Appearing on Fox Business Network and Fox & Friends Tuesday morning to discuss his plan, Trump was clearly trying to kickstart his stalled campaign. He compared his tax cut to Reagan’s, warned that we’re in a “bubble,” and basically made the case that he was the candidate to Make America Filthy Rich Again. But more than anything Trump’s media blitz was a reminder that he is still stuck in May, both strategically and psychologically.
A few months ago, it looked like Trump could break with the Paul Ryan wing of the party. Trump was winning bigly in the primaries, which gave him the flexibility to propose whatever policies he felt like. That’s not the case anymore. If the election were held today, FiveThirtyEight says he has a less than 5 percent chance of winning. So Trump is forced to do in August what traditional campaigns do in the early summer: unite the party. Hence the plan, which was heavy on supply-side policies.
But in an interview with Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo, Trump also revealed that he hasn’t quite adjusted to the new environment. Asked if he feels he needs to make changes because he’s losing, Trump responded by saying that winners don’t change:
This is an insane thing to say in the middle of a general election campaign. Anyone with a passing familiarity with presidential elections knows that a candidate’s job after winning a primary is to broaden his appeal. Trump got fewer than 15 million votes in the primaries; Barack Obama won the 2012 election with 66 million. But Trump is someone who needs constant positive reinforcement—he needs to be reminded of the fact that he is a winner on a minute-by-minute basis. That’s the only explanation for a statement like this: After a catastrophic three-week period, Trump is desperately clinging to the last time he was a winner, which was three months ago.