Thursday, May 26, 2016

Clinton's "Mistake"

As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton nears her goal of securing the Democratic presidential nomination she once again is testing the loyalty of even her most ardent supporters.  A State Department inspector general report, released Wednesday, found that she had not sought permission to use a private email server while she was in office, contradicting her explanation that she has repeated throughout her campaign.   

The report is damning, noting that she had "a personal obligation to discuss using her email account to conduct official business," but there was no evidence she sought or received approval from the State Department.  The State investigation also was critical of Clinton's handling of emails under the Federal Records Act after she stepped down.  While she later turned over thousands of emails, she had thousands more she considered personal destroyed.  The government has now determined that more than 100 emails Clinton sent contain classified information.  

Meanwhile, an FBI investigation into her email use continues, as well as other legal challenges, which all casts a dark cloud over her ongoing campaign.   Clinton has repeatedly said that other Secretaries of State used a private email address.  The State report found that Secretary of State Colin Powell, who served in President George W. Bush's first term, said he used a private address for unclassified emails.  But at least two emails sent to him have now been marked classified.  

The report also points out that the email rules were clarified before Clinton became Secretary of State to not allow the use of a private server because of "significant security risks."   In November 2010, her deputy chief of operations recommended "putting you on State email" to shield her email from spam.  She responded that she would consider using a separate address, but "I don't want any risk of the personal being accessible."  The report says Clinton was sent a memo in 2011 warning of hackers trying to access private email accounts, and that she was given a personal briefing on the issue.  

Why would the Secretary of State, who should know the rules of her department, seek to use a private server?  In March 2015, Clinton told CNN, "I opted for convenience to use my personal account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two."  She continued, "Looking back, it would have been better if I'd simply used a second email account and carried a second phone, but at the time, this didn't seem like an issue."   This effort to minimize the issue flies in the face of State Department rules.  While the State report found that neither Clinton nor Powell was directly told to end their personal email, there were plenty of warnings.

The FBI is looking into whether Clinton mishandled government information, which could result in criminal charges.  The investigation reportedly centers on the failure to preserve government records and exposing government information to security risks.   Clinton and her top aides are expected to be interviewed by the FBI in the near future.   Clinton has described the FBI investigation as a "security inquiry."  But FBI Director James Comey said he wasn't familiar with that term, instead calling it an investigation and adding that there is no external deadline.  "I remain close to that investigation to make sure that it's done well and has the resources that are needed," he continued, "My goal in any investigation it to do it well and to do it promptly."   

Meanwhile, Republicans immediately capitalized on the State Department findings.  "This report underscores what we already know about Hillary Clinton: she simply cannot be trusted," House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement.   Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House oversight committee, responded in a statement.  "While Secretary Clinton preserved and returned tens of thousands of pages of her emails to the Department for public release, Secretary Powell has returned none."  The statement concluded, "Republicans need to stop wasting taxpayer dollars singling out Secretary Clinton just because she is running for President."

The ultimate impact of Clinton's email controversy on her campaign will not be known until the FBI announces its findings.  There is no question that the controversy plays right into the widely held perception that Clinton is not trustworthy.   The presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump, is making the most of Clinton's troubles.  He has branded her "Crooked Hillary," and he told a rally Wednesday night, "She's as crooked as they come, she had a little bad news today."  However, recent polls show that Trump is even more unpopular than Clinton.   And Trump's bullying, erratic behavior and outrageous statements have caused many Republicans to cautiously embrace his candidacy, and others to hold off on their endorsements. 

While it may be nearly impossible for Clinton's Democratic opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, to overtake her in the delegate count, he has pledged to take his fight to the Democratic Convention. A new poll, taken before the State Department report was released,  shows Sanders has closed the gap among likely voters in the upcoming California primary.   

Last September, in an effort to quiet the controversy, Clinton told ABC News that her use of private email was a "mistake," adding, "I am sorry about that.  I take responsibility."   Now, nearly one year later, the email controversy continues to gain momentum and roil her campaign.   And the FBI has not yet spoken.  

