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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Democrats desperately seeking a Trump clone to debate Hillary

We are still over a month out from the first presidential debate and already the campaigns are putting the wheels in motion to prepare for them.

Only the Democrats have apparently hit a snag in trying to find someone to play Republican nominee Donald Trump in simulated debate practice sessions with Crooked Hillary.

Gabby Morrongiello of the Washington Examiner reports, “Hillary Clinton's campaign is having trouble finding an Donald Trump Jimmy Fallonindividual who can effectively mimic her Republican opponent as she prepares for the upcoming presidential debates, according to Campaign Manager Robby Mook.

“’It's very hard to find someone to mimic the reckless temperament and the hateful instincts and divisive instincts of Donald Trump,’ Mook told CNN's Dana Bash on Sunday.”

Notice how Mook used “reckless temperament,” “hateful” and “divisive” in the same sentence. Those words form the basis of Crooked Hillary’s campaign against Trump – as they do against every Republican for every political race -- so I’m not surprised. If I had to come up with a few adjectives to describe the Democrat nominee, I would choose “corrupt,” “criminal” and “compromised.”

But I’ve also got to admit, I sympathize with the Democrats’ dilemma on this matter. It would definitely be hard to find someone to effectively stand in as Trump opposite Hillary in a mock forum, but not because of the reasons Mook cited.

There are already a number of people who can replicate Trump’s voice, gestures and mannerisms. How about Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon? He’s been doing it for more than a year. So have a couple different cast members from Saturday Night Live. Being Trump isn’t hard.

The real task for Democrats lies with trying to combat Trump’s message and the unique and to-the-point way he articulates it. Trump has already successfully labeled Hillary as “crooked” and a liar, so they’re going to be challenged to find someone as confident and resolute as Trump is at leveling the attacks.

That’s a tough one for sure.

Finding a replacement to play Crooked Hillary in debate preparation should be exceptionally easy for the Republicans, however. All they need to do is hire a retirement aged woman who can’t string together two sentences without lying about something and they’ve got the perfect punching bag.

Republicans would probably need to look to the Democrat ranks to find such a person though. How about Nancy Pelosi? The House Minority Leader is certainly “out there” enough, lies with ease and is from roughly the same age group.

Just like Crooked Hillary, Pelosi is a dedicated leftist and blames all the right groups for the country’s failure to accept the Obama/Hillary agenda.

Whomever the Republicans ultimately choose, she’s going to have to come up with a good rationale for Hillary’s crooked dealings, which now includes withholding 15,000 emails from the FBI probe.

That will take one talented Clinton-level liar, indeed.

Trump’s new policy focused orientation is even drawing praise from #NeverTrump

With the news media abuzz about the “new” Donald Trump, you had to figure there would be some sort of counterattack coming at some point. After all, the paid mouthpieces of the ruling class couldn’t possibly let it seep into people’s heads that Trump was getting his act together and God forbid, actually have to start talking about policies in covering this election.

Though a fairly minor point, part of that backlash came on Monday morning. As they’re wont to do, the anti-Trump hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program dug into the Republican nominee again and the “old” Trump instinctively reacted with his thoughts via Twitter.

Nick Gass of Politico reports, “The show offered its usual criticism of the GOP nominee, returning from one commercial break to the tune of ‘Everything Is Awesome’ from ‘The Lego Movie,’ as a clip of Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus telling ABC on Sunday that Trump had a ‘great week’ and is ‘getting into a groove.’

“’Everything's awesome,’ Brzezinski said. ‘Everything's awesome,’ co-host Joe Scarborough repeated.”

Not to be deterred, Trump fired back on Twitter, “Some day, when things calm down, I'll tell the real story of @JoeNBC and his very insecure long-time girlfriend, @morningmika. Two clowns!”

Naturally, within minutes Trump’s tweet made the headlines of several news outlets hungry for some sign that the Republican nominee is still the same volatile personality who could become unglued at any moment. That’s what they’re used to; it’s almost like they crave it.

Trump isn’t going to let the media get away with too much and the entire crew at MSNBC is fair game for a good retort, but he needs to be careful that he doesn’t do things like issue threats to “tell the real story” or call someone a “clown”. Those words are pretty tame by Trump’s past standards, but it makes people who are defending the “new” Trump look bad when they argue he doesn’t hurl personal insults, as campaign manager Kellyanne Conway claimed on Sunday.

Still, part of Trump’s persona is fighting back. It’s a delicate balance. He can’t let the media now assume he’ll be as meek as a lamb and morph into wimpy Republican candidates of the recent past (Romney and McCain), but he also can’t let “The Donald” back into the public domain either.

