If you tuned into the morning shows this Sunday, you may have been a little confused. Over the past few months, there had been an ubiquitous orange presence on Sunday mornings that was notably missing this time around. Things were little bit quieter, more restrained, but definitely less classy, luxurious and very, very great.
Yep, GOP frontrunner and stubby-fingered Twitter addict Donald Trump took a break from appearing on the network morning shows. CNN’s Brian Stelter mentioned this on Reliable Sources, revealing that research showed that Trump had appeared on at least one Sunday show a week for the past five months. Typically, Trump would make multiple appearances, many by phone, each Sunday. (Trump has made 65 appearances since announcing his candidacy last June, the most of any White House hopeful. 30 of those have been call-ins. No other candidate has phoned in even once.)
Josh Feldman at Mediaite noted that it seems likely that this is tied to recent reports of a shift in campaign strategy by the Trump team. Prior to Wisconsin’s GOP primary, which Trump lost badly, The Donald dealt with days and days of bad press, much of it completely avoidable. The combination of Trump gaslighting a reporter over Corey Lewandowski’s arrest, retweeting an unflattering picture of Heidi Cruz, flip-flopping on abortion and generally appearing incompetent and unprepared at town halls and interviews finally took its toll and led to an embarrassing defeat in Wisconsin.
Since then, Trump hired Paul Manafort to be his ‘convention manager,’ but it appears that Manafort will be much, much more. While the GOP strategist will work on ways to shore up more delegates ahead of a likely contested convention, especially as Ted Cruz has a huge head start when it comes to ground organization and communications across the country, he also seems to be addressing Trump’s media strategy — or lack of one.
The Orange One’s game plan has always been to suck up all of the oxygen, which worked well with a crowded GOP field and mainstream media that was all too willing to cover his every offensive remark. However, what worked before is now backfiring, as it has led to his unfavorable ratings to go through the roof, making him essentially unelectable in a general election. And the press is now no longer Trump’s compliant lapdog, with much of his coverage negative in nature, especially in light of recent events.
With Trump holding a very large lead in New York, it seems the strategy is to go quiet for a bit and change the narrative somewhat. It has been suggested that he will appear sporadically and actually put together some real-life policy speeches, rather than the standard stump ‘Build The Wall!’ rally speeches he’s accustomed to delivering.
We’ll see how this works, or if Trump can even stick with it and not blow it up in favor of a late-night tweet tirade. However, even if he can act more ‘presidential,’ it seems like his negatives, specifically with minorities, women and young voters, are baked in the cake now, and he won’t be able to change perceptions on those fronts.