Trump Needs our Patience Because he is a First Time Candidate

Holding and running for federal office are disciplines which are not the instinctually easy tasks that they appear to be.  Trump is on an unusual learning curve and he is making bumpy but good progress.

We are so exposed to the process that we feel free to observe events, explain actions and predict outcomes with a certainty and assuredness usually reserved to practitioners and other experts.  

As a former federal elective office holder, let me assure all reading this, most Americans are really not experts.  Running for and holding public office is both much harder than is readily plain to the ordinary American.  

Even those close to the flame - the staff and managers of candidates - really do not understand the pressures, requirements and needs of a candidate.  These folks are indispensable but they are not experienced in the real moment.  

Mr. Trump is going through predictable mistakes of a first time candidate and will "shape-up" quicker than anyone is now predicting.  

Imbued with exciting and relatively good press in New York and that associated with his entertainment ventures, Mr. Trump has become a long-time reader of his own press.  Every first time candidate reads his own press voraciously and pours over every word and phrase.  

I remember being poleaxed for half of every day most every day of the first few months of my campaign in '94, parsing every written word and attitude of a reporter.  What a waste of time that was but I had to go through it.  Mr. Trump is no exception to the rule.  

By now he has learned that the political press is always critical, almost always only half correct and absolutely always harder on Rs than on Ds.  

I remember a day in early '95 when Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell from Colorado came to the Republican Conference to talk with us.  He was a longtime D and had just switched parties.  He announced that he had not believed all of the Rs who for years had complained of the inequality of the press coverage until he switched.  He observed that overnight he had switched from a thoughtful moderate to a right-wing nut just by changing parties.  

Mr. Trump has been pilloried by even "friendly" press for a month or so now and yet is still in striking distance in the polls.  Now, he should be able to put down the papers and do his work without reading them.  It is a hard habit to break but there is nothing like an incessant wave of critical and largely "pile-on" press to make you put it down permanently.  

Reagan was famous for never reading his own press.  A great habit I commend to Mr. Trump.  

Another is being glib with the press.  They are looking for a chance to show a candidate up and they will goad him into a silly statement if they can.  

I have several stories myself which I survived but a more famous one is provided by President Obama.  Just after he was elected (only his second run for federal office), he observed that someone of interest was "special like the Special Olympics."  

Being a D and a liberal he was only mildly upbraided for this but it was a gaffe that brought out all of the press for comment.  It was news for almost a week until he apologized.  

The lesson: stay on script and apologize quickly.  Americans will forgive absolutely anything but do insist on an apology.  An apology is also a great opportunity to explain that the process is new to the candidate and is a sign of growth.  

Last for today: never box out of your class.  Mr. Trump took on the Khans.  

Now, we now know the whole sorry story of the Khans and their true allegiances but Mr. Trump could have saved a week of being savaged in the press if he had sent someone in their weight class out to do battle with them instead.  His own Gold Star Mothers would have been a great choice.  

Being proved right does not make the fight OK.  

I am reminded of Mr. Obama blasting "Joe the Plumber" on the campaign trail as one who wasn't paying his fair share and someone who needed to give some more to the federal government to be shared out.  

In this Obama never apologized and it dragged on for a couple of weeks and really impaired his campaign during that time.  Clearly, Obama needed to learn the "quick apology" rule at that time.  More so, he did learn the "never box out of your class" rule better.  

There are many other first time mistakes involving: staffing; misplaced loyalties; over-estimating your own powers; trying to manage everything; not getting sufficient sleep, exercise and good nutrition; and several others.  

I believe that Mr. Trump has overcome these already or will shortly.  We are on a good track over the past week and are moving steadily forward.  

Remember, hang tough, work hard and we're gonna win!!  

(You know we are doing OK when the "comedy" shows start to call Mr. Trump really bad names which has begun in earnest this week - the main stream media and their popular culture allies are more afraid than the NY Times will let on).

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