If you’ve looked around the American political scene as of late you’ve seen an interesting phenomenon. Message discipline coming from Donald Trump.
Some of us think that if the former president had been banned from Twitter and Facebook two years ago if would helped his chances in 2020. The former president is notoriously thin-skinned and picks petty fights. Much of that is a distraction maneuver, but a portion of it are own goals because of a serious lack of message discipline.
He seems to be learning from his mistakes. His recent speech to the NC GOP was not overly incendiary and his soon to come communications platform does not have a feature where users can directly engage with Trump. Very smart. If he keeps this up his opportunities for 2024 will keep rising. He may have, as any smart person does, learned from history.
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Richard Nixon lost the presidency in 1960 to John Kennedy in a completely stolen election. Most legitimate historians admit that now. Democrat bribes and ballot box stuffing in Illinois and Texas gave the states to Kennedy and thus the election. Nixon then ran for governor of his native California in 1962 and was beaten by Democrat Pat Brown. He then uttered his infamous line to the press after the loss. In front of 100 reporters at the Beverly Hilton Hotel he said, “You don’t have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.” It wasn’t.
After the sting of back to back failures lessened, Nixon sat down with his staff and advisors and looked over the political terrain. They realized the product was defective. It was dour, too wonky, no charm. They remembered they age old political aphorism “it’s better if they like you than if they agree with you.” So, they remodeled the product into the “New Nixon”.
Gone were the policy pronouncements, replaced by appearances on late night talk shows like Johnny Carson. Gone were the constant press conferences and briefings, replaced by generic press handouts. Gone was the bitterness, at least in public, replaced by a smiling peace sign waving Nixon. It worked. Even after segregationist Governor George Wallace siphoned off some otherwise probable Nixon voters in the South, though the South was still very Democrat so some of those votes may have gone against Nixon, he still beat Hubert Humphrey in the general election of 1968 and became president.
Are the Trump people studying this race? Are they in the process of modifying the product to meet current standards? Can he stay presidential and not get down in the muck with every idiot who trolls him? Can he give credit to others? Can he win in 2024? If he changes in the right ways without losing his appeal and power, yes.