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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Scott Adams comes around to my thinking on Trump

For some time, I have said that this election -- like the Republican nomination race -- is a referendum on Trump. Scott Adams of Dilbert fame (and he is among the 321 people quoted in my book, "Trump the Press") now says the same thing.

I doubt that Adams reads my blog, but if he did, he would have read on several occasions about my assertion that this is a referendum on Trump. Most voters hate her, and so they ask, is he good enough?

On June 5, I wrote:
Every day the Washington Post's "Daily 202" feeds a Trump story to its readers. And that is exactly what Trump wants. Attention. Negative or positive, that is what any newcomer wants. Trump like any politician knows that if the election is about him, he wins. The 2008 election was a referendum on Obama. The 1992 election was a referendum on Clinton. The 1980 election was a referendum on Reagan. Not every election works this way. It takes a strong candidate to pull it off.
On June, I quoted this idiot:
From Chuck Todd:
How the '16 campaign became a referendum on Trump
Here's a thought experiment: Imagine if Marco Rubio, not Donald Trump, were the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee. There would be considerable more attention to the Hillary email story, which still hasn't gone away. We'd be highlighting how Bernie Sanders still hasn't quit his race, creating a fissure inside the party. And we'd be fixated on Clinton's all-time low favorability numbers. Instead, the current stories are Trump attacking a federal judge, how the Republican Party is truly divided over its presumptive nominee (see below for a list of that disunity), and Trump having even worse favorability numbers than Clinton. Bottom line: This 2016 presidential race could have been a referendum on Clinton and the Obama White House, even with the president's 50%-plus approval rating. Instead, it has turned into a referendum on Trump. As Stu Rothenberg writes, "Donald Trump continues to make the 2016 election a referendum on his accomplishments, his past statements and his beliefs." And for Republicans, that's a hard race to win.
Then I straightened him out:
That is exactly backward.
The question in November is simply: Is Donald Trump good enough to be president?
That was the question with Jack Kennedy in 1960 (the answer was barely), with Reagan in 1980 (overwhelmingly), and Obama in 2008 (yep).
Such a referendum on a newcomer does not happen often. The last time it happened was -- well, in the 2016 Republican nomination process when some loser named Trump sucked all the oxygen out of the room.
Trump's playbook is Reagan's. Why not? Steal from the best. Reagan's debate with President Carter settled the matter. It went from a close race to a blowout as people saw that Reagan was good enough.
The experts get it wrong because they were never experts. They merely repeated what other experts told them. My book exposes them as the know-nothing blowhards they are.

Now Scott Adams -- who first convinced me that Trump would win -- now sees that Trump has to prove he is presidential, something he can do simply doing nothing. Trump just needs to act normal. He must show his CEO side.

From Adams:
Now consider what Clinton and Trump each need to accomplish – and quickly – in order to win in November. Clinton needs to prove she is not crooked, which is now impossible because the head of the FBI has publicly certified her as crooked. At least that’s how it looks to the public. The public heard the FBI say Clinton broke the law, followed by a decision to not prosecute. That taint won’t wash off by November. 
Trump, on the other hand, simply has to NOT do crazy-racist-sounding things for a few months. If he stays presidential (mostly) from here on out, people will believe he can moderate his scary persona at will. That’s all he needs to prove.
Clinton’s task of proving she is not crooked is literally impossible at this stage. But Trump’s task of NOT being outrageous for a few months is somewhat easy. He’s already doing it, and I don’t see him breaking a sweat.
You also have to factor in the Gingrich effect. No matter who gets tapped for Vice President, Gingrich has already created intellectual cover for Trump. Were you worried that Trump is dumb and under-informed? You don’t have that concern about Gingrich, even if you dislike him. Gingrich solves for Trump’s perceived intellect gap with Clinton. Expect Gingrich to have a key role in Trump’s government.
Now you could argue with Scott Adams, who created Dilbert, but you would be wrong because you would be using the arguments of Chuck Todd, Nate Silver and the other fools I quote in my book, along with good guys like Adams.

This is not an unusual election. Trump is an unusual candidate, true, but there is nothing particularly unusual about the nomination process. They had debates, Trump rose in popularity, he finished second in Iowa, won New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, and it should have been fait accompli. But you had these diehard Never Trumpers insisting he had to get 1,237 delegates to win, and now that he has 1,543, they insist on holding out hope.

While they were writing him off, I was writing my book that shows they were off.

As to the fall, the only decision I must make is whether to write a sequel.


"Trump the Press: Don Surber's take on how the pundits blew the 2016 Republican race," is now on sale.

Please purchase "Trump the Press" through Create Space, as I get a larger royalty. It is a subsidiary of Amazon.

The book also is on Amazon.

And its Kindle release is on July 25. Pre-order here, please.

Autographed copies are $20 each. Please email me at 

Regardless of how you purchase this must reading for Trump supporters and media critics alike. Please post a book review on the Amazon site. That helps attract other readers.


  1. If he goes "Presidential", that's what's done in the Rs so often - the unwillingness to attack.

    If he keeps his rhetoric on point, he'll do just fine.

    1. This election is going to be about, not what voters want to achieve, but what they want to prevent.

  2. Write the sequel and while you're waiting, do another 50-great book.

  3. A Trump/Clinton debate should be very amusing and not a little informative, especially as far as the candidates' abilities to "think on their feet." Trump should be able to run circles around Shrillary. - Elric

  4. I wanna hear the same off the cuff truth droppin from DJT as I've heard thus far. Ride the horse that brung ya here, Mr. Trump.

  5. Don,

    I have been reading you since early March when I realized that Trump had the nomination sewed up and on his mantle. You continue to get it more right than pretty much any pundit out there.

  6. In recent election campaigns since the Democrats adopted their scorched earth policy to gain and hold power, the VP candidate has been assigned the task of rabid attack dog, while the top of the ticket remained "above the fray" in order to appear "presidential." Could this be the first campaign in memory where, on the Republican side, those roles are reversed 180 degrees, with the P-guy being the aggressive one and the VP-guy being the laid-back one? Stranger things have happened over the last 365 days.

  7. I've finally worked out who the Never Trumpers remind me of....Granny Clampett.

    Jethro: "I didn't write it, that was written by Abraham Lincoln, the President that whupped the South."

    Granny: "The South was not whupped."

    Jethro: "Granny, General Lee surrendered to General Grant."

    Granny: "He did not! General Lee figured that Grant was a blacksmith, and handed him his sword so he could sharpen it. And don't you ever forget it!"

    Jethro: "Granny, I tell you the North already done won the war."

    Granny: "No such thing. We's just laying back, letting them think they did. One of these days, when they ain't looking, we's gonna jump 'em!"


  9. Chuck Todd reminds me why I don't watch the boob tube any more. The idea that Todd and his Democrat co-conspirators would ever say anything bad about their beloved Hillary is laughable.