Trump ends California swing marked by bold remarks, criticism and violence
The presumptive GOP nominee remained outwardly confident about taking the Golden State in the general despite multiple protests during his trip there
Trump capped off his week-long swing through California on Friday by standing in front of his plane at an airfield in Redding, California, pointing out a black person in the crowd and saying, There! Look at my African American.
Its been quite a week in the Golden State for Trump.
In Fresno, he told drought-stricken Californians that there was no drought. In San Jose, he said Hillary Clinton should be in jail. In San Diego, he attacked a federal judge presiding over his Trump University suit, saying that Gonzalo Curiel was a total disgrace who happens to be, we believe, Mexican. Curiel is from Indiana.
Trump has been the presumptive Republican nominee for president since his last two rivals, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, dropped out of the race following the Indiana primary on 3 May. At this point in the race in 2012, Mitt Romneys calendar was largely empty save for fundraisers.
So what, exactly, is his game? Is he trying to act as a spoiler in the Democratic primary, which is looking tight for Clinton after a marathon bout of campaigning by Bernie Sanders? Is he worried about an embarrassment, in which dropped-out candidates who are still on the ballot such as former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore garner protest votes?
In part, experts say, his swing through California is about holding on to the national media narrative. One state GOP insider, speaking under the condition of anonymity because she did not want to be seen as criticizing the presumptive GOP nominee, said, What Ive heard from the inner circles is hes seeing California as a big enchilada, and even though hes got the nomination he wants to finish well.
If no voters turn out I dont think its going to really affect his chances hes won the nomination, said Terri Bimes, a professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley. But maybe hes out here to play the part, she added.
A sizable protest vote for a candidate such as Gilmore in response to negative press including an LA Times editorial urging Republican primary voters to vote for anyone but Trump, and another from the San Diego Union-Tribune urging them to write in Ronald Reagans name would not snatch the nomination from Trump, but it could be a substantial embarrassment for a candidate who promises to win as much as he does.
If by some reason he ends up winning but with less than 50% of the vote, that would be [interesting] said Bill Schneider, a visiting professor in the department of communication studies at UCLA and a former senior political analyst for CNN.