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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Trump Won't Change

Some endorsers may candidly acknowledge Trump’s faults while clinging to the belief that he will grow in office and become a better man. “You can coach Donald,” longtime GOP consultant Charles Black told The New York Times. “If he got nominated, he’d be scared to death. That’s the point he would call people in the party and say, ‘I just want to talk to you.’” Sure, there are some cases of adults undergoing radical transformation: on the road to Damascus, the biblical St. Paul changed from being a persecutor of Christianity to its champion. (Of course, that switch involved divine intervention.) One cannot entirely rule out a Damascus moment for Trump, but it seems unlikely. Trump turns 70 years old in June, and he would be the oldest man ever to take the presidential oath for the first time. People that age tend not to change very much. And why on earth would he abandon the bluster and bombast for which the voters have just rewarded him? As for learning on the job, Henry Kissinger wrote that high office “consumes intellectual capital; it does not create it. Most high officials leave office with the perceptions and insights with which they entered.”
Patrick Healy and Maggie Haberman report at The New York Times:
Mr. Trump, in a telephone interview, compared his candidacy to hit Broadway shows and championship baseball teams, saying that success begot success and that he would be foolish to change his behavior now.

“You win the pennant and now you’re in the World Series — you gonna change?” Mr. Trump said. “People like the way I’m doing.”

He argued that he stood a better chance of inspiring voters in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania if he was his authentic self, rather than shifting from populist outsider to political insider to please a relative handful of Republican elites who are part of the establishment he has railed against for months. He said his huge rallies, where outbursts of violence and racist taunts have vexed many Republican leaders, and his attacks against adversaries on Twitter and in television interviews would continue because he believes Americans admire his aggressive, take-charge style.
MAY 15 UPDATE.  Isaac Arnsdorf reports at Politico:
Donald Trump doesn't need to change his rhetoric or tone to win in a general election, his senior adviser said Sunday morning.
Trump already appeals to a broader electorate, drawing crossover Democrats and independents, Paul Manafort told CNN's Jake Tapper. Manafort said Speaker Paul Ryan, in his meeting with Trump last week, did not pressure the presumptive nominee to act more presidential.

"There's no reason for Donald Trump to change," Manafort said.