Don't look now but Donald Trump is starting to do some very smart things as he tries to lock up the 1,237 delegates he needs to be the Republican presidential nominee.
1. Trump announced the hiring of Rick Wiley, who managed Scott Walker's presidential campaign, as his national political director on Wednesday. Wiley joins the likes of other longtime GOP operatives including Paul Manafort, Don McGahn, Ed Brookover and Rick Reed in Trump's inner circle -- evidence that Trump rightly assessed that his loyal core of staffers wasn't equipped to handle the knife fight that is the battle for delegates between now and July 18.
2. Trump has leaned hard into the idea that the whole process is "rigged" against him, pointing to what happened in Colorado last weekend -- where he was out-organized and lost all 34 of the state's delegates to Ted Cruz -- as evidence that the party leaders are trying to silence him.
This is a terrific message for Trump and might just be the second act he needs to push himself over the delegate line by June 7 in California. He always runs best as the aggrieved outsider, the guy who the establishment is trying to control but who keeps slipping out of their grasp. He has struggled of late because he became the very clear front-runner and didn't really have anything or anyone to run against. Now that he can rail against the rigged system, he's right back in his messaging wheelhouse.
3. The Trump family town hall meeting on CNN earlier this week was a homerun for his candidacy. Trump himself is never going to be warm and fuzzy. His pointy edges are what make his people love him. But they are also what make lots and lots of people not like him; 67 percent of Americans view Trump unfavorably in a new Washington Post-ABC poll. His family -- especially his daughter Ivanka, who is not only his best surrogate but should consider running for office herself one day (I'll have more to say on that later in this space) -- rounds off some of his sharp edges. You look at his family and they all seem to be relatively normal, well-adjusted people who love and admire their dad. Which, you think to yourself, must mean Trump the dad was doing something right. The more Trump's family is in the picture, the better for him.
Now, Trump is still Trump. So, when he was in Pittsburgh for a rally last night ahead of Pennsylvania's April 26 primary, he let fly with this one about the late Penn State coach Joe Paterno.
So, yeah. It's also worth mentioning that Trump's delegate problems in Colorado may be the rule, not the exception, in other states.
But, after two disastrous weeks marked by losses in Wisconsin and Colorado, the charging of his campaign manager with simple battery after an incident with a reporter last month in Florida and his struggles to settle on one answer when it came to his position on abortion, Trump looks to have (re)found his voice and grasped the fact that his campaign needed an overhaul if he wants to win. Consistency is always Trump's hobgoblin and the poll numbers -- in a general electorate -- facing him are very daunting and may be unfixable.
Still, Trump is doing a lot right this week. Which is a change worth noting.