Tag Archives: Contested Convention

Organized Cruz wins 14 delegates in Wyoming, delegate rules in place since 2004

Donald Trump with some of his supporters
Donald Trump with some of the “very best people” who are running his campaign

Trump’s “very good brain” fails him again. So frustrating when tweeting abuse doesn’t substitute for a ground game in all 50 states.

The leftist Washington Post explains:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) continued his romp through the Republican Party’s state conventions Saturday, winning 14 delegates in Wyoming to complete a near-sweep of the state. At the same time, in conventions in Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina, Cruz-friendly activists won delegate slots in congressional districts that had voted for someone else in the primaries.

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.

[…]In Wyoming, Trump’s local operation was clearly outmatched, even though a number of attendees said they supported him. 

[…]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.

Trump doesn’t think that TWELVE YEARS of no rule changes is enough time for him to understand how things work. His “very good brain” cannot understand state-specific rules, and he isn’t allowing his “very best people” to make any decisions. Cruz’s campaign has been on the ground in Wyoming for months. Trump cannot even find Wyoming on a map of the United States. And since he insists on controlling everything himself, rather than hiring people who know about these things, and letting them work on it, he keeps losing. He’s too full of himself to delegate to experts who aren’t clowns.

Trump vs Clinton: General election match-up polls
Trump vs Clinton: General election match-up polls

How is he supposed to beat Hillary Clinton when all he can do is clown around in front of crowds of people who are more impressed with his charisma than detailed policy proposals? If you’re hiring someone for a job, they have to do more than entertain you with talk. They have to know the rules in the different states, and be organized enough to win them. Trump HAS no organization , and that’s another reason to think that he can’t win against Hillary, as if his 70% disapproval rate and 11-point deficit in the head-to-head polls against Clinton were not enough of an indicator.

I do expect Trump to do well in the near-term in Democrat states, and that’s because he is a Democrat, and Democrats vote for him. They are supportive of his “very pro-choice” views, his promises of “forward motion” on gay rights, his support for tariffs, and his intent to appoint liberal judges like his sister.

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Will there be a contested convention in Cleveland? Will Ted Cruz win it?

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Heidi Cruz
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Heidi Cruz

A lot of people are asking me what Cruz chances are to defeat Trump and win the nomination. I’m going to look at three columns, one from radically leftist CNN, one from the radically leftist Washington Post, and one from National Review. I found both of these stories at the Conservatives 4 Ted Cruz news aggregator, by the way. I check that site at least twice a day, and so should you.

The first one is from David Gergen at CNN. David Gergen is a senior political analyst for CNN and has been a White House adviser to four presidents. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he is a professor of public service and co-director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School.

His headline is “Ted Cruz: Now the odds-on favorite”:

With his decisive victory in Wisconsin, Sen. Ted Cruz has not only shaken up the Republican presidential race, but heading into the homestretch, he has suddenly become the odds-on favorite to win the nomination in Ohio.

With 16 primaries and caucuses remaining, Donald Trump has to win 70% of the delegates to secure the 1,237 needed to win a first ballot at the Republican convention. Several states are coming up that are more favorable territory for Trump than Cruz, especially New York and Pennsylvania where Trump still has significant leads.

Even so, winning more than two thirds of the remaining delegates is a daunting challenge for him. In the 36 primaries and caucuses leading up to Wisconsin, Trump won only 46% of the delegates. And now he heads down a tough homestretch with Cruz seizing the momentum.

In a year crammed with surprises, no one can say for sure what will unfold in Cleveland, Ohio. But there are two likely outcomes: First, Cruz and Trump have each vowed to vote against a change in the GOP’s Rule 40. That’s an obscure provision that requires any candidate to win at least eight primaries and caucuses before he or she can be nominated.

Trump and Cruz will be the only two people in Cleveland with that distinction. They should also have enough delegate strength between them to block a rewrite of Rule 40. In other words, potential candidates like John Kasich, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney won’t be eligible even if many delegates think them likely to fare better against Hillary Clinton — the race could narrow to Trump vs. Cruz.

If Trump then falls short on the first ballot, there will be a donnybrook. But it is now becoming apparent that Cruz is much better prepared to win that fight. Trump has run a campaign long on the outside game of televised rallies but short on the inside game of quietly piling up delegates.

By contrast, Cruz has been superlative playing to the inside. Just look at how craftily he captured delegates away from Trump a few days ago in North Dakota. (The capacity of the Obama team to play the inside game so well helped to propel them past Hillary Clinton in 2008.)

