The recent spate of terror attacks in Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York by two alleged Muslim terrorists played right into Donald Trump’s hands. “I called it,” gloated the Republican presidential nominee.
He blasted the American health care system for treating the wounded suspected criminal, Ahmad Khan Rahami, and castigated the American justice system for offering him free legal aid.
Not to be outdone, Donald Trump Jr compared Syrian refugees to “(poisoned) Skittles that would kill you!”
Islamist terrorism anywhere, especially here in the US, is great news for the Trump campaign. Opposition to immigration, both legal and illegal, and barring Muslims from entering America are the cornerstones of Trump’s campaign.
After every San Bernardino, Orlando, and New York-New Jersey-Minnesota, Trump reminds Americans that he was right about Muslim immigrants posing a threat to America.
More and more Americans are now nodding their heads in agreement. If a few more Islamist terrorist attacks are perpetrated before election day on November 8, Donald Trump will be elected the next POTUS.
Like his 16 opponents in the Republican primary, Hillary Clinton is running a conventional campaign against the unconventional Trump.
Jeb Bush blew over $100 million on television ads attempting to take down Trump. It failed miserably. Because Donald Trump succeeded in securing billions of dollars of free ad time by being on television 24-hours a day.
These days, while Hillary Clinton is absent from the campaign trail (and television) several days a week, raising funds for more 30-second TV ads, Trump is omnipresent on television pitching his message for free.
Hillary Clinton’s message is: “Trump is too dangerous and temperamentally unfit to be president.” Americans are coming to the conclusion that if Trump is good enough to be on television 24-hours a day, he cannot be that dangerous or that temperamentally unfit.
She has set the bar so low for Trump that he will have little difficulty scaling it in the first presidential debate on September 26. To counter Clinton’s portrayal of him as a boisterous bully, Trump will simply tone down his rhetoric and soften his voice during the debate to show Americans that he really is a nice and reasonable fellow.
Trump did exactly that during his visit to Mexico last month. He launched his campaign by calling illegal Mexican immigrants rapists, criminals, and drug dealers.
However, sharing the podium with the Mexican president in Mexico City, Trump was deferential, a personification of humility, and called Mexicans “great people” and boasted about hiring many of them.
That clearly was an attempt to show Americans that he was not an anti-Latino bigot. Back in Phoenix, a couple of hours later, Trump was back to bluster, boasting about the great wall he was going to build along the US-Mexican border.
Trump also did an about-face on the Birther Issue last week. After peddling the lie for five years that Obama was not born in the US, was not a US citizen, and hence his presidency is illegal, Trump read out a seven-second statement that said: “President Barack Obama was born in the US. Period.”
That was an attempt to mollify African-Americans who bristled at his suggestion that President Obama was not a US citizen, given America’s racist history that denied its blacks US citizenship for over 200 years.
Political expediency is at the core of such “outreach” to African-Americans and Latinos by Trump. Many whites do not want to vote for a racist bigot.
Trump launched his campaign by calling illegal Mexican immigrants rapists, criminals, and drug dealers. However, sharing the podium with the Mexican president in Mexico City, Trump was deferential, a personification of humility, and called Mexicans ‘great people’
By softening his rhetoric and tone about the minorities, Trump is providing cover to those whites who do not want to vote for a racist.
It has nothing to do with reaching out to blacks or Latinos.
While Trump excites his supporters, who are willing to wait in line, rain or snow, for hours to listen to him, Hillary puts her supporters to sleep.
The strongest part of her resume -- her tenure as the secretary of state -- has now become a liability because of the e-mail scandal.
Compared to Trump’s catchy slogan “Make America Great Again,” Hillary and her pedestrian slogan “Stronger Together” are uninspiring.
No one is talking about electing the first female president of the US anymore. Hillary Clinton’s support among the millennials has dropped alarmingly.
Since the millennials have lived under the presidency of an African-American president for the last eight years, for them, electing the first female president is no big deal.
The “Obama coalition” that turned out in droves for President Obama in 2008 and 2012 is slowly deserting Hillary Clinton. They are either turning to independent candidate Gary Johnson, or joining the ranks of the independents.
There is no such leakage of support among the Trump supporters. They stand rock-solid behind their candidate. Although Trump is not picking up those voters who are leaving Hillary, because Hillary is losing supporters, Trump is drawing ever closer to Hillary in the polls and the Electoral College vote projections.
Since writing my last piece, Nevada has moved into the Republican column. Only Pennsylvania and Virginia among the toss up state still remain in Hillary’s column. According to Nate Silver, Clinton’s chance of winning has nose-dived from a high of 89% to 56% in seven weeks.
Things are so desperate for Hillary Clinton that over the last week both President Obama and Hillary Clinton made campaign stops in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where things had turned so rosy for her two months earlier.
The good news for Hillary Clinton is that she still has a slight lead in the polls and Electoral College projections.
Worried that the Obama legacy is at stake, President Obama has decided to campaign for Clinton for two days a week in October. The bad news is that the president’s personal popularity is not transferable to Hillary.
The picture is looking brighter for Trump every day.
If the current trend continues, and Trump keeps listening to his advisors, remains on script, and commits no blunders during the debates, and Hillary Clinton does not change her strategy and become more visible, Donald Trump has nearly as much chance of being elected the next US president as Hillary Clinton.
Fakhruddin Ahmed is a Rhodes Scholar.