Donald Trump is a tool. And I mean it in the best way. Although I assume the pejorative sense may apply too.
What I mean by tool: His entire campaign is a “utilitarian” exercise in service of Hillary Clinton.
Maybe I’m stricken with a conspiratorial mood because I just finished reading “Nixonland“, a 750-page tome which included a highly entertaining and detailed chapter on how President Nixon, in 1972, interfered with the Democratic primaries: sabotaging with ingenious dirty tricks the candidates he feared (Muskie and Humphrey), creating and keeping rumors of a Ted Kennedy candidacy alive just to disrupt any emerging consensus among Democrats, while leaving McGovern (his preferred and eventual opponent) untouched.
So actually, this is not UFO, Elvis-is-alive conspiracy theory. Dirty politics happen. It’s real. And if anyone is capable of Nixon-level political knife fighting today, it has to be the Clintons.
So let’s look at the facts:
1. Mr. Trump has been a major, consistent contributor to past campaigns of Hillary Clinton.
2. Mr. Trump contributed $100K to the Clinton Foundation.
3. Historically, Trump has contributed far more to Democratic candidates than to Republican candidates, helping key Democratic figures like Reid, Schumer and Pelosi win re-election.
4. The Clintons were invited, and Hillary Clinton attended Mr. Trump’s last wedding in 2005.
5. In June, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Mr. Trump was asked which of the last four presidents is his favorite. His answer? Bill Clinton.
6. Wall street loves Hillary. Mr. Trump knows that his business interests will have no greater ally than another President Clinton. In the current political climate, where even Republican candidates feel pressured to address wealth inequity and economic injustice, where Huckabee, Santorum and others are even sounding downright populist, Mr. Trump (and the rest of the Wall Street elite) knows that only Mrs. Clinton can protect their interests while placating the would-be progressive, pitchfork reformers with symbolic victories such as being the first female President.
7. Look at the actual results of Mr. Trump’s utterly ridiculous campaign and whose interests are served. He’s very purposefully making outlandish, far-right extremist statements, that:
- put him in the top-of-fold headlines everyday, increasing the value of his brand and celebrity status,
- give him zero chance of winning the nomination — ensuring he can return to business soon,
- tarnish the entire Republican brand by association, and
- exert pressure on the entire field of other Republicans to move rightward for fear of being outflanked, making them ultimately less electable in presidential matchup with Hillary where they will compete for the moderate swing voters.
8. Mr. Trump is effectively dividing the GOP between far right and establishment. He’s primarily leveling attacks on the “establishment” candidates (aka the opponents Mrs. Clinton most likely fears, like Bush, Rubio, Perry), while leaving the more fringe candidates (Santorum, Carson, Huckabee) untouched and undamaged. A likely result is that one of the more fringe candidates will rise to the top (similar to McGovern in 1972). Even if an establishment candidate survives the attacks to clinch the nomination, Mr. Trump will have inserted the wedge between this nominee and the more conservative wing of the party, depressing enthusiasm and turnout for the Republican in the general.
I rest my case. Hillary Clinton has a tool. And with Mr. Trump’s comment on Morning Joe, he’s even telegraphing it, having the last laugh.
Most conservative members of the media have already denounced him as a distraction and embarrassment to the GOP. Will they next connect these dots?
I can only assume the more liberal members of the media are ignoring the possibility of dirty tricks and treating it as a genuine candidacy because they actually relish the chaos it’s causing the GOP too much to blow the whistle.