In a first ballot, delegates must vote for the candidate to whom they are pledged but thereafter, of course, may vote for someone else. Signs increasingly point to the fact that Republican party regulars pledged to Trump are ready to bolt on a second or third ballot. With Cruz the only other man in the race, that almost certainly means they will drift — rush? –toward the Texan, and he will take the crown.

That’s an accurate analysis. The most likely scenario now is that Cruz capitalizes on his momentum to deny Trump the delegates he needs to get to 1,237 before the convention, then wins the nomination on round 2 or later, when the GOP delegates from each state become “unbound”. And Cruz is already reaching out to the delegates to make sure that they choose him in round 2 and later rounds, as they free up.

Can Cruz win a contested convention?

 

Now, I’m going to balance that with something hilarious from moderate conservative Pulitzer Prize–winning syndicated columnist George Will, writing in National Review.

Will’s column is entitled “Ted Cruz Is Surging by Design”:

People here at Ted Cruz’s campaign headquarters are meticulously preparing to win a contested convention, if there is one. Because Donald Trump is a low-energy fellow, Cruz will be positioned to trounce him in Cleveland, where Trump’s slide toward earned oblivion would accelerate during a second ballot.

[…]For months Cruz’s national operation has been courting all convention delegates, including Trump’s. Cruz aims to make a third ballot decisive, or unnecessary.

On the eve of Wisconsin’s primary, the analytics people here knew how many undecided voters were choosing between Cruz and Trump (32,000) and how many between Cruz and John Kasich (72,000), and where they lived. Walls here are covered with notes outlining every step of each state’s multistage delegate-selection process. (Cruz’s campaign was active in Michigan when the process of selecting persons eligible to be delegates began in August 2014.) Cruz’s campaign is nurturing relationships with delegates now committed to Trump and others. In Louisiana’s primary, 58.6 percent of voters favored someone other than Trump; Cruz’s campaign knows which issues are particularly important to which Trump delegates, and Cruz people with similar values are talking to them.

[…]Usually, more than 40 percent of delegates to Republican conventions are seasoned activists who have attended prior conventions. A large majority of all delegates are officeholders — county commissioners, city council members, sheriffs, etc. — and state party officials. They tend to favor presidential aspirants who have been Republicans for longer than since last Friday.

Trump is a world-class complainer (he is never being treated “fairly”) but a bush-league preparer. A nomination contest poses policy and process tests, and he is flunking both.

Regarding policy, he is flummoxed by predictable abortion questions because he has been pro-life for only 15 minutes, and because he has lived almost seven decades without giving a scintilla of thought to any serious policy question. Regarding process, Trump, who recently took a week-long vacation from campaigning, has surfed a wave of free media to the mistaken conclusion that winning a nomination involves no more forethought than he gives to policy. He thinks he can fly in, stroke a crowd’s ideological erogenous zones, then fly away. He knows nothing about the art of the political deal.

The nomination process, says Jeff Roe, Cruz’s campaign manager, “is a multilevel Rubik’s Cube. Trump thought it was a golf ball — you just had to whack it.” Roe says the Cruz campaign’s engagement with the granular details of delegate maintenance is producing a situation where “the guy who is trying to hijack the party runs into a guy with a machine gun.”

Cruz graduated at the top of his classes at Princeton and Harvard Law. He clerked for Court of Appeals Justice J. Michael Luttig and Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Insofar as this primary election is a contest based on hard work and preparation, Cruz will win it. And then he’s going to beat Hillary.

Ted Cruz courts delegates in Colorado and North Dakota, ahead of Wisconsin stand

Conservative women rallying to Cruz in Wisconsin
Conservative women rallying to Cruz in Wisconsin

Let’s start with an article about Cruz’s get-out-vote plan in Wisconsin, from the radically leftist Politico.

Excerpt:

Just as in Iowa, Cruz arrived in Wisconsin before Trump, has worked it harder and stayed longer. He’s delivered speeches at rallies across the state, shaken hands at a sandwich shop, fought for votes at a fish fry and promised to bring back American jobs at a factory in Oshkosh.

Cruz has opened a “Camp Cruz” to provide free housing for volunteers who make the trek to the voter-rich Milwaukee region, as he did in Des Moines; he has again slammed Trump for refusing to debate him; and he has tried to fend off a third candidate (then Marco Rubio, now John Kasich) from serving as a spoiler.

