Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally on Wednesday in Bethpage, N.Y.
some text
Ron Hart
For us op-ed humorists, this election cycle has been more fun than bathing a monkey. It has been a rough-and-tumble affair, pitting a should-be-indicted Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders, who always raises his finger when he speaks like he's trying to get the attention of a waiter to send back his soup.

Donald Trump looks like the guy who would argue with the Applebee's manager when the 2-for-1 happy-hour appetizer special ends. He engages in unnecessary arguments.

The Republican National Committee sat Trump down in the "time-out" chair a couple of times and asked him to start acting presidential. He says he will evolve into becoming more presidential and will tone down his rhetoric. It is the most widely anticipated transition since Bruce to Caitlyn, and it will never fully work for the same reason: All the parts are not there.

But can Trump change? His bombastic nature has gotten him where he is, but his juvenile, off-the-cuff bravado is starting to get old. His appeal and his strengths are becoming his Achilles heel. This is not an eighth-grade playground where a bully can insult his way to respect. We are choosing a leader, not who gets to play on the monkey bars at recess.

He is basically in sync with what most Americans want to see happen in Washington. They want a disrupter to change things there, to reduce spending and government overreach, and they want to boot out the insidious insiders. Trump can do that, but he needs to calm down. Maybe his staff can help by pumping Adele music into his private jet's sound system.

When his daughter Ivanka gave birth to his grandson, Trump had a great opportunity to show his human side. Trump did congratulate her, but only after demanding to see the birth certificate.

When there were 16 GOP challengers, Citizen Vain stood out. He weathered every firestorm of his own making, but this past week was the worst one of his tumultuous run.

His recent comments on abortion show his inexperience. Trump lost more ground by fumbling a statement on abortion, which he later retracted. He was badgered by a gloating Chris Matthews on MSNBC into opining that women who get abortions should somehow be punished. With that statement, it is clear what the punishment will be: a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Who does not know by age 68 where he or she stands on the issue? Republicans believe that life begins at conception or when a couple's eyes meet at a party. And these constitutional rights are extended right up to the point you decide to gay marry. Democrats believe abortion is OK, right up to the point the child registers as a Republican.

The week got worse for Trump. A reporter said she was roughed up by Trump's campaign manager, the Big Lewandowski. The videotape presents a case that is, at best, dubious, but Trump impulsively attacked his attacker and made it worse. Trump's spin now is that he is standing by his employee; he is just a loyal guy that way. If you doubt his loyalty, just ask Marla Maples and Ivana Trump.

Manhandling an aggressive female reporter usually would hurt a candidate. But it might help Trump get the endorsement of Chris Brown and the NFL Players Union.

The campaign trail is strewn with booby traps that the leftist media love to set for Republicans. Next are the so-called "religious liberty bills" passed by the several state legislatures. It's unnecessary legislation that presupposes all sorts of nonexistent issues for evangelical business owners. They fear that a gay person might order rainbow trout in a seafood restaurant, and, if it's not on the menu, the owners might be sued.

If Trump can survive all this and get the nomination, he then can campaign in Middle America to "connect with the people." He can tell people his relatable story of being born a poor orange man (until his trust fund kicked in), being sent to private boarding schools before building a New York City real estate fortune, marrying a series of supermodels and becoming a reality TV star — and how he worked tirelessly on the biggest issue troubling his people, doing all he can to create more reachable par fours.

Contact Ron Hart at or @RonaldHart on Twitter.