Monday, May 9, 2016

Republican Crisis Management

Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, many party stalwarts are so upset with the billionaire businessman that they are considering backing an independent party candidate.   Others believe that the party will take a such a severe shellacking at the polls in November with Trump that the party could lose control of Congress.   

Trump himself put Republicans on notice Sunday in an interview on ABC when he said,  "This is called the Republican Party, it's not called the Conservative Party."  Trump later added, "I think it would be better if it were unified...there would be something good about it, but I don't think it actually has to be unified in the traditional sense."  The question for many Republicans is how can they embrace a candidate who is not a true conservative, and whose extensive use of personal attacks has dragged the campaign into the gutter?

Conservative commentator William Kristol says the answer is don't support Trump.  Kristol called Trump unqualified for the presidency, on CNBC Monday, because of his lack "character and temperament."   While ruling out voting for Democrat Hillary Clinton, Kristol said, "We don't need a binary choice.  The system is set up to allow independent candidates to get on the ballot." Actually, he is misinformed on the last point.  For instance, the Texas deadline for independent candidates to file an application to be included on the November ballot is Monday, May 9.  And the application, "must contain 79,939 signatures of registered voters who did not vote in the presidential primary of either party." 

Kristol met in Washington last week with former GOP standard-barer Mitt Romney to discuss the prospects for a third party candidate.  Romney has been critical of Trump's candidacy, but he has said he is not interested in a third party run.  The Washington Examiner reported Romney said he currently could not support either party's candidate.  Nonetheless, he lamented, "I am dismayed at where we are now, I wish we had better choices, and I keep hoping that somehow things will get better, and I just don't see an easy answer from where we are."

Many establishment Republicans have decided to focus their attention on the down-ballot races that may be jeopardized with Trump at the top of the ticket.  Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, in a statement Friday posted on Facebook, said, "In November, I will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but I will support principled conservatives at the state and federal levels, as I have done my entire life."  Neither his brother or father, both former Republican presidents, will endorse Trump.  Trump called Jeb Bush "dishonorable" for reneging on his pledge to support the GOP candidate.  

The Trump candidacy has left many incumbent Republican Senators and Representatives squirming.  Arizona Senator John McCain, the party's 2008 presidential candidate, in in a tough reelection bid this year in a state with a large Latino population.  McCain, perhaps walking a fine line on Trump, told CNN, "You have to listen to people that have chosen the nominee of our Republican Party."  He concluded, "I think it would be foolish to ignore them."  McCain has stressed he is running his own campaign, but recent polls show he is tied with Democratic opponent Ann Kirkpatrick.

Meanwhile, rhetoric involving Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan has reached the boiling point.  Ryan said last week he is not yet ready to endorse Trump.  Trump supporter and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin told CNN she would work to defeat Ryan by supporting his primary opponent in his Wisconsin district.  Trump is scheduled to meet with Ryan and other party leaders in Washington Thursday, and he has said he would not rule out removing Ryan as the chair of the Republican Convention.  

The ongoing political battles involving Trump and other Republicans are taking attention away from the still unresolved Democratic primary.  They are also unsettling for GOP efforts to raise campaign funds.  Do donors put their money behind Trump, or instead only target down-ballot races?  And while Trump has "expanded" the party base during the primaries, he has also alienated many traditional Republicans. 

Following Thursday's meetings in Washington, no doubt the participants will all say they had a good meeting, and 
that they have agreed to work to unite the party.  But, given the tenor of the Republican campaign, how can they really unite?   Of course, these are politicians.
   

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Biff Trump

Businessman Donald Trump is the Republican Party's presumptive nominee for president,  but can he unite the party?  Now that Texas Senator Ted Cruz has suspended his campaign, can he endorse the man he called a "pathological liar" and "utterly amoral"?  Now that Governor Kasich is suspending his campaign, will the party come together and enthusiastically support its standard-barer?  

