Friday, April 29, 2016

Is Trump the Presumptive Nominee?

Major elements of the Republican power structure and the national commentariat are beginning to believe that Donald Trump, barring a self-induced debacle the next month, will have his 1,237 delegate votes after California or be so close as to make it possible for him to pick up a handful of uncommitted.

What happened to change the widespread view that a contested convention was likely and that Trump would not win it? Wisconsin was the primary that produced the sanguine view of Trump facing a contested convention. The loss was mostly unexpected, combined with more than a week of bizarre Trumpisms on abortion and foreign policy.

What happened to turn his campaign around?
  • Even Trump realized he was in trouble, which is not easy given his exalted view of his “common sense” and off-the-cuff speaking talent. Paul Manafort brought in a team to focus on delegates and professionalize the campaign.
  • Trump shut up. He stopped the long interviews. It was the Washington Post and New York Times interviews before Wisconsin that caused huge trouble with political and policy elites.
  • He bought a teleprompter and got some speech writers. His son-in-law has had a positive influence on forcing Trump to do what his family has repeatedly requested – be more presidential.
  • Finally, the next round of primaries was in his backyard where his celebrity status and politically incorrect rap is known and popular.
It didn’t hurt that his main opponent, Ted Cruz, has no real base in New York or the region. His Texas “super conservatism” is simply not a New York value.

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