Did you feel the ground shake over the weekend? You should have.
Donald Trump on Monday told reporters in South Carolina that he was no longer bound by his agreement with the Republican National Committee to support the eventual GOP candidate because the RNC is “in default” due to rigging debates by packing audiences with donors.
Trump and the RNC had negotiated an agreement earlier in the campaign season because of GOP worries that if Trump were not nominated he would break off and form a third party bid that could ultimately hand the election to Democrats.
“Just so you understand,” Trump said, “the RNC is in default. When somebody is in default, that means the other side can do what they have to do. The RNC is in default.”
The “default” occurred because the establishment has been planting its own operatives and contributors in debate audiences to make their preferred candidates look good while embarrassing Trump.
He complained that the RNC has given most of its debate tickets to supporters of Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio :
“They walked on stage, the place went crazy. It’s sort of interesting. One guy’s got like very low in the polls, the other one is very low in the polls. I’m very high in the polls. There’s nobody there for me except my wife and my kids because I don’t have donors. I don’t have donors and I don’t have special interests. But I think the RNC did a very poor job. We’ve warned them twice.”
Trump went on to describe the blatant behavior of some supporters of his opponents whom he happens to know:
“As an example, I gave two judges who were very conservative judges. I was met with nice applause. Bush got up and stumbled through an answer and the place went crazy. I said, ‘What are they doing?’ And then I realized all of these people—many of the people in that room I know, some are friends of mine. Some are waving to me and booing. They’re waving like this and they’re booing—they’re having fun. I get it.”
Trump’s promise to do what he has to do to win becomes very interesting if it turns out the establishment is able to steal the nomination from him.
At the moment, it looks like a lock for The Donald, but there’s still time for things to change. A few slips of the tongue, an unanticipated scandal that he can’t talk his way out of, a couple of dirty campaign tricks and bam, all of a sudden Trump is out in the cold plotting his revenge.
An aggrieved Trump could be a spoiler not only for the election, but it could have massive ripple effects if he were to go third party and manage to win without the GOP’s help or more likely despite the GOP’s efforts to stop him.
I’ve said from the beginning of this campaign that Trump is a showboat. He’s all about the me, myself and I of his candidacy, and is wealthy enough, powerful enough, stubborn enough and mercurial enough to not care who he runs over on his way to getting what he wants or what positions he has to take or abandon to do it.
The problem is, the leaders of the RNC are the same way, which makes for a very volatile mixture.
Considering how things are shaping up for the Democrats, with Hillary Clinton having health issues, personality issues and legal troubles that could leave Sen. Bernie Sanders as front runner, there’s a possibility that this could be a year in which both parties choose as their nominees someone who doesn’t truly represent the “establishment” agenda.
Depending how you look at it, that could be very good, or very, very bad.
One thing for certain, though, the relationship between Trump and the RNC right now is built on quicksand.