What Could Hurt Trump

I’ve always thought Trump could win. I’d still take whatever odds are out there. But here’s a wrinkle I hadn’t considered until prepping for today’s Ricochet Podcast: The campaign is going to last forever! The Feiler Faster Thesis already says we can pack an unprecedented amount of drama in a short period of time. But Trump is really putting this theory to the test. He seems to feel he has to launch a new front page story every day. Hillary’s forces (including the NYT) are firing back as if it’s October.

In a campaign of normal length, Trump would probably win the fight. (He seems to be winning now.)  The trouble is, at this rate we’ll have run through a normal campaign’s worth of thrusts and parries by the middle of next month– and there’ll still be five months still to go. That will force voters to learn what is like to live with each of the candidates, and weigh their flaws and virtues with special thoroughness. Hell, by September it will seem as if Trump’s already been president for a year. That means attacking him over last fall’s insults may not work — after all, they will have been a looong time ago, and now we’ll know the guy. If voters turn out to like living with their Daily Trump, he could easily be ten points ahead by Labor Day. But we might also tire of his personality the way … married couples do the way voters typically tire of a President about halfway through his first term. (That habit that seemed fine at first — the Bush loyalty fetish, Obama’s straw men — now grates.)  In particular, I suspect Manafort Trump will not wear so well. … And the constant hints of future sellouts “moderation” could eventually sap Trump’s disruptive aura, as would repetitive attempts to reacquire it.

P.S.: Why won’t the same thing happen to Hillary? It will. But Hillary’s less salient — she isn’t the primary moving force in the drama — and she’s already a familiar figure. We know how dreary she can be to live with (hard to see how she can fail to improve on expectations). Trump’s the new roommate, if you will, with the most to win or lose. At the moment, the race seems like a referendum on him. …