Campaigns never, ever like to admit they are making a change as a result of problems within their operation. It shows weakness, they theorize, and weakness is bad when you are trying to get someone elected president of the United States.
Which brings me to this week and the insistence by everyone affiliated with Donald Trump's presidential campaign that the addition of Breitbart News boss Stephen Bannon and the elevation of pollster Kellyanne Conway to the two top jobs within the organization was DEFINITELY not a shake-up.
Conway said Wednesday that calling it a shake-up was a misnomer. Rather, she said, this was an effort to "expand the senior team that allows us to meet the needs," adding: "I think Paul Manafort as chairman and Rick Gates as deputy have done a phenomenal job building our campaign over last five or six months to put it in a competitive place going into the fall. So I look forward to continuing to work with both of them."
Manafort resigned as campaign chairman and de facto senior strategist for the Trump campaign on Friday morning. Said Trump: “This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign. I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.”
The reason Manafort resigned, of course, is because bringing in Conway and Bannon was a major — wait for it — shake-up of the senior leadership team within the campaign. And, it was done not because the campaign is moving into a new phase — it moved into that "new" phase on May 3 when Trump effectively secured the Republican nomination — but because the campaign is badly flagging in the polls and some sort of change was necessary.
Manafort was that sacrifice. In the same way that Corey Lewandowski, Trump's campaign manager up until Manafort replaced him in early April, was sacrificed. The campaign wasn't going the way Trump thought it should or could be so he brought in fresh blood.
That's the way of the world and, given his current standing in polls, totally understandable. If Trump changed nothing between now and Nov. 8, he was going to lose. Period.
What irks me — and Democrats do this just as much as Republicans do — is the bogus attempts to insist that there's nothing to see here when you put two new people in charge of your campaign — and the guy who was in charge leaves. It insults our collective intelligence. Let's stop.