Paul Manafort set himself a delegate deadline of Tuesday, June 7, the day of the final GOP primary in California.
He exceeded expectations by wrapping up Donald Trump’s numbers on Thursday, May 26. The presumptive nominee has even surpassed the magic 1,237 with a current total of 1,239 delegates.
Mister 1,237, as the Associated Press (AP) dubs him, is John Trandem, a small business owner. He and his wife live north of Fargo, North Dakota. All of North Dakota’s GOP delegates are unbound because the state declined to have a caucus this year. Trandem wanted to commit for Trump, but he also wanted to be the 1,237th delegate. An AP reporter told Trandem that Trump had 1,236 delegates, to which the North Dakotan replied:
Then I’m the one!
Trandem and fellow delegate State Representative Ben Koppelman later met Trump that day in Bismarck, the state capital. Trandem stood behind Trump as he gave a speech about his plans for energy independence in the United States.
Regardless of what British and other media outside the United States are saying, Trump remains the presumptive nominee until the GOP convention in Cleveland in July.
Manafort — the ‘strong hand’ — deftly managed to avoid a contested convention.
Now the Democrats have all the mess. Although Hillary Clinton has most of the superdelegates, Bernie Sanders is giving her a run for her money in California.
The Guardian summed up Clinton’s dismal week nicely. Her poor national polling ‘normalises’ the prospect of a Trump White House. The email scandal is alive and well, to the extent that Obama refused to take a question in Japan from reporters on his former Secretary of State’s trustworthiness. Clinton has had to schedule extra appearances in California in order to stanch the flow of Democrats to Sanders. Is this a storm that will quickly blow over? Or is it an indication that her candidacy will implode?
At this point, anything is possible. Appearing on the late-night Jimmy Kimmel Live a few days ago, Trump said he would consider debating Sanders on national television for charity. Trump later decided against the debate for two main reasons: the Democratic nominee had not yet been chosen and the money proposed was not enough. Trump specified that the recipient would be a women’s charity.
Meanwhile, Clinton has refused to debate Sanders. One wonders why, exactly.
The anti-Trump media on both sides of the political spectrum have pushed his amazing delegate victory to the side in favour of spurious or exaggerated news stories. On May 27, The New York Times accused him and his campaign of not wanting to go big-league. The hit piece was woven around the dismissal of national political director Rick Wiley a few days ago. The two reporters who wrote the story asked for Trump’s response. He relayed it through his campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks:
You two wouldn’t know how to write a good story about me if you tried — dream on.
Real Clear Politics (RCP) has more on Wiley’s departure. Corey Lewandowski hired Wiley six weeks ago. As I wrote in April, Wiley is well grounded in the GOP delegate process. So, although he worked for Wisconsin governor Paul Walker’s campaign — and recall that Walker turned against Trump during the primary this year — he was seen as a natural to work alongside Manafort. RCP says that Wiley aligned himself with Manafort on the need for a big national campaign. Trump appears to think that doing so now is premature. My take is that Trump does not like spend money until he has to. Wiley also butted heads with Lewandowski in not appointing the latter’s hand-picked people to top jobs in battleground states.
Well, Wiley accomplished what he was hired to do. There will be future jobs for him elsewhere, possibly even for Trump at a later date.
After all, look at Stuart Jolly, whom I also covered in the aforementioned April post. Jolly resigned shortly after Wiley came on board. He is now the political director of the pro-Trump Great America PAC.
It is odd that the media are focussing only on the hirings and firings in the Trump camp. Have there been no similar goings-on in either the Sanders or Clinton campaigns? After all, Sanders let a few hundred staffers go several weeks ago. If that had been Trump, we’d still be seeing it all over the media.
In more anti-Trump reporting, on May 28, The Wall Street Journal published an interview with Mitt Romney wherein he repeated his same talking points from March. The Guardian has a summary; he’s the self-proclaimed ‘last lion’ who wanted to set a good example for his grandchildren by opposing Trump. He would have set a better example for them had he done his job running against Obama in 2012, when he pretty much went AWOL in the final weeks before the election.
In a week when violent protests took place at Trump rallies in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and San Diego, California, Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson and Democratic strategist Angela Rye went head-to-head on CNN debating who was responsible for the protesters. Pierson blamed Soros and Rye blamed Trump supporters — as well as the candidate himself, citing his ‘immaturity’.
It’s interesting that the CNN host asked Pierson to send him her evidence that Soros is behind the protestors. The Left won’t bother to investigate, preferring to blame Trump’s protests on him.
In more positive news, Dilbert’s Scott Adams, who maintains he is not a Trump supporter, says that he still expects the Donald to win by a landslide in November. Adams explains:
Essentially he’s basically bringing a flamethrower to a stick fight. There’s nobody using the same tools that he’s using. So his complete ignoring of facts are actually part of the persuasion because he doesn’t give you targets.
Marco Rubio has indicated he will ‘be helpful’ to Trump by attending the GOP convention and releasing his delegates to the billionaire. On May 26, he told CNN’s Jake Tapper:
I don’t want to be harmful because I don’t want Hillary Clinton to be president.
Senator Jeff Sessions, who has been communicating regularly with Trump over the past few months, told The Daily Caller that he would consider the VP slot if asked. However, he added:
“I don’t think that’s going to happen. And I think he can get a better candidate,” he said.
Newt Gingrich believes Trump will ‘repaint’ the electoral map. On May 28, he told Fox News’s Sean Hannity:
… you heard it here for the first time so you can keep this and play it later on the air. Just as there were once Reagan Democrats, I think there are going to be ‘Trump Americans’ and they’re not going to be people who rush in and decide they’re Republican the next day. They’re going to say, look, to make America great again, I’m going to be for Donald Trump. They’re going to be in all 50 states. They’re going to be in places you never expected. I think we’re going have a new map. As I said, replace red and blue because it’s the old order. Replace it with green for Trump and orange for Hillary and you’re going to have a very different map by election day.
When Hannity asked about the colour scheme, Gingrich replied:
Green is both for the economy and because it will drive the environmentalists crazy. And we were just looking for an appropriate color for Hillary, and orange somehow seems to fit all the news stories.
Must be all those orange pantsuits!
… if you eventually want to win Bernie Sanders’ supporters, you’re looking for areas where you have common beliefs: Opposition to NAFTA, opposition to these global trade deals that are destroying our job market, for example. On the other hand, it really does kind of leave Hillary out there looking foolish, so it has some upside.
Clearly, Trump is going to run to… Hillary Clinton’s left on trade, and war, and to Hillary’s right on everything else.
With apologies to Roger Stone, who is quickly becoming a cult celebrity, Trump is ploughing straight through the middle. Expect more in the weeks to come.