Paul Manafort resigns amid growing scandal and campaign shakeup

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After failing to reign in Donald Trump when the businessman’s incendiary rhetoric began to push away influential conservatives and big money donors; after repeated appearances on talk shows that were often embarrassing to the Trump campaign and after a wildly disorganized national convention — and most especially after being exposed as a shill for Vladimir Putin and his lackeys in Ukraine, not to mention the possibility that he could be indicted for violating the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 after he secretly helped find and fund lobbyists to help then Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych stop a resolution in the U.S. Congress that called on Yanukovych to release a political opponent from jail — after all of that Paul Manafort, once described as Donald Trump’s campaign manager, resigned.

Manafort was controversial from the moment it was announced he would replace Corey Lewandowski as Trump’s campaign manager (although Manafort didn’t seem to have the official title) because of his ties to various brutal dictators he represented as a lobbyist, including Putin. He promised that once the primaries were over Trump would pivot to a more general election-friendly candidate. The candidate never made that pivot.

  • Trump-TRUTHAlthough Trump appears to have made that pivot with some speeches in the past two days, most people either don’t take it seriously or they are at least skeptical.

Trump continued to say outlandish things that infuriated Republicans, Democrats, Independents and the all-important donor class alike. Well known conservatives have been denouncing the GOP’s nominee since the campaign began and even the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, appears lukewarm in his “endorsement” of Trump.

The Republican National Convention, which was primarily orchestrated by the Trump Campaign, was a disaster that didn’t deliver on the promise of big name celebrity speakers — they got a guy from the Duck Dynasty show and Chachi … what’s his name?

The candidate appeared at the convention twice before his acceptance speech, a departure from the norm that furthered the idea that Trump was an egomaniac of unprecedented proportions in politics.

After both political conventions were over Trump’s poll numbers didn’t just plummet, they hurled to earth like earth-shaking meteors. Instead of getting right into campaigning after the conventions, the candidate and his running mate took a few days off, a lapse in campaign basics the Clinton-Kaine Campaign — and the DNC — took full advantage of since. Oh, and Trump took time to insult a Gold Star Mother and denigrate her entire family for being Muslims.

Not only has Trump dragged down his own ticket — it’s so bad Mike Pence is rarely seen campaigning anywhere — he is beginning to tank the entire Republican Party. States that have never voted Democrat are now in play: Arizona, Georgia, Utah … yep, Utah.

Not only that, the campaign has decided to spend its resources in states that have never delivered for Republicans in presidential elections, instead of the battleground states the GOP will need to win the presidential election, like Ohio and Florida — which points to this glaring fact: the Trump Campaign is just now starting to buy TV ads. And, more horrifying to Republicans everywhere: Trump has no ground operation anywhere. No “Get Out The Vote” strategy. Compared to the Clinton-Kaine Campaign that has incorporated Barack Obama’s ground-game team to get out the vote for the Democrats.

That effect has all but assured the U.S. Senate will go back to Democrat control and many analysts believe the U.S. House of Representatives, which many thought would be solidly Republican for decades due to severe gerrymandering, could swing to the Democrats as well. And it doesn’t stop with federal offices. States that have Republican governors and GOP-controlled legislatures could go to Democrats as well. In other words Donald Trump is destroying the Republican Party from its grassroots to the gilded donor class that controls it.

And all this happened under Paul Manafort’s tenure as Donald Trump’s campaign manager, short as it was.

Manafort was recently replaced by two conservatives with little campaign experience — well none in the case of Breitbart News co-founder Stephen K. Bannon. The other is GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway who has appeared to help Trump form a coherent message — at least for now.

Governor Mike Pence of Indiana. Whatever happened to him?
Governor Mike Pence of Indiana.
Whatever happened to him?

Bannon is one of the leading conspiracy theory nuts in America and it’s hard to imagine Trump making a full pivot with him running the campaign. Besides having no experience of any kind with political campaigns of any type, Bannon seems like he would be the guy to stoke Trump’s penchant for saying absurd and offensive things. Bannon has been labeled a racist, misogynist and anti-Semite, everything the GOP hopes Trump would pivot away from.

Now, after being publicly removed from power in the campaign and after being exposed in the secret lobbying deals, Paul Manafort has officially resigned. It remains to be seen of he is indicted for the secret lobbying, but it seems very likely federal authorities will at least investigate his lobbying efforts.

It’s not illegal to lobby for foreign powers and interests, but lobbyists are required to report it to the U.S. Department of Justice when they do. It appears Manafort and his chief aide Rick Gates hid the activity from the DoJ.

This is the second major shake-up in the Trump Campaign involving campaign managers. It once again reinforces the impression that the Trump Campaign (try and find pundits who call it the Trump-Pence Campaign) is disorganized and chaotic.

There’s an obvious reason Indiana Governor Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, is staying out of the spotlight. In all fairness to Pence, he recently spoke at a conference in New Hampshire in which he blamed the campaign’s problems on the media.

On the bright side for Manafort: he doesn’t have to put up with Trump’s crazy shit anymore. Now he can go back to representing proper dictators. Real sadists with an eye for destruction and the giant egos to match. Who knows, maybe Bashar al-Asad (of Syria) is looking for a hard-working lobbyist. Putin can put in a good word for Manafort.

Top photo: Paul Manafort on Meet the Press in July (YouTube)

 

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