Trump the Magnanimous?

(Trump photo :

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland *

It is a dark time for the American Republic… Prospects in the race for the GOP nomination have become increasingly dim. It seems now that there is no candidate that will make it to 1237 delegates before the party meets in Cleveland to hold their convention. Trump is currently in the lead. However, because he decided to more or less forego a ground game, he had been trailing Cruz in new delegates since Marco Rubio dropped from the race, losing in UT, CO, WY, WI, and ND. He’s since made up much of that ground by winning his home state, but will shortly run out of states he’s assured to win. Ted Cruz will almost certainly crush him in the West, and do really well in California, perhaps win. ** However, the result will be two candidates with many delegates, but no majority. This means there will be no nominee before the convention and less time to rally the troops for the general election. Additionally in bad news for the Don’s camp, many of Trump’s delegates seem poised to bolt the Trump camp for Cruz on a second ballot. ** This realization has caused a lot of panic on Team Trump. Trump has made accusations of a system rigged against him, *** his once official adviser (Roger Stone) has threatened to release to the Trump mob the hotel room numbers of delegates who might abandon Donald, **** and Trump supporters have become so brazen in their issuing of death threats to low-level GOP officials and GOP delegates ***** that even a fatwa-hurling ayatollah would be hard-pressed to compete! In such an environment, many pundits are predicting disaster extraordinaire for the GOP. There are some that fears the Republican establishment will conspire to give Trump the nomination in order to avoid blood-shed, figuratively and literally, ending with the GOP losing the election to Hillary for its lack of the #NeverTrump wing of the GOP and the other YUGE majorities of just about every demographic that will not vote for Trump. ****** Others say that if Ted Cruz becomes the nominee, Trump will bolt, taking 44% of his supporters willing to leave the GOP ******* and either runs on a third party ticket or endorses Hillary, spitting his last political breath in the face of the Republican Party. Both seem a hopeless business, but there is another possibility. Imagine that Ted Cruz wins, and Donald Trump endorses Cruz! I know! It seems crazy, doesn’t it? But there are reasons that hint at a slim possibility that such a thing might actually happen. In the following, I will present my reasoning for Trump, the magnanimous!

Trump doesn’t really want to be President

In the midst of the clowning that is the Trump circus, many might have missed the departure of a few advisors from the Trump campaign. One of these had been there from the very beginning, Stephanie Cegielski, and in her open letter announcing her departure, she made an interesting claim: Trump doesn’t want to be President. “Almost a year ago, recruited for my public relations and public policy expertise, I sat in Trump Tower being told that the goal was to get The Donald to poll in double digits and come in second in delegate count. That was it.” ******** To emphasize this point, Stephanie added, “He doesn’t want the White House. He just wants to be able to say that he could have run the White House.” ******** But now, “[Trump’s] ego has now taken over the driver’s seat, and nothing else matters.” ******** If true, this would explain why Trump seems so reticent in learning the issues, winging it so often. From his domino effect gaffes on abortion to not understanding what the Nuclear Triad is, Trump has been far removed from expertise on the issues and has shown little interest in learning about them. After all, if you don’t really want the job, why prepare for it? Donald may be in a place where he’s looking for a way out, a plan to withdraw with some semblance of dignity. If Donald goes into Cleveland almost matched with Cruz in delegates, and if Cruz bests him on a second ballot, that might be fair enough for Trump to give in gracefully. If Donald loses to Cruz, his supporters will rage and rail, but Donald might utter a huge sigh of relief, as someone who has just dodged a bullet!

Trump’s thin skin is only skin deep

Anyone who has been paying attention to this campaign season is familiar with the legendary sensitivity of Donald Trump. For a tough guy who tells it like it is and loves to dish out copious amounts of insults on his opponents, Donald doesn’t seem to take criticism well. Trump can go from zero to victim in less time than it takes for a fouled NBA player to flop dramatically on the court. However, there is good reason to believe that Trump doesn’t entirely mean what he says. This is a major reason why I defended Trump, saying that I didn’t believe him to be truly racist, but rather reckless and Machiavellian. That’s small consolation, to be sure. Continuing, some have observed a pattern in Donald, in that he seems to do much of his campaigning with a wink and a nod, almost as if Trump is breaking the fourth wall of the reality series Celebrity GOP Nominee to let us know that it’s all part of the show. This is true of many of his policy ideas, such as his supposed assurance to the New York Times that his bluster on illegal immigration is just a little something for the crowd. ********* Or consider, after denigrating Wisconsin governor Scott Walker during the WI primary, Trump later suggested that Walker would make a good running mate. ********** Even his advisors are telling us that Trump may not be 100% serious. ********** These are good indicators that Trump, once he realizes that it’s over, won’t seek a vendetta on the GOP, let alone try to start a bloody riot that will keep him from getting his next TV gig and generally hurt his name in business forever. In fact, Trump might even help them consolidate support behind Cruz rather than going home to sulk or even endorse Hillary. Even if he thinks he was out-cheated by Cruz, which is doubtlessly a position he holds solely for strategic purposes. Much like Virgil “The Turk” Sollozzo from The Godfather, he understands that it’s not personal, it’s only business.

Trump loves his money way more than his chances at a third party run

In the event of a Cruz nomination, many of the affectionately named Trumpkins will want him to run third party. Certainly, doing so would appeal to Trump’s huge ego, but there are problems with this that even Trump must see. First of all, with only approximately 16% of the GOP possibly willing to follow Trump into a third party run (Trump support is around 37% ************ of GOP, with only 44% of them willing to abandon if Trump doesn’t get the nomination *******), Trump would be destined to fail. He might cause the GOP to lose enough votes to throw the election to Clinton in a perverse re-run of Perot’s presidential ambitions, but he would not be the winner himself. Also, many states have sore loser laws; as many as 45. ************* Trump would either have to invest a lot of time and money challenging these laws or promote a longshot write-in campaign. In either event, he would probably lose. All of this would amount to Trump spending a lot of his own money, something he has been hesitant to do thus far, preferring media appearances to TV spots and ground-game. I have no doubts that Trump would risk his donor’s or investor’s funds on such a foolish venture, but he’d never leave himself unprotected. Huge monetary investment in his own independent campaign may be a bridge too far for Trump, even with his large ego. I’d bet that he’d rather make nice with the GOP than sink money into a guaranteed failure. Also, there’s a good chance that many of his hard-core supporters, folks that live by the maxim that “Trump said it. I believe it. That settles it,” would accept this and not flee the party.

There are few analogues to today’s Presidential contest. The conventional wisdom could be right, and the GOP could be headed for disaster, even if Hillary is able to keep Bernie Sanders supporters from feeling disenfranchised when she wraps up the nomination. However, since the conditions are so different from other election years, perhaps the results too can be very different from what you might expect. We can from this moment on despair and mourn the fall of the Republic and the Republican Party, or we can be cautiously optimistic that cooler heads will indeed prevail after passion has run its course. Imagine, if you will, a spot light opens on the podium at the convention that nominates Cruz, Trump takes the stage and begins, saying, “I’ve gone up against a lot of guys, KILLERS, believe me, and beaten them all; out-played them all! ‘Cuz I’m a player. Ask anyone. But I got to hand it to Ted, frankly, he outplayed me. ME! Donald Trump! That’s why there’s no one better to endorse for President of the United States than this guy! Now, let’s go and make America great again!” Perhaps we can take a page out of Alice’s book and try to believe a few impossible things before breakfast. Either that, or spend the next three months with Pepto handy to sooth our anxious stomachs as we wait for Armageddon.

– Ryan Thorson















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