Trump is Playing it Right in the Press and in the “Wards” – Keep it Up!

All first time candidates have something new to face every day.  Mr. Trump has mastered the fundamentals and the essentials of the run but the endgame looms and I have a few points of advice.

He has learned to use the media as opposed to letting the media use him.  In the entertainment space, the media and Mr. Trump had the same goal – ratings, so, they could “work together.”  

The political media and Mr. Trump decidedly do not have the same goal and he now knows and fully understands that fact.  It has been a long and hard haul up the learning curve, but now he knows it and knows it well.  

Yesterday’s use of the elite media to showcase his military support was simply awesome.  He called a presser to ostensibly talk about his birther stance and they all came hoping that he would tank himself again.  Instead, they got 30 minutes of Mr. Trump preening his military support and one sentence just before closing about how Obama was indeed born in the USA.  Hilarious!  

Hillary had done the same thing earlier in the campaign to great applause when she called a presser to talk about US foreign policy and, instead had a 30 minute rant about how Trump was unqualified to be president.  The press loved it, carried it live on every station and congratulated her for weeks.  

However, when Trump did the exact same bait-and-switch yesterday, he was excoriated as a huckster and liar.  The whining press was delightful to watch.  They just do not get that most Americans revel in their pain.  In the United States, using the media is only slightly less interesting than stories about stealing from the mob – a generally bad thing but a fascinating public good when it works.  

He has got the fundamentals down pat.  

However, the end game looms and Mr. Trump will not have won until after the last polls close on November 8.  So here are a few pointers on winning.  It is not a natural state of affairs and requires a little disciplined effort while thoroughly enjoying the ride.  

First, do not let your guard down.  It is easy to become complacent with the press and detractors not to mention the troubles plaguing the other side but vigilance has to be the Trump campaign watchword.  It is easy to become tired, loose and easy and to start “measuring the drapes.”  

The Trump Campaign must run like he was two points behind whatever the polls say – otherwise he will absolutely slip behind.  It doesn’t always make sense but it is as true as the dawn and vigilance will see him safely over the finish line.  

Second, do not be so quick to let the #NeverTrumpers aboard.  I made this mistake in ’94 by letting all of the Republican Party guys aboard my huge win in the end after spending months fighting them (as well as the press and the Ds).  It was a mistake.  I let them aboard one week out and I wish I hadn’t.  

They were no help in ’96 and were glad to run away then to show the press how politically astute they were.  But, in ’94 they rode on my victory as if they mattered and regarded my efforts as being lucky to have them.  

At the last, Mr. Trump had fought every one of the #NeverTrumpers down the line and he should not let them aboard – at least not easily.  Let them contritely come to the Trump Transition Team after the election and ask to be a part of the government.  At that time, Mr. Trump should say yes to some and no to most.  They should sweat a little.  It will be good for them and better for Mr. Trump.  

Third, overcome the natural, human tendency to make friends and minimize conflict.  People who have mocked the campaign, opposed the campaign and written ill of the campaign will now pretend that they didn’t and try to make friends with the campaign.  They will lie, cheat and push to the front of every line.  

Avoid these people – especially if they are from DC.  They will sell an off-moment comment or intimate moment to anyone who will buy.  Gossip is the currency of DC and campaigns that are wining have lots of loose talk – the campaign must stamp this out now while they still have their heads about them.  

Last, the press is not now nor will they ever be a friend to an R campaign.  Mr. Trump need do nothing about this; he just needs to know it and to respect it.  The press need not be treated like lepers but they are not Mr. Trump’s friend either (however much they seem to enjoy mussing his hair).  If he treats them at arm’s length, he’ll be fine.  

It is going great and We’re Gonna Win.

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