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Hullabaloo


Sunday, April 10, 2016

 
So TV isn't enough

by digby

















My oh my, I would have thought Trump could just fly in to the state conventions and make a great deal, a yuuuuge deal, and walk away a winner.According to Politico, not so much.

Trump, who handed the reins of much of his campaign this week to strategist Paul Manafort in an effort to shore up his operation before the nomination slips away, was swept out of delegate slots up for grabs at Colorado’s state convention. Adding to his woes, he picked up just one delegate of six on the ballot in South Carolina. The most painful result, though, may have been Trump’s failure to capture two of three slots in his strongest South Carolina congressional district.

In fact, Trump lost five of the six delegate seats on the ballot in South Carolina’s 3rd and 7th congressional districts. Ted Cruz nabbed a delegate in the 7th district, while another, Alan Clemmons, remained uncommitted despite Trump’s dominant finish there in the state’s Feb. 20 primary. (The Manhattan billionaire won 43 percent of the district’s vote, to Cruz’s 20 percent and Kasich’s 6 percent.) Cruz also won two of three delegates in the 3rd district, while a third — Susan Aiken, a supporter of Marco Rubio — will go to the convention as an uncommitted delegate.

At the same time, Trump so far has been swept in Colorado, which unlike most states chooses its delegates indirectly, through a series of caucuses. Cruz, who has had a team working the state for months, received a thunderous ovation in Colorado Springs at Saturday afternoon’s chaotic GOP assembly as he announced his preliminary delegate haul while Trump’s bare-bones operation struggled to get organized.

After firing the organizer initially put in charge of Colorado last week, Trump’s team hired Patrick Davis, a GOP operative from Colorado Springs, to put together a slate in an effort to win some of the delegate slots to be elected by just fewer than 4,000 party activists at Saturday’s assembly. Heading in, Cruz had already swept the seven assemblies held in the state’s congressional districts, each of which elect three delegates, giving him 21 of Colorado’s 34 elected delegates – a majority – before ballots hit the floor at the state convention.

"We have beaten Donald Trump," Cruz told supporters packed into the World Arena.

Trump’s last-minute organizing effort did not go well. The leaflet his campaign handed out listed a slate of 26 delegates. But in many cases the numbers indicating their ballot position — more than 600 delegates are running for 13 slots — were off, meaning that Trump’s team was mistakenly directing votes toward other candidates’ delegates.

When the balloting results were announced Saturday evening, Cruz picked up the 13 statewide at-large delegates chosen during Saturday’s convention, with the final three appointed automatically by the Colorado Republican Party, giving him all 34 of Colorado's elected delegates (Trump did win six of the 34 alternate spots).

“Cruz had the crowd eating out of his hand when he spoke,” said Kelly Maher, a GOP operative based in Denver.

It’s an extension of a losing streak for Trump that threatens the mogul’s odds of winning the Republican nomination at what is increasingly likely to be a contested convention in July. Trump is close to falling short of enough support in the state-level primaries and caucuses to clinch the nomination outright, meaning his fate would be determined by delegates in Cleveland.
Yet Trump’s thinly staffed operations, even in the states he carried easily in February and March primaries, have left little organization behind to support delegate candidates. In addition to the congressional-district routs in South Carolina and Colorado, he’s been dealt setbacks in Indiana, North Dakota, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Georgia. Massachusetts is also shaping up as a delegate battleground, despite Trump’s dominance of the popular vote there.

Trump has primarily lost delegate races to Cruz, whose superior organization, months of preparatory work and resonance among the GOP’s activist base has helped him consolidate support in the insider-oriented battle for delegates. Trump has begun mobilizing for a delegate push in recent days, empowering Manafort, a veteran of past convention battles, to lead his effort, but the 67-year-old lobbyist and political consultant is still playing catch-up.

Trump failed to understand that political parties are organizations made up of people who have long-standing ties and loyalties to one another and their institution. He could have run as an independent and not done any of this stuff. He had the money and probably could have gotten himself on the ballot in all 50 states. But he wanted the legitimacy and the infrastructure of the GOP without working to ensure the loyalties of the people who participate in party politics day in and day out.

He apparently didn't even bother to find out how the party works. He thought it was all about being on TV. You want to be an outsider? Great. But don't expect to have any loyalty from the people you're slagging all day long.

Cruz was the smart one. He positioned himself as the outsider who represented the conservative movement. Those people have been infiltrating the party apparatus for years and they don't have a problem supporting him in these state delegations. They don't like the "Washington Cartel" but Cruz is a party man without being a RINO. He's got the best of both worlds.


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