It can be argued that Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election during the middle of the year when he was the presumptive nominee and a Democratic ad blitz attacked him mercilessly. If, as I expect, Donald Trump loses the 2016 election, those conducting the post-mortem may well point to the middle of this year when he was the presumptive nominee.
The difference? There was no Democratic ad blitz.
The Obama campaign succeeded in defining Romney down. Trump has defined himself down through a series of needless controversial pronouncements.
Now comes word that Trump has “parted ways” with Corey Lewandowski, his campaign manager. He pays the price for Trump’s inability to pivot to the “presidential.”
My sense is that it would take a miracle worker to make Donald Trump appear presidential. But that’s not to say that a more seasoned and temperate campaign manager won’t make a better run at it.
The New York Times reports that “there had been a desire for many weeks to make changes ahead of the convention.” It doesn’t tell us who had this desire, but reporter Maggie Haberman implies that it was Trump’s children, along with other key supporters.
If Trump had desired Lewandowski’s ouster for many weeks, one imagines it would have occurred weeks ago. In that event, Trump might have inflicted less damage on himself.
Instead, Trump continued to “dance with the one that brought him.” To use his analogy, having won the pennant, he declined to change personnel for the World Series. Apparently, only intense pressure from supporters, donors, and members of his inner circle caused this managerial genius to attempt a course correction.
It comes too late, I suspect.
Lewandowski’s campaign theme is said to have been “let Trump be Trump.” If so, it’s easy to see why the tycoon wanted him around.
And it’s easy to speculate that Lewandowski’s successor will not have an easy time of altering Trump’s campaign behavior.