I’ve been trying to figure out why Trump would have had his people react the way they did to Cruz’s speech last night. He knew what Cruz was going to say. Cruz had already said he wouldn’t endorse Donald. Yes, by attacking Cruz he might have made life harder for Cruz, but he also made things harder for him. His behavior more than likely cost him votes, but it couldn’t have won him any. So why do it?
From my perspective, a few people who were on the fence about voting for Trump were probably pushed into the “no” column by the behavior of his team last night. At the same time, no one who was planning on not voting for Trump would have been won over. Therefore, from a standard political calculus, Trump shot himself in the foot.
Why do that? Well, option one, and the one that has been most popular, is that Trump is just that petty. He must be worshiped, and since Cruz wouldn’t bow to him, Cruz had to be destroyed. This makes sense with Trump’s personality.
But what if Trump planned to use this to actually gain votes?
Based on the headline I saw not long ago from Leon, that Trump’s speech will contain outreach to Bernie’s voters, I’m feeling more confident with what I thought about during my commute today.
Trump did this in order to push the pro-Cruz people further away from him. He intentionally wants to alienate the more conservative part of the base. The sooner he can get them to be his enemies, and the more vociferous they are about it, the better.
Because if they are his enemies, then when they attack him he can play the victim. You see, now that Trump is the nominee he knows that he has to actually win enough votes to be the President, and he knows that he has alienated too many Republicans to do that. So where will he get the votes he needs?
Donald will get his votes from the left.
Now that he has won the nomination, he will tack left. By tacking left he plans to pick up some of the fringe left and as many moderates as possible from Hillary. He wants to give those on the left the option of him or her, and make himself palatable to him.
Once this happens though, conservatives will start attacking him for his shifting positions. Trump then will be able to spin that into more media, and he will go on the news and say that he is being treated very unfairly and that conservatives have been attacking him ever since he held Cruz to account for dividing the party. His worshipers (that’s what they are at this point) will eat it up and he will suffer no political pain while moving left, which is where he real leanings are any way.
The rest of the people that support him will still rationalize that they have to keep supporting him because even though he’s moved to the left, he isn’t as far left as Hillary. Thus his movements will cost him few to none of the voters he has now, while allowing him to pick up moderate leftists who hate Hillary. The only people who will stand against him will be the die hard Hillary crowd, and the conservatives who see Trump for leftist he is.
Watch him tonight (I won’t, but I’ll read about it tomorrow) and see if my hypothesis doesn’t make sense of whatever he says in his speech. (Seriously, test it out with me, I’m interested to see how close I am to understanding his plan here, or if he really is just that petty.)