Donald Trump sure does make it difficult to support him.
Every time it looks like he's learned to tone down his rhetoric, he calls someone a loser. Every time it looks like he's beginning to understand that a president's words can sink stock markets and ruin alliances, he comes out with some new bluster that has foreign ministers clutching their pearls.
He attacks Hillary Clinton relentlessly on her lack of transparency -- the fact that she does not talk to the press, says nothing that isn't scripted, and still won't release the transcripts of her speeches to Wall Street banks -- and then tells the American people that there's nothing interesting to learn from his tax returns.
Now Trump's defending his shady for-profit educational venture, Trump University. There are credible complaints from people who say the expensive classes -- which cost up to $35,000 -- weren't what was promised. There are allegations of aggressive salespeople who pressured students to sign up for courses they couldn't afford.
Trump himself has responded in his usual fashion, and his lawyers say they've got plenty of evidence to the contrary in the form of sealed depositions from former students who had good experiences at Trump University. But like Trump's tax returns, they aren't forthcoming.
Add it to the list of things that make it difficult to support Trump. Still, it's a he-said, she-said story, and isn't likely to make a dent in the Republican nominee's campaign.
The poll numbers indicate the major reason people support Trump is because he's not Clinton. Others support him because he's the only candidate who doesn't subscribe to the absurd notion that it's racist, bigoted or morally wrong for American leaders to act in the interest of Americans.
When Trump points out that the Mexican government prints guides for its poor on how to sneak into the U.S., or that illegal immigrants have more ready access to healthcare than American military veterans, he's telling the truth -- truth the mainstream media has successfully repressed by essentially shaming anyone who points out the obvious.
Media elites were shocked by Trump's success because they live in little bubbles, working in newsrooms among people who almost uniformly come from the same economic backgrounds, graduate from the same Ivy League schools, golf at the same country clubs, and go to the same cocktail parties.
Perhaps that's why they're shocked that Trump University, a for-profit "school" that teaches sales tactics to its students, is staffed by sales people who use sales techniques to sell the classes.
A May 31 New York Times story about Trump University treats revelations about the enterprise as earth-shaking. Can you believe it's a for-profit school? Can you believe that Trump himself, a man who employs thousands, isn't there in the classroom with his sleeves rolled up, going over the finer points of buy low, sell high with his students? Aggressive sales pitches? Shocking! Internal guides that instruct commission-dependent salespeople on how to read and manipulate the emotions of potential customers? Pure insanity!
The story tells readers that Trump was "chief promoter," rather than day-to-day manager, selling it as a tool of financial empowerment that would improve life for thousands of ordinary Americans."
The Times story goes on to quote former students who are deeply dissatisfied with their experience at Trump University, then acknowledges there are other students who say they got their money's worth and capitalized on the things they'd learned.
It's not surprising that Trump University isn't what some people thought it was. We have a strange notion in this country that anyone who styles themselves as an authority is worth listening to, that anyone with a title or name recognition is a worthy teacher to apprentice oneself to.
It should have been pretty clear to anyone thinking about signing up for the courses that Trump himself was not going to be pacing the classrooms, hands covered in chalk, answering their questions about bank loans and property values.
That's not to excuse Trump for his role in the university. A man who lends his name to a product should make sure the product is worthy of his name.
The people who felt cheated almost certainly aren't going to vote for him in November, and that's not surprising, either. But in an election year in which the only other choice is a habitual liar who shows contempt for Americans, who treats state secrets like jokey email forwards, who can barely conceal her rage when a non-supporter slips through and asks her an honest question during a campaign rally, well, it's a stretch to say Trump University is going to convince Trump's supporters to jump ship.