Trump 2.0 (Reboot Edition)

By | 4/21/2016 Leave a Comment
The Donald Trump Reboot

After Donald J. Trump’s thumping victory in New York on April 19th – one that exceeded all expectations, including those of his own campaign and most ardent supporters – a new reality loomed for the large anti-Trump faction within the Republican Party.

Despite having poured millions of dollars and vast amounts of political capital into defeating the maverick insurgent, they are now faced with the very real possibility that Mr. Trump might actually reach the all-important 1.237 delegates regardless, thus nullifying their ultimate goal of a contested convention.

With five more Trump-friendly states voting on April 26th and the optics of the race having been refocused with Trump once again seen as the man with the winning momentum – in stark contrast to the litany of problems that had plagued his campaign in recent weeks –  matters are only likely to get worse for the conspiring cabal of party insiders.

As if that wasn’t enough to give them good dose of heartburn, Trump has also made some significant and crucial changes to his campaign, both in terms of staff and strategy.

While his ability to rabble-rouse and energize his core supporters with his populist slogans and gun-slinging style has served him well for much of the race, its limitations and potential pitfalls became jarringly apparent during a string of recent gaffes and missteps, giving rise to the idea that his campaign might actually be in danger of “jumping the shark.”

Trump though, for all his bombast and braggadocio, had the smarts and more importantly the self-awareness to realize that something had to change. He’d come too far and worked too hard to see it all slip through his fingers at this late stage.

So in came new campaign strategist Paul Manafort, a highly-regarded and well-seasoned lobbyist and consultant, who among other things was tasked with countering the backroom maneuverings of Ted Cruz, who’d had his hand in the delegate till for quite some time and had outwitted Trump in the party’s arcane rules of permissible deal-making.

In turn, Manafort quickly brought Rick Wiley, Scott Walker’s former campaign manager on board as National Political Director, and in doing so outfitted the campaign with a veteran party operative with vast knowledge and experience of the inner-workings of the GOP power structure.

Toning down some of his more colorful rhetoric, Mr. Trump is also in the process of presenting the electorate with a somewhat more presidential, mannered persona – one less likely to shoot from the hip only to find he’s blown a hole in his foot.

This new and improved Trump campaign seems poised to perform very well in many of the upcoming contests, and if he can further morph into a more reasoned, substantive candidate without losing that populist edge that invigorates his base, reaching that 1,237 target seems less like an “if” and more like a “when.”

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