Trump pivots by aiming his attack in West Bend, Wisconsin at Hillary Clinton and other Democrats?

Donald Trump holding a press conference after speaking at the City Club of Chicago, Maggiano's Little Italy Banquets in the Chicago Loop,June 29,  2015  (See below links discussing the Trump talk and press conference)

Donald Trump holding a press conference after speaking at the City Club of Chicago, Maggiano’s Little Italy Banquets in the Chicago Loop,June 29, 2015 (See below links discussing the Trump talk and press conference)

Donald Trump’s speech last night in West Bend, Wisconsin was the pivot many in the Republican Party have been waiting for since Trump won the Party’s nomination about three months ago.

This speech contained themes that the Bushes (GHW, W and Jeb), Ohio Governor John Kasich and 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney should all be able to rally round and then perhaps endorse Trump. The question is– will they?

–Three Trump successful disciplined speeches in one week

Further, this is the third teleprompter speech in a week in which Trump has demonstrated the ability to stay on message and not say anything that would (1) embarrass mainstream Republicans and (2) impair the chances of the Republican Party hanging on to their majorities in the U. S. House and Senate.

After the first speech in the trilogy last week on jobs and the economy, Trump stepped on his own message by implying [argued many in the media and Democrats] that 2nd Amendment supporters could or should “physically go after” Hillary to prevent her from being able to appoint Supreme Court justices who did not support the 2nd Amendment.

But, Monday’s teleprompter speech on ISIS and terrorism was not followed by any such Trump missteps. If Trump can continue that more disciplined approach to campaigning, he may be able to woo more establishment Republicans like the Bushes, Kasich and Romney to support him.

–Moving toward a unified Republican Party

The Bushes, Kasich and Romney could explain their own pivot as conditioned on Trump’s continued “Presidential demeanor,” and the importance of a unified Republican Party.  [To see the progress Donald Trump has made over the last year at acting “Presidential,” read about Trump’s remarks to the City Club of Chicago on June 29, 2015 and his press conference that followed his City Club of Chicago remarks. and compare that Trump with last night’s Trump, discussed below]

A unified Republican Party may be the best way to maintain the Party’s congressional majorities.  A unified party also may be necessary in order to get a Republican President, which would then make much more likely the  appointment of  conservative Supreme Court justices.

And, Trump already, much more than Hillary, supports in large part core Republican domestic and foreign policies, e.g., low taxes, less business regulation and a strong national defense (Trump strongly supports Israel and opposes the Iran deal, two major distinctions relative to Hillary on foreign policy/defense; Also, Trump now more strongly supports NATO because it recently extended its focus explicitly to fighting terrorism)

Further, Trump’s speech last night and on Monday moderated his immigration views quite a bit, replacing a proposed temporary ban on Muslim immigrants with “Extreme vetting,” of immigrants from countries prone to housing large numbers of terrorists.

Trump’s harsh statements over the course of the last year critical of the decision to go into the Iraq might require more work to bring the Bushes into the fold, but Trump is going in the right direction to have a chance at attracting their support.

The incentive for Trump to do so is that he is currently getting only 60% to 70% of Republicans to support him.  He needs to get much closer to Romney’s 93% if he is going to win the Presidency and he needs much more Establishment Republican support to get there.

And, Establishment Republicans, at the end of the day, are better off with a moderated Trump Presidency and Republican majorities than having Democrats control all three branches of government.

–Trump argues African-American Community has not been well served by Hillary and Democrats

Although billed as a Law and Order speech, the primary theme delivered last night in West Bend, a 95% white suburb of  30,000 people about 30 minutes north of Milwaukee, was that the African- American Community has not been well served by the Democratic Party, President Obama and Hillary Clinton.

More importantly, Trump said he would work to improve public safety, job opportunities and education for African-Americans in the inner cities.

–Lack of Public Safety in the inner cities:

Trump pointed out that the main victims of riots- such as those that occurred in the last few days in Milwaukee- are “Law abiding African-Americans living in those neighborhoods.”

Trump said, “It is their jobs, their homes, their schools and communities which will suffer as a result.”  Trump emphasized , “The problem in our poorest communities is …that there are not enough police.”

Trump accused Hillary Clinton of “Supporting with a nod,” the narrative of “Cops as a racist force in our society.”

