WASHINGTON — Donald J. Trump and his allies are engaged in an aggressive effort to undermine the Republican nominating process by framing it as rigged and corrupt, hoping to compensate for organizational deficiencies that have left Mr. Trump with an increasingly precarious path to the nomination.More.
Their message: The election is being stolen from him.
On Tuesday, Mr. Trump berated the politicians he said were trying to stop his nomination and denounced the Republican Party, which he cast as complicit in the theft.
“Our Republican system is absolutely rigged. It’s a phony deal,” he said, accusing party leaders of maneuvering to cut his supporters out of the process. “They wanted to keep people out. This is a dirty trick.”
His charges built on comments in the last few days by associates, senior advisers and Mr. Trump himself, seeking to cast a shadow of illegitimacy over the local and state contests to select delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July.
By blaming the process rather than his own inadequacies as a manager, Mr. Trump is trying to shift focus after Senator Ted Cruz of Texas outmaneuvered him in delegate contests in states like Colorado, North Dakota and Iowa, losses that could end up denying Mr. Trump the nomination.
Asked about the appearance of disorganization, Mr. Trump said in an interview, “You have to remember I’m leading.” He added, “I’m more than 200 delegates ahead, so over all, I’m doing very well.”
But in what sounded like a wink-wink aside, he said, “Don’t forget, I only complain about the ones where we have difficulty.”
The new approach is a tacit admission that Mr. Trump’s campaign, which has been so reliant on national news coverage and mass communication via Twitter, has not been able to compete in the often intimate and personal game that is delegate courtship.
His effort to sow doubt about the system plays into the suspicions and anxieties that many of his most ardent backers have about a political process they believe has intentionally disenfranchised them. And it allows Mr. Trump to divert attention from his recent losses in delegate races occurring all over the country.
Mr. Trump has a pattern of claiming fraud when an election does not go his way. And his critics say this kind of misdirection is his specialty...
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
At NYT, "Donald Trump, Losing Ground, Tries to Blame the System":