Why Trump Campaigns at the Courthouse
Trump's decision to come off the campaign trial to attend his trials is part of a strategy of sorts
After the Iowa Caucus, Nikki Haley headed to New Hampshire so she could start campaigning as soon as possible. With only eight days between the Iowa Caucus and the critical New Hampshire Primary, every second matters. Fresh off his victory in Iowa, Donald Trump did not go to New Hampshire. Instead, he flew to Manhattan despite the fact that the New York Primary is not until April. Donald Trump was in New York to sit in the audience of the Jean E. Carrol defamation trial.
Like most of Trump’s decisions, this choice seems asinine bordering on insane. If Trump wins New Hampshire, the primary is over. Yet, he is wasting an opportunity to campaign in that state — essentially ceding the stage to Haley in the one state where she has a chance to upend Trump’s glidepath to the nomination.
In the past, it would be safe to say Trump had no strategy behind anything he said, did, or Tweeted. Almost everything could be attributed to a lack of impulse control and a brain pickled by Fox News. But this time, Trump hired professionals to run his campaign, and his overall political operation is more disciplined and strategic. In other words, if Trump is spending time at the courthouse at this critical juncture of the campaign, there must be a strategy. I am not saying it is a good strategy, but as we prepare for an inevitable general election matchup against Trump, it’s worth understanding why Donald Trump thinks it’s in his interest to campaign at the courthouse.
1. Attention is the Coin of the Realm
Donald Trump has no moral compass or ideological principles. There is but one code that guides his life — P.T. Barnum’s adage that “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” Trump built his business, his personal brand, and his political career by being the center of attention at every opportunity. Trump’s insatiable desire for attention explains why he dives head first into self-defeating controversies and then double- and triples- down until another opportunity for attention arises. I have always imagined that the great regret of Trump’s life is that he was not in the white bronco with O.J. Simpson.