[Rushtalk] Trump staffers face threat of blacklist: fear of being shunned by other Republicans.

Carl Spitzer lynux at keepandbeararms.com
Thu Apr 21 11:32:50 MDT 2016


Trump staffers face threat of blacklist: fear of being shunned by other
Republicans.
politico.com ^ | 04/19/16 05:16 AM EDT | Kenneth P. Vogel and Shane
Goldmacher 



When Matt Braynard signed on to run Donald Trump’s data team last fall,
he got an email from a veteran GOP operative to whom he was close
warning, “You realize once you go Trumptard, your career in GOP politics
is over?”

Braynard took the job anyway, explaining that he believed in Trump, and
that he wasn’t worried about being blacklisted. “This isn't a career,
it's a vocation, and only God can take that away,” he said he responded.
But according to interviews with more than a dozen operatives —
including several who oppose Trump, some who support him and the leaders
of some prominent D.C. political shops — some of those who go to work
for Trump face an implicit, and occasionally overt, threat: Help Trump,
and you’ll never work in this town again.

It may be unenforceable, but the push to stigmatize Trump’s aides,
advisers and vendors is among the last remaining pieces of ammunition
available to a Republican establishment that has tried just about
everything else to block the billionaire from taking over of the GOP.
And, critically, it has complicated Trump’s efforts in recent weeks to
hire top-tier operatives, according to sources familiar with Trump’s
campaign.

Already, the conservative digital firm Targeted Victory has fielded
questions about its relationship with Trump’s campaign, for which it has
been paid nearly $106,000 for processing online payments. And the
venerable law firm Jones Day has faced internal grumbling about its work
for the Trump campaign (which has paid the firm $672,000 for legal
consulting). Multiple staffers at the Koch brothers-backed Americans for
Prosperity turned down Trump’s entreaties, in part because they were
“concerned about what that would do to their reputation in professional
circles going forward,” as one staffer familiar with the entreaties
explained.

Meanwhile, the board of directors of the multipartisan American
Association of Political Consultants quietly debated whether to publicly
call out Trump for capitalizing on racial and religious tensions and the
ethics of those working to elect him. (They ultimately decided against
weighing in.)

Juleanna Glover, a longtime GOP operative who is now a corporate
consultant in D.C., said of people choosing to work for Trump: “In the
world Fortune 100 companies, their careers would be severely curtailed.”
Katie Packer, who served as Mitt Romney’s deputy campaign manager and
now runs an anti-Trump super PAC, said: “I know that I would never hire
or want to work with somebody who tried to help Trump. It would be
disqualifying.”

Trump’s opponents have been the loudest and most outspoken voices in
amplifying talk of a blacklist, but, Packer said, “there are a lot of
people who share my view.”

The blacklist talk is among several factors that Republicans cite to
explain Trump’s difficulty in attracting top talent, along with his
campaign’s reputation for stingy salaries and his lack of grounding in
Republican politics or policies. Early on, the campaign made entreaties
to several veteran operatives who did not pursue the opportunity,
including Jeff Roe, who went on to become the campaign manager for Trump
rival Ted Cruz, and R.C. Hammond, who decided to sit out the
presidential race entirely.

Instead, Trump’s campaign initially relied on a small core of
anti-establishment operatives and political neophytes. Eventually, the
billionaire brought in a pair of operatives, Paul Manafort and Rick
Wiley, with high-level — albeit dated (Bob Dole and Gerald Ford) or
embarrassingly unsuccessful (Scott Walker) — presidential campaign
experience.

"I don’t know that he’s hired people who had much of a future in the
Republican Party anyway,” Packer said.

It’s notable that Trump’s campaign is the subject of peer pressure and
condemnation at all, especially from a D.C. consulting class that tends
to forgive — and even sometimes celebrate — contracts with repressive
governments or corporations accused of bad behavior.

But the anti-Trump stigma may lose some potency if Trump wins big in New
York on Tuesday, and, especially, if he ultimately claims the GOP
nomination.

