Zoom in, inside-daytime-a large open space-child in shorts, a white shirt, with tie and black socks climbing north of his knee, "not fair, not fair" yells the child, stomping his feet, scrounging up his face to reflect the enormous frustration and anger he is feeling. As he almost brings himself to tears he realizes the spectacle he is making of himself and walks away whimpering. Fade to black. Cut.
No this is not a scene from a modern day movie about a spoiled child complaining about some inane injustice that is merely a figment of a five-year old's perspective, it is a real-life illustration of life on the 2016 presidential campaign trail and the role of the spoiled child is being played by none other than a boy named Donald who is auditioning for the role of leader of the Free World.
The supreme irony of this backdrop is that this is the same person who prides himself on his rapier-like business acumen and negotiating style and uses this singular qualification as the basis for his presidential ambitions. A man-child who insistently forces himself upon an unsuspecting public as possessing an uncanny ability to master any process and yield a "winning" position becomes an emperor with no clothes. In speech after speech he is so confident of his abilities that he broaches the absurd proposition that his legions of supporters will actually get tired of winning so much, yet now he is not winning. Is this the beginning of the end for the Trump magic show?
Let there be no mistake here, in the circus that poses as the Republican primary system, Donald has succeeded in positioning himself in the front of the pack. Until just recently it was almost a solid bet that he would ultimately secure the nomination of the GOP in Cleveland this summer. Since I am one who has consistently prescribed his imminent demise for the past six months and been amazed at the resilience and survivability of his campaign and the sheer folly of my own predictions I am not willing to predict that he will be stopped. However, the chances appear to be better today than even two weeks ago. Then again never say never.
But the cracks that now appear to be widening in the hull of the Trump ship of state are exposing weaknesses that are at the very core of his supposed strengths. Like the captain of a ship who eschews the compass in favor of his instincts and neglects the advice of experienced ship hands the SS Trump is now sailing towards dangerous political shoals. The man who has prided himself on super human capabilities in practicing the art of the deal is currently staring down the barrel of a loaded electoral bazooka aimed directly at his coifed head.
Maybe in between late night tweets he actually starting reading his own press clippings and his outsized ego began hemorrhaging? Or maybe he is just plain out of his element and in over his head? But either way his current travails must be squarely laid at his own feet. It has been the Donald show all along and he must bear responsibility for the missteps that have led to some truly embarrassing and rather elementary miscalculations. Those miscalculations revolve around the incredibly lazy approach to securing delegates.
His pathetic response to these political misfortunes should in itself be disqualifying but his misreading or simple ignorance of history and our system of representative democracy is astounding. No Donald we do not live in a democracy, we never did and it was never intended by the Founding Fathers. We live in a system where we choose people to make political and policy decisions for us. They are both elected and appointed. The primary system that has been a staple of our form of democratic experimentation has been with us for over a century and a half.
Any smart businessman or politician or manager needs to do his/her homework. The key to securing the nomination of either Party lies in the hands of elected and selected delegates. Any strategy that denies this basic fact of political life does so at its own peril. You can scream that the system is rigged, corrupt, unfair, absurd, undemocratic and all of those things may in fact be true, but if you are going to play the game you have to be smart enough to base your game plan on mastering the rules of the game. If one can hit a baseball further than another it makes no difference if it does not land within the foul lines. If a receiver can run faster than the defensive back it is of little use if he cannot catch the ball in play. These are the immutable facts of winning, the very attributes that the Donald is supposed to be so adept at, yet at this juncture they threaten to derail a campaign that has to date surprised most if not all practitioners of the art of politics.
So excuse us if there is little sympathy for the temper tantrums that are in full display at Trump rallies this week. Life is unfair. I believe that the Donald in his past incarnation as a successful businessman would most likely boast that his success is predicated upon shrewdness not fairness. The same is true of politics. It may be necessary to reassess our system of electing a President, but it is not because the rules of the game have been changed or rigged in midstream. No they were there for all to see and that a person as singularly unattractive and unpopular as Ted Cruz could be positioned to derail Trump is testament to the reality that strategic mastery of the rules and processes of politics and governance is every bit if not more important than bluster.
Trump may still prevail but it will require a monumental shift in strategy. We currently see this happening. Whether it is too late could be decided within the next week or two. Under any scenario it certainly will make the final two months of this campaign interesting and put places like New York and California back in play for the first time in a long time. But crying "foul" is both disingenuous and juvenile, so man up Donald there is no crying in this game.