If anything, in fact, the delegate-wrangling process should be a godsend for Trump. It moves the race out of the ballot box, where he’s vulnerable to a surge of #NeverTrump votes as the primaries near their conclusion, to the backroom, where he can work his fatcat dealmaking magic. In practice, Cruz is beating the pants off of him, something that should never happen per the mystique that surrounds Trump of being a master negotiator. Noah Rothman claimed this morning that the fact that two of Trump’s kids failed to register in New York as Republicans in time to vote in this year’s primary is a microcosm of Trump’s disorganization generally, which is fair enough. But I’d add to that that him getting consistently beaten by Cruz at the delegate level is a microcosm of how Trump’s image as wheeler-dealer extraordinaire is oversold. An ingenious salesman should not be at this sort of chronic disadvantage against a guy who’s not very personally likable, whose methods are loathed by the establishmentarians who “rigged” the system, and who’s operating at a financial handicap compared to Trump. But he is. How come?
The question is rhetorical, and the answer is obvious: Trump is not the ingenious guy he presents himself as being, nor does he hire the best people. Or maybe he is all that in the field of real estate development, but that’s because he actually has skills there that don’t transfer easily to a lot of other processes, although they transfer to some. And he’s an infantile entitled complainer, too, which I’ve noticed a lot of his fans seem to have no problem justifying and excusing.
By the way, I would think this whether I liked Trump or not. How do I know? Simple. It has to do with my reaction to Bush/Gore 2000. At that time I was, of course, a Democrat, and I voted for Gore. During the long and nerve-wracking legal process of watching the courts decide who had won the photo finish election, I very much wanted to it be Gore, naturally. But when Bush won in the courts, unlike a lot of Democrats I never cried “Foul!” or thought he had stolen the election. I remember being very very disappointed in Gore and his advisors and aides, and thinking that if they couldn’t mount that fight and win—if Gore had been outfoxed and outmaneuvered by the Bush team—then he probably didn’t have the requisite toughness and knowledge of the system to have deserved the presidency and made an effective president.
President Obama started a new presidential tradition of whining and complaining, blaming and accusing. Prior to Obama, such behavior in a president was considered both unmanly and unpresidential. But at least Obama didn’t run on touting his macho alpha male characteristics, except for the occasional remark. Trump does.
Trump is not being cheated. Everyone is playing by the same rules, which were available to every campaign well in advance. Trump simply is not as good at converting knowledge into success – notwithstanding the centrality of this talent to his candidacy. Perhaps this is because he is singularly good at generating free publicity (and consequently minimizing the publicity available to his rivals). Maybe he underestimated the importance of building a competent, experienced campaign organization. But he can hardly acknowledge this because it is a colossal error of judgment – and his purportedly peerless judgment is the selling point of his campaign…
Trump is constitutionally incapable of admitting errors – a flaw exacerbated by a campaign premised on a personality rather than a program. So his now familiar, repulsive reaction is to smear his opposition as cheaters, liars and even law-breakers … while Roger Stone, one of Trump’s brass-knuckles specialists, threatens to extort delegates. The stubborn fact, however, is that Trump has a management problem – namely … Trump. He grossly miscalculated the task at hand, he is scrambling to find suitable staff way too late in the game, and in a vain effort to divert attention from his own failings he is slandering others. This is the kind of candidate he has been, and the damage someone of his judgment and temperament could do if he were president is blatant.
Please read the whole thing.]
[ADDENDUM II: Rather than turn this blog into an all-Trump all-the-time festival, I’m going to just post another link to an article on a topic that truly does deserve a post of its own, the fact that the hundred million dollars of Trump’s supposed charitable donations mostly amount to free golf rounds and hotel rooms at his resorts.]