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Who’s kidding who?

April 6, 2016

Leading up to the Wisconsin primary, you almost had to wonder if Donald Trump was deliberately trying to lose.

Given the interminable string of gaffes, the really bizarre appearance by Saran Palin, and Trump’s seemingly total inability or desire to even try to “act presidential”, you might be forgiven for thinking that maybe this whole president thing has suddenly become a little too real for him, leading to a case of shoot-yourself-in-the-foot syndrome.

One thing’s for sure. If he doesn’t win the nomination outright, it won’t be anyone’s fault but his own.

At times his campaign rallies have had the feel of a cult reality TV show, but lately, there’s been darn little reality in evidence.

On Tuesday that finally caught up to him, and it had nothing to do with John Kasich or the national party.

To be sure, Trump was never projected to win Wisconsin, but was expected to be within 6 points. Instead he lost by 13, almost assuredly due to his own actions.

He will go on, and even win a few contests, but no one who is even remotely serious about electing a competent person to the office is going to be voting for him.

For those that just wanted to get back to feeling good about America’s future, that’s kind of a shame.

Mr. Trump doesn’t seem to have even attempted to learn about the issues that will face the next president. Instead, he seems to ricochet from sound bite to sound bite and tweet to tweet. Unfortunately for him, the walls around him aren’t sufficiently padded to absorb the damage.

Speaking of walls, how is keeping money from flowing to Mexico going to provide funds for the wall?  The only people that suffer in that scenario are the people in Mexico who can least afford it. Given the number of American companies in Mexico, it wouldn’t be hard to envision a retaliatory action by the Mexican government. Oh and BTW,  we already require identification for those transactions.

Most concerning, he seems incapable of learning from his mistakes. He’s been told time and time again to quit with the juvenile personal attacks, but seemingly just can’t give up the habit.

While that sort of thing doesn’t faze his most loyal fans, it certainly disturbs those who just want a good, strong, effective President that understands that he must govern the entire country, not just a chosen few.

One of Mr. Trump’s more reliable and disagreeable habits is whining like a small child every time things don’t go his way, and he didn’t disappoint this time. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to him that if you don’t want negative publicity, you might try not doing the things that earn it for you.

Americans will often tolerate a lot of flaws in their leader, but being an all-show, no-go whiner is not one of them.

That leaves some people looking for someone else to support.

The logical GOP alternative at present is Ted Cruz.  If you combined all the delegates still divided between previous candidates with those supporting John Kasich, Cruz would be winning handily at this point. Cruz and Kasich currently control 618 delegates, Marco Rubio is still holding on to 173, and the minor candidates long gone out of the race adds another 100 or so.

That would, up to this point, give Cruz 1,000 or so delegates to Trump’s 750 or so. The math will change, but even if the GOP party keeps it’s thumb off the scales, it’s hard to see Mr. Trump coming out of Cleveland with 1237.

That’s an awful lot of assumptions, but it points out why the current frontrunner is looking less like a clear winner.

It remains to be seen if the Republican insiders can be coerced to accept Cruz or whether they will stay welded to finding a complacent, malleable, establishment candidate to run against Hillary.

If they do bring in a ringer, they can well and truly kiss the election goodbye. No one over the age of five is so naïve that they don’t see that tactic as just another way to keep the lords of the manor on their thrones.

Maybe Trump hasn’t turned out to be the knight on the white horse that people were looking for, but they are still just as ticked off at the Republican establishment as ever.

Ted Cruz isn’t the perfect candidate. He’s can still be disagreeably pedantic and preachy. His record for winning friends and influencing his congressional colleagues is still lousy and will probably remain so. He has little appeal to secular voters, most of whom self-identify as independents, and that will hurt him.

Whether Mr. Cruz is politically savvy enough to capitalize on his strengths and minimize his weaknesses is hard to say. At the very least, he too would do well to eschew continuing a petty  Twitter war with Trump and stop rising to the bait like a newly planted trout.

What he does have going for him is that he is at least still a contrarian voice speaking out against the status quo and the establishment. That, and at least he knows what steps to take and when to take them relative to introducing legislation.

Perhaps Mr. Trump will grow up between now and the next few contests, but you might be wise not to hold your breath waiting for that transformation to happen.

 

From → op-ed

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