Donald Trump has been on a rampage in recent weeks, complaining ad nauseum about the “rigged” system that is working against him.
Apparently, it’s unfair that Ted Cruz understood the rules (and/or hired professionals who did) and the big, bold, supposedly-savvy businessman didn’t.
Though he has whined incessantly about the supposed unfairness of Republican Party rules, Trump let something slip in a recent interview when his candor got the better of him.
In a recent New York Times interview, Trump was forthcoming about his whining: (emphasis added)
“Our Republican system is absolutely rigged. It’s a phony deal,” he said, accusing party leaders of maneuvering to cut his supporters out of the process. “They wanted to keep people out. This is a dirty trick.”…
By blaming the process rather than his own inadequacies as a manager, Mr. Trump is trying to shift focus after Senator Ted Cruz of Texas outmaneuvered him in delegate contests in states like Colorado, North Dakota and Iowa, losses that could end up denying Mr. Trump the nomination.
Asked about the appearance of disorganization, Mr. Trump said in an interview, “You have to remember I’m leading.” He added, “I’m more than 200 delegates ahead, so over all, I’m doing very well.”
But in what sounded like a wink-wink aside, he said, “Don’t forget, I only complain about the ones where we have difficulty.”
In truth, there is a certain respectability in Trump’s comments. He is essentially saying that he doesn’t care about the process one bit, that he only cares about winning. In states where he emerges triumphant within the confines of the GOP’s process, Trump is a happy camper. When this same process works against him, the process is somehow “rigged” and unforgivably unfair.
His candor on this issue might be refreshing, but it signals a complete lack of regard for the rules and our political process.
If he becomes president, we should expect Trump to applaud when Congress works in conjunction with his agenda. If they deviate, however, we should expect him to cry foul and possibly even flatly refuse to exercise the duties of the presidency.
We already have a president like that and it is not only tiresome, but dangerous to the continuation of our republic.
The Republican rules make little sense and few should try to defend them as an affirmation of the democratic process. Still, like the kid on the playground insisting that kickball isn’t his forte and is thus “unfair,” Trump insists that the system is rigged against him.
He certainly has a point to a degree; from day one, the media has lobbed countless salvos to try and sink the Trump ship. The Republican establishment fought-back furiously to try and keep the GOP message on focus towards soft, moderate issues and candidates. Thankfully, Trump kept lunging heedlessly forward and he has changed the conversation surrounding the Republican race for the better.
Think about it: before Trump, Republicans were talking about whether illegals should get drivers licenses. Now, any politically-viable Republican candidate’s conversation about illegal immigration centers on how big of a wall is necessary to keep the invaders out. Say what one will about Trump and his obnoxious theatrics, but he has moved the national conversation substantially to the right and for that, we all (including Ted Cruz) owe him a debt of gratitude.
However, amidst the chaos of ravings and populist appeal, Trump has not been able to make the transition to “presidential material.” He is obnoxious and unlikable when he wins and he is even more so when he loses. He rants, he raves, he launches personal, below-the-belt attacks that are off-putting and he is almost always threatening a lawsuit against somebody on shaky grounds.
After Cruz was delivered Colorado’s delegates, Trump became even more unhinged. He has relentlessly asserted that everybody is conspiring against him and while that may be technically accurate to a small degree, what national election occurs without politicking? Did Trump really think that speeches and media appearances alone would deliver him the White House?
If speeches were enough, Trump would be running against freshman Texas Senator David Dewhurst. Instead, Cruz out-maneuvered Dewhurst in a stunning upset. That Trump underestimated his opponent, just as Dewhurst did, says that he may not be ready for the big leagues.
Don’t get me wrong- it’s a shame that American politics has become so complicated. Long, long gone are the days where a humble speech and an “aw, schucks” semblance of feigned humility could reap results. Today, campaigns cost money. They require advisers and not just any ol’ advisers; one needs the best advisers- people who know the demographics of Minnesota off the top of their head and people who know every obscure rule in the Republican bylaws. If one does not know everything about the campaign, he or she should be hiring people who do.
Hell, the candidate should also be hiring people to do the head-hunting and hiring for them. Ted Cruz gets it. Donald Trump does not.
Still, even if we accept that the Republican election process is absurd, do we want the candidate who is crafty enough to maneuver in these choppy waters? Or the candidate who incessantly whines about them?