Not So Smart

Donald Trump can say anything and won’t lose voters. To win in November, however, he must appeal to new voters.

Yesterday, the NYTimes reported that during a conference call with former governors and senators, Trump described some of his campaign team as being “not so smart” for suggesting his supporters should stop criticizing Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel (judge in the Trump University class action case) and stop blaming the Indiana native’s Mexican heritage as the reason he released previously sealed documents related to the case.

Rebuking his staff–and the long list of Republicans “leaders” who have begrudgingly endorsed him but immediately tried to run from him when he started attacking the judge–Trump said they all should keep claiming Judge Curiel is against Trump because Curiel’s parents are from Mexico. Trump instructed his followers (and endorsers?) to keep accusing reporters of being “racists” for asking questions

Quote in the NYTimes.com:

It was a breathtaking display of Mr. Trump’s belittlement of his own team on a call with former governors and senators, as well as others supporting his candidacy.

I understand–at least in theory–that people of all beliefs have cognitive biases that are nearly impossible to dislodge. Their beliefs are so embedded they react to any challenge to their way of thinking with a “backfire effect”–they dig their heels in even more.

But when Trump rebukes and belittles his staff and the elected officials who are the “boots on the ground” of a presidential election–because they won’t ignore the Constitution they’ve sworn to protect and defend–it is time to accept the fact that he is exploring new territory of the absurd.

Of all the unbelievable things  Donald Trump has said during the past few months, one of them is now believable. He said it in January, before the Iowa caucus:

“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

Donald Trump can say anything and won’t lose voters. To win in November, however, he must appeal to new voters. I don’t believe he can attract enough to be elected President. Or, perhaps I am exhibiting a cognitive bias by believing that.

Or maybe I’m just not so smart.