It’s pretty well documented that Republican nominee Donald Trump has blown what had been rising momentum and a surge in the polls following the close of the convention last month. A lot of people have been hired and fired due to the continued decline, and a lot of people have advised him in a myriad of different ways. But if he really wants to win (and more importantly keep Hillary Clinton from becoming your next commander in chief), he oughta take a second, subscribe to SOFREP, and heed the following…
Be an outsider, and embrace being different
This election has been unlike any other. There is electricity that surrounds the tantalizing realization that we have the opportunity to bring immediate and direct change to American politics by electing an outsider. Say what you will about Bernie Sanders, but that guy energized an entire section of America that might otherwise have been Netflix and chilling right through November 8th. So if Trump wants to win, he needs to keep the outsider image going. And to be an outsider, you have to continue to distance yourself from petty political games.
For example, it was great to see him go to Louisiana after the historic and tragic flooding. But don’t go there and stage a photo-op with some Play-doh. Congrats- you beat Obama down to the site of the disaster. But that’s not the point, man. And people are done with politicians that do nothing. Go down there with a convoy full of guys who built shit in New York, or wherever, and rebuild something. Anything. If one of your buildings had been ruined in a disaster would you go visit it and hand out some toys? Or would you inspire your people to rebuild and lead from the front? Doing something like that would generate more positive press than you could gain in a month of campaigning in dinky little town halls in battleground states. Wake up, be different.
Transparency is a breath of fresh air to the common voter. Even die-hard democrats have expressed distaste and distrust for the current administration over the $400 million Iran ransom payment. They also would disavow Hillary and her email problems if the DNC hadn’t rigged the primaries in her favor and forced the candidate upon the populace. People are sick and tired of lies, secret handshakes, and backroom deals. Being transparent is what the people are craving. Give the people what they want.
Stop being a victim
You know what? We’ve all felt cheated somehow, somewhere in our lives. The best of us make a note of it, learn from it, and move on. We all hate being stuck next to the guy at the dinner party that’s always whining about something. So, Trump, people are supporting you in part because you project strength, wealth, and independence. Don’t be the guy at the dinner party who’s bitching about his lot in life, bringing everyone down. Be the guy everyone wants to talk to, the guy that everyone knows got dealt some shitty hand along the way but didn’t complain about it. I really hate to say this here, but be a silent professional.
The next time the polls come out, acknowledge them. Make a note of how far behind you are. And then, instead of blaming anyone else, go change those numbers.
Stop drawing attention to yourself
No need to be completely bland here, but every time you say something remotely controversial, it overshadows any Clinton hiccup/ death shriek. There’s really no way around it. The media isn’t even having to start to hold it’s collective breath before you put forth something they deem headline worthy. Try just focusing on a couple of issues, as in-depth as possible without saying anything you’re unsure about. Stick to your strengths, and let the ensuing dullness allow Clinton’s star of uppity lawlessness shine bright. What’s that? Trump’s just rebuilding Louisiana, talking about realistic ways to defeat Daesh (all vetted through current active duty guys at ALL levels of command), and popping into the local VA and checking on folks? Ugh, guess we’ll have to run a story about Clinton’s 15,000 hidden emails and not just laugh about how dumb it is to talk about hiding emails from the FBI.
Get out of your own way for a week. See what the polls do. Roll up your sleeves, relate to the American people, and your stock will rise. This isn’t the 1980’s. Your brand is well-known. You’re done building it for now. So try being humble about it.
Consult experts, and defer to them often
Nobody expects you to be a foreign policy expert. You were chosen by the American people (albeit a teeny-tiny minority, so far) to have a shot at the presidency. You know why? You’re an outsider, you’ve been successful in business (hell, you’ve had a job that didn’t involve ravenously sucking at the government teat), and you bring a different, hopefully refreshing, perspective to a country ready for a political revolution. So it’s totally okay with us to admit that you don’t know everything, yet. But have a plan. Be learning everything you don’t know about. And when it’s time to discuss specifics, discuss them. But before you speak out, consult your experts.
When a question comes up that you aren’t sure about, a much better approach to answering that question on your own might be to say something like: “you know, I’ve never bombed the hell out of somebody, but I’m gonna sit down tonight with x-number of current and former generals, colonels, and SOF team leaders, and formulate a plan. And what those guys ask for, I’m gonna do everything in my power as president to provide it for them.”
Flip-flopping is okay, just own it
When you change your mind, own up to it. You’re really new at this. You haven’t been coached since you were 14 to be politically correct and placate the masses. Things you said a year ago or 10 years ago might conflict with the best way forward. So adjust, be flexible (without abandoning all conservative principles), and straight up tell everyone why you’ve altered the plan. For example, in my opinion, there’s no way in hell you can uproot 11 million illegal immigrants and physically take them out of this country. It’s a logistical nightmare, and it’s not worth tying up resources over. Figure out a way to build your wall, thus securing the border and stopping the flow of illegals for now, take a deep breath, and then address a way to keep the good ones and remove the bad.
It’s better to cut your losses, come clean with the best approach for right now, and stop doubling-down every time you’re in trouble. That may have worked when you were competing for the same voter as other Republicans, but now, when you have to woo some people over to your side, you’re gonna need a new approach. And trust me, owning up to a change in policy, or admitting that some time ago, before you were advised by (name-drop some well-respected, middle-of-the-road expert here), you were just wrong about a situation, will cement your anti-Washington image and bring in votes.
The American voter is more plugged into politics than ever. Via Twitter and Facebook, people can get their politics in quick, heavy, and potentially heavily-biased doses without even expressing an interest. So the here and now matters more than ever. Sound bytes and talking points dominate the media market. If Donald Trump really wants to become President Trump, he will realize that this is a marathon, not a sprint. If the focus and drive is there to be a transparent, committed catalyst to passionately bring change to an outdated and swollen industry, then President Trump could transform from long-shot to reality.
Image courtesy: Daniel Acker — Bloomberg via Getty Images