Trump needs to enroll in 'Delegates 101'

Donald Trump is waxing wroth these days about Ted Cruz's rounding up of Colorado delegates and has called the whole GOP delegate selection process "rigged and crooked."  He says this to audiences who probably know less about the state-by-state rules than he does.  It is the blind leading the blind, telling the assembled mob to grab their torches and pitchforks and storm the establishment castle.

As World Net Daily reported on Trump's latest rant:

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump erupted on "Fox & Friends" Monday morning after a weekend that saw Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas sweep all of Colorado's 34 delegates without any votes being cast by citizens in a traditional primary process.

"I've gotten millions … of more votes than [Sen. Ted] Cruz, and I've gotten hundreds of delegates more, and we keep fighting, fighting, fighting, and then you have a Colorado where they just get all of these delegates, and it's not [even] a system," Trump said, during the Fox News broadcast. "There was no voting. I didn't go out there to make a speech or anything. There's no voting."

Oh, yes there is.  The problem is that the rules, as arcane, Byzantine, and establishment-favoring as they may be, are still the rules.  They existed before Donald Trump thought of running for president and throwing his persona on the table to claim the nomination by divine right.  They were available for everyone to read in plain English, and probably Spanish, too, so Donald should stop whining and just admit he and his people didn't do their homework.

When Trump builds one of his towers, aren't there building codes and zoning rules that must be complied with?  Aren't there environmental and other regulations that must be complied with, contracts signed, and permits sought?  There are rules for successful developers such as Trump to follow and deal with, so why are he and his people so clueless about politics and the delegate selection process?

You got to have a ground game to get people to caucuses, to work state conventions, and you have to show up.  Trump simply overlooked Colorado and paid for it.  For example, as CNN reported:

The Trump campaign is overhauling its schedule to go all in in the Empire State. Trump abandoned plans to travel west this week for a news conference in California, a rally in Colorado and an appearance at Colorado's state convention[.]

Cruz got all the delegates in a state Trump ignored.  Well, duh:

Colorado elects 34 potentially pledged delegates through seven district conventions and a statewide convention. (The state GOP decided not to hold a primary or caucus with a presidential preference vote this year.) But instead of putting together a top-notch convention team, Trump's campaign was a mess: In one case, Trump delegates weren't even on the ballot to be voted on by a district convention; in two others, Trump's campaign didn't provide his potential supporters with a list of pro-Trump delegates, so they didn't know who to vote for.

The end result: Trump won zero delegates from Colorado; Ted Cruz won 34.

Trump wasn't aware that the process had been changed and what the new rules were?  If he can't handle the state-by-state delegation process, how can we expect him to handles dealing with China, Russia, Iran, or the Islamic State?  As Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist, notes regarding Trump's electoral incompetence:

It's not just Colorado, of course. Trump had no ground game in Wyoming, which picks delegates in a manner similar to Colorado. And because he didn't understand how the delegate process worked in other locations, he had completely unnecessary struggles in South Carolina, Iowa, Indiana, North Dakota, North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Dakota and Georgia. In Louisiana, his campaign's cluelessness about party politics might mean he has 10 fewer delegates than Cruz, even though he edged Cruz out in the popular vote.

If the system is rigged and crooked, it was rigged as much to stop the anti-establishment Ted Cruz as it was the anti-establishment Donald Trump.  As notes:

When the rules were altered last August, decoupling the caucus from the process of awarding delegates, it was done with the intent of preventing another victory by an outsider — not just Trump but Cruz, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, and so on. The hope, I'm sure, was that an establishment champion would emerge this year and would, by dint of his greater campaign resources and "insider" support," be able to out-organize all of the insurgent candidates in electing delegates directly. Trump's not wrong, in other words, to believe that the system was "rigged," but it was rigged to try to hurt Cruz as much as to hurt him. So what happened? Cruz adapted and Trump didn't. As the establishment candidates crumbled, Cruz got organized to target delegates at the state and district level while Trump glided on with his media-saturation campaign strategy. If Trump had been paying attention, he'd have brought Paul Manafort into the campaign the day after Colorado changed its rules, knowing that delegate-wrangling could end up playing a key role in claiming the nomination. He didn't.

So what do Trump and his supporters do?  Do they roll up their sleeves, learn their lessons, and get back to work both harder and smarter?  Nope.  They resort to thuggish tactics of intimidation, inviting supporters to show up at the homes of delegates and party officials.  To do what?  Greet them with milk and cookies?  Or to threaten and intimidate them and their families?

Evidently taking a signal from Roger Stone, who openly threatened to harass delegates to the GOP convention in Cleveland by publishing their hotel room numbers, Trump supporters in Colorado have been posting the names, addresses, and phone numbers of GOP officials in Colorado.  They blame the officials for "rigging" the convention by creating a system last year for awarding delegates that Trump didn't win.

The rules for the GOP convention in Cleveland state that a candidate needs 1,237 delegates to claim the nomination.  One thousand two hundred thirty-seven – not 1,236.  Trump is not going to get there if he handles the rest of the primary campaign and the convention as he handled Colorado.

Now Trump has said there will be riots if he doesn't get the nomination but has the most delegates.  One thing we know for sure is that there will be a second ballot, maybe more.  Cruz has a crew ready to work the convention.  Does Trump?  Or will he simply threaten delegates by publishing their names and addresses, pick up his marbles, and go home?

Trump will whine and say he was cheated by the system.  More likely he will be remembered as another whiny billionaire, like Ross Perot in 1992, who couldn't tie his political shoelaces and merely succeeded in putting another Clinton I the White House.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

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