Similarly, the media also has a bit of a conundrum when it comes to covering Trump. Collectively, they can’t afford to stop showing off Trump because one, he’s the Republican nominee and must therefore be rhetorically assaulted to prop up their own favorite candidate (Crooked Hillary if you aren’t paying attention) and two, they need Trump’s name at the top of their publications and cable news programs because it gets peoples’ attention.

Morning Joe exists as a Trump-bashing enterprise. They’re not going to stop no matter how disciplined the “new” Trump becomes.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton’s ethical and legal troubles have become so prevalent in news coverage that the public isn’t wowed by anything she does or says anymore. She’s boring. She’s old news. Crooked Hillary is such an accomplished liar that most people automatically presume everything that comes out of her mouth is a fib or an exaggeration.

Case in point: she blamed her private email server use on former Bush Secretary of State Colin Powell, but Powell wouldn’t hear of it. Powell isn’t really a Republican -- he endorsed Obama in 2008 and 2012 -- so it’s not like he’s a knee-jerk GOPer who’s inclined to support the party nominee no matter what.

But getting back to Trump, he seems to be growing into his “new” role of presidential candidate who delivers prepared policy-packed speeches from a teleprompter. It’s a new form of self-restraint the candidate is mastering to help filter the sensational from the bottom line issues.

Byron York of the Washington Examiner writes of a Trump speech delivered in Virginia this past Saturday night, “All of the usual caveats about Trump apply. He's tried to change before only to snap back to his old self. That might happen again. But Trump is getting a lot of good feedback, both in the room and beyond, for his new style of speaking. It's positive reinforcement for a man who feeds off crowd reaction. And that might — might — be what keeps him on track as November draws nearer.”

One can only wonder if Trump will engender some censure from his new campaign heads for his “Morning Joe” media hiccup.

Time will tell if he can keep up the new attitude. I’ve predicted that he’s capable of it, but the proof will come from staying out of the headlines for the wrong reasons in the weeks to come. If he does, the media will have to cover the substance of his campaign because there won’t be anything else to talk about.

Lastly on the “new” Trump’s strategy, the GOP candidate drew rare praise from a couple fervent #NeverTrumpers.

Even Erick Erickson admitted yesterday that Trump was making headway. I was in shock.

In a post titled “Donald Trump’s Best Week Just Occurred,” Erickson wrote in The Resurgent, “Don’t look now, but Donald Trump just had his best week on the campaign trail. It was not flawless, but it was…if we’re grading on the same curve everyone grades Hillary Clinton on… Presidential.

“…It was a very good week for Donald Trump. It reassured a lot of his supporters and a lot of Republican leaders. He forced President Obama to play catch up and caught Hillary Clinton flat footed. But can he keep it up for eighty more days? Doubtful.”

It’s a special occasion indeed when Erickson writes something nice about Trump, so he should be given credit for commenting on the campaign when the nominee does something good. Erickson’s post further demonstrates that #NeverTrump isn’t as opposed to Trump the candidate as they are to Trump the person.

And over at The American Spectator, Trump critic Ross Kaminsky wrote, “If you buy the argument, then, that Trump’s real persona, while hardly demure, is not the incorrigible blustery demagogue of recent months but rather a man who is at least occasionally capable of quiet thoughtfulness, respectful disagreement, and even a soft side, the rapid change in campaign style over the past two weeks may be less of an act than it is better coaching urging him to drop the tiresome and divisive shtick…

“My policy differences with Donald Trump remain enormous. He still has not earned my vote and he may never do so. But as I said to my wife on Friday, while watching the under-new-management on-script even-keeled Trump, ‘Where has THIS guy been for the last six months?!?’”

Kaminsky’s question is something a lot of us are wondering about. I’m guessing the polls will begin to tick Trump’s way in the next two weeks, likely resulting in a race that’s within the margin of error in many of them.

The stage will be set for the ever-important fall debates. If the “new” Trump shows up for them, he’s got a darn good chance of beating Crooked Hillary on November 8.

RedStater tries to explain why Cruz supporters still can’t get behind Trump

Speaking of #NeverTrump, there was a fascinating post at RedState yesterday from one of its staffers identified only as Jillian5512.

In a post entitled “Why Cruz Conservatives Mourn Him Instead Of Supporting Trump,” Jillian5512 wrote, “For me, supporting Ted Cruz was about saving Conservatism, not idolizing the man. While I'm not blind and I see that some do idolize him, in my view they'll get over it in time, once they decide to separate from that and refocus on his message. For most, it's not ‘mourning,’ it's a way of keeping the Conservative movement alive.

