Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will hold a rally in Bethpage Wednesday evening. To make sure New York doesn’t feed the intra-party movement to stop him, here are five things Trump must do:
- Exit the bubble: Visits to, say, Mastic, Newburgh, Yaphank and East New York, announced well in advance, might persuade older down-staters — who may know him only for notorious divorces and gaudy buildings — that he would represent their interests. His developer father Fred got rich on postwar housing for the middle-class; The son might want to spend time in Coney Island’s Trump Village and talk to people there, if only for a day.
- Exhibit manners: Even someone who claims he wouldn’t lose votes if he shot somebody on Fifth Avenue gets only so far on braggadocio. Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) hit him squarely when he said: “There’s no tough guys from Jamaica Estates. That’s where all the rich kids were.” Candidates often succeed when they show class, not wealth; Ohio Gov. John Kasich offers nothing if not a more stable temperament.
- Avoid disillusioning fans: He gets love from those who truly believe “he tells it like it is” whether he’s selling ties, running casinos or denying familiarity with David Duke. But Trump need not fear that an orderly, coherent presentation on, say, free trade or corporate cronyism would ruin his special twinkle. It could persuade skeptics he knows what he’s speaking about.
- Stop complaining: Every time Republican insiders or outsiders trash him or his chances, the author of the “Little Marco” sneer complains he’s not being “treated well.” Politics ain’t beanbag, as the 19th century saying went. Who knows? A thicker skin might start to persuade GOP detractors they’d be getting behind an emotionally mature candidate.
- Embrace western New York: Like any other politician, Trump has places he would fare better than in others. New York’s GOP always shows tension between downstate and Western New York. Trump supporter and fellow real-estate man Carl Paladino, who won a statewide primary, is his surrogate.