A) There’s nothing that better encapsulates the dark cynicism at the heart of politics than a campaign manager announcing how they are rolling out a new image.
“That’s what’s important for you to understand: That he gets it, and that the part he’s been playing is evolving,” Mr. Manafort said, suggesting that Mr. Trump was about to begin a more professional phase of his campaign.
“Well, we’ve got some suckers. Now we’re going to get a different kind of sucker.” I don’t think this works anymore for two reasons: we’re too plugged in, and enough people (though far from all) hear about these cynical mechanisms. Shooting bull with political pros isn’t the same anymore. Two, and most importantly, it’s nonsense. Trump has been telling people for decades that the incendiary style is just an act, but there has never been a single recorded instance of him being gracious or decent or even recognizably human. Part of his self-mythology is telling people that he can act any way he wants, and his sycophants have to do the same (“Mr. Trump is a master of controlling himself, the very best”) but he’s always the insecure idiot who fights people on Twitter at 2AM despite having a billion dollars and a smoking hot wife. The “this is just an act” is the biggest act of all.
2.) Ted Cruz having to explain why he should get the nomination even if he doesn’t have the majority of delegates is going to be peak-Cruz:
- Wrapping self-interest in the whiny squeal of self-righteousness,
- Trumpeting his endorsements while railing against the “Washington cartel” while both lacking a hint of contradiction and possessing unbearable disdain if you can’t accept which argument he spins at any given moment as the Revealed Truth
- Unbearable smugness when explaining the rules
- That look he’ll give when he explains why he’s the popular choice, even though he doesn’t have as many votes. You know, the one that is so condescending, as if he just can’t believe that you won’t accept that what he is saying is literally the opposite of the truth.
In some campaigns, like in 2012, a candidate has to tack so far to the right to get the nomination that they can’t get back. That’s not Cruz’s issue. His problem is that to get the nomination, he’ll have to act like Ted Cruz, and there is no getting back from that.
iii) From the same article:
Stuart Stevens, the chief strategist for Mitt Romney in 2012, said that many aspects of the primary process — holding the first contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, for instance — would appear widely unpopular if posed to voters in a poll.“None of this tests well,” he said. “It’s like a bowling league. Do the rules of bowling make sense?”
Look, I’m not a heartland type, I guess, but aren’t the rules in a bowling league that whomever knocks down the most pins win? I don’t even mean this as a metaphor for Trump or whatever; I’m genuinely confused. I know that strikes and spares have somewhat strange rules, but not really, right? It’s a rolling reward for doing well. I don’t know if I don’t understand politics or bowling (or if, maybe, the chief strategist for Romney 2012 might not be a supergenius.)