“All the World’s a Stage”
The Washington Post has just published a story about a closed Republican meeting where his chief strategist, Paul Manafort, tells party leaders that the boorish demeanor that has attracted so many of this supporters was all an act:
“He gets it,” Manafort told RNC members. “The part that he’s been playing is now evolving into the part that you’ve been expecting. The negatives will come down, the image is going to change, but ‘Crooked Hillary’ is still going to be ‘Crooked Hillary.’”
Who is the real Donald Trump? He is betting that his supporters think they know: the wall-builder, the anti-Muslim, anti-feminist, anti-affirmative action, anti-free trade rabble-rouser.
This confirms what most political observers have thought: that Trump is not a wild man, but rather a calculating salesman who has figured out what he needs to say and do in order to attract support from the alienated white base of the Republican Party. Having sold himself to that constituency, he will now assume a new, more “presidential” role. That was already on view yesterday when he condemned North Carolina’s new law that prohibits trans-gender persons from using public restrooms that don’t correspond to the sex on their birth certificates. He threw down the gauntlet, and Ted Cruz picked it up.
Who is the real Donald Trump? He is betting that his supporters think they know: the wall-builder, the anti-Muslim, anti-feminist, anti-affirmative action, anti-free trade rabble-rouser. And it’s quite possible that he’s right that they will cut him some slack to tone down his act and move to the center. Many Trump supporters, after all, feel that they must always conceal their true feelings, except at Trump rallies. So, they think they know who he really is, and they will have his back as he moves to the center.
But it is equally possible that the real Trump will betray the base just like generations of Republican leaders back to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. His natural habitat, after all, is not the working class bar, it’s the Park Avenue salon.
He probably has his valet give him a scented bath after every rally, to get rid of the smell of the losers who’ve been hailing his sales pitch.