Trump 2.0: How Donald got his mojo back

21 April 2016 - 02:41 By ©The Daily Telegraph

Not so very long ago, things were going so badly for Donald Trump that a new theory started doing the rounds: Could he be sabotaging his own run for the White House?He spoke out in defence of his campaign manager when he was charged with assault. He stumbled over abortion, showing a woeful ignorance of the debate on reproductive rights and Republican values. And he managed to muddle the date of the worst terrorist attacks on US soil with the chain of 7-11 convenience stores.Perhaps he was working on an exit strategy, hastening a return to his day job of being a billionaire?How different it looks now.That he would win the Republican primary in his home state was never in doubt. New York City is well used to big egos and loud mouths. It's where Ted Cruz sabotaged his own chances by using the term "New York values" as a term of abuse.But Trump's dramatic margin of victory in the state - by almost 35 percentage points - will go some way to restoring momentum to a faltering campaign and shoring up his lead in the delegate count.But momentum is generally overrated in politics. Few voters mark their X based on a perception of motion. This is not a turning point or a decisive moment.Barring a miracle, Trump will not be able to settle things before the Republican National Convention in July. He will have the most delegates but not enough for a majority before the horse trading begins.Instead it signals that he has got his mojo back. A shake-up behind the scenes is starting to deliver.Things are getting serious.First there are the hirings. Last month Trump brought in Paul Manafort, a famously discreet Republican operative, to lead the effort to wrangle delegates at the convention.That remains the biggest weakness in Trump's game against rivals who have a longer history in the party and who are better acquainted with the arcane rules of the nomination process.Manafort knows the dark arts. He is credited with helping Vladimir Putin's ally, Viktor Yanukovych, win the Ukrainian election in 2010, reportedly advising his client to ditch the bouffant hairstyle that brought to mind Soviet apparatchiks and helping soften the pro-Russian speeches that had proved a handicap in the past.At the same time, a grown-up has taken over Trump's phone. His Twitter feed - once filled with abuse for assorted targets - has turned vanilla. It is now a list of thank-yous, forthcoming media appearances and campaign videos. In Tuesday's victory speech, Trump referred not to Lyin' Ted but to Senator Cruz. A big step up in civility.Trump 2.0 might not be enough to clinch the nomination without a long, hot summer of bitter politicking. But it does suggest that Trump might now know what he is doing.He has identified his weaknesses and brought people in to get the job done - perhaps the first presidential thing he has done.

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