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Trump had nothing but praise for the man he only hours earlier called "lying" Ted Cruz.  "He is one tough competitor," Trump said.  "He is a smart tough guy."  But Cruz did not mention Trump's name in his concession speech.  Instead, he positioned himself as the leader of the conservative movement.  "I am not suspending our fight to defend the Constitution, to defend the Judea-Christian values that built America," he said.  "Our efforts will continue and I give you my word that I will continue this fight with all of my strength and all of my ability."

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus is going to have an enormous challenge bringing his party together.  Right after Trump was declared the winner in Indiana Tuesday evening, Preibus tweeted, "@realDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton."  However, the burden of uniting the GOP will fall heaviest on Trump, who told NBC's Today, "I am confident that I can unite much of it."  But he added, "Honestly, there are some people I really don't want.  I don't think it's necessary.  People would be voting for me, they're not voting for the party."

Fortunately for Trump, this is politics, so even his harshest critics within the party will unashamedly put principle aside and endorse him if they believe it helps them in some way.  Who better than the author of The Art of the Deal  to win people over.  But Trump's no holds barred campaign has burned a lot of bridges with large segments of the general population.

For instance, Trump will have to negotiate with Latinos, many of whom he has alienated with his constant attacks on Mexico.  "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," he said in his presidential campaign announcement last June.  "They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us.  They're bringing drugs.  They're bringing crime.  They're rapists.  And some, I assume, are good people," he added.  

Latino groups project at least 13.1 million Hispanics will vote this election compared to about 10 million in 2008.  A record 27.3 million Latinos will be eligible to vote, up from 19.5 million eight years ago.  In a recent national poll of Hispanics conducted by Latino Decisions, 79% of the respondents had a very unfavorable opinion of Trump.   This result is ominous because Republican Mitt Romney received only 27% of the Latino vote in his huge loss to President Barack Obama in 2012.  It is hard to believe that Trump could do as well this November as Romney did four years ago.  And Trump will never reach the 37% mark that President George W. Bush received in his contested victory in 2000.   

Women do not like Trump.  According to a Gallup poll released last month Trump had a 70% unfavorable rating with women as compared to a 23% favorable rating.  Trump has made numerous comments that have outraged women.  Of then opponent Carly Fiorina, Trump said, "Look at that face.  Would anyone vote for that?"  Trump also called for women to be punished for getting abortions in an interview with MSNBC in March, but reversed his position after the firestorm he created.  Overall, Trump is going to have to deal with this problem because considerably more women vote in national elections than do men.   And winning only the white male blue-collar vote is not enough to win the presidency.  

In his Trump tirade Tuesday, Senator Cruz pointed out that the Back to the Future character, Biff Tannen, was based on Trump, a "caricature of a braggadocious, arrogant buffoon."   He concluded, "We are looking, potentially, at the Biff Tannen presidency."

You can never count anyone out, least of all Donald Trump.  And November is a long way off, so anything can happen.  However, if the campaign is limited to debates over woman's issues, foreign policy and actual experience with Congress and the executive branch, likely Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton will have the advantage.  

But Trump is unpredictable and unconventional.  And the battlefield is littered with candidates who thought they could beat him.  Guess Donald Trump is no buffoon.   

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Trump: "Why Would I Change?"

Donald Trump declared himself the Republican Party's "presumptive" presidential nominee following his sweeping victory in Tuesday's primaries.   The large margin of Trump's wins not only makes it nearly impossible to stop him from receiving the GOP nomination, but it also serves as notice to Tuesday's other big winner, Democrat Hillary Clinton, that Trump will be a formidable opponent in the November election.

Trump swept every county in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware, while losing only a small handful of counties in Rhode Island and Connecticut.   The demographic break down of Trump's victories is impressive according to exit polls done in three states.   For instance, in Maryland Trump was the first choice for Republican women, men, conservatives, moderates and every income group.  In Connecticut Trump won all income and education groups, including Republican voters with college degrees.  And in Pennsylvania Trump won among Republican voters who described themselves as angry, anti-establishment and against trade deals.

