The Worst Week of the Election

Forget about post-convention “bumps.” Forget about conventional politics. Forget about policy. This past week was perhaps the worst one yet for both candidates and both parties.

Problems

Donald Trump had a particularly bad week, one that could have easily been avoided or at least contained. The Republican nominee continued his feud with the Khan family, who lost their son during the war in Iraq and have criticized Trump on his proposed Muslim ban. This feud was a major controversy on all sides and one that could have easily been avoided by a proper response. What Trump should have done is simply state his gratitude for the sacrifice of Captain Humayun Khan and his family and note the difference of opinion between himself and the Khan family. Then, move on. Trump is a not a career politician, he’s a businessman who knows how to gain media attention, but in this case not any publicity was not good publicity.

Trump has also refused to endorse many top Republicans, a move that is both unusual and misguided. The Republican nominee has, at the time of this writing, refused to endorse the top elected Republican, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, in addition to Arizona Senator John McCain, and Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. This decision defies conventional politics and common sense. The top of the Republican ticket should endorse the top elected Republican for the sake of legitimacy. If the Speaker of the House is deemed as somehow insufficient to the Republican nominee, then the Speaker’s influence — especially after the election — could be compromised. The necessity of a Republican-controlled Congress, no matter who wins the White House in November, cannot be overstated. Also, unity is key. Trump should disregard any personal feuds with fellow Republicans in order to keep the party unified. A fractured party isn’t the best product to try and sell to independent voters, so Trump and fellow Republicans should unite against the Democrats.

Now, even though this was the worst week for both candidates, one candidate’s mistakes have been severely underreported. Hillary Clinton, who recently avoided criminal charges after her “extremely careless” handling of classified information, officially became the Democrat’s nominee and subsequently enjoyed a significant post-convention bump. Then, she did what she often does, lie. On “Fox News Sunday, Clinton misled the American people and lied about the findings of the FBI as it relates to her private server. The Washington Post confirmed as much, rating Clinton’s comments “four pinocchio’s,” the most one can earn. The Democratic nominee went on to claim that the grieving family members of the victims who died in the Benghazi terror attack “may not fully recall everything that was or wasn’t said,” when she spoke to them at a ceremony when the four Americans’ caskets returned home. Yes, Hillary Clinton one-upped Donald Trump by claiming grieving family members were not only wrong but lied about what she told them — that an Internet video caused the terror attack. Family members such as Pat Smith, who spoke at the Republican convention in Cleveland, and Charles Woods have adamantly claimed Hillary Clinton did in fact report to them that the Benghazi attack was caused by a video. Let the record reflect that on September 11th, 2012 in an email to the Egyptian Prime Minister, Hillary Clinton wrote, “We know the attack in [Benghazi] Libya had nothing to do with the film,” yet she told the world at the casket ceremony on September 14th, 2012, “We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video.”

Solutions

Trump’s campaign must be adjusted in order to gain more support and win in November. As reported by NBC News, close supporters of Donald Trump such as Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, and Reince Priebus are planning to stage an “intervention” with the Republican candidate in order to shift his campaign back to the issues. No question that at this point change is needed, especially when a Fox News poll released on August 3rd has Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump by ten points.

The good news for the Trump campaign is that there are indeed changes that can be made in order to help Trump defeat Clinton. First, work on tone. Projecting anger towards the many challenges we face as a nation is warranted and the American people are angry too. However, Trump would be wise to maintain passion for issues such as the economy while at the same time toning down distracting rhetoric. Second, stick to the facts. Trump’s own opinions have caused many controversies over the past week, and really throughout his campaign, which does indeed keep him in the news but also distracts from his message of revitalizing the United States, which is a very strong message. For instance on the economy, Trump should remind voters everyday that the economy is growing at a dismal pace, and wages under President Obama have been stagnating. This message is strong, effective, and backed up by pure facts. Third, thoroughly counter Hillary Clinton on the question of “judgement,” there’s plenty of material against her! At a recent press conference with the Prime Minister of Singapore, the President admitted to insufficient planning for the aftermath of the intervention in Libya, which was a hallmark of Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. In fact, the U.S. has recently resumed airstrikes in Libya to deal with the growth of ISIS in a country Hillary Clinton helped destabilize. By repeatedly reminding the voters of the disaster in Libya, Trump can effectively criticize Hillary Clinton’s judgment and double-down on his commitment to defend Americans from the threat of ISIS. Lastly, it would serve Donald Trump well to admit failure. Trump is a man with a tremendous amount of pride. He has pride in his successful business, pride in his impressive family, and pride in what he has accomplished in politics. But, no one would disagree that he is new to politics. Thus, it is reasonable that Trump would make mistakes along the way. Admit them! For starters, the feud over immigration policy with the Khan family — admit that a mistake was made. While a difference of opinion exists, Captain Humayun Khan’s sacrifice is undeniable and the nation is forever grateful. The American people would respect Donald Trump for being the political outsider who takes responsibility for a damaging, but in no way fatal week on the campaign trail.