How would Donald Trump cope with a loss, or as he might call it were anyone else in his shoes at this point, a “choking?” How would he spin such a convention defeat to prevent his brand and his legacy—because he has earned himself a sizable legacy in modern American political history, regardless of what happens next—from forever being associated not just with defeat, but with an inability to close out the greatest deal of his life?
This eventuality is what he seems to be planning for, consciously or subconsciously, if you read anything into his recent bromides against the “rigged” system of delegate selection, formalized Thursday in an extremely ghostwritten column for the Wall Street Journal. In it, he attacks the idiosyncratic Colorado delegate selection process. Republican insiders have treated this as nothing more than whining. The rules were put in place last year, they say; if he didn’t prepare, then he has no grounds on which to take issue. To his supporters, though, these complaints ring quite true. And they have a point. Why couldn’t Colorado have just held a primary instead of skipping straight to district and state conventions that allow in-the-know types to dominate? Was 34 delegates for Ted Cruz, however impressive a feat of organization, really the most accurate representation of Colorado Republicans’ political preferences?
Trump is cleverly trying to spin his apparent lack of organization into a virtue of his candidacy: that the rules are complicated by design to prevent an outsider from succeeding.If the core of your brand (your 'real essence') is winning, and if you don't, indeed, can't, (perhaps don't want to) win, you have to transmute the loss into something else---a theft. *
Trump may be denied the nomination, but that won’t stop him from saying he won it anyway. He will argue until his death that he actually is the rightful GOP nominee but that the RNC pulled some rules run-around on him to deny him his crown. Trump should be able to successfully spin that to his need, and his need is simply to avoid being labeled a choker every place he goes for the rest of his life. What it doesn’t mean, though, is that he would be a gracious loser in defeat (not that anyone is expecting this), or urge his supporters to move on and to back the eventual nominee. That would not help his brand, and the brand comes first.(*or declare bankruptcy for the millionth time and claim that it is simply a shrewd business decision, but that doesn't apply in this case)