Is Trump Catching Ross Perot Disease?

By Dick Morris on April 1, 2016

As pressure mounts on Donald Trump, he makes one mistake after another. Politico.com recently headlined that Trump had endured/caused “24 hours of mayhem.”

Within that time period, he proposed punishing women for having illegal abortions, defended his campaign manager for so abusing a reporter that he was arrested for assault, reneged on his pledge to back the ultimate GOP nominee, suggested that Japan and South Korea should get the bomb, called NATO “obsolete, “and condemned the Geneva Convention. Politico reports that this rash of incendiary statements left GOP leaders “stupefied.”

Is the pressure getting to Donald? Recently, he did an interview with conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes and admitted that he had not known, going in to the session, that Sykes was a sharp critic. But the real gaffe — that raises questions about his preparedness — was in citing Judge Diane S. Sykes, a judge on Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit as the kind of person he might consider for the Supreme Court. It was obvious from the text of the interview that nobody had told him that she was Charlie’s ex-wife!

These examples of forgetfulness, failure to focus on details, and foot-in-mouth statements are akin to those that helped to unravel Ross Perot, another billionaire who ran for president in 1992 and 1996. As Perot got closer to the election, he grew more irrational, accusing Republicans of threatening to release digitally altered photos of his daughter to intrude on her planned wedding. He fired his campaign personnel, demanded that others on the staff take loyalty oaths and began to crater in the polls. He fell from first place with 39% of the vote in June, 1992 (Gallup) to 20% in July. Then he pulled out of the race, only to re-enter it in September and get 19% of the vote.

The super-rich lead sheltered lives and are often not used to the pressure of a presidential campaign. Senators and governors are accustomed to the quick news cycles and on guard against trick questions and hostile interviews. But the likes of Trump and Perot are less used to these challenges and often self-destruct.

Is that what’s happening to Donald?

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