At a critical point in the 1980 campaign, Ronald Reagan had enough and cleaned house of his senior political advisors including campaign manager John Sears. One staffer would later recall, “Ronald Reagan would not have come so close in 1976 had he not hired John Sears; and Ronald Reagan would not have won the GOP nomination had he not fired John Sears in 1980.”
As it does on so many occasions, history repeats itself. Like Reagan before him, Donald Trump now must clean house if he hopes to make a serious political comeback.
Trump’s 2016 win was mostly of his own doing. Being the outsider candidate that he was, he accordingly attracted crowds and was afforded endless free airtime by a media that treated him as a novelty. What’s more, he had the good fortune of running against the worst presidential candidate in recent history and accordingly devastated Hillary Clinton in all of their debates. Finally, he developed a sound state by state strategy while Clinton ignored key electorates, all of which propelled him to his stunning victory.
His loss in 2020 was mostly the doing of bad consultants and advisors. I know because I know many of them. Then some have the nerve to write their own autobiographies as if they themselves are important.
As we approach 2024, all the right conditions are there for Trump to win again should he decide to run. Joe Biden has proven to be an unmitigated disaster in every aspect of his presidency. Crime is rampant, inflation has skyrocketed, shelves are empty, and the southern border between America and Mexico is practically nonexistent. In the realm of foreign affairs, Biden shamed the country when he disgracefully allowed the Taliban to take back control of Afghanistan and abandoned hundreds of Americans still stranded in that godforsaken country, while simultaneously allowing our adversaries to run circles around us. Don’t get me started on the stupidity of Ukraine.
In short, Trump has the perfect recipe to win again, but all that means nothing if he doesn’t get his own house in order first.
Many years ago, I worked for the New York Racing Association and there was a saying at the track: “A good jockey cannot make a bad horse win, but a bad jockey can make a good horse lose.”
Campaigns are fresh and campaigns are stale. Campaigns need new personnel, new ideas and new initiatives. And Trump’s is no exception. As my old boss Terry Dolan was fond of saying, “never forget the first three letters of the word ‘consultant.’” And yet pollsters and consultants have become millionaires out of their malpractice.
If I were to give my advice, I would begin by telling Trump to keep former House Speaker Newt Gingrich close at hand as he lays the groundwork for a possible rerun. Aside from being my good friend, Newt is perhaps the smartest person in American politics today. He is polished, articulate, knowledgeable of laws and legislation, and can provide Trump (and by extension the entire GOP) with the ideas they’ll need to gain control of Washington if they win the House, Senate, and White House back in the coming years.
What Trump doesn’t need to do is keep those who bring needless controversy and buffoonery to his brand within his circle. He dosen’t need an endless menagerie of political consultants who only know how to lose elections.
The Rudy Gulianis and Sydney Powells of the world definitely need to be banished permanently from Mar-a-Lago along with anyone else who thinks it will benefit Trump to relitigate the 2020 election. They don’t know politics, That’s just a start. That election is said and done, and Trump’s primary focus should be looking to the future and how he can win there rather than harebrained schemes to overturn Joe Biden’s win that are likely doomed to failure. The vast majority of voters care more about what will make their lives easier and put food on their table than they do about convoluted election cases.
Joe Biden is the worst president on the books since Jimmy Carter. He goes into a town and bridges collapse. Regardless of who ends up being the Republican standard bearer, that person will need competent advisors for their campaign. At the end of the day Americans want competency, and surrounding himself with competent people will go a long way for Trump when it comes time for Americans to cast their vote in the next presidential election.
Biden has given Trump a target-rich environment and he does not need to be distracted by bad pollsters and bad consultants.
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