2016, Donald Trump — August 23, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Maybe Donald Trump just doesn’t understand


Here’s a subtle way to point out that Trump is the least qualified candidate for president we’ve ever seen


You can’t see it in the polls — which show Hillary Clinton leading by more than 10 percent in states that would give her 298 electoral voters — but Donald Trump’s campaign has done one very smart thing recently.

Trump has stopped doing interviews with anyone but the friendly folks/Trump advisors at Fox News. The last interview he gave to a non-Fox employee was the one where he attacked the Khan family.

So you can understand why they’ve pulled back.

But even in his “friendly” interviews, he often betrays his complete lack of policy knowledge — even about the defining policy of his campaign.

On Monday night, Trump tried to explain his possibly evolving immigration stance to Bill O’Reilly. He ended up making news by basically admitting that he’s been lying about the issue for a year. But he also revealed how out of his depth he is only 80 some days before a presidential election.

NBC’s Benjy Sarlin explains:

Trump also seemed confused about how the deportation process works. He told O’Reilly that he would not house suspected illegal immigrants in “detention centers” while their cases were adjudicated. “I’ve never heard the term,” Trump said. “I’m not going to put them in a detention center.”

In fact, there already are immigration detention facilities all over the country that Congress requires the administration fill up with 34,000 people at all times. Trump’s own immigration plan — which is still on his website — states that illegal border crossers “must be detained until they are sent home, no more catch-and-release.”

Not knowing anything about actual policy, nor caring about any consistency, was an advantage to Trump in the GOP primary where it gave him room to attack Ted Cruz for supporting “Amnesty,” though Cruz and he had nearly identical immigration policies.

Now Trump has recognized what Mitt Romney did around this point in 2012 — you can’t win a general election by alienating the fastest growing groups of new voters, Asian-Americans and Latinos, by attacking immigrants. So he’s at least changing his tone on the issue, even though it’s likely far too little, way too late.

How should the Clinton team respond to this? Bait him. Force him to contradict himself and reveal his lack of knowledge and the implicit cruelty he’s displayed by toying with millions of people’s fate without even a dusting of responsibility.

And this tactic could be used over and over.

Maybe Donald Trump doesn’t understand what it means to promise to deport 11 million people.

Maybe Donald Trump doesn’t understand why he should release his tax returns the way every major party candidate since Nixon has.

Maybe Donald Trump doesn’t understand how connected his financial interests are to Russia, which is why we need to see his tax returns.

Maybe Donald Trump doesn’t understand that when he makes promises to charities, they actually expect that he’ll fulfill them.

Maybe Donald Trump doesn’t understand what will happen to the 18 million people who’d lose health insurance under his plan.

Heading into the debates, Hillary Clinton has a decided advantage in one area: She knows stuff.

Lots of stuff. More stuff than I’ll ever know and certainly more stuff than Donald Trump will ever know.

Exposing the reckless caprice with which Trump operates won’t hurt him with his fans, who we aren’t trying to convince to do anything except to keep their heads above the salad guard. But it will help expose the glaring and obvious issue in this election that’s so obvious to most women, who are turning away from Trump in record numbers.

As Touré put it:

While you can debate whether Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate ever for president — because she’s definitely up there, it’s obvious that Trump is the least qualified major party candidate ever. You know that. And he knows that.

Continually saying “Maybe Donald just doesn’t understand” is a way to say that over and over in a way that will make him even more prone to self-destruct.

[CC image credit: Gage Skidmore | Flickr]