CEO Trump: I'd Have Spent More On My Iowa Ground Game, But People Told Me It Was Fine

Posted: Feb 04, 2016 10:25 AM

devastating self-indictment from Donald Trump, explaining away his Iowa loss through means other than grunting about how Cruz "cheated," or whatever:

In addition to the conspiratorial "stolen election" nonsense, Trump sniffs that he "just went through the motions" in Iowa, uncorking the candid admission above on MSNBC's Morning Joe.  That single sentence deeply undermines the entire conceit of his candidacy: That he's a brilliant CEO who surrounds himself with the very best people and who will manage things with exceptional competence -- unlike those "very, very stupid," morons who run the government today.  Alas, here he is, casually shrugging that he would have made better investments if only he'd had any idea what was actually happening.  "People" told him his ground game "was fine."  It was not.  In fact, here's how badly lacking it was:

For months, Donald Trump’s allies urged him to invest in the technology necessary to identify and mobilize his supporters, sources close to Trump’s campaign told POLITICO, but the billionaire barely budged, apparently believing his star power would provide a new way to mobilize voters...Cruz and Rubio’s campaigns ran circles around Trump’s bare-bones operation, which gambled that Trump’s star appeal could overpower modern organizing tactics, and relied instead on big rallies, an outlandish social media presence, a flashy endorsement from Sarah Palin and a late advertising blitz to try to get supporters to the polls...Trump's staff “got outclassed and outmaneuvered ? the Iowa team simply didn’t have the tools they needed, which is why they overpromised and underperformed,” said a source close to the Trump campaign.

The campaign didn’t start seriously building a data operation to target voters until mid-October, sources said, and even then it did not act with urgency. It waited until November to begin paying a data vendor, the nonpartisan firm L2, and until late November or early December to sign an agreement allowing it to use the RNC’s massive voter file...At one point early in the campaign, Trump representatives talked to Cambridge Analytica ? the firm now being credited with engineering Cruz’s cutting-edge targeting operation ? about retaining the company’s services, but they decided it was too expensive. And, in early October, Trump’s Virginia state director, Mike Rubino, reached out to the nonpartisan voter data firm rVotes, writing in an email “We want to utilize this ASAP.” Steve Adler, rVotes' owner, said the Trump campaign never followed up.

That sounds an awful lot like a clueless rookie pol stubbornly ignoring good advice from allies, while his under-equipped staff assured him that everything was copacetic -- and he blithely went along.  Or at least that's what he's claiming now.  Once his "whatever, I'm famous!" approach blew up in his face, he started blaming unnamed "people" (the very best!) for failing him, while tossing out ludicrous, unsubstantiated allegations of "fraud," and threatening to sue.  Katie wrote about Ted Cruz's sharp-elbowed takedown of the latest "Trumper Tantrum" yesterday, but I want to you to see the Texan's performance for yourself.  Behold, three-and-a-half brutal minutes of Cruz mocking Trump's histrionics, questioning his temperament (joking that Trump might "nuke Denmark" is a sly way of underscoring a more serious point about mood swings and instability), and skewering him on policy.  Toggle ahead to the 1:10 mark, and watch:

I'll leave you with this hard-hitting spot from the Bush campaign, which goes hard after Trump for 75 seconds before flipping to a positive pro-Jeb message:

Also, thank you very much says Marco Rubio.  This circus-like, divisive news cycle is consuming several of his rivals at the exact moment that he's angling set himself apart with a message touting his unique capacity to unify the party as an appealing but principled conservative: