Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Donald Trump, and Having to Play a Very Bad Hand

I'm noticing lately, a bit of sympathy insinuating its way into my thought for unlikely characters.

For example, Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus. At least among many of those I follow on Twitter, Reince is getting killed for supporting Donald Trump. But what honestly is he supposed to do? He is the party chairman and Trump is the party’s presumptive nominee. It’s either stated or implicit that at the top or very near it of his job’s objectives is to get the party’s nominee elected to the presidency. And the party chairman is more grocery clerk sent to collect a bill than philosophical head of the party. Reince, in short, is just doing his job (which is the most one can say for him).

Or consider Trump’s opponents in this election who are now endorsing him to some extent or another. My guess is that these endorsements are mostly based on a 2020 calculation. Candidate X is running through the following:
- I gave my word during the debates to support the nominee [see, this is why you don’t answer silly questions]

- When I’m the party’s nominee in 2020 I’m going to want the whole party behind me.

- How will I answer the inevitable George Stephanopoulos question as to why everyone should get behind me after he rolls the tape of me NOT supporting Donald Trump?

- The #NeverTrump people seem to think that in short order anyone who supported Trump will be toxic within the Republican Party. Why? What other moments of epistemic clarity can they point to that supports this belief?

And so—perhaps just like Tessio—they end up supporting Trump because it’s the smart move.

The senators and reps are making the same calculation and arriving at the same conclusion. They can’t change things in Washington if they don’t win, and they can’t feel good about winning if Trump’s supporters don’t vote for them. And so we witness what we’ve witnessed.
But it does raise the question of how Trump managed to lose money with a casino. Because if there is one thing that has become clear in this cycle it is that Donald Trump has mastered the art of dealing everyone else a very bad hand to play.

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