Tuesday, August 2, 2016

In an amazing turn of events, the Trump campaign for President appears to have reached what may well be a dead end with very limited and highly unpleasant exit routes.  The Khan family challenged Trump during a highly visible moment during the Democratic National Convention, pointing to the Constitution and reminding the nation that Trump has never made any sacrifices to country, let alone the heroic actions of their son in his fatal act of courage.  Trump answered back in his usual never-back-down tone, All of this has backfired on Trump, in spades.

The pressure on Republican leaders everywhere to repudiate Trump's attacks on the Khan family and, by extension, his threat, should he become President, to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., is likely to be unbearable in the next few hours.  It is hard to imagine any Republican seeking office to risk endorsing Trump's attack on a family whose son died a hero's death, in uniform, protecting his soldiers..

Trump's poll numbers appear to be, finally, collapsing.  Yesterday reports went out that the Trump campaign had asked Republicans in Congress to help him out, but there appear to be no takers.  In fact, Rep. Richard Hanna, a Republican, publicly announced today he would vote for Hillary Clinton.

Also today President Obama, whose approval ratings are reasonably sound, flatly asserted, in front of the Prime Minister of Singapore, that Trump was "unfit" to be president and challenged Republican leaders, asking why they should continue to endorse him.  This is an unprecedented step for a president during the television age, and Obama stated as much, seemingly challenging partisan opponents to deny the validity of his claim Trump is unfit.

The problem Trump faces may well be fatal to his continued candidacy.  If he apologizes and retracts much of what he has said it raises serious questions about his judgment over the past few days: Trump could have apologized any time this past weekend, with perhaps only minor damage to his support base.  But if Trump refuses to back down it raises even more severe questions not only about his willingness to admit to a serious mistake but also about his empathy for a family's loss, and whose only consolation lies in the memory of his heroism.  Would you like to be in the corner Trump appears to be in?

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