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Wednesday, June 19
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion editorial

EDITORIAL: Predictions of the laissez-faire Trump strategy

In a campaign where the motto is “Let Trump be Trump,” the real question is why Donald Trump even bothers to curate his own campaign staff.

Trump announced late last week that he made yet another drastic change in his ever-shifting lineup of campaign personnel.

Among other staffing swaps, Trump hired newcomer Steve Bannon as chief executive, an action that resulted in the de facto demotion of the campaign’s previous chairman, Paul Manafort.

After the shift in staff was announced, Manafort quickly resigned due to Trump’s passive bullying.

The switch follows Trump’s declining popularity in the polls. It seems his controversial celebrity status and heavy emphasis on populism have become unpopular among a majority of concerned constituents.

The taunting game of musical chairs he’s playing with his campaign staff is his latest desperate move to claim his own seat in the Oval Office — a chair that gets farther and farther away with every insult he issues.

Trump is notorious for ignoring others’ advice, including that of his own staff. It is doubtful that this change will do him much good, even if he follows the fresh words of wisdom from his new staffers.

Although the rapid-fire shuffling of staff seems inherently unprofessional, it comes as part of Trump’s attempt to professionalize his campaign and to expand his voter base beyond the narrow scope of white males. According to The New York Times, these voters are the linchpin of his presidential campaign.

In particular, his decision to bring in Kellyanne Conway as his new campaign manager constitutes a last-ditch effort to woo women voters, a demographic he has repeatedly alienated with his misogynistic mockeries.

New executive chairman Bannon’s position as head of conservative website, Breitbart News, brings a staunch conservative outlook to the table in order to attract those who prefer more traditional conservative viewpoints to Trump’s demagoguery.

The switch also allows Trump to distance himself from potential scandal attached to former chairman Manafort.

According to secret Ukrainian ledgers, Manafort has dubious associations with pro-Russian groups. Alongside Trump’s own “jokes” about Russian security breaches, such a connection could further damage his campaign.

Despite the campaign’s turn toward legitimacy, the new staff offers the opportunity to return to the “Let Trump be Trump” mindset that navigated him through the over-populated 
Republican primary.

The Editorial Board does not believe the return to this ideology will be in Trump’s favor. In the general election, the strategy employed by all parties should be more open-armed than not, something Trump is notorious for being bad at.

The altered attitude of the Trump campaign happens to conveniently coincide with Hillary Clinton’s move towards her own “Let Trump be Trump” strategy.

Clinton has laid low since her official nomination at the Democratic National Convention last month and, aside from Twitter, has mostly declined to comment on Trump and his controversial campaign.

She instead is patiently waiting for the ticking time-bomb of the Trump campaign to slowly self-destruct.

The “Let Trump be Trump” strategy leaves one crucial variable unknown: Who exactly is Trump?

Yes, we know Trump by the infinite insults he has churned out, the minority groups he has antagonized and the scandals he has spawned.

Yet, just like his campaign staff, he’s been remarkably inconsistent throughout the course of his campaign. If again given the chance to be himself, what image will he set forth this time?

With help from his new campaign executives, Trump could choose to spend the remaining few months laying low and minimizing controversial content in his speeches. A more moderate approach could regain him a few points in the polls.

While probably not enough to make his campaign great again, it could be enough to save Trump from the complete internal collapse Clinton hopes for.

But when has Trump ever done what’s expected?

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