A few weeks ago, I mused about the nature of a "strong" candidate, and what makes a presidential candidate better at appealing to voters than others. I posed two hypotheses about Donald Trump: 1) he is a brilliant campaigner, whose primary campaign was carefully and strategically crafted for the preferences of Republican primary voters, or 2) Trump is the equivalent of a talentless pop star whose offensively bad music happens to fit the mercurial and philistine tastes of 13 year olds during one particular month, thereby getting famous on the basis of dumb luck.
The question would be answered by whether or not Trump changes in dramatic ways when the contest moves to the general election. Apparently not. In yesterday's post, I suggested that Trump bashing the judge on the "Trump University" case for being "Mexican" might be a Todd Akin-"legitimate rape" moment. That remains to be seen. As of now, the polling average at RealClearPolitics still shows a narrow Clinton lead, but we'll see if that opens up at all when the public has time to digest Trump's latest.
Regardless, the incident answers the question about Trump. Was his primary schtick really just schtick, or just who he is? Think of this from a lawyer's perspective-- specifically, the lawyer defending Trump in the "Trump University" lawsuit. What would a responsible lawyer do if his or her client gave a televised speech, bashing the judge in the case for being "Mexican," and asserting that only white people could serve as judges on his cases. An intelligent lawyer would drop the client unless being paid a truly Sanders-seizure-inducing amount of money. And even then... Bashing the judge in this way is basically the dumbest thing a client can possibly do. First of all, any intelligent lawyer will tell clients never to discuss on on-going trial in public. Second, don't go out of your way to antagonize the judge. Third, REALLY don't do that on racial/ethnic grounds.
Nothing about Trump is strategic. The way he is handling the "Trump University" lawsuit is beyond stupid. Next, we get to find out what happens when one party nominates a presidential candidate who has the self discipline of a puppy with ADHD.