All the analysts seem to be persuaded that Donald Trump doesn’t understand the Republican Party rules that cost him some delegates in Colorado.

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?

Am I the only one who thinks Donald Trump didn’t earn $9 billion by being stupid?

I’m frankly really surprised that so many bright people, cynical people, suspicious people haven’t considered this possibility.

I have.

We all know Trump uses unusually harsh rhetoric in attacking people. He calls them liars. He calls them cheats. This is not the kind of talk we normally hear in American political campaigns, unless someone doesn’t know the microphone is live.

Trump does it routinely – every day.

Believe it or not, it’s part of his appeal. He’s perceived as an angry breath of fresh air to his ardent supporters. He’s mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore.

I have always believed it’s calculated behavior.

I doubt very much Trump talks like this among his friends, colleagues, family members, when he’s in the Presbyterian church or even among his competitors in business.

I’ve talked to Donald Trump. I’ve never heard him talk that way – about anyone, not even Barack Obama, not even in private conversations.

But it has worked for him in this campaign. It’s a way he distinguished himself from all the competition – even when there were 17 candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination.

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He gets attention. It helps him get earned media. It’s his own unique way of going over the heads of the media as Ronald Reagan did.

Likewise, it occurs to me that Trump may have skipped participation in the Colorado caucus knowing that the loss of a few delegates represented one step backward that would allow him to take two giant leaps forward in the battle to capture far bigger numbers of delegates in upcoming votes.

Am I being overly cynical here? Am I giving Trump too much credit for tactical brilliance? Am I reading too much into the situation?

I can’t get the idea out of my mind.

I thought about it the day all hell broke loose beginning last Sunday.

Clearly, this wasn’t cheating by Cruz. It was the opposite. It was playing by the rules to win. It certainly wasn’t what Trump’s campaign called it – “Gestapo tactics.”

But Trump devotees didn’t want to hear it. They wouldn’t hear it. They couldn’t hear it. All they knew is that Cruz used the establishment rules to his own advantage, proving, in their minds, that Cruz was all along part of the very establishment he criticized so strongly.

What surprises me is that no one else – in the media, in the pundit class, even Cruz supporters – have come to the same conclusion I have.

It’s Sun Tzu.

Surely Trump has read Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” He wrote “The Art of the Deal.”

Doesn’t anyone else get it?

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