Don't look now, but Donald Trump has made moves in the past week that are, wait for it, actually quite smart.
• Trump announced the hiring of Rick Wiley, who managed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's presidential campaign, as his national political director. Wiley joins the likes of other longtime GOP operatives, including Paul Manafort, Don McGahn, Ed Brookover and Rick Reed, in Trump's inner circle - evidence that Trump rightly assessed that his loyal core of staffers wasn't equipped to handle the battle for delegates between now and July 18, when the Republican National Convention is to begin.
• Trump has leaned hard into the idea that the whole process is "rigged" against him, pointing to what happened in Colorado two weekends ago - where he was out-organised and lost all 34 of the state's delegates to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas - as evidence that party leaders are trying to silence him.
This is a terrific message for Trump and may be the second act he needs to push himself over the delegate threshold by June 7, when California votes. He always runs best as the aggrieved outsider, the guy whom the establishment is trying to control but who keeps slipping out of its grasp. He has struggled of late because he became the very clear front-runner and didn't really have anything or anyone to run against. Now that he can rail against the system, he is right back in his messaging wheelhouse.
• The Trump family town hall meeting on CNN last week was an absolute home run for his candidacy. Trump himself is never going to be warm and fuzzy. His pointy edges are what make his supporters love him. But they are also what make lots and lots of people not like him; 67 per cent of Americans view Trump unfavourably in a new Washington Post-ABC poll. His family, especially his daughter Ivanka, rounds off some of his sharp edges. You look at his children, and they all seem to be relatively normal, well-adjusted people who love and admire their dad. Which, you think to yourself, must mean that Trump the dad was doing something right.
Looking forward, there's reason for optimism in the Trump camp as well. He looks well-positioned to take the lion's share of New York's 95 delegates tomorrow. Seven days later, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island vote - these should be good states for Trump. It's not until May 4, in Indiana, where Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich will go all out, that Trump might face defeat again.
Then there's this fact: Recent polling suggests little appetite in the Republican Party to keep the nomination from him if he has most votes but can't get to 1237 delegates before the convention.
Trump's losses in the delegate-selection process mar what has been a good 10 days for him. But the truth is that his only shot at the nomination has long been to get 1237 delegates either before the convention or on its first ballot. In that regard, nothing has changed.
By George that's 'obscene'
George Clooney said there is an "obscene" amount of money in politics, the day after hosting a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton at his Hollywood home that saw one donor and his wife pay US$353,000 ($510,000) to attend.
Single tickets for the event - the second fundraiser Clooney held at the weekend - were sold for US$33,400. Clooney has raised US$15 million for Clinton in the past week.
But he agreed with Clinton's rival Bernie Sanders, who is campaigning to remove big business and vested interests from politics, that the money was "ridiculous".
Clooney's neighbour, who supports Sanders, held a rival fundraiser charging US$27-a-head - the average amount donated to his campaign.
"It is an obscene amount of money. The Sanders campaign when they talk about it is absolutely right," Clooney said on a chat show.
- Washington Post, Bloomberg, Telegraph Group Ltd