Has Dan Qualye boarded the Trump Train? Savannah Guthrie asked the former Vice President that very question on the Today show this morning, and the answer is … complicated. Quayle emerged from his quiet retirement to urge the GOP to unite behind its nominee, but when Matt Lauer asked Quayle whether Donald Trump has the temperament and the qualifications to be president, the former VP said, “We’re gonna find out.” Oof:
“He’s unusual,” Quayle says after praising his political instincts and business acumen, but Quayle says that Trump now needs to demonstrate a presidential mien. “It’s a different campaign once you’re the nominee,” Quayle says repeatedly during his appearance, and says Trump has to take “a different tone.” Will he? We may see some hint of that today in the meetings that Trump will take with GOP leadership in DC.
On qualifications, Quayle eventually turns the question around on Lauer later in the interview, although how convincingly remains to be seen. Voters now want an outsider to be president, Quayle says, and in that sense Trump’s more qualified than Hillary Clinton. That assumes that the primary electorate, fueled by populism in both parties’ primaries, will reflect the general-election electorate. Trump’s counting on that too, expecting to make big inroads among Bernie Sanders supporters when he loses to Hillary in a few weeks, but the question there will be whether progressives are more ideological or more populist in their intent. With almost four months to reunite the Left, Hillary will certainly have the opportunity to pull them in ideologically — and is still winning handily despite her lack of outsider credibility. When the rest of the voters finally get engaged in the election, it’s still an open question whether populism is a dominating factor, or more of an internecine battle within the GOP’s base.
“Expect the unexpected,” Quayle says. Indeed.