When you are a candidate bent on disrupting or undermining the establishment, two things are going to happen: First, the establishment is going to go out of its way to block your candidacy, and second, no one who wants to stay close to the establishment is going to sign up to work on your campaign.
Should you nonetheless win, the establishment is in a tough spot. With Donald Trump's victory in the Republican primary contest -- a victory that occurred despite the best efforts of many party leaders -- Trump now leads the party. And that has led to some awkwardness as he tries to staff up for the general election.
Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported that Trump was having difficulty finding people to make that transition from Trump opponent to proponent. It's in part a function of the nasty primary campaign and Trump's repeated disparagement of the party's leadership. It's likely also because of Trump's inflammatory rhetoric and positions. As one consultant told the AP, "Even if I wanted to work for Trump, my wife would kill me."
Trump has had some success. On Monday, his campaign announced that it was hiring new staffers to flesh out its communications team. The most prominent new hire was Jason Miller, who is now the campaign's communications coordinator.
Miller's most recent campaign job prior to working for Trump was doing communications work for the presidential campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). In that capacity, his job involved the precise opposite of his current role: Doing his best to undermine Trump's candidacy. Gawker collected a number of Miller's past tweets about his new boss which would not best be described as complimentary.
As a Cruz employee, Miller was not really embedded in the Republican establishment as such. But his own Lewis-esque flip-flop is representative of the challenge Trump and his allies face in staffing.
Trump's war with the party makes for a lot of other awkward bindings. In replacing his political director earlier this month, Trump brought on Jim Murphy, who began his political career working for former New Hampshire senator Gordon Humphrey. Humphrey made headlines earlier this year when he described Murphy's new boss as "a sociopath."
On Wednesday, WMUR-TV in New Hampshire reported that consultant Michael Biundo would be joining the campaign to serve as senior national adviser. In short order, the liberal site ThinkProgress dug up old tweets of Biundo's, including one in which he mocks Trump's dismissal of general-election poll results.
In a post on Facebook, Biundo pines for a bumper sticker that reads, "Don't blame me, I voted for one of the 16 other guys."
Biundo also took issue with Trump's choice for finance director, Steven Mnuchin, part of the campaign's transition from self-funded to other-funded. Without having built up a fundraising apparatus in the primary, Trump is in the challenging position of building the plane in midair -- so it's perhaps not entirely surprising that his pick for finance director was a past Hillary Clinton donor who once worked for George Soros, center carving on the liberal Mount Rushmore.
Trump's notoriously aggressive sense of loyalty meant that he at one point floated the idea of boycotting firms that had done work for the stumbling effort this spring to block his nomination. "The Never Trump vendors and supporters shouldn’t be in striking distance of the RNC, any of its committees or anyone working on behalf of Donald Trump," one Trump staffer told Politico last month. But in the process of abandoning his stated antipathy to fundraising in his campaign, Trump has enlisted a firm called Revv, which was once deployed by Trump's opponents.
Even an outside group backing Trump has had to sign up a past critic. When the New York Times reported earlier this month that consultant Alex Castellanos was going to the super PAC Rebuilding America Now, it took very little time for Castellanos's past disparagement of Trump to come to light. As part of an effort to build a campaign against Trump's primary candidacy, Castellanos helped draft a plan that warned of "the danger and risk of a Trump Presidency." The Times reported that "Castellanos even produced ads portraying Mr. Trump as unfit for the presidency, according to people who saw them."
Safe to assume at this point that those will not see the light of day.
But again: This is the tough spot into which Trump has put his party and its appendages. The establishment gave the green light to take Trump down, and failed. Now Trump is relying on the party to help him win, leaving a lot of people having to choose between consistency and compensation.
If you come at the king, you best not miss, as they say -- because otherwise it's horribly awkward when you ask the king for a job.