Trump has received nearly 10 million votes since February's Iowa Caucus, millions more votes than each of his remaining opponents, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich.  Trump needs to secure fewer than 300 delegates to reach the 1237 delegates required to win the nomination in the first ballot of the Republican convention.   Cruz has put all his marbles into winning the Indiana primary next Tuesday, including coordinating with Kasich's campaign, but Trump leads in state polls taken before his blowout victories Tuesday.   Trump has promised to campaign hard to win Indiana. 

The fact that Trump has done so well defies conventional wisdom.  His unconventional presidential campaign stands out for its lack of political correctness and detailed policy positions.  But that is what appeals most to his supporters.   His supporters are angry at leaders of both parties for decades of campaign promises unfulfilled, for endless gridlock and mismanagement.  They have seen manufacturing jobs disappear, the nation's infrastructure crumble and growing income inequality.  Many were devastated as a result of the 2008 market crash, the worst since the Great Depression, and are still struggling.   Meanwhile, they fear immigrants in this country illegally will take jobs and the government will take away their rights. 

Enter Donald Trump, who speaks brashly, bluntly and in a voice that resonates with millions of angry Americans.  His campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again," speaks to a large faction of Republicans and independents who have had it with politics.  It doesn't matter to them that Trump insults Mexicans as rapists, women, Muslims, as well as his opponents and some world leaders.  It doesn't matter that he has flip-flopped on social issues, or that he doesn't seem to have a firm grasp of foreign policy.  His supporters don't care because he will be different than politics as usual, they really believe in outsider Donald Trump, they trust him. 

Yet, according to recent polls, more that 60 per cent of Americans have an unfavorable view of Trump, a number that would be insurmountable for any other candidate in the general election.   He does a bit better among Republicans, even though his negatives are high, much to the chagrin of the GOP establishment, which has been trying to write him off for months.  Last December, conservative writer Bill Kristol Tweeted, "Sticking to my prediction: Trump will win no caucuses or primaries, and will run behind Ron Paul in 2012 in IA and NH." 

Fresh from her victories in 4 of 5 states Tuesday, Hillary Clinton is reaching out to Sanders' supporters and beginning to focus her rhetoric on the national election campaign.  Many Clinton supporters believe that she will easily beat Trump in the presidential election next November.  But not so fast Democrats.  Trump already is shrewdly trying to get Senator Bernie Sanders to run as an independent in order to divide the Democratic vote. 

Clinton, an experienced but flawed candidate, is about to undergo months of relentless and scathing assaults.  Trump will attack her apparent strengths as failures, including her government experience, foreign policy service, leadership on women's issues and support among minorities.  He will attack President Bill Clinton's character, and mock the Clinton's mercilessly.  Trump will insult and bully Hillary Clinton in speeches and political ads in an effort to discourage Democrats and independents from voting for her election day.  Hillary Clinton is going to be in for the fight of her life. 

While it seemed unimaginable nearly a year ago, when he made his campaign announcement,  that Donald Trump could win his party's nomination, it is now possible that Trump could actually win the presidency this November to become the nation's insulter-in-chief.  Unpredictable, undisciplined and unscripted, Trump is dangerous.  After all, as Trump said in his victory speech Tuesday night, "I am me.  Why would I change?"

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Trump-Clinton Landslides

If you can make it in New York -- you will win your party's presidential nomination.  That is the big message following the landslide victories Tuesday by Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.   

Trump trounced his opposition, collecting 60 percent of the Republican primary vote and 89 delegates.  Senator Ted Cruz paid a huge price for mocking "New York values" as he won a mere 14 percent of the vote and zero delegates.  Talk about a Bronx cheer! 

