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Donald Trump: the beginning of the end

| Monday, April 4, 2016

Could this be the beginning of the end for Donald Trump’s presidential hopes?

Since he announced his candidacy last June, Trump has continued to gain followers because he “tells it like it is.” Vast numbers of Americans love the guy because they think he says whatever is on his mind without worrying about political correctness.

That same trait could now be causing trouble for the Trump campaign as the election begins to heat up.

We now sit only three months from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, and Trump just closed arguably his worst week of the entire campaign.

It started when Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, was charged Tuesday with battery of a female reporter on March 8, and Trump publicly denied Lewandowski had done anything wrong.

Next came his reversal on a previous pledge to support the Republican nominee if it happens to be someone other than him. (To be fair, Ted Cruz and John Kasich also distanced themselves from the pledge.)

After that, he suggested that Japan and South Korea, two of the United States’ strongest allies in Asia, should consider developing nuclear weapon programs so the American military can withdraw from the region. Leaders from both nations made clear their confusion and shock on a possible shift from agreements that have lasted for decades and provide stability in a region dominated politically by China and North Korea.

Then on Wednesday, Trump floated the idea that women should be “punished” if they have abortions, should the practice be made illegal in coming years. After fierce criticism from both pro-choice and pro-life groups, he changed his mind Thursday to say the doctor who performs an illegal abortion should be prosecuted, rather than the woman. He then changed his mind once more Friday, saying federal abortion laws should remain unchanged. All of this happened in a matter of just 72 hours.

Now, it seems as if Trump could be looking at a loss in the important Wisconsin primary this coming Tuesday, making a contested convention in July look like a much more realistic possibility.

So far in this election cycle, Donald Trump has been able to say pretty much anything he wants and still find support wherever he goes.

But a series of serious missteps, on issues ranging from women’s rights to foreign policy to a growing rift within the Republican party, could signal the start of real trouble for the Trump campaign.

Will he be able to bounce back? Or will he continue to stumble now that he is facing real challenges, even before going head-to-head against such an experienced politician in Hillary Clinton in the fall?

Contact Hunter McDaniel at hmcdani1@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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