The Corner

Present at the Destruction

I wrote about Trump and the pledge for Politico today:

Every rational calculation says that Trump should seek to preserve the pledge. At this point, he is more likely than anyone else to be the nominee and benefit from the support of his competitors. He should want to use every possible lever of unity at his disposal given the threats of an independent conservative candidacy should he win the nomination. And yet, he’s done the opposite.

Who can guess why? Stupid pride? A manliness contest, where he wants the likes of Ted Cruz eventually to have to offer his support even after he says he doesn’t want it? A disdain for every political convention, even one that might help him?

Whatever the reason, it is yet another sign that Trump is all about himself. In this sense, he is already what the RNC feared when it got him to sign the pledge—a third-party candidate. He’s running against the Republican Party from within the Republican Party. He cares nothing about its values or its interests. He favors it exactly to the extent it can be subordinated to him and no further.

Political parties have been riven by clashes of personalities and ideologies before, but it is hard to think of another example of a party so damaged by such a heedless interloper.

It’s been a month since the smart commentary after Super Tuesday said that Donald Trump was pivoting to being more presidential and unifying. Since then, he has: declared that he’d consider paying the legal bills of a goon who sucker-punched a black protester; talked of riots at the Republican convention if it doesn’t go his way; threatened and mocked Heidi Cruz; and justified his campaign manager’s manhandling of a female journalist in the most asinine and dishonest ways.

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