"We don't have much of a race anymore," Trump said in his shorter than usual victory speech Tuesday night at Trump Tower.  As a result of his decisive victory in New York, Trump is all but certain to achieve the required 1237 delegates to win his party's nomination outright on the first ballot at the Republican Convention.  No matter, there is little doubt that he will come close enough to the magic number to fend off any attempts to stop him.  

"The race for the Democratic nomination is in the homestretch and victory is in sight," Hillary Clinton said at her victory rally late Tuesday.  While Hillary Clinton's Democratic victory was nearly as impressive as Trump's, Senator Bernie Sanders was and remains a formidable opponent with a huge passionate following.  Clinton reached out to Sanders' supporters in her remarks, "To all the people who supported Senator Sanders, I believe there is much more that unites us than divides us."

Sanders congratulated Clinton Tuesday night, but told reporters in Burlington, Vermont, "We have a message that is resonating throughout the country."  His explanation for his New York loss was the process.  "Some 3 million New Yorkers were unable to vote (Tuesday) because they had registered as independents, no Democrats or Republicans, and that makes no sense," he said.  

There is no clear path forward for Sanders to the nomination.  Yes, he went from having no name recognition to drawing enormous crowds at his campaign rallies across the country.  Yes, he magically ignited the imagination and support from millions of otherwise disengaged young Americans.  Yes, his progressive voice gave hope to the disenfranchised and the victims of income inequality.  Yes, his anti-Wall Street fervor tapped into a deep-seated frustration in America.  Yes, his anti-war posture reflected the feelings of many in a war-weary nation.   

Sanders has run a brilliant campaign, a campaign that has generated tremendous emotion.  But emotion can hamper clear and practical judgement.  Were Sanders to decide to aggressively continue his attacks on Clinton, especially his negative attacks, he will be playing into the Republican's hands.  He may also make in impossible for some Sanders' supporters to vote for Clinton in the general election.  

On the other hand, Sanders could resume his positive campaigning, speaking out on issues that have shaped his campaign while highlighting his differences with Clinton.   This would be a constructive way to legitimately raise issues without turning his most ardent supporters against Clinton.  And there will come a time in the next few weeks when the Democratic Party will have to unite, just as it did following Barack Obama's nomination in 2008.  

Donald Trump has set his sights on the White House.  He has overcome gaffes,  he has won despite alienating Latinos, Muslims, women, Mexicans, and Fox News anchors.  He has staged a highly entertaining campaign that has drawn enormous crowds, and he has campaigned round-the-clock on Twitter.   Several times Trump has defied pundit predictions of his demise, most recently following his defeat in Wisconsin.  He has done so because he has tapped into the frustrations of millions of Americans who believe Trump is the one who will "make America great again," even though Trump has offered little in the way of details.  

Trump has proven to be a fierce and wily politician who will pose a tremendous challenge for Hillary Clinton.   And he has already started using his "crooked" Hillary Clinton line at rallies.   Trump has already begun to unify the GOP, even though many Republicans don't trust him.   

Yes, presidential candidate Donald Trump will be unpredictable and challenging in the general election.  But he will be near impossible to beat if the Democratic Party is divided, and Sanders' supporters stay home.  Then everything that Sanders believed in will be lost, and decades of progress for progressives will be deleted from history.  