“I'm not going to vote for DJT for one big reason -- if he wins, he will spend the next 4 years trying to crush Ted Cruz and Conservatism in general, using his ‘Alt-Right’ foot soldiers. As others have pointed out, if Hillary wins, Conservatism can at least survive while working in opposition to her. Under DJT, it will be eliminated from the public discourse completely. The Alt-Right is Socially Liberal. It is not ‘true’ Conservatism. If you wanted to know the reason why some Cruz fans are keeping the home fires burning on social media, that's why.”

The author then proceeded to chastise Trump for visiting Louisiana last week, arguing it was just a photo op intended to prop up his candidacy. She also can’t support Hillary, however, so Jillian5512 is in the familiar #NeverTrump self-imposed voting no man’s land of non-participation.

Jillian5512 concludes, “My non-vote for either candidate comes down to letting God decide which kind of poison I have to take. Putting all of this into God's capable hands is really the only option now.”

As a dedicated backer of Ted Cruz during the primaries, I feel compelled to answer Jillian.

First, in discussing why he didn’t endorse Trump at the Republican convention, Cruz talked mostly about the personal slights from the nominee and didn’t say anything about how Trump would crush conservatism. There’s a simple reason for this: Cruz may not care much for Trump the man but he doesn’t believe Trump will destroy the country.

Certainly Cruz realizes if Hillary wins the presidency her administration and Supreme Court nominees will do much more damage to God’s will than anything Trump could possibly inflict. So using God as the reason to not make the choice between Trump and Crooked Hillary this year is not an excuse.

(In this respect, please see CHQ Editor George Rasley’s excellent treatment on the subject.)

Next, if Ted continues his silence on an endorsement, it’s not going to matter one way or another to a potential Cruz candidacy in 2020, because the Texas senator’s career will have been shot. Simply put, like all of #NeverTrump, Cruz will take his share of blame for allowing Crooked Hillary to run roughshod over the Constitution and the country for the next four years.

Who is going to want to support a guy who chose personal pride over the good of America in 2016?

This isn’t a matter of selfish ambivalence. It’s the entire system at stake, including many of the precious rights we hold dear as articulated in the Declaration of Independence and protected from federal trampling by the Constitution.

Lastly, the vast majority of Cruz supporters have moved on, me included. We gave it the good fight for the man we saw as the best candidate to take on Hillary Clinton. He didn’t win.

This isn’t a cult and Cruz isn’t the guru in charge of American freewill. The voters had a choice and they went for Trump. In the end, it wasn’t because Trump insulted his way to the nomination. It was because Trump best represented what the people wanted – an outsider voice to express and carry forth their message.

Further, it certainly appears as though Trump has learned from (and regrets) his mistakes of the past and is ready to move forward as someone conservatives can count on and trust to try and improve the country.

I can’t help but think God would want us to make the choice. Don’t blame him if the very human voters go for Hillary and the America as we know it collapses.

Trump claims no flip-flop on immigration…you be the judge

Finally today, the media is going nuts over a purported reversal on Trump’s promise to deport all people in the country illegally.

Jesse Byrnes of The Hill reports, “Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday insisted that he wasn't ‘flip-flopping’ on deporting the estimated 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S.

“’When dealing with people, we have to be very firm. We have to be very, very strong when people come in illegally,’ Trump said during a phone interview on ‘Fox and Friends.’”

In saying so, Trump is merely adding nuance to the overall policy he’s talked about all along. If people actually believed there would be buses going around to certain neighborhoods with armed guards chasing down little children carrying teddy bears, you probably never had it right in the first place.

Trump’s clarification follows on the heels of statements by campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and Trump supporter Senator Jeff Sessions that the immigration policy is still in flux. That shouldn’t come as a surprise considering it will take time to develop the specifics. Trump deserves some room on this, especially since there doesn’t appear to be much enforcement going on these days.

Kind of funny, under the “new” Trump we’re talking a lot more about his policies and a lot less about his statements.

In the end, that can only be a good thing for everyone concerned.

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Ted Cruz

On one hand, I can agree with Ted Cruz's supporters. It goes against my grain to vote for Donald Trump. On the other hand, as to leaving it in God's hands, I believe God expects us to help ourselves whenever possible. To not vote is denying what the Framers knew. Our rights come from God, not from any politicians. You aren't preserving those God given rights if you sit back and allow Hillary and her ilk destroy this country.