Round and round it goes. The carousel of GOP crazy just keeps spinning; so much so that I am not even surprised anymore to wake up and find that yesterday’s statement has taken a 180. Donald Trump, along with Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich, renounced their pledge to support the GOP nominee – and now hell has broken loose –again.
Let’s recap. Back in August 2015 the GOP held its first primary debate. Fox News host Bret Baier asked every candidate to raise their hands if they were unwilling to pledge their support for the eventual nominee and to promise to “not run an independent campaign” against the eventual nominee. Sticking to a GOP time honored tradition of intra-party respect, not a single candidate raised his/her hand – minus Donald Trump.
Reveling in his rebellious act, Trump smiled to the crowd, taking in their tones of disapproval and boos. From the very start Trump made sure he stood out from the crowd, even if it meant snubbing GOP tradition. He learned early on that if he attached his disapproval and insults to anyone and anything connected with the establishment and current politics he would be able to ride the angry, white electorate wave all the way to the finish line. And he wasn’t wrong.
Now Trump did eventually join the chorus and sign the pledge; but not after he made the GOP and RNC Chair Reince Priebus jump through hoops. Whether or not Trump ever truly intended to honor the pledge is another matter. He is a rabble rouser, plain and simple. Jump forward to the present and I don’t think anyone should be shocked that Trump has, once again, reneged on his pledge.
With flagging polls and increased disapproval numbers amongst much-needed voting groups, Trump needed to shake up the race. Lately he has acted more like an establishment candidate than the wild card we have come to know and hate. He recently named his dream foreign policy team, met with Washington insiders, and is planning to open a Washington, D.C. office in the coming week to manage its delegate operations and Congressional relations; a clear indication that he is starting to realize he will need the establishment and its operational ground game chops to eventually win the Presidency, let alone the GOP nomination.
It’s a tight-rope walk for the GOP frontrunner. He can’t be viewed by the GOP base as too cozy with the establishment but he also can’t write it off completely. The recent tiff with Ted Cruz might have just given him the opening he needed to reenergize his voters, allowing him to distant himself from the establishment just before the upcoming do-or-die April primaries. Doesn’t hurt that he also now supports “punishment” for women who have abortions.
Of course, there’s always the chance he will change his tune tomorrow and decide it won’t be the worst thing in the world to promise to back the GOP nominee. In the end, whether Trump runs as on the GOP ticket or as an independent, his continuous contentious language and outright sophomoric attitude towards his opponents has caused serious damage to the GOP brand. So much so that even the incontestable House majority may now be up for grabs. Bluster on, our dear Trump, bluster on.