On March 16, 2016, I posted on www.freerepublic.com that Trump would easily win enough delegates for the nomination, estimating he would finish with 1,300 (at a time when Nate Silver’s vaunted 538 and the Hill still said Trump would “fall more than 100 delegates short of 1,237.” In reality, Trump had 1,400 delegates at the Republican Convention.
Why does this matter? It matters greatly as more and more evidence of Deep State/FBI spying on the Trump campaign emerges. It matters even more because in May 2017, Senator Ron Paul said that “we have several sources telling us that mambers of the Obama administration were looking at politicians, particularly people who were running for office.” Paul wrote a letter to President Trump saying “an anonymous source recently alleged to me that my name, as well as the names of the other Members of Congrss, were unmasked, queried, or both, in intelligence reports or intercepts during the previous administration.” Paul ended his presidential campaign on February 2, 2016. That’s significant because it means spies were operating in the other campaigns as late as January 2016 . . . but when did they start? On March 4, Ben Carson ended his campaign, and one of his operatives, George Papdopoulos, transferred to the Trump campaign. It is widely speculated that Papadopoulos was an informant for the FBI, and offered a lighter sentence by the special counsel Robert Mueller in return for his cooperation with the FBI.
It matters because these dates only make sense if you were looking at the Trump campaign with a clear eye and without the lunatic “neverTrump” prism. Of course, the fake news media was still pushing a competitive campaign with Ted Cruz or John Kasich, or Marco Rubio despite the fact that none of them even remotely had a path to victory. This “competitive race” mantra was falsely pushed despite the fact that with the exception of one day when Carson led the Real Clear Politics average by two-tenths of a point, Trump never trailed since July 2015—nor did he trail afterward, soaring 18 points ahead of his nearest rival Cruz in March 2016. Cruz never came closer than eight points in the average.
Yet GOP elites and neverTrumprers continued to swarm the airwaves and social media with fantasies that Trump “can be stopped” and that some other-worldly delegate magic from a Dormmamu of the Republican convention could stop him. This may have been the deranged thinking of many in the establishment, and certainly a large number in the fake news media, but anyone with a grasp of reality knew that Trump would be the nominee. Some of us even as early as November 2015 saw that Trump would win the general election with over 300 electoral votes, which I tweeted that month.
Imagine you’re a part of the Deep State planning to take out the GOP contender. Imagine you are dead sover, not entrenched in the “Trump can’t win” predictions, but already planning that he would be nominated and to ensure he didn’t beat Hillary Clinton. Say you’re in the FBI and planting sources in the Trump campaign. When do you do that? In July when he gets the nomination?
No. Once it is understood by rational people without a horse in the race knew Trump would be the candidate from early March 2016 the movement on the Trump roster becomes clear. The stories of Cruz “stealing delegates” began to swirl, leading to calls for Trump to bring in someone to pin down the delegates. Yet there was never any real danger of Cruz “stealing” anyone. If anything, the reports only accelerated Trump’s delegate victory as voters saw the efforts to poach delegates as underhanded. Using “delegate poaching” as a rationale, however, Roger Stone and Sam Nunberg pushed for Paul Manafort to be brought in to join the campaign in late June when Corey Lewandowski was fired. What remains unclear is if the coupsters intended Manafort to so taint the Trump camp that his campaign would be dead before Labor Day.
But Trump didn’t play. Whether Manfort actually signed, sealed, and delivered the delegates or not, the plan to torpedo Trump’s campaign was in full swing until, as Joshua Green shows in Devil’s Bargain, Rebekah Mercer met with Trump and insisted on a reshuffle with Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon, who instantly energized the campaign. Of course, working in the background and vastly outperforming all his data-guru competitors in Hillary’s campaign, Brad Parscale sped along uninhibited. Whether because Hillary’s tech team was held in such high regard with their “Ava” program, or because no one knew Parscale, the Deep State never bothered to deal with his unit. It was a fatal mistake. As he told “60 Minutes,” the Democrats were so confident they didn’t even take up Facebook on its offer to embed experts in Hillary’s campaign. Parscale’s role is critical, in that he stayed so under the radar that the coupsters never even tried to infiltrate or leverage his operation.
The point here is this: while everyone else was denying or discounting the likelihood of a Trump victory, the Deep State began in March 2016 at the latest (and most likely in late 2015) to infiltrate and sabotage the Trump campaign, and, should that fail, act as the infamous “insurance policy” that Trump not be allowed to remain in office. If I am correct, the Deep State expected Trump to be a powerful contender from the earliest moments of the primary season—not, as so many neverTrumpers such as Stephen Hayes contended, someone who would “implode” or flame out. Because the Deep State had this view grounded in reality, it was far more accurate and realistic about the 2016 campaign than either Clinton or Trump’s Republican opponents.
Who, exactly, began placing those informants in the Trump camp, and who began spying on him is a subject for the next column.
Larry Schweikart is the co-author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, A Patriot’s History of the United States with Michael Allen and How Trump Won with Joel Pollak.
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