As I noted yesterday, Donald Trump is having problems with delegates, and it sometimes seems that he doesn’t understand how GOP nomination rules work or that the rules are different in different states or even that there are rules at all.  Whatever the reason for this impression, it’s backed up by the fact that he’s only recently begun to organize his team to work on delegates.

One Trump campaign shake-up following his discouraging last month or so is his new hire Paul Manafort, a move announced less than two weeks ago.  Manafort is a long-time GOP political operative who has served as an adviser on the campaigns of Bob Dole, John McCain, and Gerald Ford, among others.

The New York Times reports:

Mr. Manafort, 66, is among the few political hands in either party with direct experience managing nomination fights: As a young Republican operative, he helped manage the 1976 convention floor for Gerald Ford in his showdown with Ronald Reagan, the last time Republicans entered a convention with no candidate having clinched the nomination.

He performed a similar function for Mr. Reagan in 1980, and played leading roles in the 1988 and 1996 conventions, for George Bush and Bob Dole.

His work as delegate wrangler for the Ford campaign may have been part of the reason that he was approached to join Team Trump to lead the delegate effort.

According to Politico, Manafort was “hired by the Trump campaign to work on securing delegates ahead of a likely contested Republican convention in July. This week, Trump said that Manafort’s role was expanding to ‘oversee, manage, and be responsible for all activities that pertain to Mr. Trump’s delegate process and the Cleveland Convention.'”

Today, on Meet the Press, Manafort, who now holds a top position in the Trump campaign and should thus be more circumspect, accused the Cruz campaign of “Gestapo tactics.”  He’s not some low level staffer or a campaign volunteer, so it’s curious that he would employ Godwin’s Law, the meme that states “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”

Watch the segment:

Following is the relevant excerpt from transcript:


Do you think he’s threatening delegates?


Well, he’s threatening, you go to these county conventions, and you see the tactics, Gestapo tactics, the scorched-earth tactics–


Gestapo tactics? That’s a strong word.


Well, you look at, we’re going to be filing several protests because reality is, you know, they are not playing by the rules. But frankly, that’s the side game. Because the only game I’m focusing on right now is getting delegates. And the games that have happened, even this past weekend, you know, are not important to the long-term game of how do we get to 1,237.


But is he, I guess what is fair game and getting a delegate? Is paying for their convention costs, is it– golf club memberships? What’s fair and unfair in this? What’s ethical, what’s unethical?


Well, there’s the law, and then there’s ethics, and then there’s getting votes. I’m not going to get into what tactics are used. I happen to think the best way we’re going to get delegates is to have Donald Trump be exposed to delegates, let the delegates hear what he says. He’s done very well so far in putting himself in position by virtue of communicating.

Manafort doesn’t offer any specifics about this “Gestapo tactics” allegation, but then, Godwin’s Law doesn’t require specifics, the comparison itself is the point.  The corollary to Godwin’s Law, however, is that the person who invokes Hitler or Nazism loses the argument . . . or has already lost it and that’s why the Hitler comparison was made.

As Trump’s team becomes more knowledgeable about the nomination process through hires like Manafort and are able to “box out” Ted Cruz as they did in Michigan, they may regret opening the door to Gestapo comparisons for simply outmaneuvering the competition.

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