There’s never been any question that something’s seriously awry with the perceptive capabilities of the entire Grand Old Party about its own successes and failures — most recently, 2012’s “skewed polls” nonsense and Mitt Romney’s belief in his bad polling and Karl Rove’s Election Night meltdown live on FOX News over Ohio being called for Barack Obama. Now we have further evidence: the professional GOP evaluation of Donald Trump’s disastrous trip to Mexico.
You recall this week’s trip? Where Donald Trump was contradicted about illegal immigration, in Spanish, by the President of Mexico, from an adjacent podium? Where Donald Trump was rebuked by the Mexican president for his lies about whether the ‘paid-for-by-Mexico wall’ even came up? Where Donald Trump traveled afterwards to Phoenix to give the darkest speech yet of his presidential campaign?
POLITICO has a panel of professionals in eleven swing states. Some are Democrats; some are GOPs. They have been surveyed throughout the campaign for their opinions about the state of the race. And the panel of GOPs was just surveyed for their opinion of Trump’s trip.
How did a large majority of these professional Republicans characterize his trip?
Two-thirds of GOP members of The POLITICO Caucus — a panel of activists, operatives and strategists in 11 key battleground states — rated the Republican nominee’s meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto, followed by an evening rally in Phoenix in which he reiterated his robust immigration proposals, as hugely or moderately successful, despite the potential contradiction between the two events.
These are the people running the GOP in the few swing states that left in this election. They consider this trip, the presidential “summit” in Mexico and the Phoenix speech, a great success.
“A week after teasing a softening, Trump went full Viagra in his Phoenix speech, burying the crowd in red meat as he returned to his portrayal of America as a dystopian wasteland ruled by criminal aliens,” one Iowa Republican said. “
ANOTHER PHARMACEUTICAL REFERENCE!
“He’s like a kid who takes Ritalin in the morning, and it wears off in the late afternoon,” said a New Hampshire Republican. “The result is two totally different kids in the same day. His parents are constantly monitoring how long it’s been since he took his last dose.”
But one Virginia Republican disagreed. “No one will remember the speech in a week,” the Republican said. “The visual of him with the Mexican president will be in peoples’ minds.”
For Democrats, Trump’s day was almost unanimously a failure: Only a combined 17 percent rated it moderately or hugely successful.
I don’t know if the Republican or Democratic experts are right. But their perceptions sure are different, and GOP perceptions have been very wrong recently. It’s almost as if they don’t have their finger on the pulse of the *entire* electorate, only a sliver of it.
As long as these incorrect perceptions are reaching the top of the Trump campaign, I think they’ll make the same mistakes Mitt Romney made: belief in their own victory, despite reality’s known liberal bias.