Trump Pumps Mitt in Nevada
There are plenty of nasty things one can say about Donald Trump, but you must applaud his tenacity for elbowing his way into the public narrative. With the latest season of The Celebrity Apprentice starting after the Super Bowl, the public relations machine kicked into gear and he decided it was time to endorse a candidate. How it came to be that Donald Trump is a respected political mind is unclear. Somehow he has become a fairly major player in the Republican process, despite the fact that he hasn’t uttered a cogent political statement in his entire life. Trump’s influence illustrates the perverse intersection of money, politics, and celebrity. With the ruling in Citizen’s United, one man’s money can have a major influence on the electoral process. Gingrich’s entire campaign has essentially been funded by a Nevadan businessman named Shelly Aldeson. If one man’s money can prop up an entire campaign why have a middleman? Adelson eschews the spotlight, and Trump embraces it, but both use their money to influence politics in similar ways.
On Wednesday, Drudge blared headlines that indicated that Trump would endorse Gingrich. In a surprising turn, Trump endorsed Romney with the candidate on hand in Nevada on Thursday. It’s worth reiterating that Romney took time out of his busy campaign schedule to appear with Trump and happily accepted the endorsement. Trump knows how to back a winner, or more specifically, he knows how to get the heck away from a loser. Trump probably awoke to headlines proclaiming that Romney was in store for a big win in Saturday’s Nevada caucus, and reneged on his pledge to Gingrich. If Trump can’t pick a winner in the Republican Primary, how could he determine whether Lou Ferrigno or Clay Aiken is a better apprentice? Trump had earlier criticized Romney for the work Mitt did at Bain Capital. He has recently criticized the entire Republican field, floating a potential third party run. His endorsement will likely have little impact on the race, but indicates growing Republican acceptance of Romney as the nominee. In fact the support of the wealthy Trump, who’s known for a show wherein he ‘fires’ contestants may reflect badly on Romney. Romney’s faced criticism for Bain Capital’s layoffs at companies they acquired, an issue Newt raised Thursday afternoon. Gingrich has taken a populist tact in recent days, which may be a good strategy against the patrician Romney.
Trump said he wouldn’t launch a third party bid if Romney was the nominee. This was probably a big part of his endorsement; there is nothing that scares him more than actually having to run for president. The media coverage is all good and fun when it’s speculative, but once made official the hounds would be all over him. One doesn’t become a mega millionaire without some skeletons in their closet, just ask Mitt Romney. If you think Romney’s tax returns were problematic, Trump’s would probably inspire a collective suicide on the scale of Jonestown. Trump doesn’t want to run for office, he just wants the boost to his ego that coincides with people treating him as though he’s a legitimate political contender.
Saturday’s primary promises to be a boring affair. Though Nevada is a state known for its debauchery, its Republican base is roughly 1/3 Mormon. It’s a caucus state where Mitt’s organization will help him carry the day. Shelly Adelson will suffer a tough defeat in his backyard. Mitt won 51% of caucus voters in 08 at a time when his campaign was flailing and McCain was on his way to solidifying the nomination. Ron Paul got 14% in 08, so with better funding and organization he may well come in second. Santorum just received the endorsement of Tea Party favorite, and losing senatorial candidate, Sharon Angle, so there is some chance that Newt may find himself in fourth. Newt has pledged to go on to the convention so an expected loss in Saturday’s primary will probably do little to deter him. As his campaign spirals further and further out of control, expect him to sharpen his attacks on Romney. The 2012 Republican primary has the potential to severely weaken Romney because of the shear meanness of the candidates. At least Romney has Trump’s endorsement, and an assured spot on the 13th season of The Celebrity Apprentice, should this whole President thing not work out for him.
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