Donald Trump has continued to push the boundaries of acceptability in political discourse, something we have come to expect over the past year. Signals from the Republican party point to what is starting to look like overwhelming disillusionment with their nominee, as the general election pivot fails to materialize.
On Monday, top GOP national security policy officials wrote an open letter deeply critical of Trump. The GOP nominee’s lack of knowledge about security issues, coupled with his inability to understand the repercussions of using nuclear weapons, frightened GOP officials into forcefully denouncing his candidacy for president.
Likewise, the recently announced candidacy of conservative Republican Evan McMullin is another sign of how unacceptable Trump is becoming to the average Republican voter.
In the past, Trump has said that he can “become presidential” whenever he wants. The time for him to do so has come, and he now seems increasingly unlikely to change his tone.
Just yesterday, he made another outrageous statement calling for pro-gun rights activists to take matters into their own hands. In a poorly veiled call for violence, Trump said of Clinton: “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people -- maybe there is, I don’t know.”
The off-the-cuff comment has caused much uproar across the political spectrum. The Clinton campaign called the comments “dangerous,” saying that the comments basically were a call for violence against Hillary Clinton.
Legendary journalist Dan Rather weighed in on the comments in a Facebook post: “This is no longer about policy, civility, decency or even temperament. This is a direct threat of violence against a political rival.” The precedent Trump is setting falls way beyond the purview of national politics, and the country is taking notice.
On August 8, the FiveThirtyEight election forecast gave Hillary Clinton a 96.4% chance of winning the general election if it were held that day. Clinton’s chance is down to 86.3% this morning, but the odds are still extremely explicit -- if Donald Trump doesn’t change his tune and the Clinton campaign plays it safe until November, we could be headed for a rout.
There is clearly an appetite for rhetoric like Trump’s, but his never-ending stream of political gaffes makes it increasingly difficult for him to win majority support in November.