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Donald Trump and the Price of Loyalty Oaths

Would he or wouldn’t he? In the end, Donald Trump signed the Republican National Committee’s pledge, but he did it his own way, in that inimitable, inch-high Sharpie scrawl, at once as angular and overstuffed as the man himself.

The document is Trump’s agreement (along with other Republican candidates) not to mount a campaign as an independent or with a third party in the even that he loses the GOP nomination.

Not that he’s too worried about that. “We’re leading in every single poll,” he noted, correctly, at a press conference Thursday. “A new poll came out today where we’re over 30 percent.” Moreover, he felt that the Republican Party had treated him fairly—at least since he shot to the top of the polls—so he decided to go along with the pledge.

“Frankly, I felt that the absolute best way to win and to beat the Democrats ... is if I win the nomination and go directly against whoever they happen to put up,” Trump said. “For that reason I have signed the pledge.”

The RNC’s pledge is the culmination of weeks of handwringing about what the Republican Party could do about...

Trump Proves Again That He's Not Apologizing For Anything Soon

Donald Trump apologizes to no one. Not even to Roger Ailes.

The head of Fox News on Tuesday demanded an apology from the real estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate for his tweetstorm Monday night against Fox News host Megyn Kelly. “Donald Trump rarely apologizes, although in this case, he should,” Ailes said in a statement, calling the tweets “unacceptable” and “disturbing.”

Too bad, Trump responded. Here’s his statement, per Politico:

I totally disagree with the FOX statement. I do not think Megyn Kelly is a quality journalist. I think her questioning of me, despite all of the polls saying I won the debate, was very unfair. Hopefully in the future I will be proven wrong and she will be able to elevate her standards to a level of professionalism that a network such as FOX deserves.

Ailes’s statement is the first time the Fox News chairman has publicly reacted to Trump’s dispute with Kelly, which began in earnest earlier this month when Trump described Kelly’s tough line of questioning during the first GOP presidential debate.

“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her—wherever,” he told CNN...

Trump and the Benefits of Narcissism in Politics

It's safe to assume Donald J. Trump has very high self-esteem.

Who else but Trump would take complete credit for making immigration a talking point during the first GOP debate? (it's a GOP debate! Of course immigration will be mentioned!) Who else but Trump could answer the question, "What was the last thing you apologized for?" with: "It was too many years ago to remember. I have one of the great memories of all time, but it was too long ago."

Trump is breaking every convention of presidential politics—flaunting his unapologetically egotistical, politically incorrect style—and baffling pundits in the process. Trump is oftenlampooned for this, but maybe the joke's on everyone else. His grandiosity appears to be working. By force of personality, Trump is taking an idea as far-fetched as a competitive Trump presidential bid and turning it into glittering reality.

W. Keith Campbell is less shocked than the pundits. While not admitting to being a narcissist himself, Campbell is one of the foremost narcissism researchers in the United States, having authored dozens of academic papers and some books on the topic.

"Narcissism is about being grandiose," he says. "It's about being better...

Rand Paul Calls Donald Trump an 'Empty Suit'

Sen. Rand Paul's presidential campaign has a new strategy since last Thursday's GOP debate: Go after Donald Trump, and don't let up.

On Monday, Paul went as far as to hold a conference call with reporters for the explicit purpose of trash-talking Trump.

Paul started out talking about how he got his start in politics with the tea party, an antiestablishment wing of the Republican Party aimed at primarying candidates who were not true conservatives. Paul said conservatives should doubt Trump's sincerity, given Trump's past moderate views on issues like health care and abortion.

In an anti-Trump column Paul wrote for IJ Review Sunday night, he sounded completely baffledby Trump's popularity among Republicans:

No conservative in America supports a single-payer government-run healthcare system, and yet around 25 percent of Republicans seem to favor Trump. How can this be possible? How can a quarter of the GOP support a guy who was a Republican, then an Independent, then a Democrat, and then a Republican again?

The stark reality for Paul is that, while Trump continues to surge in the polls, his own campaign is lagging. And while it's still very early—we're...

Are We Nearing the End of Trump?

ATLANTA—After months of insults, bombast, and impressively high polling numbers, celebrity businessman Donald Trump's graphic and sexist attack on a well-liked Fox News anchor will finally bring his presidential campaign tumbling down.

Or… not.

Such is the continuing conundrum that Trump creates for Republicans: an egotist with show-biz instincts and a willingness to spend millions of his own money on a campaign, and who thus far has survived unscathed despite a string of statements that might have proved the undoing of anyone else.

Usually when a candidate has a disastrous run of publicity, the candidate's fundraising dries up, which ends with the candidate dropping out of the race. In the case of Trump, though, only a small fraction of his campaign money has come from actual contributors.

What's more, his big lead—heading into Thursday's first GOP debate in Cleveland, Trump had double the support of his closest Republican rival, winning an average 24 percent support in recent polls—has Republicans pulling their punches. Finally, those Trump supporters are angry not just at Democrats but also the Republican establishment for not voicing their fears and frustrations.

In short, his candidacy has generated little but trouble...