Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Trump Laying Off Campaign Staff As Cruz Passes Him Nationally

by JASmius

Is this "disarray," or is it just evidence of what a crappy manager Donald Trump is?  The results of his primary campaign thus far - he IS the front-runner, at least for now - wouldn't suggest it.  But his erratic, disorganized, "winging it" style, to say nothing of his and his criminally-charged campaign manager's acute, shall we say, "lack of people skills," certainly do:

At the moment, though, Trump’s team appears to be something of a patchwork group without much experience — partly because so many staffers are being fired. [emphasis added]

There's another reason for the "disarray": Running for president is a job for professional politicians.  Trump is a rank amateur whose cosmic ego convinced him that anybody could do it, especially him, and he could do it "his way".  Now, at long last, he may be finding out that no, he can't.

Only four of eleven Iowa staffers continued on after Trump lost that State’s caucuses in February. More recently, most of Trump’s South Carolina, Florida and Ohio teams have not had their contracts renewed, according to a person familiar with the campaign, who said the lack of organization in Florida was putting Trump at a disadvantage in the delegate selection process.... [emphasis added]

Organization.  "Ground game".  Fundraising.  The gritty, unglamorous, drudgerous nuts & bolts details of a successful campaign.  Trump is a "quarterback," but like all quarterbacks, even the Tom Bradys and Aaron Rogers and Russell Wilsons, they still need their big, fat offensive linemen doing the dirty work "in the trenches" to keep pass rushers off of them so they can survey the field from the pocket and get the ball downfield and into the end zone.  Without that pass-blocking that will never make ESPN Sportscenter, even the best quarterback will look like hot garbage.

Ted Cruz has that superior offensive line, and it is only beginning to pay what could be the decisive dividends to come.  Trump does not, and he's only beginning to have to "run for his life" to avoid a streak of "sacks".

Multiple staffers and advisers left the campaign last month in protest of the way its management was treating its staff, a source familiar with the departures told Politico.

“I believe that Donald Trump has the backbone to fix this country....

Just not the knowledge, intelligence, experience, ideology, competence, temperament, or intention.

....but if changes are not made soon at the top I am fairly convinced that he will lose,” said one of the people who left the campaign. The person said morale among the campaign staff is sinking, attributing that to the layoffs, as well as Lewandowski’s profanity-laced outburst on campaign calls.

“I don’t think Mr. Trump knows what’s happening on his campaign,” the person said, adding “everyone is in astonishment of what’s going on. It’s almost like they’re sabotaging themselves.”

It's almost like Trump doesn't have....the knowledge, intelligence, experience, ideology, competence, temperament, or inclination to save his own campaign, much less "fix" the country.  Like he's a rank amateur who doesn't know what the hell he's doing.  Like you can't win a major party presidential nomination by "winging it" after all.  And like he's stubbornly doubling down on "winging it," getting rid of staff on whom he's blaming all his mistakes of the past fortnight when he needs to be crash-expanding his organization to belatedly catch up with a Cruz campaign that is running rings around him where it really counts.

Almost as if....all he wanted to prove in this campaign was that he COULD have won if he'd wanted to, and is looking for a face-saving way out, and doesn't want to actually be president.  Which would be an even shorter attention span than my recent prediction that if he ever did manage to make it to the White House, he'd be either the second POTUS to resign or the first to be impeached AND convicted and removed from office.

I'd lean towards the stubborn ego explanation, if only because I think Trump has too much of his invested and is too far into this race for there to be a way of bowing out with a level of dignity that he could live with (i.e. and not look and feel like a "loser").  That, I think, is why he and his campaign are preemptively laying the groundwork for the "WE WUZ ROBBED!" convention narrative.  Donald Trump, remember, "never loses", so he can only be "cheated" and "screwed" and treated "unfairly".  And if he can't have the nomination, he'll ensure that the GOP will not win back the White House.  Which he pretty much assured the day he entered the race.  Kind of a Samson-esque proposition, really.

The irony is that the same character traits that propelled him to the top of the polls are now the same ones that are dragging him down - i.e. "Trump being Trump".  His traveling drama and burlesque spectacle may finally be "wearing out his welcome".  Controversy, as Eric Bischoff once wrote, might create cash, but voters going forward might become harder and harder for the New York liberal conman to come by.

As evinced by the latest Reuters national tracking poll...

....and in California, the last primary contest before the convention and a State one would expect Trump to be running away with, but in fact is only up single-digits:

Extremely unscripted Donald Trump is viewed extremely unfavorably by half of California’s registered voters and by 15% of Republicans most likely to vote in the state’s 6/7/16 GOP primary, according to research just completed by SurveyUSA for television stations KABC in Los Angeles, KPIX in San Francisco, KGTV in San Diego, and KFSN in Fresno. 71% of California women and 75% of California Latinos view Trump negatively today. But even with this anchor tied to his foot, Trump at this hour continues to lead Ted Cruz, though narrowly, among likely Republican primary voters.

Today, it’s Trump 40%, Cruz 32%, John Kasich 17%. Trump still leads among women, though his comments about women, and his staff’s treatment of women, were in the news during the field period for this survey. Among moderates, Kasich and Trump run effectively even in the GOP primary, 35% for Trump to 34% for Kasich, with Cruz at 10%. Among those who say they are “somewhat conservative,” Cruz leads Trump 44% to 38%. But among those who are “very conservative,” Trump leads Cruz 45% to 38%. Among primary voters with an “extremely positive” view of Trump, Trump defeats Cruz 8-1. Among those who are “neutral” on Trump, Cruz leads Trump 4-3. And among those who have an “extremely negative” view of Trump, Cruz defeats Trump 10-1. The contest is fluid; much could change between now and 6/7/16. To win all 172 of California’s delegates to the Republican National Convention, Trump, Cruz, or Kasich would need to carry every one of California’s fifty-three congressional districts.

With Trump's polling trends on a downward trajectory, numbers like these do not bode well for his going over the 1,237 delegate top before the convention, or even coming just short of it.  Absent that, organizational strength and "ground game" are going to become crucial.

It is, in other words, a race against time for The Donald, as well as against his own worst instincts, to determine whether his existing momentum can coast him across the finish line in front of Ted Cruz's furious comeback.

Well, nobody ever accused Hairboy of being dull.

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