By now it is clear that the Trump campaign has been thoroughly beaten to the punch and destroyed by the Cruz campaign at the delegate selection game. The Trump campaign is using this as further evidence that Ted Cruz is some kind of cheater… I guess because he is better at taking advantage of the clearly stated written rules?
I view it as evidence that Ted Cruz would be a vastly superior president to Donald Trump.
The possibility of a contested convention was a real one before the first votes were even cast. Many, many people who were/are seasoned political observers looked at the dynamics of this race and predicted that 2016 would be (or at least might be) the first contested convention since 1976. Accordingly, stories began leaking that, at the very least, the Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich camps were making contingency plans for winning a contested convention.
Trump, meanwhile, just assumed that he was going to win, an assumption that he became even more married to after winning New Hampshire and South Carolina. Per Sopan Deb:
After Trump’s early wins, top advisors told him race would soon be over. (Via @maggieNYT) https://t.co/5WWBJ6oNH0 pic.twitter.com/ZeIA3kPgEj
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) April 4, 2016
It now seems clear that Ted Cruz had a plan in place in virtually every state to help pack every available bound delegate slot with a delegate who was not personally loyal to Trump. The idea behind this was to create a cadre of delegates who would be bound to Trump on the first ballot, but loyal to Cruz (or at least someone else) on the second ballot of a potentially contested convention.
Even if Cruz isn’t able to plant enough of these people at the convention to get him to 1,237 on the second (or third) ballot, the optics of Trump hemorrhaging delegates every round will be a tremendous advantage to the not-Trump faction at the convention.
Bad, incompetent leaders only have a Plan A, and if and when Plan A goes wrong, they just whine about how they were treated unfairly. That’s Trump. Good leaders hope for the best but plan for the worst. That’s especially true involving any plan that depends on human beings to act/vote in a certain way. It turns out, human beings can’t always be controlled or even predicted.
If Trump the President would be anything like Trump the candidate, then he would be an even bigger disaster than we have previously imagined. Meanwhile, whatever you think of Ted Cruz, he’s shown a remarkable and borderline ruthless ability to plan ahead and execute – traits that would serve any potential President well.