Monday, April 11, 2016

Ted Cruz Closing Strong

Print
Texas Senator Ted Cruz has run a very impressive campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. In fact, it is amazing to see he has done so well give his duplicity and polarizing nature.
Cruz has been shrewd in his approach to securing convention delegates, and he has displayed a keen understanding of each state's rules for winning delegates. Current GOP front-runner Donald Trump exploded into a Twitter rage over the weekend after Cruz won all of Colorado's 37 convention delegates. “The people of Colorado had their vote taken away from them by the phony politicians. Biggest story in politics. This will not be allowed!” Trump tweeted.
Trump has only himself to blame for being outmaneuvered by the man he refers to as "lying Ted." The rules are the rules and they are well known to candidates who do their homework. Last August the Colorado Republican Party announced it would not let voters take part in the nomination process. At the time, the Denver Post reported, “The GOP executive committee has voted to cancel the traditional presidential preference poll after the national party changed its rules to require a state’s delegates to support the candidate that wins the caucus vote.” This begs the question, "If Trump can get out foxed in Colorado, how can he succeed in negotiations with China and Iran?"
Senator Cruz has carefully navigated the turbulent Republican nomination process to build the second largest collection of loyal delegates going into the convention. Once one of 17 GOP candidates running for the nomination, he has positioned himself well to be a viable alternative to Trump. Cruz kept his powder dry in the earlier primaries and caucuses, refusing to get caught up in the name calling and sniping that characterized much of the campaign. He was an outstanding college debater, but so far his debate performances during the primaries has been unremarkable.
Instead, he has focused on winning delegates with charm, wit and deceit. In the Iowa Caucus, the Cruz campaign adopted "social pressure" techniques to scare Republicans out to vote. It sent out mailers to likely voters with the heading "VOTER VIOLATION." The mailer included threatening text, "Your individual voting history as well as your neighbors' are public record. Their scores are published below, and many of them will see your score as well." The Iowa Secretary of State later condemned this tactic, "Accusing citizens of Iowa of a 'voting violation' based on Iowa Caucus participation, or lack thereof, is false representation of an official act."
Cruz was so determined to win in Iowa that as caucus goers were preparing to head to the polls his campaign sent them an urgent email blast. The email claimed that Dr. Ben Carson would be dropping out of the race and they should instead vote for Cruz. Of course, the email was a deliberate lie, but Cruz eked out an important first victory over the field.
Ted Cruz has been the great disrupter since he first entered the Senate following his victory in the 2012 election. He is very unpopular among other senators because of his brash and divisive polemics. He referred to other Republican senators as the "surrender caucus" because they did not sufficiently oppose President Barack Obama. Cruz accused his own Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell telling "a flat out lie" on the floor of the chamber. Cruz is single handedly responsible for the 2013 government shutdown by rallying gullible House Tea Party members against their leadership's better judgment.
Fellow Senator John McCain has called Cruz a "wacko bird" and crazy. In February, Senator Lyndsey Graham, a former presidential candidate, said, "If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you." Now, remarkably, Graham has joined those supporting Cruz as a way to keep Trump from winning the nomination outright. Their hope is that Trump will fail on the first ballot and some other candidate will emerge. But Cruz knows that, so he remains busy adding delegates using every trick in the book so he can be that some other candidate.
However, a word of caution to Cruz supporters, winning a party nomination is a lot different that winning the presidency. First, Cruz will have to unite a deeply divided convention, especially Trump delegates. Secondly, Cruz will have to moderate his extreme positions on everything from same sex marriage and abortion to immigration and "carpet bombing" ISIS. His economic plan is forecast to add trillions to the national debt by many economists, and will add thousands to the unemployment roles. His plan to eliminate the IRS is unrealistic and impractical. While he qualifies as a Latino, Cuban-Americans make up a small minority of the Hispanic population, which votes overwhelmingly Democratic. He will be challenged on his qualifications to run for president because he was born in Canada. His wife worked for Goldman Sachs, which is one reason Ron Paul observed in February, "He's owned by Goldman Sachs. I mean he and Hillary (Clinton) have more in common."
If Cruz makes it all the way to the White House, how will he unite his party? How will he persuade Democrats to work with him? How will his presidency bring an end to the gridlock on Capitol Hill? How will his emotive language and tough talk earn America more respect around the world? How will he bring Americans together? The simple answer is, he won't.
You see, Ted Cruz loves to hear Ted Cruz talk. His animated motions, hands thrusting down to emphasize his points, underscores the passion he has for himself. He projects a carefully crafted point and often punctuates it with a wry smile of self-appreciation, as if to say, "I'm amazing." He always speaks with the confidence of a man who believes he is the smartest person in the room.
Two years before he was elected the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln reportedly said, "You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time." I am not sure Ted Cruz would agree with that.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Trumpmare Scenario

Donald Trump's campaign pledge is to "Make America Great Again."  Instead, if he is nominated, he may end up destroying the Republican Party.  