Trump said Clinton and those who support that view must share the responsibility for the “Unrest in Milwaukee and in many other places within our country.”

Trump said “By rushing to judgment with false facts and narratives…and fomenting further unrest, we do a direct disservice to poor African-Americans who are hurt by the high crime in their communities.”

Further, argued Trump, “For every one protestor, there are a hundred moms and dads and kids…who just want to be able to sleep safely at night. [Hillary Clinton] would rather protect the offender than the victim.”

Trump’s Republican critics should take note that last night’s speech continued Trump’s recent emphasis on criticizing his opponent—Hillary Clinton.

–Democratic Party’s failure on crime, education and economic policies

Trump argued that the Democratic Party “Has failed… the African-American community,” with its crime, education and economic policies.

Trump said Milwaukee had been run by Democrats for decades and last year, Milwaukee killings were up 69%, with a poverty rate nearly double the national average.

Further, Trump said that almost 40% of the African-American Milwaukee men aged 25-54 do not have a job.

In education, Trump asserted that 55 Milwaukee public schools have been rated as failing to meet expectations and that “It is one of the worst public school systems in the country.”

Trump argued that the Democratic Party has taken African-American votes for granted and has done nothing to warrant their support.

–Hillary, Public Corruption and a rigged system

The Republican Presidential nominee painted the Democratic Party as part of a rigged political system that nominated “The personification of special interest corruption, [Hillary Clinton]”

Trump said he was nominated from outside the failed, corrupt and broken system that had dominated his own party.

The Donald argued it was time for the Republican Party to give the Democrats some competition and “rebuild the inner cities.”

Trump argued that he was fighting the Insiders, like Hillary, who are “Comfortable politicians looking out for their own interests” and “media executives, anchors and journalists…who are part of the same failed status quo and want nothing to change.”

Trump couldn’t resist going after the media, once again, but that was a very small part of his speech, keeping his focus on Hillary and Democrats.

Trump asserted, “The leadership class in Washington, DC, of which Hillary has been a member for thirty years, has abandoned the people of this country,” but Trump said he would give the people their voice back.

Trump said, “Violent crime has risen 17% in America’s 50 largest cities last year. Killings of police officers this year is up nearly 50 per cent.”

Trump said that was the future offered by Clinton- more poverty and crime.

–Trump’s program to improve the job outlook, education and public safety in inner cities

Trump promised to protect and promote jobs for low income Americans by opposing work permits for millions of illegal immigrants, renegotiating NAFTA, standing up to China, withdrawing from TPP and giving a massive tax cut to every worker and small businessman in the country– which the Republican nominee for President said would bring thousands of new companies and millions of new jobs to the United States.

On education, Trump drew a sharp contrast between Hillary Clinton and himself. Trump said it was time for school choice, i.e., to  allow low income parents and their kids to opt out of failing inner city public schools and choose charter schools.

Trump also said he favors merit pay for teachers and “Ending tenure policies that hurt good teachers and reward bad teachers [by making it more difficult for the schools to fire teachers, based on lack of performance; and prevent hiring of superior teachers].”

Trump argued that “Hillary Clinton would rather deny opportunities to millions of young African-American children, just so she can curry favor with the education bureaucracy [Ed. Note: this is aka the teacher unions].”

[Ed. Note: In Chicago, approximately 15 % of the 390,000 Chicago Public School (“CPS”) kids choose charter schools over traditional neighborhood schools, and the charter school attendees are primarily low income minorities. Moreover, the charter schools are wildly popular with low income, African-Americans and Hispanics, with tens of thousands of minority CPS students on waiting lists for charter schools. The Chicago Teachers Union, which is closely aligned with Democratic politicians, lobbies intensively to block charter school opportunities for minority students, as the union wants the students “Locked in,” so the Union’s teachers can keep their jobs].

–Fighting crime and public corruption

With respect to fighting crime, Trump said he would support more police, appoint the best prosecutors and judges and break up the gangs and criminal syndicates.

On government corruption, Trump said he would restore honor to government, citing to Hillary’s mass email deletions and “Pay to play,” at the State Department.

Trump also said he would ask “My senior officials  to sign an agreement not to accept speaking fees from corporations with a registered lobbyist for five years after leaving office,” with obvious reference to the $675,000 speaking fees received by Hillary Clinton from Goldman Sachs after leaving her Secretary of State position.

