The Donald’s in distress.
After a stunning primary upset and positive momentum from Cleveland, the Republican nominee has returned to his old bad habits: Too much time on Twitter. Too many fights with vanquished primary foes.
Trump’s setbacks – magnified by a media intent on electing Hillary – are emboldening moderate Republicans in swing districts to abandon the nominee – a nominee that earned more votes than any other Republican in history. If the campaign doesn’t get back on message, a winnable election will be lost.
Luckily, the campaign doesn’t have to look far. Forget the white knight. Only the damsel can save The Donald in distress.
“His best running mate, by the way, would be Ivanka,” Senator Bob Corker quipped last month.
Corker had the right assessment of Ivanka’s potential, if not the wrong position. Ivanka is deliberate, thoughtful and dignified. A focused leader, she’s proven capable of righting the ship once before. And most important of all, the candidate values her counsel.
“She’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever dealt with,” a real estate executive who has negotiated a Trump golf course deal, told Politico in its feature profile of Ivanka. “She was a thorough, diligent, excellent negotiator.”
There’s the obvious: Ivanka appeals to women and Millennials – two groups that could decide the election. Conservatives should worry that she’ll move her father to the center, but more importantly, she moves her father to victory by focusing on bringing more people into a bigger tent.
“Like many of my fellow Millennials, I do not consider myself categorically Republican or Democrat,” she said in her universally well-reviewed convention speech. “More than party affiliation, I vote on based on what I believe is right, for my family and for my country. Sometimes it’s a tough choice.”
“Off the charts” – that’s how pollster Lee Carter described focus-group reaction to Ivanka’s convention speech. “The bottom line is she is an amazing spokeswoman for him.”
Ivanka’s also practical. Her convention dress cost $138 – a not-so-subtle contrast to Hillary’s $12,000 Armani jacket for a speech on income inequality.
But, it’s short-sighted, arguably sexist, to say that Ivanka’s value is strictly limited to “softening” dad’s appeal. Her greatest value might be the opposite: a hard commitment to staying on message and maintaining a disciplined operation.
Back in June, Ivanka took the Corey Lewandowski controversy into her own hands. Ivanka fired the hot-headed deputy who’d proven time and again to be a liability. Her action ended the infighting and gave Paul Manafort full reign to seal the deal on the first ballot.
Most important of all, the candidate trusts her judgment. Last year, when a Trump presidency still seemed inconceivable, he indicated she’d take over the business operation if he proved victorious.
“One of my father’s greatest talents is the ability to see potential in people, before they see it in themselves,” the 34-year-old businesswoman said in her speech at the RNC Convention. “He taught us that potential vanishes into nothing without effort.”
Should Donald make the effort to put Ivanka in charge, his potential presidency will accelerate.
Shawn Steel serves as California’s committeeman on the Republican National Committee.