I’m not ready (yet) to think it’s all over, or that Trump has no chance whatsoever of winning; a lot can happen between now and November. But, some things that many of us saw before are becoming crystallized, and none of this is good for Mr. Trump.
Willie Geist said it perfectly this morning: The man cannot diffuse criticism. He escalates issues when ignoring them really could be more effective. He took something that could have been a 1-day bad story for him, if that, and stretched it out over a week. Khizr Khan gave a heartfelt and moving speech about his son, a Muslim American killed in Iraq while serving in the United States armed forces. Some said it was the most compelling moment of the convention. Watch below if you haven’t seen it yet.
Sure, it was a dig at Trump’s anti immigration policy. It was a dig at all those who paint Muslims with the same brush. It was a story, maybe, but it likely would have faded from memory. Those who get all their news from Fox News might not have even known about the speech or its content at all (for most of the speech, Fox News showed commentary by Megyn Kelly and Brit Hume with the speech muted in the background). But Donald Trump is his own worst enemy. Trump took to twitter to “defend himself” and in his first interview after the DNC, he went even farther while talking with George Stephanopoulos, asking who wrote the speech, and asked why Khan’s wife was silent, suggesting that she wasn’t allowed to speak (playing on stereotypes about Muslims). As if that wasn’t all bad enough for Trump, when Stephanopoulos asked Trump about sacrifices he made for his country, giving him the opportunity to respond to Khan’s charge, “You have sacrificed nothing,” Trump said that he’s sacrificed plenty, by creating jobs and businesses. Needless to say, the internet exploded and #trumpsacrifice started trending on Twitter. And all he had to do was show compassion for a parent who lost a child. Something like, “Of course nothing can compare to the sacrifice our troops make in war.”
And the trainwreck continued. Trump’s people went on the air and accused Khan of being a “Muslim Brotherhood agent.” Trump tweeted some garbage about being attacked and it being fair for him to fight back. And it went on and on and on. A story that would have faded away, and maybe wouldn’t have been seen by most of his supporters (at least the ones who got their convention coverage from Fox News), showed his Achilles heel: his thin skin and lack of restraint. Putting the finishing touches on the picture Clinton is expertly painting of him: “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.” We’ll see how long that sticks, and we’ll see if Trump can pull it together, but the polls are shifting strongly back in favor of a Clinton victory. Of course, like I wrote above, it’s still a long way to November.