On Wednesday, August 17, Donald Trump named a new campaign chief executive, Stephen Bannon, chairman of the Breitbart News website. Breitbart , on the far right of conservative media has attacked the Republican establishment in D.C, savaged Hillary Clinton and backed Trump in his racial insults toward Mexicans and Muslims.
Trump has chafed for months as the RNC urged him to pivot to a “presidential presence” by giving speeches on the teleprompter and avoiding off the cuff remarks. However, since his disastrous convention, he has done just that. On August 9 at a rally in North Carolina, Trump charged that “Hillary wants to abolish the Second Amendment.” “If she gets to pick her judges. Nothing you can do, folks. Although Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know….” Within minutes, the words went viral across the nation and the world. Trump had suggested with his wink– wink habit that Second Amendment people (translate to gun owners) could use their guns to silence Hilary Clinton! The Secret Service held several conversations with his campaign after that remark. Trump denied that occurred.
Within days, Trump delivered another shocker, claiming at a huge rally that “ Barack Obama was the founder of ISIS and Hillary Clinton was his MVP.” When a conservative radio host tried to give him a way out the next morning, saying, Obama had removed our troops and Isis moved in, Trump cut him off. “No”, he insisted, “Obama was the founder of Isis and Clinton was also a founder.” Again, this bizarre false comment went viral, becoming the big story in all parts of the globe, especially the Muslim nations. Since Trump had been the main advocate of the Birther movement, it is understandable that people overseas paid attention to his latest fabrication.
As July turned into August, Trump’s poll numbers plunged nationally and in swing states. He was losing by double digits in four national polls as well as New Hampshire, Virginia and Colorado. Forecasters were predicting Hillary over 300 electoral votes in November while Trump was under 200. 270 electoral votes are the winning number. She continued her ad campaigns in all swing states, with emphasis on Trump’s attacks on John Mc Cain as a captured pilot, not a hero– disabled people and the Gold Star Muslim Kahn family whose son died in Iraq.
On the weekend of August 13/14 Donald Trump asked Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News to meet with him and offered him the position of chief executive of his campaign. Trump had told Time magazine, “They would like to see me modify… I don’t like to modify.” He knew that Bannon agreed with him completely, based on quiet advice he had been receiving from him for months. Trump also hired Kellyanne Conway, a veteran pollster as campaign manager. The second major shake-up in his campaign was complete.
Meanwhile on August 16, an important article ran in the Science section of The New York Times. The title: “Analyzing Trump”. It centered on a manifesto against “Trumpism” posted on line in June by Dr. William Doherty, a psychologist at the University of Minnesota. A copy of the manifesto was printed with the article. “Attention Therapists” at top in red. Second line: “Are you increasingly alarmed by Donald Trump?” Third: “Do you recognize that he represents an ideology ( let’s call it Trumpism) that won’t go away even if he loses?” Below- Trumpism: with four defining points. 1 is antithetical to everything we stand for as therapists. 2 is inconsistent with democracy, the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, and with emotionally healthy living. 3 promotes hyper-masculinity, public hostility, the cult of the Strong Man, and the denigration of women. 4 presents a threat beyond a single election ; the next demagogue may be less outrageous – and thus even more dangerous.
“It’s time that we say these things publicly and not just behind closed doors.” “This isn’t about liberal or conservative. It’s about our American democracy.”
Postscript: As of Monday, August 15, 2,200 mental health professionals had signed the manifesto.
Hillary Clinton had a very successful convention, followed by a sizable upward ‘bump’ in the polls. She and Senator Tim Kaine, her running mate, left on a four day bus tour that attracted large enthusiastic crowds in swing states. Her speeches always included strong concerns that “Donald Trump has neither the temperament nor the experience to be President of the United States nor commander in chief with access to the nuclear codes. She is not the only one to voice this conclusion. Fifty GOP senior security officers had signed a letter on August 8, declaring that Donald Trump “lacks the character, values and experience to be president” and “would put at risk our country’s national security and well being”. They warned that “Mr. Trump would be the most reckless president in American history” and “ Mr. Trump has shown no interest in educating himself.” They concluded, “None of us will vote for Donald Trump.”
Opponents over the years have tried to derail Hillary Clinton as she fought for Health Care for Children and the American people. They created conspiracy theories that were all disproved: ‘Whitewater’, ‘Travel Gate” and “Benghazi”. Clinton withstood eleven marathon hours with a hostile Republican Benghazi oversight committee, never losing her cool. Now they are trying to create a new charge that her e-mail comments to them were not ‘truthful’. As one who listened to the eleven hours, and agreed with the headlines that “Clinton cleaned their clock’, let me write “Give us a break!” She was an outstanding Secretary of State, traveling millions of miles to 112 countries to rebuild our reputation that George W. Bush lowered with his “shock and awe” invasions and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. No one was more devastated and saddened by the deaths of Ambassador Stephens and the other Americans than Hillary Clinton. Stephens’ father warned that he did not want the death of his son “politicized.” That is exactly what the Republican Benghazi committee and the party have done. Shame on them! Is there no sense of decency left in their dreadful political campaign.
It appears that we need to fasten our seat belts and get ready for the next weeks and months in the Donald Trump campaign. It will be planned and executed by Stephen Bannon. He is described as a no- holds- barred operative who “loves the fight”. “Fear is a good thing”, he said in a 2010 interview. “Fear will lead you to take action.” We will all find out if a strident, accusatory, ugly campaign turns off the moderate American voters, more than half of whom are women— who usually decide presidential elections. We will know on November 8 if Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to win this election and be the first woman President of The United States.