Over at Bloomberg View, Frank Wilkinson looks at Ted Cruz’s decision to cover his convention short, buy high, and double down on $MAGA after the first debate. My take:
Neither Trump nor Cruz has changed. Only the political calculation has.
“Cruz wants be able to say he did all he could, if only to avoid the inevitable recriminations that he undermined the nominee at a key time,” said GOP strategist Liam Donovan, via e-mail. “And even if the Trump primary base isn’t made up of the ideological fellow travelers he thought they were, Cruz world probably still views them as rightfully his in a post-Trump environment.”
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NYT’s Nick Confessore looks at the Trump campaign’s reliance on the RNC:
Some Republicans believe that with the fall campaign weeks away, the party should focus its money and efforts down ballot to protect Republicans’ congressional base. That would mean quietly ignoring Mr. Trump’s call this month for a 50-state field operation and instead emphasizing congressional districts and swing states that are also Senate and House battlegrounds.
“They can’t do anything publicly — you can’t rebuke your nominee,” said Liam P. Donovan, a former aide to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “But you could allocate resources to places where it helps up and down the ballot.”
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CNN’s Teddy Schleifer looks at the shake-up in the Trump high command and its impact on the GOP donor world.
The cost of that move? Reviving concerns about Trump’s willingness to do what is needed to win.
“The first response would be ‘who?’ And the second a realization that he has no intention of even making this thing particularly close,” said Liam Donovan, a former GOP finance official who has been sharply critical of Trump.
“I think the message conveyed — that Manafort was reining him in and this is a return to letting Trump be Trump — will spook people who have been waiting for the pivot that never comes.”
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