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WASHINGTON – Was Donald Trump not aware of the caucus rules in Colorado until after the vote?

Or, as two veteran political analysts suggest, was he employing a “Sun Tsu, win-by-losing” strategy that has effectively propelled him to new heights in national polling because he is perceived, now more than ever, as a victim of “establishment politics”?

Both radio talk-show czar Rush Limbaugh and WND Editor-columnist Joseph Farah came to the same conclusion late last week: Trump understood all along there wouldn’t be an “election” per se in Colorado, but didn’t protest until after electors went for Ted Cruz so he could say he was shafted in a rigged contest.

As a result of that narrative, Trumps rankings in national polls have skyrocketed among those who see him as the anti-establishment candidate for the Republican nomination going into major delegate-rich primaries in New York and California.

Last week, Trump penned a Wall Street Journal column that began: “On Saturday, April 9, Colorado had an ‘election’ without voters. Delegates were chosen on behalf of a presidential nominee, yet the people of Colorado were not able to cast their ballots to say which nominee they preferred. A planned vote had been canceled. And one million Republicans in Colorado were sidelined.”

On Friday, Limbaugh had this to say in response: “Now I hate to do this, but that just isn’t correct. There was never going to be an election, a primary election in Colorado and this op-ed gives the impression that Colorado was gonna have a vote. There was gonna be a primary and people are gonna vote like they have in other states and at the last-minute changed their mind. There never was a plan to vote. There was never a plan to vote that was canceled in Colorado. Colorado was always, from last August, going to be what it was: a series of conventions where delegates would be chosen to the convention by Republican attendance at these various county conventions and at the big state convention. But there was never gonna be a vote.

“I asked a question two days ago, and I asked it again yesterday,” Limbaugh added. “And that question was, why didn’t Trump call attention to Colorado not having an election beforehand? Why did he wait until Colorado’s process was complete to lodge a complaint about it? And this op-ed gives us the answer. You know what we have here? Trump and Colorado is a classic lesson in winning by losing. How to win by losing.”

Farah was having similar thoughts last week as Trump was claiming the Colorado contest was rigged.

“All the analysts seem to be persuaded that Donald Trump doesn’t understand the Republican Party rules that cost him some delegates in Colorado,” Farah wrote. “The rules were published last year. They were there for all the candidates to read and understand. Any of them could have done what the Ted Cruz campaign did in wooing those delegates. It wasn’t against the rules. It was part of the rules. I’ve heard newscasters and pundits say the Trump organization just didn’t get it. Maybe they overlooked the rules. Maybe they didn’t understand them. Maybe they never read them or acted on them. But what if Donald Trump, the master negotiator, the brilliant media tactician, the unparalleled manipulator of public opinion, DID know all about the rules? What if he didn’t bother going after those delegates because he knew it would benefit him more profoundly if he didn’t – turning what was perceived by his supporters and the general public unfamiliar with the arcane rules of the GOP into a national cause célèbre that would help his campaign steamroll over the competition in upcoming primaries in New York, Maryland, California and elsewhere?”

Farah asked the question: “Am I the only one who thinks Donald Trump didn’t earn $9 billion by being stupid?”

The answer is obviously no – Limbaugh agrees.

“It is apparent to me now that the Trump campaign was fully aware that they were gonna lose Colorado this way and had found and discovered a way to turn that to their advantage by claiming that Colorado had cheated, by claiming that Colorado was disenfranchising people, by claiming that Colorado was gonna have a vote and then changed their mind,” Limbaugh said Friday. “But there never was a plan to vote. So I’ve answered my question. Trump waited ’til after Colorado to exploit the fact that there was not an election there, and it helped his point if he lost.”

Farah put it slightly differently – saying it’s the tactic of one step backward and two steps forward.

“It’s Sun Tzu,” he wrote. “Surely Trump has read Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War.’ He wrote ‘The Art of the Deal.'”

Limbaugh said Trump supporters and some on the fence are happily embracing Trump’s narrative that a Colorado election was canceled.

“I mean, every supporter loves it when their guy is the victim of some cheating or some dirty trick,” he added. “So I’ve answered my question. Why didn’t Trump call attention to this before they caucused in Colorado? Because he was counting on losing and then exploiting it, which he’s done brilliantly, and here you have this op-ed in the Wall Street Journal which carries the theme forward.”

To drive the point home, Limbaugh added: “Oh, yeah, this Trump op-ed, it carries on the narrative that is fundamental to populism. You cannot have populism without the impression that the man is shafting the little guy. So the contretemps, the controversy in Colorado has actually buttressed Trump’s campaign theme, that the political system is rigged against the little guy, in this case Trump’s the little guy, he’s the outsider. So the political process is rigged against the little guy. He’s the champion of little guys, so they’re rigging it against him. And his op-ed today, making it look like Colorado had planned to have an election and canceled the plan, that didn’t happen. There was never going to be an election. It doesn’t matter. As far as Trumpists are concerned, their guy got screwed and that’s the end of it. And not only did their guy get screwed, the American people got screwed because the establishment didn’t let people vote, even though there never was going to be a vote.”

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