According to multiple news organizations, Paul Manafort, 's (R) new campaign chief, told the Republican National Committee that his candidate's incendiary style and anti-establishment populist rhetoroic was little more than an act. Manafort, who has done well for himself in business involving the corporate interests and foreign governments that Trump has spent months attacking, said it is time for Trump to adopt a new persona and that "the part that he has been playing is evolving."
I predict that well before Election Day, some of Trump's supporters will realize they have been bamboozled by his anti-establishment performance in recent months. If Manafort was truly representing Trump, what he is saying is that his candidate isn't really running against the establishment - he wants to lead the establishment! To Trump supporters, be warned.
Remember the "new Nixon"? Get ready for the new Trump. Will he campaign as the fellow who praised (D) for 25 years, or the fellow who attacks her today? Will he campaign as the man who said Clinton was an excellent secretary of State, or the man who said she was the worst secretary of State in history? Will he campaign as the candidate who champions vets, or the candidate who made fun of American prisoners-of-war by saying he prefers "people who weren't captured," as he said when referring to Sen. (R-Ariz.)?
Will a new Trump revert to his decades of agreeing with Sen. (Vt.) in support of single-payer healthcare, and revert to defending Clinton against unfair attacks, as he did during his decades of praising her!
Democrats are joyous about the overwhelming odds that Trump will receive the GOP nomination. According to the summary of polling from RealClearPolitics, Clinton, the likely nominee, would wallop Trump by margins approaching 10 percentage points. My guess is that she will wallop whichever version of Trump comes next!
Behind the scenes, many Republican congressional leaders, Republican governors, and major Republican donors have largely given up any hope of dislodging Trump as nominee and have privately written off any hope of stopping him, though they will deny it.
Most Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress believe the Democrats could well make huge gains in House and Senate elections with Trump as the Republican nominee.
The open letter from Republican national security leaders warning of the dangers of a Trump presidency has now grown to over 120 signers and names continue to be added. Many of these signers refuse to support Trump as the Republican nominee; some are so alarmed by the prospect of a Trump presidency that they will be voting for Clinton.
Will the new Trump continue to describe NATO as "obsolete," promise to order troops to commit acts of torture, and speak about the arguments in favor of Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Japan obtaining the nuclear bomb? Or will the new establishmentarian Trump concede that he was wrong and the widespread condemnation of these policies throughout the Republican and Democratic national security communities was right?
Will the new Trump agree with the late President Ronald Reagan that nations south of our border should be respected and that immigration law should be rational and humane, confess that Hispanic immigrants should not be slandered as murderers and rapists with language that would appall Reagan, and withdraw his fantasy of building a new version of the Berlin Wall on the U.S.-Mexico border? Or will the new Trump really be the old Trump, poorly disguised?
Reagan established what he called the "11th Commandment": "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican." Will the new Trump respect Reagan's 11th Commandment, or continue insults such as "Little Marco" for Sen. (R-Fla.) or "lyin' Ted" for Sen. (R-Texas)?
Look for Trump to become the nominee of the GOP, which is now close to inevitable. And if a new Trump replaces the old Trump, and his script changes from attacking the establishment to revealing he wants to lead it, look for some of his most fervent supporters to take a second look and conclude they have been sold a bill of goods.
Look for a growing number of Republicans to make it publicly known that they favor Clinton over Trump. They fear the damage to their party and our country that they believe would be caused by the old Trump, and they will not be any more trusting of the new Trump - if indeed there is one.
If Manafort's phrasing at the Republican National Committee truly represents the new Donald Trump that is coming, Hillary Clinton look like a pillar of authenticity by comparison. The new Trump will remind voters of the old Richard Nixon and a Democratic landslide will come to pass.Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at [email protected]