Then, Trump’s allies would have the power to steer tens of millions of
dollars in consulting work, through both his campaign and the Republican
Party apparatus itself, for a wide array of services, from direct mail
to voter data to advertising. That cash flow is the life blood of many a
Washington-based consultant, and for many it would be difficult to turn
down contracts out of concern over Trump’s bombastic style or
scattershot ideology.
“That’s how these consultants make a living,” said veteran GOP
fundraiser Fred Malek. “I don’t think anyone is going to resent any
consultant who goes to work for any of the candidates.”

If Trump were to win the White House, he would control that consulting
cash flow for at least four years and operatives who signed on early
would have the inside track to become the new elite in a reordered GOP
consulting class. Those who actively opposed him — Trump has said he has
a long memory — could face dire career implications. Of course, a Trump
general election loss in which Republicans are swept from power on
Capitol Hill could cause serious recriminations for those seen as
facilitating his rise.

In that case, a blacklist for his operatives and consultants could
extend for years. That’s what happened to conservative consultants who
worked on Ross Perot’s 1992 independent presidential campaign, which
Republicans blamed for President George H.W. Bush’s reelection loss.

“People call me a Republican pollster, and they don’t realize that to
this day there is still hostility for me because of Perot,” said Frank
Luntz, the pioneering conservative messaging guru who worked for Perot.
Since that campaign, Luntz said, he has done only a handful of projects
for the GOP party committees (including notably 1994’s historic Contract
with America), instead earning his living doing corporate and media
work, and projects for mostly conservative outside groups. “I couldn’t
make any money from the parties and it allowed me to be independent,”
Luntz said.

But in 2016, with the weakened party apparatus of the post-Citizen
United era, it’s not clear how a Trump blacklist would even work, or
even if there is enough of an establishment left to enforce such a
thing.

In the previous election cycle, the National Republican Senatorial
Committee tried to blacklist a GOP consulting firm, Jamestown
Associates, for working to unseat Republican incumbents, including Mitch
McConnell. But outside groups and tea party candidates kept hiring
Jamestown and now one of the firm’s then-partners is a top adviser to
Cruz — the candidate, in a twist, with the best shot at stopping Trump.

One anti-Trump GOP consultant was doubtful of the long-term impact of a
blacklist, especially should Trump become the nominee. “Nobody ever
really faces consequences,” this person said. “People have pretty short
memories in this space.”

Some operatives in D.C. said different levels of work for Trump would be
treated differently, with the most scorn heaped on high-level
strategists and leniency for lower-level aides and vendors simply
selling products.
Typically, lawyers, like Don McGahn, Trump’s election law attorney and a
partner at Jones Day, have received more slack, out of deference to the
tenet that everyone has a right to legal representation. But after Jones
Day hosted a recent Trump summit in D.C., some attorneys complained
anonymously about the firm’s prominent role in Trump's campaign. McGahn
did not respond to a request for comment.

And when Packer was launching the anti-Trump Our Principles PAC, she
said she asked Targeted Victory, which processes payments on Trump’s
website, to detail the extent of their work for him. She was satisfied
with the answer that they were simply selling a tool — like Google or
Facebook selling ads — available to all GOP campaigns.

Zac Moffatt, co-founder of Targeted Victory and a former top Romney
digital operative, told POLITICO, “We do not currently have a campaign
strategy relationship with the Trump campaign.” The firm works far more
extensively with Cruz, who has paid the company nearly $3.5 million.

Objections to Trump typically are about not just policy but his broader
political posture, most notably his divisive rhetoric on racial and
religious matters. His comments about Muslims late in 2015 are part of
what spurred a discussion among board members of the AAPC over whether
the organization should condemn Trump’s comments, and even say working
for him would amount to a breach of the AAPC’s code of ethics. The
bipartisan board ultimately decided it would be poor precedent to
intervene in the midst of a heated political campaign.

Braynard, the Trump tech guy who was warned not to take the job, has
since parted ways with the campaign, but he said he still supports Trump
and has seen no evidence of a blacklist.

“Down-ballot campaigns have started reaching out to me, so I don’t
believe in the taint,” Braynard said. “If you’re good at your job, the
cream rises.”

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Posted by: sirlordronald at gmail.com 
________________________________________________________________________

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