All of that has led to a split with Republican Party leaders. Never before has the sitting speaker of the House called his party's presumptive nominee's comments "racist" (as Paul Ryan did with Trump's comments on the Trump U judge). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell chided Trump to get on message and stick to the script. One Republican senator said he would not entertain any more Trump questions and others are refusing to defend him and even threatening not to support him.
Inconsistency And A Lack Of Discipline:
Trump himself months ago had promised to be "more presidential than anybody other than the great Abe Lincoln." Back in March, on the night of the Michigan primary and five days after he became the first presidential candidate in history to defend the size of his genitalia
during a live national presidential debate, Trump vowed, "I could be more presidential than anybody. I can be more presidential, if I want to be, I can be more presidential than anybody."
He called it "easy." It's proved to be not so easy. Instead, Trump seems to have an internal conflict choosing which self he wants to be. He delivered two wooden speeches, reading from a teleprompter twice in a week after GOP disunity came to a head. And then he was back to his free-wheeling self at a rally in Atlanta on Wednesday. His rambling speech went on for more than an hour, with Trump sometimes ducking out of incomplete thoughts midway through a sentence, sometimes coming back to them much later.
You just never know which Trump you're going to get — and both have their flaws.
Trump is now facing a minor collapse of his poll numbers against Hillary Clinton. After Trump wrapped up the nomination, he pulled even with Clinton, according to the Real Clear Politics average of the polls. (That was when the Democratic race was not yet settled.) Over the past month, Trump has dipped below 40 percent. Clinton holds, on average, a 6-point lead. Polls this far out are hardly predictive of what will happen in the fall, but the trend is unmistakable and worrying many in the GOP.
Besides the horse-race numbers are other worrisome figures for the GOP:
— An ABC/Washington Post poll
found 70 percent of Americans dislike Trump, including 56 percent who have a "strongly unfavorable" view. That's unheard of. What's more, 9 in 10 Hispanics have an unfavorable view of Trump, including more than three-quarters who said so "strongly."
— A CBS/New York Times poll
found that 41 percent said they thought Clinton had done something illegal with her emails and private server setup in her home. Yet Trump was pulling in only 37 percent against Clinton's 43 percent in a head-to-head matchup. That means Trump isn't even getting all of the people who thought Clinton had done something illegal.
So What Now?
All of this has led to "Free the Delegates," the latest of the Stop Trump/Never Trump/Dump Trump movements.
"It's good news for us, bad news for the Trump supporters," contended Kendal Unruh, a delegate from Colorado, speaking Monday on MSNBC of Lewandowski's ouster. She's one of the leaders of "Free the Delegates," which is encouraging the Republican National Committee to change its rules and allow delegates to vote their conscience at the convention.
"There is not a campaign, there is not an organization," Unruh said of the Trump team, adding, it would be "impossible to win against Hillary Clinton" with Trump on the ticket.
But Free the Delegates, like past Stop Trump efforts, is unlikely to succeed. It, too, has little organization. And, perhaps most importantly, no candidate.
"Zero chance of success, unless Ted Cruz, who controls almost 1,000 delegates, joins in," is how veteran GOP operative Charlie Black described the effort. Black worked for John Kasich's presidential campaign, but also has ties to Manafort, with whom he founded the lobbying firm Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly
. "This likely will calm down before the convention."
Another veteran strategist called it "unlikely" that the RNC rules would be changed to derail Trump and said it is "highly improbable" that most of the delegates would "go against the will of millions of Republican primary voters."
"The ball is the hands of one person, Donald Trump," said Danny Diaz, who managed Jeb Bush's presidential campaign. "If he proves he can campaign without attacking fellow Republicans and employing divisive rhetoric, he will have few issues becoming the nominee, despite getting grudging support on the floor of the convention."
If Trump continues to be critical of fellow Republicans, however, it's possible there could be at least a protest vote on the floor of the convention. Sure, Trump would still be the nominee, but the last thing the party wants is a demonstration of disunity shown live on national television months before voting.
Either way, Trump has a lot of work to do — and it starts with himself."