BAYHAM: Trump’s “Checkers” Moment

It was only a matter of time before obnoxious comments made by Donald Trump have were paraded by the media to wreck the GOP’s chances of winning the White House.

The thrice-married billionaire has lived the life of a tabloid feature, with the sordid details to warrant the attention.  And he has reveled in such exposure.

There’s a reason why you rarely see the Osmond Family on the cover of The Enquirer and Howard Stern doesn’t invite the president of the Philatelist Society on his program.

How The Donald’s most passionate supporters did not see this playing out is nothing short of amazing.

Or perhaps they were blinded by celebrity.

And we now know Trump’s theory on the power of fame.

That Trump would say such a thing doesn’t surprise me in any way.

It’s why I could not support him in the primary, or vote for him at the Republican National Convention even though he had enough delegates to claim in the nomination.

I recognized the unpleasant reality that the alternative to Trump in the general election was absolutely unacceptable and supported his candidacy, hoping for the best but expecting nature to run its course into the side of a mountain.

Now faced with a politically fatal situation, even more fatal than the last twelve fatal spots he somehow survived, Trump finds himself staring into oblivion.  Again.

Back in 1952, then-US Senator and Republican vice-presidential nominee Richard Nixon got ambushed in the media over allegations that he had secret slush fund.

Nixon was given a brief window to mitigate the scandalous broadside and masterfully did so in his now famous “Checkers” speech, that elicited such a favorable response that a not so enthused Dwight Eisenhower was forced to keep him on the ticket.

Trump will have his “Checkers” opportunity on Sunday night, though in a much more challenging venue.

Nixon’s national broadcast featured just him speaking into a camera with his wife Pat sitting on the side keeping a brave face as he ran through a list of their assets, liabilities, which included one respectable cloth coat and one cocker spaniel.

Nixon didn’t have Harry Truman heckling him on a live mic.

Trump will have to make his pitch at a town hall forum sharing a stage with Hillary Clinton before undecided voters, some of which will be hostile- either genuinely offended or simply pro-Democrat, in a format managed by the press.

Harry Houdini would have a difficult time slipping out this situation, but Trump put himself in it knowing full well he would have to revisit his past crass comments at a time of his inconvenience.

If The Donald can “trump” Nixon’s Checkers play and the polls thereafter reflect that the country is more concerned with securing the southern border than Trump’s potty mouth, then the rest of the obscenities in the Clinton op research quiver will become obsolete as the Republican presidential nominee will have been inoculated.

As an overwhelming majority of Americans are dissatisfied with the state of things in the country (judging from the “right track/wrong track” polling data), people’s tolerance for lewd behavior might be at an unprecedented high.

If the public once supported a president who inserted a cigar inside the vagina of a young White House intern, how is Trump a greater more unacceptable scoundrel?

One thing is for certain: Trump has the brass to put his situation and the Clinton bad behavior record into perspective.  What isn’t certain is whether Trump can do so effectively.

After watching him completely unprepared and then lose his cool during the first debate and immediately thereafter on Twitter, the prospects are not promising.

So what happens if Trump has an epic meltdown tonight, replete with yelling at one of the town hall participants?

With early voting happening now, Trump’s election for president would be essentially over though not necessarily the contest itself.  Americans throughout the Democratic primary and in post-convention polling have shown a strong disdain for Hillary Clinton and they might jump on board the bandwagon of the most acceptable alternative who knows what Aleppo is.

A really bad Trump debate coupled with a nosedive in the polls could be enough to get Captain Queeg off the bridge of the ship and reboot the ticket with something that could potentially win the election and if not that, at least save the Republican Party from implosion.

While Trump’s name cannot be removed from the ballot, Americans do not ACTUALLY vote for presidential candidates; we vote for presidential electors and in December they in turn officially vote for their states (and in the case of Maine and Nebraska, congressional districts as well) for president and vice-president.

In the highly unlikely event Trump steps aside, the RNC could promote Mike Pence to the top of the ticket and tap a running mate without having to do much else as the presidential electors would remain the same.  The remaining issue would be cases where ultra-loyalist Trump electors refusing to go along with the swap, though electors tend to be more “party men” than surrogates for the candidate.

Trump has a less than 72-hour window to prove he can not only survive this fallout but demonstrate that he can deflect the other petards loaded and ready to be fired by the leftist media-Clinton machine axis.

Trump needs to go “big league” Sunday night or walk off the field.

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