Donald Trump: The McCaskill Manipulation Goes National?

Ed Driscoll says “ANNOY THE MEDIA, VOTE TRUMP” and includes a round-up of media reactions to the Donald Trump candidacy show:

And I can’t help wonder if we’re not seeing a McCaskill Manipulation strategy at work here.

As you might remember, gentle reader, back in 2012 I highlighted a pre-primary strategy by Claire McCaskill to run ads claiming that Todd Akin was too conservative for Missouri. Her organization did this because they felt that Akin would be the weakest candidate to face Claire McCaskill in the actual election.

It worked, of course; Akin was nominated and then said something that everyone could pile on, and Akin lost and we have Senator McCaskill for a couple more years.

I said it in 2012; McCaskill admitted it in 2015 in Politico Magazine:

It was August 7, 2012, and I was standing in my hotel room in Kansas City about to shotgun a beer for the first time in my life. I had just made the biggest gamble of my political career—a $1.7 million gamble—and it had paid off. Running for reelection to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat from Missouri, I had successfully manipulated the Republican primary so that in the general election I would face the candidate I was most likely to beat. And this is how I had promised my daughters we would celebrate.

Now, I don’t want to go all JournoList / Conspiracy Theory here (although the mere inclusion of the word JournoList and the aforementioned boasted McCaskill Manipulation should indicate that conspiracy theories might often involve actual conspiracies), but could we be seeing something like it in the Trump candidacy?

We’ve got a lightweight candidate that the Gatekeepers of Knowledge can fulminate against, and perhaps they hope those mere fulminations will be enough to get less engaged conservative and Republican primary voters and caucus attendees to nominate Trump–so Hillary Clinton can turn him into the national equivalent of Rick Lazio or Todd Akin.

Could it be so? Given the triumphal nature of McCaskill’s article this very year, it’s not unthinkable that it was offered as a template for a national victory.

UPDATE: See also NBC/WSJ poll: Clinton beats Trump by 10 points in head-to-head matchup