Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Just another bad hair day

It wasn't a very good week for the Donald heading into Wisconsin.  The guy lost it over a viral picture of his wife that isn't much unlike any other photo you can find by googling Melania, but the old dog felt the need to protect her in the only way he knows how by going after Ted Cruz's wife.  He came away the worst for it, forced to give an apology.

His numbers have plummeted since.  If Cruz can pull off 50 per cent of the vote in Wisconsin, he would shut Donald out of any delegates from the Badger State.  A pesky John Kasich is thwarting the chances of Trump doing the same in New York and Pennsylvania.  In fact, a Franklin & Marshall college poll has Trump and Kasich virtually dead even in Pennsylvania.  

As you would expect, Trump is demanding Kasich drop out of the race as the Ohio governor doesn't have a mathematical chance of reaching 1237 delegates on the first ballot.  However, Trump's problems go much further than Kasich.  If Trump loses Wisconsin today it will be pretty hard for even Dr. Ben to make a case for him, as the human hair piece would have blown a 10-point lead in less than a month.

The man of the hour is now Ted Cruz, who is garnering key endorsements and looking more and more like the establishment candidate.  I'm not sure Ted wants to be seen in this light, since he has been running his own insurgency campaign to this point, but he has welcomed Mitt Romney, Lindsay Graham, Scott Walker and others into his camp in the last two weeks, as the Republicans view Ted as the last firewall between Donald Trump and the convention.

Ted knows what's up and is doing his best to make the convention strictly between Trump and him by freezing out Kasich or any other dark horse candidate.  He is citing RNC Rule 40b, drawn up at the last convention, that requires candidates to have won total delegate majorities in at least eight states.  The rule was hastily written to keep Ron Paul off the ballot, who campaigned to the end of the 2012 election cycle much to the RNC's chagrin.  But, it seems Ted hasn't looked closely at that rule, as he will have a hard time meeting the criteria by July himself.  Most likely the RNC will scrap this rule, as it seems to be gearing itself for an open convention.

Whether this will be a good thing, as Kasich croons, or a bad thing, as Ben Carson warns, remains to be seen.  Whatever the case, it looks more and more likely that the RNC will be able to block Trump from getting the 1237 delegates needed to win the nomination on the first ballot.

Then there is the question whether Trump offered Carson a premature cabinet position to gain his endorsement.  As this race tightens up, it is all too clear that Trump and Carson haven't read the election laws, much less understand the finer points of an open convention.  No telling what he offered Jeff Sessions, who recently lent his support to the Donald.  Maybe a Supreme Court seat, as Sessions is a key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee?

David Axelrod says the process caught up to the Donald.   All those shady deals and questionable supporters, not to mention the lack of any coherent set of policies, is leaving many Republicans to wonder what exactly does Donald J. Trump have to offer?  His interviews with the Washington Post and New York Times caught him completely unprepared to confront key foreign or domestic issues.  Then came a rough Fox interview with Chris Wallace, as well as a Town Hall interview with Anderson Cooper where he was made to look like a petulant child.  

At this point, Melania is the least of his problems, although he has turned to her in an effort to elicit some sympathy on the campaign trail.  Instead, she offered this in your face response in her thick Slovenian accent.  Seems she has learned well from her husband.

The basic problem is that bullying no longer works.  John Oliver pointed out in February that the Donald loves to threaten people but very rarely delivers on those threats.  He never managed to pull even a dime out of Rosie O'Donnell's back pocket with his tiny little hands, much less get back at Bill Maher for claiming he was the love child of an orangutan.  The press is no longer scared of him largely because all his threats against Megyn Kelly and other journalists amounted to nothing.  What's more the news media has finally figured out it gets just as high ratings by going after the Donald as it does by giving him an open mic.  The Anderson Cooper Town Hall interview with the Donald was the must-watched in cable news history.  Not even Baba O'Reilly can command such an audience, even with Donald.  As a result, Trump now has a huge target painted on his back.

There is also the matter of Trump fatigue.  There is only so much of this reality show style campaigning anyone can take.  How much more outlandish can he get?  His proposal to balance the budget by having a federal fire sale was met with derision on all sides, as all federal assets add up to less than 1/6th of the national debt.  He simply has no answers and that has become abundantly clear to all but his most ardent supporters.

Not that Ted is any better, but the strategy is simply to block Trump at this point and open the Republican convention to all candidates once again.  Even Ben Carson would be given a second chance.  Kasich is the man the RNC would like to see emerge from an open convention, which is why no one other than Trump and Cruz is asking him to drop out of the race.  The Ohio governor is the only GOP candidate that stacks up well against Hillary.  If Ted plays his cards right he might get the #2 position.  As for the Donald, he can work out a deal with Chris Christie to revive Atlantic City.

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