On Wednesday, Donald Trump will give an address that, he claims, will lay out all of the facts of his case against Hillary Clinton, focusing on her “failed policies and bad judgment.”
But even as he zeroes in on his opponent, Trump will be facing an audience that knows full well that the past few weeks have been disastrous for his campaign. Even if he doesn’t focus on the series of blows his campaign has endured, the presumptive Republican nominee will need to do his best to show that his campaign can find its footing. Here’s a look at some of the problems the candidate and his campaign are facing:
Lack of Discipline
One of the things voters seemed to like most about Donald Trump was that he “told it like it was” and didn’t seem to have a filter. With the primary contests in the rearview mirror and the general election approaching, though, that approach has been more a weakness than a strength for the candidate.
During a time when he should have been readying for battle with Clinton, Trump instead chose to talk incessantly about the ongoing Trump University fraud suit and question the fairness of the judge in that case, claiming that because he was of Mexican heritage he couldn’t be impartial, given Trump’s comments about Mexican people. Not only did Trump double down on his comments, he told his surrogates to keep talking about the issue in the press. Then he told another reporter that a Muslim judge also might not be able to be fair to him.
Then came the Orlando shooting. While other candidates were tweeting out thoughts and prayers or perhaps talking about policy, Trump tweeted a congratulations to himself for his comments on banning Muslim entry to the U.S. and his proposed approach to terrorism.
Lack of Leadership and Organization
Trump barely has a campaign structure. His campaign manager was, until Trump fired him earlier this week, Corey Lewandowski, who did not have any experience running a national campaign, and seemed to mostly serve as a buffer between Trump and the political professionals on staff like Paul Manafort. It looks like the campaign is mostly run by Trump himself, often without a clear strategy.
Trump has around 70 people on his staff, compared with nearly 700 for Clinton. In an election where turnout is everything and a sophisticated get out the vote effort can make a huge difference, especially in swing states like Ohio and Florida, that simply isn’t going to cut it. Trump has balked at building a campaign infrastructure, and he didn’t really need one during the primaries — primary voters tend to be more politically engaged, and Trump was able to easily reach them via free media. This brings us to the final peg of the three-legged stool of Trump troubles.
Lack of Funds
Donald Trump may not be as wealthy as he claims to be, but one thing is for sure: his campaign is being drastically outraised by the Clinton team. In May, Trump raised $3 million while Clinton brought in $26 million. Clinton is preparing an television ad assault, and unless he gets his fundraising into gear quickly Trump won’t be able to fight back. He sent out his first plea for money on Tuesday. Other candidates, from both parties, have been doing so for months. Trump also refuses to play the game to get money from big time Republican donors. It was reported earlier this month that Trump was given a list of 20 names to solicit donations. He told RNC chairman Reince Priebus he’d call of them; he got through three before he stopped.
A smart, reasonable politician would take the stage on Wednesday and try to reset his campaign, focusing on his opponent’s flaws while sounding measured and principled. But this is Donald Trump. Even if he does give the speech he needs to give, that will only be the first stitch in what will be required to seal the wound that the Trump campaign is bearing right now.
A recent poll from CNN showed that almost half of Republican voters want to see Trump replaced as the Republican nominee. Unless he addresses his campaign’s issues quickly, the Party may start to search for an emergency exit.