Sasha Baron Cohen, the preeminent real-life troll best known to audiences as Ali G, Borat and Bruno, has punked an impressive collection of the world's alleged smartest and most perceptive people.
As Bruno, Cohen lured former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul into a hotel room, then sent the man practically running and screaming from the suite after trying to ply him with champagne, strawberries and sex. As Ali G, Cohen fused weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) with BLTs and got Republican Pat Buchanan to explain why it's "worth fighting a war over sandwiches."
Cohen once got Paula Abdul to use a day laborer as a chair while explaining her human rights work. And as Borat, he left a CNN anchor speechless by simply looking at her enthusiastically and asking, "How much?"
There's one notable exception, one person who didn't fall for the comedian's antics: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
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Cohen's camp fooled Trump's handlers into sitting down with Cohen as Ali G, where the comedian tried to pitch the idea of an "ice cream glove...that make the ice cream not go on your hand."
Cohen, who has a virtually flawless record of reeling politicians, celebrities and big thinkers into his game, couldn't hook Trump. It was clear the businessman realized immediately what was going on, excused himself politely, and left.
In campaign speeches as the 2016 Republican front-runner, Trump has often touted his business acumen and his nose for making deals. He's say he wants to be "greedy for America," and use his financial smarts to lead the country back to prosperity.
But Trump also knows when to beat a tactical retreat. As proven by his short run-in with Cohen, the real estate mogul is quick to catch the scent when something's foul and make the right choice by refusing to engage.
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Once again, Trump's "spidey sense" is tingling, telling him something's wrong. That something is the Republican convention, and the party elites pulling the strings from behind the scenes.
In an April 13 column, GOP stooge S.E. Cupp called Trump "Whinin' Don," saying he's acting like a "petulant child" who's "more terrible twos than commander in chief."
Because Trump recognizes that the GOP has rigged the game against him, and is making noise about it. The thing is, he's not wrong.
Like the Republican party's minions in talk radio and publications like the Weekly Standard, Cupp has proven willing to contort herself and make tortured arguments for why the party should declare millions of primary votes invalid, disenfranchise innumerable primary participants, and allow a handful of political insiders to choose the GOP's nominee.
Doing the bidding of her GOP masters, Cupp waves away and dismisses everything shady about the 2016 primaries. Tearing the party apart from the inside is okay. Using deceptive tactics to solicit donations is okay. Ignoring the opposing candidates and pouring enormous resources into cannibalizing a candidate from your own party is perfectly acceptable. Tossing out millions of votes is just dandy.
But as soon as Trump opens his mouth and says the obvious -- that Republican elites will do pretty much anything to deny him the nomination -- suddenly he's a whining baby, even though anyone with functioning brain cells understands what's going on.
Whether you loathe Trump or love him, the objective fact is that he still leads the Republican field, and will enter the convention in July as the candidate with the most delegates and the popular vote. The convention floor is where deals are supposed to be hashed out if Trump comes in short of the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the nomination.
Cupp and others might argue that the convention and nomination rules are set ahead of time, but when's the last time in living memory the Republicans used the rules to destroy one of their own?
The convention isn't a vehicle for a handful of people to steal the nomination, or decide that they know better than voters. It's not a forum for awarding victory to second-place finishers or random politicians who didn't even campaign.
It's a rallying point where candidates are supposed to put aside their differences, acknowledge the winner as good sports do, and turn their attention toward the real opponent in the general election.
Republicans have two options: Either get that through their thick skulls, or acknowledge they're handing the election to the Democrats.