GOP figures have started to evince genuine worry about Donald Trump’s capacity to unite the party should he win the presidential nomination because of his recent incoherent comments and outrageous behavior.
Henry Barbour, a Republican National Committee member, told The New York Times, “He should have started uniting the party in March, and he is making it harder on himself.”
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who had praised Trump heretofore, echoed that Trump’s mistakes have been self-inflicted, asserting, “None of the mistakes have been forced and nobody forced him to react negatively. It’s almost as though he is so full of himself that he can’t slow down and recognize that being president of the United States is a team sport that requires a stable personality, that allows other people to help him.”
The Trump campaign’s harsh attacks on Heidi Cruz and Michelle Fields, plus his initial statement that he would punish women who had abortions, have limned his campaign as being led by an abusive man who doesn’t like women much.
Despite his early command of the race, in mid-March Republican strategist Alex Gage showed Trump’s average support in primaries had plateaued since early 2016, as opposed to Mitt Romney’s ascent during the same period in 2012.
Republican pollster Jim McLaughlin said that Trump’s inability to win a majority in primary states showed he had no “closing message.”
McLaughlin pointed out a late March poll showing roughly two-thirds of general-election voters viewed Trump unfavorably. A March NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed 70% of women holding that view.
Gingrich concluded, “I think he has a real possibility of, having surged amazingly, to miss the golden ring.”