Donald Trump prides himself on being exempt from the traditional ways in which America judges political success. As an outsider, he has no background in politics. As a billionaire, he is not influenced by special interest groups' campaign dollars. As a celebrity, he receives publicity for throwing civility out of the window during debates and appearances. As a political frontrunner, he believes his campaign manager is above the law after allegedly assaulting a journalist. The latest claim in this chain of exemptions came on Sunday, when Trump dismissed political endorsements, especially from opponent Ted Cruz. If Trump's proved one thing throughout his political venture, it's that he's not going to apologize for the way he runs his campaign. Inevitably, that kind of attitude will render him a lone wolf in the political arena, and as the race drags on, that lack of unification might sting.
On Sunday, Fox's Greta Van Susteren moderated a GOP town hall meeting in Milwaukee, a week before Wisconsin's primary elections. Van Susteren asked asked Trump whether he can harness the collective support of former and current GOP candidates. He said he isn't a "huge believer" in endorsements, and explained how he and his opponents have developed a serious rivalry:
I don't know that they're going to endorse me. And, you know what, honestly I don't want to put any pressure on them. If they don't feel like it, they don't have to.
Trump certainly won't be endorsing Ted Cruz — or as he likes to call him, "Lyin' Ted" — and feels as though the other candidates should stick to their scruples as well. Based on Trump's followup comment, Cruz probably doesn't feel particularly inclined to endorse the frontrunner:
I think Ted Cruz would be a terrible president. I don't want him to be under any pressure. Don't endorse me. It's not going to have any impact. The people know what's going on.
In reality, the election is about the people voting, not the politicians who sacrifice their own viewpoints for the sake of the GOP. After all, it would be somewhat disingenuous for Trump's rivals to throw their support behind a candidate they despised on the campaign trail. Based on his speech during a rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, Trump isn't feeling particularly favorable toward them, either. In fact, their support might even take away from the backing he gains for being a political outsider. Exactly a week before the state's primary, Trump criticized Cruz for being supported by Wisconsin's establishment GOP members:
Cruz likes to pretend he’s an outsider, and in the meantime he gets all the establishment support, including your governor.
That being said, the structure of the American political system necessitates endorsements at a certain point in the election cycle. When faced with a Democratic candidate, factions within the GOP could cause it to shatter.
If Trump wins a nomination, for example, he'll need to unite the Republican Party behind him in order to defeat his Democratic opponent in the presidential elections. Unlike Trump, Cruz has been hard at work attempting to gather support from party officials for quite some time. Ironically, he's also deepening the break within the GOP by asking those supporters to unite against the man who might win a nomination. In March, Cruz held a rally in Florida, where he encouraged the party to reject Trump and back him instead:
If you don't want to see Donald Trump as the nominee, if you don't want to hand the general election on a silver platter to Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, then I ask you to join us. If you were a Jeb (Bush) supporter, If you are a Marco supporter now, if you're a Kasich supporter, we welcome you to our team.
The current rift in the GOP must be mended at some point or another. Chances are, Trump and Cruz won't be the candidates to sew the stitches.