Trump, act like a winner

Donald Trump, pragmatist
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Donald Trump has gone through his first debate. He still has most of his support. Those who support him, distrust both Republican Party and media “big cheeses with pull.” But without meaning to, the Fox News Channel moderators gave him a chance to show his Presidential mettle. And he did not show it.

Fox news: fair or foul?

True enough, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace did not behave in a “fair” or “balanced” way. One might suppose Fox News Channel had orders: do not let the Republican Party come close to nominating Donald Trump. Maybe they truly fear only a jellyfish like Jeb Bush can draw enough voters to beat Hillary Clinton. (Though if the Democrats nominate Bernie Sanders instead, that would hardly matter.) Or maybe they know Republican and Democratic establishment candidates draw the same “smart money.” (Michael Savage thinks Fox News decided to work for Hillary Clinton.) Whereas one never knows with Donald Trump. After all, he can, and intends to, pay for his own campaign.

Donald Trump in 2011. He took on McCain. Maybe he's right.

Donald Trump speaking to the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference. Photo by Gage Skidmore; CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License.

Time Magazine has, by all accounts, the most accurate transcript of the debate. The first question anyone asked the candidates, including Trump, was: will you pledge to support whomever the Republican Party nominates for President, if it does not nominate you? Donald Trump did not agree. He did not agree because when he gives his word, he gives it for keeps. Anyone else could pledge such a thing now, and renege on it later. It happens all the time. But when Donald Trump says he will do a thing, he does it. And when Donald Trump says he will not do a thing, he will not. Furthermore, he was serving notice on the Republican National Committee: don’t even think of breaking your own rules to avoid nominating me. Maybe he had talked to former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

One ought to mention Megyn Kelly’s first question of Trump, only to condemn it.

Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don’t use a politician’s filter. However, that is not without its downsides, in particular, when it comes to women.

You’ve called women you don’t like “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.”

Ah, come on! When hasn’t Hillary Clinton said something similar about men she doesn’t like? (Carly Fiorina never has.) And Trump would later take note, not only of what she said but how she said it.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/629997060830425088

How did Trump react?

But Trump has a problem. He was and still is running ahead of the pack. (In fact he’s running further ahead of the pack after the debate than before, according to Newsmax and WND.) He also threatens both the Republican and media “establishments.” Naturally they will, to paraphrase George C. Scott, “go absolutely ape and strike back with everything they’ve got.” Trump could and should expect this.

Winners do not complain about how the rules of the game change during the game. They certainly do not so complain when they have the Presidency as the object of the game. They win anyway.

A President of the United States must prepare to play a game that changes its rules from move to move. (And a great President changes the game. Ask those who remember Ronald Reagan.)

Trump began well. He talked about winning:

I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either. This country is in big trouble. We don’t win anymore. We lose to China. We lose to Mexico both in trade and at the border. We lose to everybody.

But when he went on to say,

Honestly Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry. I’ve been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me.

he wasted his time, his breath, and the moment. He ruined a winner’s moment by talking like a loser.

Trump returned to winner’s form later. This same Megyn Kelly challenged him to say when, how and why he changed his mind about abortion. He said:

And I am pro-life. And if you look at the question, I was in business. They asked me a question as to pro-life or choice. And I said if you let it run, that I hate the concept of abortion. I hate the concept of abortion. And then since then, I’ve very much evolved.

And what happened is friends of mine years ago were going to have a child, and it was going to be aborted. And it wasn’t aborted. And that child today is a total superstar, a great, great child. And I saw that. And I saw other instances.

And I am very, very proud to say that I am pro-life.

That kind of up-close-and-personal story ought to change anyone’s mind, who actually could accept for a moment the taking of the life of an unborn child.

Trump will have more chances to start acting like a winner. Megyn Kelly isn’t through with him. Not by a longshot. And Rush Limbaugh gave Trump some simple advice: return to the major issues in the campaign, and stay there. Good advice.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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