The end of last week seemed like the grand finale of what seemed to be a Rube-Goldberg-machine-like fail of the Donald Trump Campaign. After booting his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, just two months earlier, Trump demoted Paul Manafort, his sketchy-but-competent campaign chairman, who subsequently resigned. Trump then brought on Steve Bannon, the former director of Breitbart.com, as CEO. He also brought on a new campaign manager: pollster Kellyanne Conway, whose motto is “Let Trump be Trump." Accordingly, I patiently waited all weekend for my Twitter feed to explode.
But nothing happened.
Instead, Trump gave a speech that — for him (a huge qualifier) — sounded borderline rational. He apologized (sort of). He made an appeal to African-American voters (sort of). He managed not to slander anyone too bad, or to double down on any outlandish policy proposals, or to insinuate that a viable way of keeping his opponent out of office was to shoot her.
I just have one question: Where is the "Trump being Trump" moment?
As of Monday morning, the most I can come up with is Trump’s weirdly petty Twitter fight with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough. Aside from that and a not-wildly-unreasonable call for the Clintons to shut down their charitable foundation, Trump has kept things just this side of sane.
This is making me nervous.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not worried that Trump is about to win over African-Americans. Nor do I think that a majority of Americans are going to believe that he’s actually sorry for the things he said and did in the primaries.
What I am worried about is the possibility that Trump will be able to move the needle enough with the key demographics of voters in critical battleground states. I am worried that white people who might not have wanted to vote for a racist will be sufficiently convinced that Trump — the man who believes a judge with Mexican heritage can’t be impartial in a case about Trump University because he’s calling for America to build a wall on the Mexican border — isn’t a racist.
I’m trying as hard as I can to think about the long game, to believe that Trump really is unable to pivot — to even take the man at his own word that he doesn’t “want to pivot." If I can just be patient enough, hopefully he’ll fall back into his own ways and really put his foot in it.
Oh wait, Michelle Bachmann is advising Trump on foreign policy? You know what, maybe I am panicking too soon.
Image: Bustle/Dawn Foster