Trump’s last-minute bid to turn the tide

Republican candidate tells rallies the November 8 election will be like “Brexit five times over”.

Trump's latest argument, that he will 'drain the swamp' in Washington, has struck a chord with some [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]
Trump's latest argument, that he will 'drain the swamp' in Washington, has struck a chord with some [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

Donald Trump believes his rallies are a window to the future.

He’s ignoring the polls – even his own internal efforts – which say he’s going to lose.

Instead he sees hundreds, thousands, turning up at venues in key swing states and that leads him to believe his campaign has a hidden strength.

He invokes the memory of Brexit in the UK, where the polls suggested a referendum question on Britain leaving the European Union would be defeated, only to be proven wrong.

He’s told rallies that the election will be like “Brexit five times over”.

And he thinks come election day the “movement” he says he’s created, the silent majority, will turn out in strength and sweep him to victory.

He initially claimed he would win states where Republicans haven’t challenged in years. He honestly believed he could win his home state of New York and neighbouring Connecticut. He thought New Jersey was in play and he could even win California.

None of those states are in play. Hillary Clinton will win them all easily.

Now the race is narrowing and it comes down to essentially four states: Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and New Hampshire.

‘Drain the swamp’

Despite every reliable metric available, his campaign believe Trump’s closing arguments are turning voters.

Trump lays out plans for office

His argument that he will “drain the swamp” in Washington has struck a chord with people, angry at the political inaction in the nation’s capital. They like the idea he will tackle corruption, rid the power structures of vested interests and change the face of politics in America.

Trump himself admitted at a rally in North Carolina on Wednesday that initially he wasn’t keen on the phrase but seeing how people chant it out at events, he now admits “I love it”.

While it fits with his claim that he is an outsider who can bring change, it may have come too late in a campaign where so much has happened and people’s attitudes about the Republican contender have hardened.

He has also latched on to the idea of term limits for senators and those serving in Congress. While it’s highly unlikely to happen, it once again puts Trump in role of the outsider railing against the system.

READ MORE: Trump’s war on the media

Just in the past few days he’s been handed a political gift, which in any other year may have been a winner.

New figures show premiums paid under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it’s come to be known, will rise on average by around 25 percent. In one state the rise is more than 100 percent.

For someone who very early on argued that he will “repeal and replace Obamacare” (even though he initially suggested a socialised medical system such as the National Health Service in the UK where it is paid for through taxes and free at the point of delivery) this gives him another stick with which to beat his opponent.

Clinton has acknowledged there are problems with the AHCA, but she would try to fix it rather than ditch it. Hated by many Republicans since its inception, the premium rises put Trump on the side of the little guy struggling to pay his bills.

WikiLeaks dump

There are many who believe the trove of information released by WikiLeaks from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign should also help Trump. The problem with that is there is no big bombshell, nothing that is hugely damaging.

Few people are paying attention because it has little impact on their lives and feels more like the internal machinations and whines of a political campaign.

WikiLeaks says there’s more to come. Trump surrogates insist there is one more big story ready to drop. But with more than five million people already making their choice in early voting, you’re left wondering if there was something devastating to be revealed why it wasn’t wheeled out earlier when the damage inflicted could have been greater.

All of the messages Trump is hammering in the final days will play well at his rallies.

The polls still suggest he is going to lose.

He has 12 days to prove them wrong. And that he’s been right all along.

Source: Al Jazeera


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