Can Donald Trump win the Republican nomination? Probably, but not certainly! Can Trump win in November against Hillary? Possibly, but not likely. Can Trump win without closing the gender gap? Absolutely not.
Trump and his advisers need to learn to count beyond delegates.
One of Donald Trump’s favorite putdowns against his opponents is: "He's a loser!" If he continues on his present path and rhetoric, even if he squeaks by and ekes out the Republican nomination, he will be defeated in the general election by a landslide and that phrase will be tattooed across his forehead for life.
Even his creative hair styling won’t be able to cover it up. LOSER will be there in bold print. It will be stamped right there on his forehead for the world to see. And the person who put it there will be Hillary Clinton along with a major assist from his own party.
Trump is a great counter puncher but likes to kick and insult his opponents after he's knocked them down. You don't gain points or supporters by being an ungracious winner.
Trump can't continue to divide the Republican Party, which is already a minority party, by attacking his fellow primary opponents even after they've dropped out.
If Trump wants to be president, and I assume he does, he needs to make a major adjustment to his strategy or as I suspect, develop a strategy.
Successful politics is a game of addition. You must first unify your party and build on it.
Trump is literally a former builder. He must understand the importance of building a strong foundation.
Right now, his foundation is full of cracks and the Republican Party is as divided as I have seen in the 50 years I've been around the game.
Trump is presently getting 37 percent of Republican voters. His biggest deficiency is among Republican women where the latest Wall Street Journal poll shows that 47 percent of Republican women say they will not vote for Trump if he is the nominee.
That is a sure formula for a landslide defeat, even to a vulnerable Hillary Clinton.
Two things must be the focus for Trump and must be his team's agenda every day. First, bring Republicans home. And, second, add women voters!
Trump can't win a general election by repeatedly attacking and insulting the majority of voters (women). The gender gap is real and growing. Women decided the election in 2012. The margin of victory was cast by women voters and the gap between President Obama and Mitt Romney among woman voters was 12 percent. Women voters will be the deciding vote again in 2016 and that gap has the potential to grow even larger.
In his 2012 loss, Romney got 93 percent of the Republican vote and McCain, in 2008 got 90 percent.
George W. Bush in his two wins got 93 percent in 2004 and 91 percent in 2000.
Looking at the numbers game, Trump must get over 90 percent – minimum -- of Republicans to support his nomination to be a viable candidate in a general election.
In order to do that he has to do a lot of repair work among the base and with the other candidates and their supporters.
Trump starts this election with extremely high negatives, 65 percent in the latest Fox News poll, and even higher in other polls (the highest of any presidential candidate running in the history of polling!)
Trump has insulted and trashed all his fellow candidates in the race, along with the recent nominees of the party: Dole, McCain, Romney. Trump also called former President George W. Bush a liar.
Of course the only Republican nominee he supported for president was Romney in 2012.
In previous elections he was a Democrat/independent/businessman and he cast his vote for their opponents.
Fast forward to 2016: Trump has made up for his Romney endorsement by calling him the biggest loser of all.
Even if Trump manages to repair his relations with his own party he must also end his perceived war on women. The attacks on Mrs. Cruz (whether he started it or not he certainly threw gas on the flames) have to stop.
His ongoing feud with Michelle Fields, Megyn Kelly and other female journalists also has to stop.
When 68 percent of voters don’t think you have the right temperament to be president (including 48 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of independents,64 percent of white voters, and 76 percent of women) it gets awfully hard to get the 65 million plus votes you will need to get elected.
Mr. Trump is a hell of a salesman. He's already convinced a lot of voters in the primaries he can do the job. But to get across the finish line as the winner -- not the loser -- is going to take a coordinated, and disciplined plan of action.
First and foremost, Mr. Trump needs some substantive policy advisers in both foreign and economic areas. Sound bites alone won't work in the fall campaign.
The world is a mess and good intentions and a "can do attitude" is not enough.
Trump needs to map out how he is going to win both the necessary constituencies and the swing states that can get him to 270 electoral votes or more.
If he doesn’t begin to pivot now, he's going to lose and so will the party he has now joined and wants to lead.
But the first steps are to quit insulting women, his fellow Republicans and minorities (and leave Mrs. Cruz and the female reporters alone). Mr. Trump, if you don't, I guarantee you, the last thing voters will say to you is: "You're fired!"