When the Trump campaign kicked off last summer, the initial phase was largely about destroying the conformity effect by saying what everyone already knew but was too afraid or too uncertain to say themselves. Suddenly we could talk about all sorts of policies, using whatever tone was needed for the occasion.
Soon it advanced to attacking a wide range of policies -- open borders, off-shored labor, etc. -- and pointing in the general direction of where we ought to be heading instead -- secure borders, bringing jobs back, and so on. Despite all the media hype about his tone, Trump became popular because of his positions rather than his persona.
He hammered these themes over and over during the early stage of the primaries, and by now his positions are so familiar that when he skipped the final debate, nobody complained that we needed to hear more about where he stood on some topic.
Where does he go after having covered "the issues"?
Throughout his campaign, he's stressed the corrupting role of money in politics, but now he's starting to pull the curtain back on all of the festering corruption playing out before our very eyes. At first, he used to say that our country doesn't win anymore because are leaders are so "stupid," or "incompetent," or "weak negotiators".
Lately he's begun to be more blunt by saying that in some cases the leaders really are stupid, but that in many other cases they're perfectly intelligent, and are simply controlled by donors and special interests through campaign contributions and other things. It seems like this pivot began when he repeatedly said he doesn't get enough credit from the voters for spending his own money instead of being bought and paid for.
I think most Americans recognize that wealthy special interest groups are a corrupting force on our elected leaders. Campaign finance reform has been a common topic for well over a decade now. If he'd stuck to discussing that form of corruption, he wouldn't have exactly been breaking news.
So instead he's decided to reveal a separate source of corruption in the electoral process -- the rigging of the party nomination system by highly connected insiders and party bosses, who are happy to thwart the will of the people in order to control who gets to be the Presidential nominee. As long as the rigged system produces two Establishment nominees, it doesn't matter who the voters choose. The only difference between them is distracting culture war stuff, and since the Establishment of both parties are social liberals, they don't mind if the culture war progresses with win after win for the liberal side.
That's what is behind all this drama about the scramble for delegates. Trump says, "I thought I already won the vote, and therefore the delegates?" The Establishment says, "Sorry, we're placing anti-Trump people in the delegate slots that you won." As Roger Stone has emphasized, "the big steal" would come from these Trojan Horse delegates betraying the majority (Trump voters) on decisions about how the nominee is to be chosen, before the first ballot at the Convention begins.
The citizens had never been aware that that's how the process worked, and how blatantly anti-democratic it is. The will of the people won the election, and that ought to be reflected in the particular individuals who serve as delegates for the winner, and how they vote on matters of rules and credentials at the Convention.
With so many Trojan Horse shenanigans coming from Lyin' Ted, Trump has brought in Paul Manafort to wrangle as many truly Trump delegates into the slots already fairly won by Trump. Manafort is a seasoned pro -- one of the "real vicious killers" who Trump has been saying all along he has connections with. It turns out they've known each other for 30 years, so there's no chance they were not in contact until recently, nor that they had not already worked out a contingency plan in case electoral shenanigans began.
I think Trump wanted to win the nomination as gently as possible -- if Lyin' Ted hadn't launched an all-out attack on Trump's delegates, there would've been no need to bring in Manafort (who must cost a lot more than someone who isn't a veteran, and Trump prides himself on being frugal). But not being naive, he would've expected something like this to happen sometime -- but to hold off on the big guns until they were needed.
First, it saves money during the gentle phase of the campaign by not having to pay the #1 guy. Second, it highlights the unfairness of the process -- it's so crooked that Trump had no choice but to bring out someone who seems more in place on the set of Goodfellas. And third, a shift in head personnel demands a reason, and therefore compels to media to explore the intricacies of delegate allocation.
If Manafort had been the campaign manager from the get-go, the media never would've asked why he was brought on board. And with electoral shenanigans only being a hypothetical at the outset, there would have been no actual story to report about how the Establishment strives to counter the will of the voters in real time during election season.
The same goes for the entirely voterless electoral process of North Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado, where a state convention of insiders chose the delegates without even a preference poll from the voters to tell the insiders and delegates who the citizens want. Trump sent Ben Carson as a surrogate to North Dakota and managed to pick up at least one delegate, so that didn't seem too bad -- plus nobody cares what happens in North Dakota. Ditto for Wyoming.
But when it came to the high-profile state of Colorado, which used to hold primaries from 1992 to 2000, and caucuses in '04 and '08, the canceling of the caucuses and of even a preference poll was too much. Maybe Trump would've held back if he'd at least gotten some of the delegates, but all of them went to Cruz, without any input from the voters.
Now, the decision to exclude the voters was made last year, so Trump had obviously known about it for awhile. But why bring it up when a bad outcome was only hypothetical, rather than actual? There would've been no story to report. Now it's big news, and the Establishment has to cover its ass after being caught red-handed, rather than abstractly defend the decision on its hypothetical merits last year.
There was no point in accepting the decision and trying to work within it -- that would have legitimized the anti-democratic process, would have resulted in zero delegates anyway, and would have wasted a bunch of money trying to lobby the Trump-hating insiders from the Cuck Belt of the Plains and Mountain states.
Now the entire weekend news cycle will be about Trump's op-ed in the WSJ, detailing how rigged the electoral system is already in the primary stage -- forget about what may or may not happen in the general. There will be a protest at the Colorado capitol building on Friday afternoon, to provide some visuals that the networks can loop over and over.
Ordinary citizens had never heard of canceled elections, and the hijacking of democracy by corrupt party insiders. That's not to say they had a clear picture of how they did think it worked, but I'm sure "voters going to the voting station" figured in there somewhere.
And with the public getting so upset about it -- along with the rigged superdelegate system among the Democrats, which Trump has also been decrying, in defense of Bernie Sanders -- he can bring up the need to reform the system so that it's the people whose input matters. As usual, we don't need a meaningless thousand-item blueprint that would crumble under the weight of reality. He just says we're going to fix these problems, meaning moving toward primaries instead of caucuses and voter-free conventions, and ending the practice of Trojan Horse delegate selection.
If Trump had remained a critic from outside the battle arena (as a non-competitor or as a third-party candidate like Ralph Nader), nobody would have listened to him. He had to enter the contest and become a personal target for all of these corrupt attacks, so that the media and the general public would pay attention. People listen to the actual target of an attack, if they're available, more so than a distant advocate for attack victims. It makes for a more vivid, immediate, and compelling story. We owe Trump a debt of gratitude for taking all this punishment on behalf of the welfare of the nation.
Who would've ever thought, just last year, that a major change resulting from this election season would be the over-hauling of the very nomination process, after the front-runner himself had revealed how crooked the workings of it were for the whole country to see? We keep saying it, but this time around, the sky's the limit.