The news cycle this week has brought us 48 hours of additional evidence that Donald Trump behaves like a deranged sociopath, is unqualified for office and shockingly uninformed about the world, and is running his campaign with the managerial skill of a child at the peak of a temper tantrum. It has not been good.
But Trump supplicant Mike Huckabee is undeterred. The Huckster favors the argument that Donald Trump, despite more than a year of extremely consistent behavior in the public eye, will immediately transform into an entirely different human being if he gets into the White House. Numerous efforts by every prominent Republican under the sun to get him to change his ways have been doomed, over and over and over and over again. But Huckabee’s pitch is that Americans should relax, elect a furiously obstinate authoritarian madman, and then trust that everything will be copacetic at a later date. Here he is on Fox News today:
One of the things we have to keep in mind, it’s not so much what Donald Trump says when he’s a candidate, it’s what he’s going to do if he’s president. One thing that’s going to happen, he’s going to be surrounded by a whole lot more people than he is as a candidate.
I think he probably won’t have his own Twitter account when he’s president. There’s going to be a lot of things different.
“Yes, there are things Donald Trump says I wouldn’t say and I wouldn’t advise him to say,” Huckabee added, but at least Trump wouldn’t bow before foreign kings. So, there’s that.
I’m no campaign strategist, but the Huckster’s approach here, which has been echoed by Sen. Tom Cotton and others, seems like a very iffy political strategy to me. They’re acknowledging that Trump says and does things that would be horrible for a president of the United States to say or do. They acknowledge, at least implicitly, that many Americans are horrified by his behavior. They confess, some of the time, that they have no choice but to condemn the stuff that Trump says and does. But their kicker is this: Vote for Trump because he won’t be like Trump. “There’s going to be a lot of things different.”
A better campaign strategy, I would think, would be for Trump to go ahead and start acting presidential now. Otherwise, the American people might rightly conclude that the person running for president is the person we can see and hear, day after day, not the hypothetical person in Huck’s imagination.