeldin, and others). However, the Daily Kos has chronicled his failures. But don’t worry, Trump hires the best people. When Trump first announced his plan to win 15 states, Fox tweeted out a hilarious image. See if you can find all 15!
Trump’s latest tweet: Trump has of course had an outrageous history with Twitter, but one of his latest tweets was of a poll that showed him losing! During the primary, he would sometimes tweet polls with his name in massive font that would also have him losing, as if people couldn’t read smaller fonts.
I can’t blame Trump for tweeting this, because he is getting crushed in all of the polls, so the fact that he is only barely losing is something to brag about.
Revoking press credentials: The Washington Post has joined The Daily Beast, Politico, The Des Moines Register, and many others in having its reporters denied access to Trump campaign events. Trump has said previously that he wants to open up libel laws to sue the media, and his banning of the Post after a negative headline does not suggest that he is a candidate for whom the free press is an important concept. He did, once again, praise Vladimir Putin and welcome King Jong Un to a Trump White House this past week, so maybe this newest press blacklist is not a surprise. Keep in mind that North Korea’s media outlets have endorsed “wise” Trump, so maybe that explains his behavior.
Conservative media outlets have been quick to point out that much has been made of this, but there was almost no coverage of when Barack Obama’s campaign kicked three outlets whose editorial boards endorsed John McCain off of his campaign plane in the days before the 2008 election. This is of course, an extremely valid point, and one that people should definitely not forget in this context. However, it of course does not excuse Trump’s behavior.
Trump’s newest foe: I don’t know how Trump will be able to respond to this latest petition. Americans Against Insecure Billionaires With Tiny Hands has launched a campaign to have him “release the measurements” of…his hands. They wonder whether his tiny hands will be able to perform the jobs required of president. If you are also concerned about his hands, sign their petition here. Their ads have also been airing on MSNBC, and you can see what all the rage is about here.
With all of these stories, it’s no wonder that confidence in Trump is plummeting at about the same rate as his poll numbers.