–The New and Improved inclusive Donald Trump- going after the minority and female vote   

 Trump closed by pledging, “I’m with you, the American people.”  He said this was in contrast to Hillary asking supporters to pledge “To be with … Hillary.”

Moreover, Trump said he would fight to “Ensure every American is treated equally.”

Trump added, importantly, “We will reject bigotry and hatred and oppressions… and seek a new future of security, prosperity and opportunity- a future built on our common culture and values as one American people.”

Trump’s liberal critics at MSNBC and CNN found Trump’s newly articulated tolerance and respect for all ethnicities hard to swallow.  But, Trump has always been quick to point out that many Hispanics love him and he them.  It is only “Murderers, robbers and rapists,” of any ethnicity that he has problems with.

–Can Trump’s changed position prove persuasive with women?  

And, change of position?  Well, Hillary was for the Iraq War before she was against it and then for it again, sort of. And Hillary and hubby Bill were for free trade for decades before they turned against TPP and then recently their confidant, Terry McAuliffe, said they would be for it, before he said they would be against it.

So, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.  It is just a matter of whether the Republican Establishment can be won over by Trump with the above changed positions–and then whether the American people will follow.

Can Trump get the African-American vote up to normal 10-12 per cent Republican levels? Or Hispanics up to “W” 40% levels?  Probably not.  But, getting part way there could help him win.

And, when Jack Kemp preached “Hope, Growth and Opportunity,” in the black churches in the 80s and 90s, he knew that would also be popular with suburban white women.  Suburban white women like to see their politicians compassionate about low income minorities.  Could Trump also be wooing suburban women?  There could be a method to his madness.



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  • As Paul Lisnek pointed out this morning, if the address was being aimed at Black voters [of which Trump is polling a commanding 2%, including Ben Carson's endorsement], he should have made it in Milwaukee instead of white West Bend. Don't forget, he pointed out his "one African-American supporter."

    I remember when Trump said he was "postponing" his appearance at UIC, not cancelling it. Maybe he'll make it in Barrington, to show all his concern for the people in North Lawndale. But we all know that the bottom line is that Illinois is not in play.

    Although Little Marco seems to have come around, I doubt that the Bushes or the conservatives will. And, basically, it is too late for Trump to change correct impressions of him by now trying to "stay on [someone else's] message."

    In short, unlike Lisnek, you over analyzed this.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thank you for your comments. Paul Lisnek's analysis, as usual, is limited, in large part, to parroting talking points of the Democratic Party. This reporter ignores the talking points of both parties and does his own thinking.

    Talks like last night's speech are in large part aimed at a TV audience of millions, so it's geographic location has little relevance. It was watched last night by prime time audiences of Fox, CNN and MSNBC. Most of the print media, being the clueless idiots that they are, didn't even cover it.

    Yes, Team Trump would have liked to have reached African-Americans, but given the political realities, putting him in a location, like Milwaukee, where assembling and packing with protestors by the Democrat Party would have likely resulted in violent confrontations would not have made for good TV. TV is a "cool medium."

    Moreover, the primary target of this speech was, as I point out at the end of the post, Republicans and in particular suburban white women. Those folks want to see their Presidential candidate reaching out to Blacks, even if the reach is unlikely to be successful. That was true when Jack Kemp did it in the 80s and 90s and it is, sadly, still true today. I doubt that Lisnek knows more than Jack Kemp did.

    Trump, of course, is not a good candidate for most of those mainstream or conservative Republicans. However, if they become convinced he is "Good enough," and that he will support and promote things like school choice/ charter schools which will improve inner city education and employment, lower taxes, less regulation, improved safety in low income-black areas, solid conservative Supreme Court choices like Roberts, Alito, etc, well then-- Trump is better for them than Hillary and they might support Trump.

    The same is true for Jeb Bush, Romney and Kasich. It is not a high probability but it is the only chance Trump has of winning. Getting 70% of the Republican vote just does not cut it for Trump. So, Trump has to unify the Republican Party. This should have been done at the Republican Convention. But, wisdom come lately is better than wisdom not come at all!

    That is why Trump was on the teleprompter for three significant speeches these past nine days. That is why his new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, got Trump to avoid stepping on his message for the last few days.

