This speaks to the one thing that liberals and Democrats tend to misunderstand about Trump. He is, at root, a different sort of rich guy in the public sphere. He is a rich guy from Queens, not Manhattan, a populist to the core. He doesn’t turn off blue-collar voters, as Romney does each time he misspeaks about his concern for the poor or his affinity for firing people. Trump attracts blue-collar voters. During his endorsement Thursday, he made a point of citing Romney’s one major feint towards economic populism—his tough talk on China—as a key selling point. Afterward, as Trump made the cable news rounds, he explained further. “I represent millions of people who are tired of this country getting ripped off,” Trump told Fox News. That’s the Obama fair shake message, delivered by a guy Americans have proven can channel the frustration of millions of potential voters.
Gingrich, meanwhile, was cut almost completely from the news cycle. The unfortunate bamboozling of several media organizations that initially reported that Trump would endorse Gingrich gave way to a tightly choreographed event favoring Romney. Rather than hog the limelight, as is his nature, Trump said a few words and then turned the microphone over to Romney, who filled the cable airwaves with his general election message against Obama.
This last bit was Romney’s masterstroke.