The Donald is back.
At Friday afternoon’s rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, the redheaded Scottish-American building tycoon showed his barbarian side. It was fun, it was fearless, and it was no doubt terrifying for the Democrats clinging to demographic politics to try to stop him.
“Go home to mommy,” Trump told a protester, a grin emerging on his face. “And your mother is voting for Trump!”
He stopped short of adding “she told me that last night,” which is probably a good thing. A good speechwriter allows his audience to fill in the best lines.
The last few weeks for Trump supporters have been rough. Like, “check the listings for one-way flights to various islands just in case” rough. The globalist establishment, panicked after Trump took a national poll lead post-Cleveland and distressed by the chaos and division at the Democratic convention in Philly, rained fire down upon Trump and his supporters.
Trump’s initial non-endorsement of Paul Ryan in Wisconsin — a bold message from Trump to his populist supporters — did not exactly sit well in Washington, D.C. His comments about DNC speaker Khizr Khan and about how Second Amendment supporters should go out and vote to stop Clinton were wildly and willfully misinterpreted by a frothing coastal elite that is staring head-on at existential destruction.
TV networks turned into 24/7 anti-Trump marathons stretching from Morning Joe to Seth Meyers. Exiled establishment Republicans floated idiotic rumors that the party might replace Trump on the ballot before September 1. National polls showed a steep Trump decline, due at least in part to the fact that they were oversampling Democrats by 12 to 14 points according to Democrat James Carville. They even had Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter out there getting re-tweeted by Hillary.
But on Friday afternoon, The Donald came roaring back.
The chyron on the bottom of the screen on Fox News actually said “Trump: Hillary Doesn’t Have A Clue.”
The whole thing was joyous and beautiful.
This reporter has covered Mr. Trump since the day he announced his candidacy, sitting in a non-Breitbart newsroom, where a managing editor bitterly remarked, “Sideshow.” Almost immediately thereafter, this reporter started covering Mr. Trump for Breitbart.
The Trump campaign has had its ups and downs. There was a down moment in Iowa when Ben Carson dropped out of the race at the last minute and Ted Cruz won the caucus (do I have that right? Ben Carson didn’t drop out? Really?) But the man came roaring back by tearing Jeb Bush limb from limb en route to winning New Hampshire. That’s really when middle-class people started digging Trump, during his battles against “low-energy” “tough guy” Jeb. Bush went down and Trump won, won, won all over the country. The political hacks couldn’t stop it. They tried to give Little Marco Rubio some joke lines, but Marco’s delivery was pretty lame to say the least.
Trump went down again in Wisconsin, where Ted Cruz mobilized his dead-serious conservative movement activists and partnered with the Badger State-based Republican Establishment, relegating Trump’s show to ballrooms and convention halls like he was an aging standup comedian. But Trump came back again, sweeping the East Coast states and then winning big in Indiana with Bobby Knight. In Cleveland, Trump came out to “We Are The Champions.” He embarrassed Ted Cruz. For his supporters, it was awesome.
No matter how bad it gets — and it got pretty bad recently — Trump manages to bounce back by being himself.
“Let Trump Be Trump,” as Corey Lewandowski famously scrawled on the campaign whiteboard when all of this began. Cory’s gone now, in the Siberia of CNN, and there are a bunch of other people flitting around Trump now, some of whom are smarter and more loyal than others. For the last few weeks, those people had no clue how to stop the bleeding. Surrogate Rudy Giuliani, yelling at Chris Matthews that God gave him prostate cancer at the wrong time to stop Hillary Clinton when she ran for Senate, was the guy keeping the pulse going.
On Friday, The Donald took things into his own hands.
Since day one, this reporter has wondered: when will Trump finally just go all in? He knows that the cable networks are going to maliciously clip all of his speeches to highlight things they can attack him for. He knows that he’s never going to get a fair shake. He knows that he’s going to have to win this thing on a different medium, on a different plane of consciousness, than the rest of the political class. He clearly wants to cut loose.
On Friday, The Donald started cutting loose.
It’s clear, with 87 days to go, that the only way for this guy to win is to go ALL THE WAY.