By Joe Gandelman / 04.17.2016
Billionaire showman Donald Trump has escalated his war of words with the Republican National Committee and once again, acting as if he’s the Godfather, is making the RNC an offer he thinks they can’t refuse: reform the nominating rules so that he if doesn’t get the required number of delegates he gets it because he got the most votes in the primary. It is a fact that we have not seen this kind of thuggery in a major political party Presidential candidate in the history of the U.S. His statement allows enough for plausible deniability but he’s basically planting the seed in his followers’ heads that if the RNC doesn’t act in the way Trump seeks they are justified in raising the roof — or perhaps rioting in the streets:
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump again warned the GOP that if it doesn’t treat him fairly, it would face consequences at the nominating convention later this summer.
On Saturday, the real estate mogul called on party leaders to reform the way convention delegates are selected or face a “rough July” in Cleveland.
“The Republican National Committee, they’d better get going, because I’ll tell you what: You’re going to have a rough July at that convention,” Trump said during a campaign event in Syracuse, New York. “You’d better get going, and you’d better straighten out the system, because the people want their vote. The people want their vote, and they want to be represented properly.”
Trump has accused the RNC of setting up a “rigged” process after his rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) swept delegates in Louisiana, Colorado and most recently Wyoming this weekend. In many cases, however, Trump’s campaign was simply out-organized by Cruz’s superior grassroots team, which has made the effort to show up to local and state party meetings where activists pick the actual delegates.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus dismissed Trump’s comments as “hyperbole” in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” further stating he should take his complaints to the state parties.
“Each individual state determines how they’re going to allocate their delegates. So, it’s up to the campaigns to know the rules and compete in each of those states within the rules,” he said Sunday.
Trump’s chief rival for the nomination, Texas. Sen. Ted Cruz, has a message for Trump: quit whining. Here’s the twitter exchange:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2016
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 17, 2016
But here’s betting that Trump, a quintessential bully, will stick to his message to the RNC:
Does he sound like he’s encouraging violence even when he’s saying he hopes there won’t be violence? If so, it’s because he doesn’t say “I don’t want violence” or “I urge my supporters to refrain from violence.” There’s something oddly passive about “I hope it doesn’t involve violence” — as if he holds no sway with his supporters, as if he’s suggesting it’s up to the other side to resist doing the things that will necessitate violence from my people. So I hear a vague, deniable threat.
He says he hopes it doesn’t involve violence — but notice how he avoids specifically telling his followers not to get violent. Done in the true Mafioso style. “We’d hate to see anything happen to your lovely convention.”