Meanwhile, rather than use this sleepy period in the campaign to attempt to show that he has some command of the issues, Trump continued to grant long interviews that exposed a shocking lack of familiarity with even basic policy questions. In one, Trump managed to horrify the editorial board of the Washington Post with incoherent answers and “breezy willingness to ignore facts and evidence,” as well as with his casual sexism.
A rational candidate would at least try to mitigate the damage that his well-deserved reputation for misogyny has done. Instead, Trump spent March repeatedly attacking Megyn Kelly, the most popular female journalist in the conservative media, and, in one of the more reprehensible moments of a very low campaign, he tweeted an unflattering picture of Ted Cruz’s wife and threatened to “spill the beans” on her (whatever that means). That controversy was soon eclipsed by Trump’s multiple, contradictory responses when asked what he believed about abortion. In the course of three days, he ricocheted from arguing that abortion should be illegal and that women who undergo the procedure should face punishment to essentially arguing that abortion laws should remain unchanged.
In the Arizona and Utah contests, held after some but not all of these events, there was a split verdict on Trump. He won Arizona, where his harsh anti-immigration message is popular among Republicans, and lost Utah, where Mormons acted like the Republican Party’s designated drivers by resoundingly rejecting Trump. Utah allowed the anti-Trump movement a brief respite: the race may have been over had Trump won there.