Clock ticking against Trump as presidential poise eludes bombastic candidate

By Matthew Rusling Source:Global Times Published: 2016/8/16 20:48:39

While his bombastic rhetoric helped him win the Republican primaries, analysts said time is running out for US Republican nominee Donald Trump to start acting more "presidential" in order to win the presidential race.

There have been too many occasions in the past months in which when people just thought that Trump turned a corner and started toning down his bombast, the brash billionaire would quickly again begin making comments perceived as incendiary to many outside his base.

Recent weeks have seen many ups and downs for the candidate. His recent speech on the US economy last week saw a more mature, statesman-like Trump, but days later he was back to his old self, calling rival Hillary Clinton "the devil" and dubbing US President Barack Obama "the founder" of terror group Islamic State (IS).

While such statements play well with his base, the brash reality TV star, who claims to be a billionaire but has refused to release his tax returns, needs to start reaching out to others, many of whom don't like to hear such comments, analysts pointed out.

While the real estate tycoon was just a hair ahead in the polls a few weeks back, he is now dragging several points behind Clinton, and will have to start showing a more temperate side of himself to catch up.

But the clock is ticking toward the election in November, and while there's still time to turn things around, the window is slowly beginning to shut.

Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, told Xinhua that it's not too late for the polls to change.

"That said, the data is pretty devastating and the trajectory is moving the wrong way for him," Zelizer said.

Dan Mahaffee, an analyst with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, told Xinhua that at this point Trump would have to stop being Trump and "demonstrate some level of statesmanship."

"The telepromptered speech in Detroit was supposed to be the beginning of that process - a reset," he said, referring to Trump's speech on the US economy early last week, in which he refrained from making any rash comments and showed a more presidential side of himself.

But the comments that Trump made later in speeches at the subsequent campaign rallies completely negated that. He indirectly called on gun advocates to stop Clinton, and even dubbed Obama and Clinton as co-founders of the IS.

Indeed, Trump's original appeal was that he'd "tell it like it is" to the political elite, and that carried enough of a populist electorate through the Republican Party primaries.

"That core group of supporters will stay with him and continue to see him standing up to the status quo. However, for much of the electorate, Trump's 'telling it like it is' is seen as a dangerous, temperamental, thin-skinned, and combative personality that is unfit for the White House," Mahaffee said.

Every time it appears that Trump is going to try to get out of this course and change the aforementioned perception, he follows it up with statements that completely negate any potential momentum upward, Mahaffee noted.

There is still plenty of time left in the campaign, but one cannot help but wonder if Trump can really change his course to try to build a majority to win the presidency, he said.

The author is a writer with the Xinhua News Agency. The article first appeared on Xinhua. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn



Posted in: Voices

blog comments powered by Disqus