Last week, Donald Trump appeared at a rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Susana Martinez, the Republican governor of that state, did not appear, apparently because she has some level of discomfort with his candidacy for President of the United States.
Typically when this happens in politics, it is a sign to the one who was shunned (in this case, Trump) that he has work to do to win over the person who chose not to attend their function.
But that is not how Donald Trump took it. Instead, he used it as an opportunity to publicly criticize her job performance. As the New York Times reported, "Mr. Trump purposefully attacked" Martinez, who is a woman and a Hispanic -- two groups that most political experts agree that Trump has to do a better job reaching out to if he is going to have a chance of getting elected in November.
Trump said Martinez was "not doing the job," adding, "Hey! Maybe I'll run for governor of New Mexico, get this place going," to the delight of his supporters.
According to the Times, "He faulted her by falsely asserting she was allowing Syrian refugees to settle in the state, and blamed her for Albuquerque's unemployment numbers as well as the increase in the number of New Mexico residents on food stamps."
Five days later, Trump has not apologized. On yesterday's Fox News Sunday, Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, doubled down on this issue when confronted by host Chris Wallace.
"Corey," Wallace asked, "why on Earth would the now-Republican nominee, now that he's clinched the nomination, why would he now call out the popular governor of a swing state like New Mexico, who just happens to be the head of the Republican Governor's Association?"
"Well, here's what happened, Chris, and you know this," Lewandowski replied. "Every time Mr. Trump goes to speak somewhere, he lays out the problems at that given location... That doesn't matter for New Mexico, or for Indiana, or for for Michigan. People are hurting. And we need a president who's going to bring our jobs back. And so, outlining the economy of a specific location, something that he has done across the country, everywhere he's gone, because we need to highlight the problems we have, and what we're going to do to fix those problems."
Wallace then brought up how former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump ally, criticized Trump for publicly dissing Martinez, called his attack "very, very destructive," and expressed concern that for a candidate like Trump who needs to reach out to women and Hispanics, it was wrong to attack a governor who is both.
Lewandowski brushed aside this criticism, citing the poor economy and saying, "Donald Trump is winning with Latinos" and "doing very well with women."
Wallace cut him off, saying that Trump's numbers with both are "hugely underwater."
"It's not about being a Republican, it's not about being a Democrat, it's about doing what's right for the country," Lewandowski responded.
According to a national survey of 8,000 Hispanic voters conducted jointly by Florida International University's School of International and Public Affairs and Adsmovil, a Hispanic advertising company, Clinton leads Donald Trump, 62-12 percent, among Hispanics.
An April survey by Gallup showed that 70 percent of women disapprove of Donald Trump.
So Lewandowski's protestations aside, why would Trump publicly chastise Martinez, who represents two demographics that he badly needs to win?
For Salon, a liberal publication, Trump's actions were more than just "a simple expression of his bigotry." Instead, they were "yet another case of Trump asserting his dominance."
"Insiders have said that he expected the party to fall in line immediately, much as the executives of a company would fall in line after a merger. He does not believe he should have to cajole or persuade Republican office holders to endorse him and believes it's weak to try. A leader takes what he wants by force."
"Trump is reality TV; Martinez is reality," National Review said, and highlighted Trump's history of "Putting his name on things. Posing as his own spokesman. Sleeping around, and boasting about it."
Meanwhile, Martinez was a district attorney in New Mexico for 25 years before being elected governor of New Mexico, "one of the poorest states of the Union," and has cared for her handicapped sister "for decades."
"For 30 years, she has done her utmost to keep people safe from predators and to make life in general better."
Nordlinger then concluded, "Do they have any idea whom they're supporting? Any?"
So, while liberals and conservatives by their nature don't agree on much, they do agree on at least one thing: Donald Trump is transforming the political landscape, and in ways that both sides find distasteful.
What do you think? Is Donald Trump acting the way he is for personal reasons, and should he be wary of alienating both liberals and conservatives? Or, is he transforming the American political landscape? Be sure to sound off in the comments section below.
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