Cruz out hustles Trump at state conventions
Ted Cruz swept nearly all the delegates at the Wyoming state GOP convention this weekend, adding to his success at conventions in Georgia, Virginia, and South Carolina.
It was a masterful performance by the Cruz team who have out manuevered, out organized, and out hustled Donald Trump's campaign at every turn.
The events capped off three remarkable weeks for Cruz in the sort of cloistered party meetings where grass-roots organizers can dominate. Cruz, the only Republican candidate to campaign in Wyoming, told delegates here that their votes could help him win “a battle in Cleveland,” where the party may host its first contested convention in 40 years.
“If you don’t want the convention in Cleveland to hand the election to Hillary Clinton — which is what a Donald Trump nomination does — I ask you to support this slate,” Cruz said.
These conventions came after Trump had spent much of the week panning Colorado for using a similar system to award 34 total delegates. As in Wyoming, activists had gathered at little-hyped local conventions, won places at the state convention, then voted for the national delegates — all while giving Cruz nine of the Wyoming delegates available in the March 1 county caucuses.
The GOP front-runner complained that the contest had been “rigged” against him, a charge that Colorado Republican leaders strongly denied, noting that they’d been using the same system since the 2004 presidential election.
Look at what happened in Wyoming,” Trump told supporters in Syracuse, N.Y., while 475 Republicans in Casper’s Parkway Plaza convention center were marking their ballots. “Look at what’s happening in Colorado, where the people never got a chance to vote and they’re going nuts out there. They’re angry — the bosses took away their vote.”
Trump’s campaign was late to recognize the importance of the state conventions, much less the local contests that determined who could vote at those state conventions. In Wyoming, that effectively meant that Trump’s supporters were arriving at a marathon where Cruz had already run the first 25 miles.
On Thursday, Sarah Palin canceled a planned trip to speak on Trump’s behalf in Casper. On Friday night, Palin called a pro-Trump delegate candidate, Clara Powers, and encouraged her to take the slot. She did so, getting a polite reception and closing with a poem about how the party establishment would try to steal the vote in Cleveland.
The rules governing the selection of delegates were available to all campaigns. It's not like they were locked in a closet somewhere, hidden away from the Trump camp guarded 24 hours a day by CIA agents. Trump's ridiculous claims of a "rigged" process are belied by the simple fact that most of these conventions have been operating under their current rules for a decade or more.
Trump is about to go on a winning streak, easily taking the New York primary on Tuesday, and then sweeping primaries in Connecticut, Maryland, and Pennsylvania on April 26th where polls show him far ahead. At least his victories will probably give us a break from his whining.
The Trump campaign is like the candidate himself; disorganized, incoherent, and ill-informed. His campaign better get smart quickly or Cruz is likely to use the rules to deny him the nomination.