Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

With Paul Manafort gone, Donald Trump might have to 'write-off' California

by Alex Cohen and Austin Cross | Take Two®

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Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena, Sunday, July 17, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Matt Rourke/AP

For Trump-watchers around the country, chairman Paul Manafort's Friday resignation from the Republican nominee's campaign came as little surprise. 

A series of front-page investigations released this week raised questions and eyebrows about Manafort's political dealings in Ukraine. 

Manafort was brought onto team Trump in late March to secure delegates in the final chapter of the primary election. Establishment Republicans hoped the hire would also encourage the candidate to tone down his rhetoric. 

Manafort's departure leaves three people at the helm of the Trump campaign: Breitbart chairman Stephen Bannon, Conservative pollster Kellyanne Conway, and Mr. Trump himself. 

What does the change mean for more centrist Republican voters in California and the West? 

Take Two put that question to Republican strategist Arnold Steinberg. 

Why do you think he's leaving now? 

The way that he came aboard was to help with delegates, but he soon realized that, from an operational standpoint, he had to take control of the campaign and from the standpoint of his own pride and ego, he really put in the effort to have Corey Lewandowski go.

I think the main problem with Paul's stewardship is that he spent so much time cultivating the media, going on the news, that he wasn't able to put in the quality time to do the job. 

I think the media spin is very wrong on what's been happening because Kellyanne Conway, who I've known for twenty years, is very much a message person, somebody who would be more in tune with what Paul Manafort is trying to do to make Trump more presidential and reach out the general election. On the other hand, the appointment of the Breitbart guy (Stephen Bannon) is at odds. So there already is a disconnect because you have two people who are very, very different. 

How might all of this play out here in California? A lot of people see this as a move even farther from the traditional Republican stance. 

The biggest problem with California, which is not going to be carried by the Republicans, is if Republicans don't become more unified there, some of them may stay home because they can't vote for Clinton. 

Let's say they called you tomorrow and said, 'OK, Arnold, what should we do, especially here in California?'

In California, if I was talking to Trump, I would say, 'Don't say you're writing it off, but write it off there. Concentrate on the battleground states.'

What you do nationally is going to impact in California, with  14 to 15 percent of the national vote there. If Trump nationally has a good message and stops taking a bad Hillary [Clinton] news day and overcoming it with his own blunders, it would have an impact in California.

He can't carry the state, but it would lift Republican enthusiasm, and we wouldn't have a down ticket problem losing Assembly and congressional seats. 

(Answers have been edited for clarity.) 

Press the blue play button above to hear the full interview. 

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