30 reasons why Trump’s staff shake-up is too late
State of the 2016 Race
A column for The Hill analyzing the current state of the 2016 presidential race.
Can GOP nominee Donald Trump’s second staff shake-up in two months turn this race around?
1. Until the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, this is now the most crucial time period in the 2016 presidential campaign.
2. The question hangs in the air: Has Trump already committed political suicide over the past three-and-a-half months?
3. Has Trump so damaged himself in the eyes of independents, women, moderates, voters of color, the young and even many Republicans that a shift to reading scripted speeches on a TelePrompTer will not undo the damage?
4. That is the last remaining question about the 2016 race – until the debates, when an entire new range of questions will surface.
5. Radical staff changes such as Trump’s latest — which is even more radical that the replacement of Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski in June — only happen when a campaign is off-track and in dire trouble.
6. For example, can you recall any staff changes in President Obama’s operations in 2008 or 2012?
7. That’s because there weren’t any; those two campaigns were well-run from the top down — with candidate discipline, proper delegation of responsibilities and benchmark goals.
8. Until today, the Trump campaign has been a mismanaged mess.
9. In fact, there has been no campaign.
10. It has been based upon the fact that Trump believes it’s all about the candidate.
11. Thus, the Trump operation basically has no field operations, no data collection, no voter turnout model, no GOTV (get out the vote) plans for November; not enough money (can you believe that in a campaign for the supposedly richest candidate ever to run for office in this nation’s history?).
12. Only now — with the polls showing him a likely big loser on Nov. 8 — has The Donald decided to shift his approach.
13. So the questions are: Will this change work? Or is it already too late?
14. Will voters who have already decided that they don’t like or trust or believe in Trump now at least take another look at him?
15. Or is the damage too great, over too much time?
16. The Trump campaign’s newest line is that the voters don’t really focus on the race until the day after Labor Day.
17. That may be the traditional way voters used to look at the presidential race — but 2016 is a different animal.
18. The mega-ratings for the 2015 GOP debates — and the huge 2016 GOP primary turnout — indeed demonstrate an unprecedented interest in this race.
19. In other words, the voters are already dialed in and paying a lot of attention.
20. My guess is that the cake is already baked, and that Trump’s over-the-top and outrageous behavior and statements over the past 14 months cannot and will not be canceled out by a suddenly more-disciplined candidate awkwardly reading scripted speeches.
21. And that there is a penalty for a candidate who thinks he or she knows more than anyone else.
22. That a candidate who eschews traditional campaign components — field activities, GOTV, data collection, TV ads etc. — will pay a severe price on Election Day.
23. But — more than all of the above — a candidate who purposely denigrates large swaths of our citizenry is doomed to lose at the ballot box. Period.
24. Even against a severely flawed candidate in Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who has awful polling numbers on trustworthiness and honesty.
25. But it could be that the voters figure that all politicians are dishonest and untrustworthy, and thus these flaws don’t cripple Clinton as much as Trump’s odd, seemingly mean and malicious temperament hurts him.
26. In other words, voters know she is a crook, but they have come to believe that The Donald is actually crazy.
27. And they’re holding their noses as they vote for the crook over the crazy man, even in a year when they do want to change things in Washington.
28. To them, Trump and what he offers is too out-of-the box, too unpredictable. Too risky.
29. Boy, Hillary Clinton must thank her lucky stars that she drew Donald Trump as her opponent.
30. As any regular Republican would be — and should be — leading her by 10 percentage points in the polls.
LeBoutillier is a former Republican congressman from New York and is the co-host of “Political Insiders” on Fox News Channel, Sunday nights at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. He writes semi-regular pieces in the Contributors section on the “State of the 2016 Race.”
The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.
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