Donald Trump is slowly proving himself to be the most masterful politician in the history of the United States of America. We all remember the excited anticipation in the spring of 2015. With the end of the disastrous Obama administration fast approaching and the momentum of two landslide victories by the GOP in the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014, the White House felt ripe for the taking with the coming election in 2016. For months we caught glimpses of an enormous and diverse field mobilizing for a possible bid for the highest office in the land. Will we see a rematch of Bush vs Clinton? What will become of the most interesting man in politics, Rand Paul? Will Chris Christie capitalize on his exposure from the 2012 Republican Convention? Who the hell is John Kasich? The instability wrought by two successive defeats at the hands of Barack Obama tore the Republican Party in half, leaving a power vacuum so large that 16 individual candidates accepted the call to fight. Conservatives knew they had a good shot; but they only had one shot, as the fate of the nation was (is) hanging in the balance. Uncertainty gripped conservatives nationwide.
And then there was Trump. Those on the Trump Train, myself included, have grown fond of reliving and retelling the glory of Trump's march to the nomination. For months we watched that long-shot reality TV star singlehandedly end campaign after campaign from center stage of each Republican debate and behind that charmingly ridiculous profile picture on Twitter. Because we do not have the historical luxury of retrospect, the vast majority of people cannot comprehend and thus have not acknowledged the impossibility of what we witnessed just months ago. The contentiousness of the primary and of the general now has blinded the electorate with their political prejudices to the gravity of Trump's victory, not for himself, but for us. Does anybody remember what politics was like before Trump? Does anybody remember what Republican meant before Trump? Does anybody remember what the media was like before Trump?
Trump said at the celebrated conclusion to his Republican National Convention, "I am your voice!" And what a biblical proclamation. To a country held hostage for decades by a fascistic political correctness omerta enforced by the green-haired lesbian Gestapo of Twitter, a statement like that should rival the Declaration of Independence. What hope was there in 2016, except for a Republican President? We asked for at the very least a Democrat-lite mulligan for the Bush family and The Donald gave us a promise to "smash through" the entire political machine of the liberal media-political-financial cartel. In 2014, totally sensible and maybe borderline racist discussions about the politics of immigration, race, and terrorism took place behind closed doors at family holiday parties and golf outings. "America first," "border wall," and "Muslim ban," were phrases considered uncouth by even the conservative party in the bourgeois cesspool of internationalist Washington DC. Today the common sense of the everyman is broadcast on television every night in the throaty voice of a New York madman. The uncomplicated, unapologetic voice of the American people rising up to take their country back.
But of course no odyssey is complete without its monsters. Many times in the Homeric quest of our champion, the monied interests declared victory over the voice of the people in silent headlines and through the quiet, cultured mouths of mainstream talking heads. Ted Cruz's upset win in the Wisconsin primary had the #NeverTrump mob salivating, surely there was no path forward to the then fabled and now forgotten magical number, 1237! Before the week was up, Frank Sinatra's New York, New York played as The Donald emerged from his ragtag indie staff to claim a landslide victory in the empire state, 1237 in striking distance.
Fresh off of securing the required amount of pledged delegates in June, the most ardent passengers of the Trump Train gasped as our embattled conductor's poll numbers began to drop for the first time in a full year. Outclassed in fundraising, surrounded by media lapdogs leashed by Democrat handlers, and now losing against the only opponent that mattered, it appeared to most that the great populist experiment of 2016 had derailed. Bill Kristol groomed a spoiler, historical footnote David French, and a counter coup consolidated behind Lyin' Ted Cruz to unseat the presumptive nominee in Cleveland. Was this the final hour? Within the month, Trump's monthly fundraising totals increased by 5000% and he overtook Hillary Clinton in nationwide polling and in most battleground states. By the time of his coronation at the RNC, Trump had the Clinton camp on the ropes and reeling from revolt within her own party; the White House was in sight. A Trump Presidency became the likely outcome.
