The word is defined as the ability, qualifications, or practice of a statesman;
wisdom and skill in the management of public affairs.
It is a quality lacking in Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s two debate performances to date. Not to mention many of his recent less-than-presidential tweets and public statements.
Trump was narrowing the gap in the polls versus Democrat Hillary Clinton before that first debate between them at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., reversed his gains. He was just about holding his own until somehow Mrs. Clinton near the end sucked him into rants against a former Miss Universe and TV star Rosie O’Donnell.
He blew his great opportunity to widen his appeal beyond his hard-core loyal base by refining his message of economic nationalism (jobs and internal improvements) and sticking to it.
Trump’s second debate performance Sunday night did little heal the perhaps fatal wounds inflicted by the release last Friday of that “locker-room” style banter caught on audiotape 11 years ago. It hurts him badly with those white suburban women and evangelicals that Republicans need to win the White House.
By this point, Trump needed to be “The Builder” who would revitalize manufacturing, bring back good jobs to the industrial wastelands of the Rust Belt (Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania) and oppose trade agreements he says exports American jobs overseas or south of the border.
Instead, he is ever the loose cannon. The insulter who just can’t seem to work up the self discipline to not turn off most women, Hispanics, African-Americans and other key voting groups he needs to get to 270 electoral votes and the White House on Nov. 8.
Also, college-educated white males, usually the most reliable Republican constituency, are unsupportive of Trump compared to previous elections.
The rise of Donald Trump during the primary season had this student of history and politics surprised by his mass appeal. The fall of Trump, I anticipated earlier, but then reconsidered as he gained traction with a populist-nationalist message resonating with a middle class in decline.
It seemed possible he just might be able to pivot by the time of last July’s convention into a formidable opponent to the inevitable, but unpopular Hillary Clinton. But that was before he said a judge would be biased in a case against him because of his Mexican parentage and insulted the parents of Capt. Khan, a casualty of war. More gaffes would come: August was Trump Slump. He would have to turn it around by or soon after Labor Day. And to a large extent, he did. He rose in the polls and it looked to be a horse race until these first two debates, he brought himself down.
It is risky to make predictions, but it is impossible to see any chance for Trump to regain the momentum he lost. Many of his most loyal supporters feel let down by his rhetoric and demeanor in the debates.
For millions, Trump seemed a breath of fresh air who would smash the establishment of both political parties’ grip on national power. He seemed the great champion of the little guy, the ordinary worker, against the powerful elites
They poured into his rallies en masse and cheered him on, thrilled at every outrage against conventional political discourse that he made. And now, one cannot help thinking, they have been let down. There are simply not enough American voting blocs who share their anger enough to carry Trump through. In the end, more Americans are offended than inspired by Trump’s manner and campaign.
It might have been different had Trump stuck to a progressive conservative nationalist message with cross-over appeal to working class Democrats and independents, as well as Republicans. Instead, he has disenchanted important segments of his own party, many of whom are taking back their support if they ever gave it to begin with.
The October surprise of 2016, is just how flawed a candidate Mr. Trump turned out to be.