[…]Cruz has the backing of one of the state’s leading right-wing talk radio hosts (Charlie Sykes in Wisconsin, Steve Deace in Iowa), one of the state’s leading social conservative groups (Wisconsin Family Action PAC now, The Family Leader in Iowa) and another extensive and deeply organized grass-roots network fueled by county chairs blanketing the state and a long list of supportive faith leaders. He spent Saturday night here in Ashwaubenon, screening a Christian film — just as he did in West Des Moines last fall.

The Christian film this time was “God’s Not Dead 2”, and it features two well-known Christian apologists – J. Warner Wallace and Lee Strobel. You can read more about what Ted thought of the movie.

The Politico article continues:

[T]he biggest differences between Iowa and Wisconsin appear only to benefit Cruz. Then, he was under fire from the political establishment — from the popular Republican governor there (Terry Branstad) to national leaders like Bob Dole. Now, Cruz has the backing of Wisconsin’s popular governor, former rival Scott Walker appears in one of his closing TV ads, as well as support from key figures in the state Legislature, including the majority leader and the Assembly speaker, both of whom previously supported Rubio.

The local conservative talk show hosts love Cruz, and they are attacking Trump for attacking Walker’s successful conservative reforms:

Local talk-radio hosts have pilloried the front-runner for denigrating Walker when he was still in the race and in recent days.

“When Donald Trump comes into Wisconsin, knows nothing about our state, trashes all the work we’ve done, trashes our governor, trashes our party, we take it personally,” said Vicki McKenna, another prominent conservative radio host. “It’s just spectacularly stupid.”

Cruz, on the other hand, has taken full advantage of the two weeks leading into Wisconsin that are uninterrupted by any other primary or caucus, McKenna said.

“He’s actually got people here in Wisconsin advising his campaign; he’s made an effort to understand even district to district, county to county,” she said.

[…][Governor Scott] Walker and Carly Fiorina spent days crossing the state stumping for Cruz. Walker’s wife, Tonette, joined Cruz’s wife, Heidi, for a Saturday sprint, hitting three stops along with Utah Sen. Mike Lee.

Wisconsin votes on Tuesday, but there is more going on with the delegates from states that have voted already.

Delegates and the GOP Convention

Even though the delegates who attend the conference from each state are bound in the first round(s) to vote according to the primary / caucus election results for their state, they are released to vote how they want in later rounds of voting. If Trump shows up at the convention in Cleveland and doesn’t have 1,237 votes, then he won’t win the nomination in the first round. If no one gets 1,237 votes, then the convention becomes a “contested” convention. That’s when having true conservative delegates become crucial, because delegates vote according to their conscience in the 2nd round and later. (Some unbound delegates can even vote their conscience in the first round).

The Cruz campaign knows this, and they are trying to make sure that the delegates who picked are genuine conservatives and are members of the Republican Party.

Conservative Review reports on North Carolina delegates:

In North Carolina, Donald Trump won 30 bound delegates at the primary, and Ted Cruz won 27.  That is for the first ballot, where delegates are officially bound.  District Conventions were held in four of the state’s thirteen congressional districts last weekend.   A grassroots activist in North Carolina provided Conservative Review with the results of those districts.  Nine of the 12 delegates elected yesterday are definitely Cruz supporters and have worked to elect Cruz for a significant period of time.  Two others identified themselves as Cruz supporters at the convention so that 11 of the 12 are Cruz supporters.

The Washington Times reports on Colorado delegates:

Ted Cruz on Saturday picked up the first six of 37 Colorado delegates to be chosen before the Republican National Convention, giving his candidacy a boost entering this week’s Wisconsin primary. The six delegates, three each from 1st and 6th congressional districts, shut out would-be delegates for businessman Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich at party assemblies.

[…]Delegates from Colorado’s other five congressional districts are to be selected at assemblies leading up to Saturday’s Colorado Republican Convention in Colorado Springs, which Mr. Cruz is expected to attend.

Leftist CNN reports on North Dakota delegates:

Ted Cruz claimed a majority of delegates in North Dakota on Sunday — though the delegates are not bound to him, so their loyalty remains uncertain.
North Dakota Republicans selected 25 national delegates and, of those, 18 were on a list of preferred delegates that Cruz circulated — a clear win for the Texas senator.

North Dakota delegates are “unbound”, so they get to vote however they want from the first round on at the convention.

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