Trump's blustery, brash and in-your-face demeanor has attracted a large following of devoted acolytes that have lifted him to front-runner status for his party's nomination.    Ever the showman, Trump has gobbled up hours of free media time on television news outlets, which has resulted in huge ratings.  

Since he announced his candidacy last June in the opulent lobby of Trump Tower on New York's Fifth Avenue, he has overcome many political gaffes and consistently confounded political commentators who have many times predicted his demise.   At long last, though, it appears that the accumulated weight of his missteps has begun to drag on his campaign, and may have permanently damaged the Republican Party. 

Trump has referred to Mexicans and rapists.  He has promised to build a wall along the Mexican border, which he says Mexico will pay for.   He has pledged a mass deportation of all 11 million immigrants who are in this country illegally.   He has called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.   He has humiliated his opponent's wives, including Heidi Cruz and Columba Bush.  He has attacked journalists, including Univision's Jorge Ramos and Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, who each have millions of loyal viewers.

Trump has alienated women.  "Look at that face!" he said of then opponent Carly Fiorina.  "Would anyone vote for that?"  He has unapologetically supported his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who has been charged with battery for grabbing the arm of a female reporter at a rally.  And, in an apparent attempt to strengthen his bona fides as a pro-life candidate, he said that there has to be "some form of punishment" for women who have abortions.   He later recanted that position following a firestorm of protests, saying in a statement that if abortions were illegal, "The doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon women would be held legally responsible, not the women."

Trump has also alarmed our allies in Europe with is lack of understanding of foreign affairs and loose talk.  For instance, this exchange with MSNBC's Chris Matthews:     

Matthews: “Can you tell the Middle East we’re not using nuclear weapons?”

Trump: “I would never say that. I would never take any of my cards off the table.”
Matthews: “How about Europe? We won’t use in Europe?”
Trump: “I’m not going to take it off the table for anybody.”
Matthews: “You’re going to use it in Europe?”
Trump: “No! I don’t think so. But…”
Matthews: “Just say it, say ‘I’m not going to use a nuclear weapon in Europe’.”
Trump: “I am not taking cards off the table. I’m not going to use nukes – but I’m not taking any cards off the table.”
Trump rattled two Asian allies with comments he made in an interview with the New York Times. Trump said he would be open to allowing Japan and South Korea to build their own nuclear arsenals as protection against North Korea and China.  
Many leading Republicans have expressed concern that if Trump is their nominee in November they will lose the Senate and maybe the House.  Nerves are so frayed that Trump suddenly traveled to Washington to meet with leaders of the Republican National Committee Thursday.  It was described in news reports as a "unity meeting" because RNC officials were concerned after Trump withdrew his pledge to support whomever the party decides to make its nominee at the Republican convention.  
Will the Republican Party awaken from what University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato calls its "Trumpmare?  Will RNC Chairman Reince Priebus heed his own warning, given when the party released its autopsy of its overwhelming 2012 election defeat?  "The RNC cannot and will not write off any demographic or community or region of this country," Priebus said.
A recent Reuters poll, taken before Trump's comments on abortion, found that 50 percent of American women hold a very unfavorable view of Trump.  Meanwhile, a Gallup Poll shows that 77 percent of Hispanics have an unfavorable view of him.  Overall, Trump's unfavorables are above 60 percent in all the recent polls, and they do not factor in his most recent gaffes.  
Trump's shadow hangs over the Republican Party.  Even if a contested Republican convention selects another nominee, the party has been badly hurt.  Priebus might reflect on the line from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, "The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars, but in ourselves."