There’s a great line in the classic movie Hunt for Red October where Fred Thompson’s character asks the protagonist, Jack Ryan: “What’s his plan?”
“His,” in this case, referred to Marko Ramius, the fictional Russian submarine captain who had stolen a secret, undetectable sub from the Russians and who was, at that time, on the run from both the Russians and the Americans. Ryan had been brought in ostensibly to help find the sub, and responded with a puzzled, “His plan?”
Fred Thompson leaned forward and admonished Ryan, “The average Ruskie, son, don’t take a dump without a plan.”
It’s becoming increasingly clear that Ted Cruz and his campaign organization have this much (at least) in common with the average Russian, and that while many in DC dismissed Cruz’s campaign as a mere messaging operation, or a vehicle for Cruz to raise his profile, Ted Cruz has been in this game to win it from day one. And at every step of the way, he and his campaign have ruthlessly out-planned and out-manned all the other campaigns, including all the other establishment campaigns filled with experts, and most especially including Donald Trump’s campaign.
The latest proof of this is unfolding before our very eyes in Colorado, where Ted Cruz has had a plan in place for weeks to snag Colorado’s unelected delegates, and Trump has had literally no one even present in the state:
Cruz’s operation is headed up by Congressman Ken Buck, his state chairman and a mainstay in Colorado’s GOP. Trump’s campaign has no official state chair and it’s not clear who’s running things. James Baker, the campaign’s initial point person for the state, was fired this week amid infightingbetween senior staff, according to a Politico report. Baker did not respond to an email from MSNBC on Wednesday.
In an ominous sign for Trump, two Colorado Congressional districts already held their conventions this week and Cruz swept both events, installing six delegates pledged to support him come convention time.
State representative Justin Everett, who was picked as a Cruz delegate, said the campaign kept in constant contact with him and other candidates for delegate by phone and email. They helped draw up talking points for speeches, distributed pro-Cruz delegate slates, and briefed participating local officials to make sure they didn’t fracture support.
When the convention came, Everett said they faced some resistance from supporters of Ohio Governor John Kasich. But what surprised him was the lack of any pushback from Trump.
“It seems like an epic fail on the Trump campaign’s part,” he said. “I don’t see anyone organizing.”
Republicans unaffiliated with any campaign echoed his assessment, describing an active Cruz effort and a practically invisible Trump campaign.
Joy Hoffman, chairwoman of the Arapahoe County GOP and an unaffiliated alternate delegate, said Cruz “networked like there’s no tomorrow” ahead of the congressional convention and built an “extraordinary” ground game early on.
As for Trump, there was little operation of which to speak. “It’s rather surprising,” she said.
It’s “surprising,” I guess, if you haven’t watched Trump’s business model since the 80s. The main thing Trump has done, for years, is to make money by licensing his name to slap on a product, which he then promotes relentlessly while leaving the actual operation of the companies to other people (who are usually incompetent). When the whole thing comes crashing down, he walks away mostly unscathed and says, “All I did was license my name.”
Cruz, meanwhile, has shown a level of ruthlessness and cunning that is indicative of a person who has spent his life actually thinking through a game plan and planning for victory. His level of contingency planning would make the average Russian proud.
This ought to make everyone who is still hesitant about Cruz as a nominee feel better about the prospects of Cruz both as a general election candidate and as a potential President. Sure, Cruz might not be as polished on TV as Rubio was, and me might not be a great ideological fit for the country, but y0u can be guaranteed that his campaign will ruthlessly squeeze every possible vote out of the country at large. As President, you can know that he will minimize rookie mistakes and always have a Plan B (and probably C, D, and E) for in case things go wrong.
Trump has shown no capacity to do either. And that’s why he’s not going to reach 1,237, and why he would unquestionably be a worse candidate (AND a worse President) than Cruz would be.