Enter the present crisis. The Clinton DNC pulled no punches and scored more hits on Trump than all of his primary opponents combined. A disabled girl, an illegal immigrant, the parents of slain BLM poster thugs, token homosexuals, Michelle Obama's arms, a confused Irish racist, a confused Arkansas rapist, and the President of the United States. All of this followed up by a concussed bag of meat that we're not entirely sure wasn't being propped up by a couple of goons like in Weekend at Bernie's. Then of course there was the Muslim gold star father with the Democrats' favorite political prop: the Constitution. The perfect victim, the perfect poison pill; and Trump took the bait. Even though Khan turned out to be an actual Islamic supremacist and Saudi based Islamist operative, Trump learned the hard way that the truth has no practical political value if it's only written about in Breitbart.
His first fumble sent his odds on FiveThirtyEight to single digits once he bottomed out. Trump continues to poll behind nationally in battleground states and nationally. Far behind. For the first time since June, there are murmurs within elite Republican circles about replacing Trump as the nominee. Paul Nehlen, Paul Ryan's primary opponent, ran on a platform singularly consisting of support for Donald Trump (and Chicago based bloggers getting in fights with Janesville municipal officials) and was soundly defeated only after Trump was cornered into endorsing Ryan just days before the election. Even Sean Hannity and Newt Gingrich begrudgingly acknowledged the state of a failing campaign in free fall.
And now, once again, the odds are stacked against Trump. The media narrative for weeks has pronounced the madman DOA and Hillary Clinton is favored overwhelmingly in almost every traditional measure for predicting the outcome of presidential elections. But there is evidence already of another comeback. Beginning with a speech last week in Ohio, a refined message has begun to take shape. In it, he laid out a more comprehensive and sensible strategy to foreign affairs with an important and politically brilliant emphasis on the rejection of Bush-era neoconservatism and the Iraq War. This week he continued with another speech delivered from a teleprompter in Milwaukee; possibly the first speech in modern history in which a Republican appealed explicitly to black voters. The speech was widely praised by conservatives of all stripes and set the foundation for the necessary target constituency to win in November.
With a mainstream and moderate, yet populist message, it is apparent that Trump is deliberately changing method and message to fight a winning general election campaign. New campaign additions such as Roger Ailes, Kellyanne Conway, and Stephen Bannon have been recruited this week and are rapidly refocusing Trump on a streamlined message. Today, the campaign's first television ads will air in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. All of this has come as Hillary's lead in the RCP polling average has fallen from eight to six points, and Trump is capitalizing on this cyclical swing with brute force and cold precision. Yesterday in North Carolina, he expressed regret for his misstatements. We are in the midst of another miracle.
Each Trump comeback, each Trump readjustment only proves that not only is this man capable to occupy the Oval Office, he is perhaps the most capable man. For starters, he is a 6' 2" American titan who, at 70 years old, sleeps only four hours a night and without drinking coffee or alcohol runs a $10 billion empire and flies from city to city each day to give 60 minute extemporaneous speeches in an historical bid for the most powerful office in the world. This compared with Hillary Clinton who is overcome with exhaustion after short speeches, cannot stand for prolonged periods of time, cannot sit up for prolonged periods of time, is prone to seizures, has trouble climbing stairs, is "often confused," has not hosted a press conference in 8 months, and is paralyzed by anxiety when heckled. How will she fair against a man who once clotheslined the founder of WWF at Wrestlemania?
Aside from the physical wonder that is Donald Trump, his pending comeback perfectly demonstrates the pragmatism which qualifies him for the presidency. With each crisis presented, Trump has either punched through when the challenge was unserious or methodically calibrated an unbeatable tactic when the challenge is real. As detailed earlier, Trump won the pre-primary media contest, the primary election contest, successfully adjusted to the general, ascended to new heights with his RNC, and now is poised to defeat the American media in a fist fight. Obama got elected with the assistance of every political institution in the country including the opposing party. If Hillary gets elected, she will have been handed the job by a political machine that buried the visible reality that she is dying and that she should have been indicted by the FBI. Donald Trump, if elected, will have taken on the Republican Party, Fox News, the mainstream media, Wall Street, the federal government, Facebook, Twitter, the President, three former Presidents, and the continent of Europe, and won.
He has not gotten this far because "he says what people are thinking." Andrew Dice Clay says things people are thinking. Donald Trump has gotten this far, and will be the next President of the United States, because he is supremely pragmatic, ruthlessly calculating, and quite possibly the most brilliant strategist in the world today. He is sizing up yet another miraculous comeback; and though it may not be the last, thought it may not be decisive, it will prove that this election will not be decided until November 8th. And it will be decided on Trump's terms.