You would think that in the week leading up to your home state primary, where you're expected to do very well, you'd want all attention on your looming victory. Instead Trump has inexplicably spent the past few days complaining about his loss of all 13 Colorado delegates to Cruz, whining about the "rigged" system, and stomping around like a petulant child.
It's more terrible twos than commander-in-chief.
All of which has only served to expose gaping holes in Trump's organization and an apparent — and embarrassing -- inability to figure out how to work the system effectively.
It's an odd look for Trump, and ironic, considering that over the course of this tumultuous Republican primary, he has proudly boasted about gaming the system -- that is, figuring out how to legally exploit whatever weaknesses he can to benefit him most in business, particularly when it comes to tax and labor laws.
He brags about outsmarting his opponents in business and bringing his superior business acumen to politics, where he'll be better than the "stupid" "dummies" currently leading the country.
Right now, though, he isn't looking all that smart.
Trump seems to have a middle school civics class idea of how we elect a president -- that it's a glorified popularity contest.
It isn't, nor has it ever been. The delegate-selecting process is an important part of running for President, and one Trump's campaign should have been paying attention to from the outset.
The rules for selecting delegates are complicated and arcane -- but they are not a secret. Anyone, including Trump or any member of his organization, could have discovered that Colorado was going to elect delegates and not a candidate, or learned when the deadline to become a delegate in Virginia, Arizona or Indiana was (all have passed, potentially shutting Trump out).
Some of Trump's recent problems have been, to be blunt, categorically dumb mistakes that don't happen to campaign staffs that know what they're doing. Sending out emails to persuade voters to select your slate of delegates -- after the deadline -- or confusing Washington state voters for Washington, D.C., voters -- well, this is not the stuff of a crack team of election veterans.
It's the mark of amateurs who are learning on the job, and not quickly enough.
As masterful as Trump has been on the campaign trail and in the press, Team Trump's ineptitude when it comes to the delegate process is astounding, and does not bode well for a contested convention if that's where we end up.
But as laughable as it is that Trump is whining about a system he was as free to exploit as any other candidate, though, it is infuriating that he is also suggesting the Republican Party is somehow rigging the election.
To say something is "rigged" is to say it's designed to give one group an unfair advantage over another.
This is, in fact, demonstrably false in both assertion and outcome. No candidate has had more advantages than Trump has, whether in terms of name recognition, press coverage or money. He also has no legislative record to scrutinize, unlike senators and governors who are actually held accountable for their positions and votes.
And because of all those advantages, Trump, as he enjoys pointing out, has won more votes and more delegates than Cruz or anyone else. He has also won a higher percentage of delegates than he has voters, showing he is more than capable of securing the convention representation he will need to become the nominee.
The RNC, for its part,
has bent over backward to work with Trump, asking in return only that he quit openly attacking the party, a request he has ignored time and time again. Most recently, Trump called the RNC "dirty tricksters," adding
"They should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this kind of crap to happen."
RNC chair Reince Priebus was right to call Trump out on his juvenile complaints, and doing it Trump-style, on Twitter:
The truth is, if the party were to rig the election, it wouldn't be so Donald Trump was leading Ted Cruz as the two likely nominees for president. It would have "rigged" it for Scott Walker, Jeb Bush or literally anyone else long before Trump or Cruz got within striking distance.
Trump has been outfoxed by Cruz and he has no one else to blame but himself. Now, he can continue to whine like a brat about it, or he can act like a grown-up and actually learn the process.