The changes have been minuscule, but they are there. Go to his Facebook page, or his Twitter, and you might not see them; indeed, the arrogance/bolstering personality is on full display. But Donald Trump is changing, and it could affect the political landscape.
Let’s back up for a second.
When Trump announced his campaign, no one took him seriously- how could you? He was a media personality, a joke? His first statements as candidate for the office of the President of the United States included a wall and calling Mexicans rapists. People thought he would go away. But he didn’t. Inflammatory remarks only continued, against everyone and everything, and they came to a crescendo when a series of violent outbursts occurred at Trump rallies. It ended with the firing of his campaign manager and a loss in Wisconsin. Since then, he’s made some changes, and has even spoken about them, telling reporters that his campaign is changing, evolving.
Perhaps it was calling Ted Cruz Senator Cruz instead of Lyin’ Ted.
Perhaps it was his lighter stance on gay rights.
Perhaps it was his viewpoint that transgender people should be able to use whatever bathroom they thought matched their gender identity.
The appeal of Donald Trump lies in his populist approach. His message will likely stay on point- America is broken, and he can make America Great Again. The wall is most likely a mainstay. But these tiny shifts, these small turns towards the center, towards the left… well, it’s clear that Trump is looking at the bigger picture.
The states that have primaries next are the Northeast and California, relatively liberal states. Trump doesn’t have to go left to win over the Republicans there. But he does have to start looking like a moderate. If he wins there, then he wins the Republican convention. Which means that these turns towards the left will be crucial in the general. His appearance as a moderate is what will make him president. We’ve all thought Trump was a giant joke. But in reality, while every other candidate was playing checkers, he was playing chess.
This is the first post in the series “America’s Trump”. Next week on “America’s Trump”: Bernie Sanders.