One of the things that drives many Trump supporters wild is when he attacks people who attack him. Much of the time, his targets choose to go after him at the same level, which is a mistake because it usually is shooting down. Trump’s insults are rarely substantive, but vague impressions (Lyin’ Ted, Crooked Hillary, Disgusting Kasich) along with ludicrous charges interwoven with legitimate complaints. Most of the time, anyone Trump doesn’t like is judged a “loser” or about to fail. In some cases, they just aren’t as sexually experienced as Trump. At least he hasn’t used that insult on Hillary Clinton yet.
Negative campaigning is an unfortunate reality of the political process. It does not sway voters, but discourages voters from coming out for a candidate they had been considering by tarnishing their image. At the same time, it is an effective method to contrast one candidate’s qualities with another’s. Since it is a toxic weapon, most political candidates save that vitriol for advertisements that distance them from the attacks. Trump does not, and it is what’s currently dragging down his aspirations to appear presidential.
Everyone on the Trump Train is planning for an election season where the omnipresence of Trump talking about Benghazi or the Clinton Foundation will educate ignorant voters into choosing him over Clinton. The fact is, however, that these undecideds are dumb and relatively few. They go on impressions and media analysis. Even though Hillary Clinton is a lying monster, when she gives speeches, she sounds reasonable and presidential to the uninitiated. Trump’s attacks have an effective level of a couple of months. That’s long enough to get the nomination, but not to win the presidency.
I know the Trump people are deluding themselves, I’ve done it for a few losing Republican years myself. When Trump comes up close to even with Clinton is swing states, those numbers are worthless. The Democrats can point to 2-3 big cities in each state, run some ads about how Trump hates non-whites and bus people into early voting stations to drive turnout sky high. Trump has to decimate Clinton and he needs to get along with Republicans to do it. Instead, supporters would rather call me an idiot and spend all their time framing the Lewandowski firing into a use less diatribe about how this won’t help Michelle Fields’ career anyway. Who in the hell cares? This is about the future of the country.