How Mr. Trump can counter the Clinton “He’s Unfit” strategy

The forces arrayed are shadowy, determined, VERY well financed and willing to do anything to win. That is nothing new and we are used to fighting (and winning!) on that front. We will prevail.

 Mr. Trump is a first time candidate. There is no school or series of courses that he can take to prepare him for being a candidate. It is stressful, complicated, filled with contradictions and utterly unique.

Even an immensely successful man or woman in ordinary life finds out that running for office is totally different than anything he or she may have done before.

Because we usually nominate someone from the political class, this learning curve is almost never evident and we have gotten used to that. Not so here and Trump will have a few more rocky moments.

The thing to remember is that he is triumphing over these moment and none of them are fatal. 95 days to the election is an eternity. The fact that he is not from the political class is part of his strength and attraction.

As for what I suggest he should do – I think that he should take a two or three day retreat at Mar-a-Lago with his whole staff and few (very few) supporters like Newt, and Mayor Giuliani and Reince Priebus. His relatively new staff can engage in some very important team building in a relaxed environment.

Also, Mr. Trump can get some rest (which I doubt he is getting a full share of now) and get to know his staff. Last and most importantly, the older and wiser hands can share knowledge, experience and encouragement.

No one is better than this than Newt. In a semi-relaxed environment with Newt for two days, Mr. Trump’s staff will come out like tigers, ready to run and win with great ideas, experiences, knowledge and most importantly, confidence.

Mr. Trump should come out of such a retreat with three things on his plate.

First, he has to humbly remember and constantly state that he is the leader of a movement and that movement is not his creation. He did not pick us; we picked him and are still very glad we did.

He has the responsibility to serve us and the nation, not the other way around. I think that he really feels this way but sometimes it does not always come out that way. The movement is a source of strength – he should be constantly aware of it.

Second, he must stay on message. It’s trite and can be boring but, just at the point a candidate is absolutely sure no is listening anymore and is bored with the message, it is exactly at that moment that they are only starting to listen.

“Make America Great Again,” “Build the Wall,” and “jobs, jobs, jobs” should be worked into every paragraph and sentence he utters. First time candidates need to learn this and Mr. Trump is getting there.  

Next, personal invective has to be given up entirely. It sounds whiny and he looks like a bully when responding. Obama learned this with “Joe the Plumber,” and Mr. Trump has hopefully learned this with Mr. Khan.

Gov. Huckabee accurately observed, “If you can’t stand the sight of your own blood, get out of politics.” It is so true and first timers have to learn this. It is not obvious that a candidate does not always punch back – and when he does it had better be in his own weight class.

Last (and this one is hard) he should step away from the twitter.

Mr. Trump should not stop tweeting; he should just let one of his able communications people physically do it for him. Mr. Trump can tell them a raw message and then they will translate a little and send it for him. Like me, Mr. Trump speaks a kind of “urban-ese” which is not always clear to non-big city folk.

No one is suggesting that he should be edited, just that his thoughts should be expressed completely so that he can effectively communicate. However well anyone speaks, if he is not being correctly understood, he has failed.

We all can take a lesson here but Twitter is a disaster waiting to happen in the unedited hands of a politician – especially a new one. My friend in communications in Chicago, Kathy P., told me an old saw that is great: “Say it and forget it, write it and regret it.”

He should just bark twitterisms to his communications people and let them write it. They are the communications pros and they should be left to do their jobs.

Just some thoughts for Mr. Trump. I’ll be back to you next week. We are going to win – Take Heart!

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