“Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres”
I’ve posted several times on the epic dysfunction of the Donald Trump campaign (most significantly here | here) as has my colleague, Dan Spencer. Now with the hiring of Paul Manfort, a long standing political fixer who lobbied for some of the most brutal regimes on earth, allegedly sexually harassed at least one employee, and who has close ties to people who are part of the Russian Mob, the organization has devolved into the archetype of the “snake pit” model of organizational behavior.
Wounded GOP front-runner Donald Trump is quietly setting up a parallel campaign structure, hiring known Republican fixers to professionalize his operation and sidelining his original team.
Wiley’s hiring (my story here) demonstrates how quickly Manafort is consolidating his own power within Trump’s campaign, gaining influence with the candidate and exerting authority over those who had previously reported to campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the campaign.
Lewandowski is losing the tug-of-war, said a former adviser to the campaign, adding “Corey has been neutered.”
The resulting power struggle has led to a confusing situation for the staff in which there are essentially parallel organizational structures with separate, and often conflicting, chains of command, according to the sources.
“There are two campaigns being run in Trump world. And nothing is happening because no one is sure who they’re supposed to be listening to,” said one operative familiar with the campaign, who said staffers have reported receiving different instructions from Lewandowski and Manafort, or officials loyal to them.
Another indication of the growing factionalism within the campaign is the decision to limit access to a staff directory, so that employees can’t see who is being hired, according to an operative who has worked with some of the campaign staff.
Can you even imagine serving in an organization — other than a top secret facility — where you are not allowed access to a staff directory?
The campaign is divided roughly into those who remain loyal to the elfin enforcer, Corey Lewandowski, and those who are loyal to Paul Manafort. So who are the people Manafort is bringing in?
A GOP fundraiser said Manafort is casting a wide net for prospective staff as he endeavors to build “an entire mirror organization.” But the fundraiser asserted it won’t be easy to attract many top-tier operatives, for whom Trump’s toxicity in GOP establishment circles remains a concern.
“The profile would be more that of someone who suffered a professional set-back or has been on the outs and needs redemption,” said the fundraiser, adding that joining the Manafort team could be a wise move for such operatives. “It’s kind of a no lose: if things go poorly, you can blame it on Corey and the other guys. But, if you somehow do save the campaign, you can take full credit. If someone pulls this off, they will be in the campaign history books.”
That profile fits Wiley to a tee.
So, at a critical juncture in the campaign, at the very point where Trump’s ability to win the nomination on the first ballot hangs in the balance, Trump launches a major reorganization, creates a parallel campaign structure, hires failed political operatives with nothing left to lose, and encourages open warfare between the factions. Do you have any idea what a Trump administration would look like.