I_in_Team

In Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team Of Rivals”, she describes how Lincoln invited into key positions in his Administration three men who had tried to win the nomination for president in 1860 — William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, and Edward Bates — and the thoroughly unlikable Edwin Stanton and, through his leadership, created a high performing Cabinet that guided the nation through the Civil War.

Donald Trump seems be trying something similar but with typically Trump-esque outcomes:

Donald Trump’s campaign overhaul has inflamed an internecine struggle among three of his closest advisors, creating an atmosphere that multiple sources likened to a political “Hunger Games.”

According to interviews with more than a dozen people on or close to the campaign, staffers are increasingly dividing themselves into competing factions aligned with Trump’s three top officials – embattled campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who still commands deep loyalty among many of the people he hired; deputy campaign manager Michael Glassner, who has a growing group of supporters; and newly hired strategist Paul Manafort, who was elevated this week and is building his own fiefdom.

They don’t even mention the dyed-in-the-wool pus bag of sleaze, Roger Stone, inciting riots and assaults and they get this:

…[Trump] was even caught off guard when he appeared on a Wisconsin conservative radio show without being informed that the host Charlie Sykes was leading the state’s #NeverTrump brigade, and he lost the state by double digits a week later…

Additionally, in recent days, Ivanka Trump and her brothers Eric and Don Jr. have been huddling with their father in his office at Trump Tower as he attends to his business holdings and plots a path forward for his suddenly sputtering presidential campaign…

In California, Trump’s aides are still looking for a campaign manager, and in New Jersey, the second-highest ranking staffer left this week…

…“I’ve got state team leaders in Indiana who’ve been furious for months … they’ve had no campaign material, no ground game, no nothing and they’re going into these states 15, 20 days before the primary and it’s just too late.” (If they want campaign material, have them print out the RedState front page)…

…Glassner has complained this week of recent news coverage that portrays him and Lewandowski as a united front within the campaign. “Glassner doesn’t like being lumped in with Corey,” said the person. “Glassner’s trying to make sure that he’s separated.”…

And multiple sources said that a campaign official named Joy Lutes, who is seen as close to both Lewandowski and Glassner, has emerged as a power center in her own right, executing an ongoing round of firings, and reaching out to former campaign staff suspected of leaking to the press…

…The campaign’s field director in New Jersey, Scott Barrish, who had clashed with his superiors, left the campaign in recent days, two sources told POLITICO.

The summary is exactly what you’d expect from a dog’s breakfast of an organization like Trump’s

But one former staffer said “nobody trusts anybody” on the campaign. The former staffer, who stays in touch with current staff, added “especially since the shakeup, people are trying to save their asses, and throw their rivals under the bus, and campaigns don’t win that way.”

A former Trump adviser, who was among multiple people who left the campaign last month in protest of its management culture, said “it’s like the political Hunger Games right now.”

I would submit that the situation is even worse than POLITICO reports. We know, for instance, that a lot of the Chernobyl operation we saw in Colorado was a direct result of this playing off of one faction leader against anonther

Friction between Lewandowski and Manafort may have already had an impact on Trump’s campaign.

Lewandowski last week fired Trump’s Colorado state director, James Baker, just ahead of this weekend’s state convention, where Cruz is expected to do very well. A source confirmed to CNN that the reason for the firing, first reported by Politico, was that Baker was working too closely with Manafort. (Baker did not respond to requests for comment on the firing.)

This is what weak leaders do. They assemble teams of nasty, vicious personalities, encourage them to fight, and then step in to act as peacemaker. What results is an organization where none of the senior leadership trusts anyone. They develop informal decision making channels that works against the organization’s interest but towards the interest of the individual power centers. They don’t share information and use it to sandbag their opponents. The staff becomes paralyzed because to do anything at all risks offending someone who might fire you. If you want to explain how Trump got destroyed in Utah and Wisconsin and North Dakota and Colorado and how he’s losing delegates left, right, and center then you need look no further than the Trump campaign organization and the man who put it together.