    That is not over-thinking. It is just thinking- a somewhat alien activity for my good friend, Mr. Lisnek:)

  • In reply to Jeff Berkowitz:

    You political pundits can duke it out as you want, I'm not really concerned with that. And the viewers can decide if Trump has pivoted. Most who care have decided he can't.

    You are also assuming that the target audience has its eyes glued to the cable news networks. That, of course depends on whether the target audience was white establishment Republicans who, say, gave Paul Ryan an 85% primary victory over the mini-me-Trump opposition.

    However, if the target audience really was Black people wanting to hear how any policy program given to Trump affects them, they aren't watching the cable news networks, and Trump "declined an invite" to the NAACP convention, and I'm willing to bet that he doesn't show up at 50th and Drexel to address Operation Push (and, as you hope, extol the virtues of charter schools).

    Thinking your post over, what's the point of holding campaign rallies like this? If all Trump is doing is giving an address in front of a full auditorium of plants for the benefit of the cable networks, I'm sure he has an auditorium in one of his buildings.

  • Also, as Pat Sajack would say, you should buy an end tag.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thanks for your comments.

    If you know anything about TV, you know that TV shows are often made more appealing for their TV audiences by a live audience.

    Further, audiences at rallies energize Trump during his speech and they often are energized by him to get out and promote his vote.

    And, if team Trump is smart, Trump will show up at some charter schools, media in tow, in the African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan,Wisconsin, Virginia and yes, even Illinois.

    Those visits will not only help to increase Trump's African-American and Hispanic votes, which could be crucial, but also to stimulate the white suburban Republican and Independent vote for Trump.

    Finally, Paul Vallas, former CPS CEO and supporter/founder of charter schools in Chicago, got a lot of cross-over suburban Republican votes when he ran and almost beat Blagojevich in the 2002 Democratic Primary for Governor.
    Look it up, it's true:).

  • In reply to Jeff Berkowitz:

    Most of the latter may be true, but irrelevant.

    "And, if team Trump is smart, Trump will show up at some charter schools, media in tow, in the African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan,Wisconsin, Virginia and yes, even Illinois." First the Trump team (or whatever is left of it) isn't smart, and since you go into history, the UIC Pavilion experience shows that he won't. Especially not in front of a charter school in Illinois, where the issue would quickly turn into pro- and anti-Emanuel demonstrations. If it comes down to that, whatever message Trump has would be outshouted by CTU. I sure would like to see a louder shouter match between Trump and Karen Lewis, if Trump has the guts to show up. Karen will.

    I didn't say do away with a live audience. I said "in front of a full auditorium of plants." You can take "plants" as vegetation or, as I intended, people planted there. Again, UIC shows that Team Trump won't again offer general admission tickets on the Internet.

    Maybe what it gets down to is your point that Trump wanted to pick up some marginal Republican voters by mouthing Reagan era platitudes about "The African-American community has been taken for granted for decades by the Democratic Party," "On taxes, I am going to give a massive tax cut to every worker and small business in this country," and "school choice." However, this is about 2% of the transcript (note I cited the full text, not some secondary source, unless he departed from the prerelease script), and about the only other thing directed to the Black community is that they have a lot of crime because Hillary doesn't support the police. Essentially the part that was not on the evening news was the 90%, which simply was Hillary bashing. Whether that gets any of the marginal Wisconsin white Republican vote isn't relevant to his campaign doing or not doing what you think is "smart" and undoubtedly not to the eventual vote tally.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thanks for your comment but you missed my larger point, as discussed in my most recent post.

    New campaign manager Conway is trying to broaden Trump's appeal. So, for one, she is trying to make Trump more appealing to the thirty percent of Republicans and many independents who say they are not likely to vote for Trump. Many of these people don't like Hillary and want to vote Republican.They just don't have a reason, based on his prior behavior.

    One, they need a reminder that the election is a referendum on Hillary. So, if they don't like Hillary, they should try the alternative.

    Two, he says he wants to help low income minorities and so do suburban white women.

    They need to see that Trump is at least reaching out to minorities and offering them something. Charter schools are something.

    Three, he is now saying he wants to represent all Americans, except maybe the insiders and lobbyists. Suburban women like inclusion, as in Obama's 2004 speech that there are no red states or blue states, just the United States.

    So, for all of the above reasons, the new and improved Trump gives Trump a shot at expanding his voter support. That's all I am saying. I think it is hard to argue with that proposition.

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