Someone famous once said;“Perception is Reality in Politics.” In the case of the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump contest in 2016, never truer words were ever spoken.

Example; While I am pretty sure that Donald Trump doesn’t hate women, Hispanics, Blacks, Jews or anyone for that matter (except maybe Islamic Terrorist), the impression the world now has is that Donald does hate all these people.

Going into the Trump for President (Make America Great Again) race, Trump was asked on multiple occasions; (paraphrasing) “What do you think the media is going to be like?” We were told by Mr. Trump (again paraphrasing); “No problem, the media loves me.”

Optics are everything in a presidential campaign

Optics are everything in a presidential campaign

Initially; this was the case, but not for the reasons the Trump campaign and Mr. Trump thought. The sad truth was, Donald Trump was newsworthy for several reasons. The first being; he had an entourage (much like a rap star) complete with a caravan of black Suburbans. He had his jumbo jet (not a small private jet), a media presence for being a celebrity television star, best-selling books and lastly, his campaign was a circus. The fact is, this is a novelty and not something you see every day on the campaign trail. This made him an instant news story.

The other aspect to Trump’s meteoric rise to almost immediate success was his hard-charging rhetoric he was ushering forth to the masses. Combine the media lap-dogs with the hard-core messaging, and now you have the recipe for a movement at a slight personal cost to the campaign.

Trump also had the uncanny knack for “every time the cameras would dim a little,” he would have a dust up with either another celebrity, insult a candidate (which gave him the perception of being a bully), fight with a debate moderator or the media themselves. This, of course, would put him immediately back into the spotlight and give him another two days worth of headlines for the evening news.

Back to “perception is the reality.” Mr. Trump’s initial position on immigration was, “we are sending everyone home”! “We are cleaning the cupboards out, packaging everyone up on a Greyhound and shipping them back to whence they came.” Of course, we in the political punditry business knew this was a logistical nightmare bordering on impossibility, but for the podium, and the microphone and a roaring crowd of 25,000, the possibility was all they needed to fuel the campaign jet engines of Donald Trump. Echoes of “Build that Wall” can still be heard out west bouncing off mountain walls.

When asked by reporters (who also knew it was next to impossible), “why do you want to send millions upon millions of people who some have lived here for decades back to where they came from?”, Trump would answer. “Because many are cheating our safety net system, not paying taxes, and don’t forget they are rapist, murderers, and thieves.”

Trump’s Disconnect 

While the crowd may love the red meat of that sort of statement, the reporters love it even more. This is the part that the campaign never seemed to figure out or they didn’t understand, or they just didn’t care, one of the three. Donald Trump was boxing himself in and either he did not care, or he thought he was smart. Yes, those sorts of statements about illegal residents, and Megyn Kelly bleeding from every orifice garners you hours worth of free media coverage, but there is a price to pay for that coverage. To get the coverage, you have to be inflammatory. This saves you millions of dollars on the front end, but it also burns you on the backend, because you’re forever labeled as a “loose canon” with a hair trigger.

Trump used this tactic to win the primary, and it worked! There is no question that this strategy was not just brilliant, but it was cavalier, it was brave, and it was risky. But now he is paying the price, and it is a hefty one.

Because of these statements (and so much more), Trump has now been branded (of which he is supposed the be branding expert) as a renegade cowboy who has a very short temper and is not “temperamentally fit” to be President of the United States. If that were not enough, because of his rather “raucous past,” he is now also being labeled as a “playboy” who likes to grab women, kiss them, feel them up and whatever else he can get away with. You see, it doesn’t matter “IF HE ACTUALLY DID THE DEEDS,” the deeds fit the narrative of his being a “raucous cowboy” that says whatever he whatever he wants and does whatever he wants because he is DONALD TRUMP.

What Mr. Trump’s renegade campaign style has left him with is this. Below is the only pathway to victory I can find for the Trump campaign.

electoral-college-map If you click on the map, you can go to ABC’s site and begin creating your own map as well. In the above scenario, I changed Colorado from blue to red; I have Trump winning Florida as well as Ohio. Keep in mind that both these states were blue in the past several elections. I also have Trump picking up New Hampshire, and Nevada and again ABC has these two states in blue also, as they do North Carolina.

If Mr. Trump cannot win Florida, North Carolina, and Nevada, then he must win Pennsylvania and either Michigan or Wisconsin. Both of which are highly unlikely.

However; none of the above applies if he cannot get past this women’s issue. As you all know by now, Gloria Alred has now come out of the woodwork with a supposed victim who was once an Apprentice on Trump’s show some years back.

Back to “Perception is Reality in Politics.” It DOES NOT MATTER IF TRUMP DID THIS STUFF OR NOT! The media is covering it as though he did; this leaves him on the defensive, and Hillary is campaigning as normal while Donald spends time explaining that he is innocent.

Trump should give “ONE-FINAL-STATEMENT,” be polite to the media, state his case that this is all fabricated, then kill the story as far as he is concerned and refuse to answer any more questions. Once that is complete, “GET BACK ON MESSAGE.” Meaning he needs to be talking about how we are about to go to war with Russia because of Hillary’s failed mid-east policies. Our economy is in the tank because of her and Obama’s economic policies and “My God, taxes are high“!

I will state that many of my loyal Trump friends are not worried about these women. I am, and I will tell you why. Because over 50% of the voters in the past several elections have been women. At present (according to all the polling), women are angry with Trump for being a cad and he has a near 80% un-approval rating with the ladies. If these numbers are accurate, then Mr. Trump has a severe problem.

For the sake of America, Mr. Trump needs to reach into his hat, pull out a marketing miracle (to rebrand himself), execute that miracle and he has three weeks to do it in. Otherwise, we will be saying Madam President.