Just a scant few weeks ago, protestors were raging to shut the roaring mouth of Donald Trump. Whipping out their poster boards and Sharpies, donning their best cargo pants, and hoisting their cellphones they stormed the streets trying to blockade his events, shout down his followers and hopefully capture some blatant oppression on video.
Now, it looks like they should have rolled out a red carpet, set up a mic and prepared nachos. Turns out the quickest way to beat Trump may be to let him talk.
The billionaire from New York, who was already one of the least trusted and least liked candidates in modern history, has sunk even lower. A Washington Post/ABC News poll has found seven-out-of-ten Americans now have an unfavorable opinion of him.
Think about this. What this poll means is some people who have so far managed to accept Trump’s misstatements, falsehoods and scalding attacks on perceived enemies; people who have been willing to explain away everything he has done up until now – have finally been pushed too far. And that’s saying something.
What put them over the edge? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it was Trump’s wholly unexpected, inexplicable and racially charged attack on an American judge. Perhaps it was his furious assault on the media, or his calamitous relations with members of his own party, or his overall combative response to almost any challenge.
Or maybe…just maybe…the novelty has worn off. Maybe under a barrage of criticism by Democrats and Republicans alike more voters are beginning to look beyond Trump’s made-for-TV bombast and they don’t like what they see.
To be sure, the polls say the voters still do not think much of Hillary Clinton either, putting her unfavorable rating at 55 percent. So I stand by my assessment: She can still find a way to lose this election.
But not if Trump hands her the win. And right now he appears to be doing just that.
(CNN’s Tom Foreman is the author of My Year of Running Dangerously)