Since Trump’s entirely predictable sweep of the liberal Republicans in the Eastern primaries, the conservative as well as liberal media under the banner of “Trump the Inevitable” have been endlessly repeating their wishful thinking that Cruz is officially DOA. Which brings to mind the truly hilarious spoof Cruz himself does on YouTube of the epic scene in “The Princess Bride” in which Billy Crystal as Miracle Max declares the Dread Pirate Roberts only “mostly dead.” But the Dread Pirate didn’t have the unpledged Republican Convention delegates, and Cruz just might.
If the media clairvoyants who tally up delegate “projections” would step away from their giant number screens stacked with guesses they might notice events turning in Cruz’ favor.
A recent Washington Post survey of delegates found Cruz could pick up an additional 130-170 delegates on a second ballot if Trump doesn’t have enough to win the nomination on the first ballot. And most of the high foreheads sitting at their shiny media election desks say he won’t.
It’s also possible that Marco Rubio could bestow on Cruz many or all of the 172 delegates he’ll bring to the convention even though he has officially suspended his campaign. Some read Rubio’s interview with prominent radio and TV conservative Mark Levin as hinting at exactly that. “I hope that they’ll nominate a conservative.” Rubio told Levin. “The only (candidate) that fits that criteria is Ted Cruz.” Certainly the beliefs and policies Rubio voiced during his campaign would more closely ally him with Cruz than any other contender.
For now, Rubio is playing his delegates close to the chest, perhaps to mount a surprise Ted Cruz rescue on the first ballot. But if the GOP retains its current convention rule that a contestant must have won eight states to be nominated, many of Rubio’s delegates will go to others according to state guidelines since he hasn’t qualified.
Still, something is happening to shift delegates to the principled conservative Senator Cruz even in states where Trump won the primary. At Arizona’s Republican Convention a few days ago, Cruz pulled off what the AP is calling a “strategic victory” as he won a large majority of delegates to the RNC in July. Cruz supporters were elected as virtually all of the 28 at-large national delegates and roughly split the 27 chosen by congressional district. Though all 58 delegates are required to vote Trump on the first ballot because he won the primary, they will doubtless shift to Cruz on the second.
Trump devotees predictably sent up a great howl of “unfair!” at the results. But they didn’t complain when, although Cruz and Kasich together won 35 percent of the primary vote, because of Arizona’s rules neither got even a single delegate. Rather, Trump seized all the delegates with his 47 percent of the vote.
Cruz’s victories on state convention floors may be righting some of these inequities. In Indiana’s crucial contest, 27 delegates from nine congressional districts were elected before the actual May 3 primary, many or even most of them Cruz supporters.
According to the Indianapolis Star, some of these Cleveland delegates say they've already received threatening messages from The Donald’s supporters after expressing a certain hostility to the real estate mogul in media interviews.
Some got emails warning that the delegates are being watched and imply they could be targeted. Some send sinister wishes to delegates' families. Trump's Indiana campaign called the threats "deplorable."
But Indiana primary voters are also watching, and thuggish threats against their local Republican leaders may turn them against Trump. Craig Dunn, a delegate and Republican chairman of Indiana's 4th Congressional District, said, “It’s very disappointing. I probably received 25 to 30 hate emails, phone calls, and voice mails, posts on Facebook. Now they’re hunting down friends of mine and posting that kind of stuff on their Facebook pages.”
Another 27 at-large delegates will be selected May 4, after the Indiana primary. They must vote for the winner of the primary during the first balloting round at the convention, but after that if no candidate has a majority of delegates, they’re unbound and can vote for the candidate of their choice.
Under the headline, “Trump’s getting trounced in Indiana” Politico writer Kyle Cheney declared, “The state hasn’t even voted and convention delegates are already lined up against the front-runner.” Interviewing Republicans there, he found,”Anti-Trump sentiment runs hot among GOP leadership in Indiana, and it’s driving a virulent rejection of the mogul among likely delegates.”
Cheney quoted Kyle Babcock, a delegate who expressed doubts about Trump winning the general election. "Donald Trump talks about polls, polls, polls," Babcock said. "That’s been the theme of his campaign. Using that methodology, I’m looking at polls, and that leads me to believe at this point that Donald Trump can't beat Hillary Clinton."
He’s right, according to the latest Real Clear Politics average of polls which has Trump losing to Clinton by 8.5 points while Cruz is within three points of her: margin-of-error striking distance.
Indiana’s activist Republicans seem to mirror the growing awareness among the electorate that a closer look at Trump reveals a plethora of warts. The Real Clear Politics average of polls has Trump only up by 4.1 percent, whereas as just a few weeks ago he was trouncing Cruz. One poll actually predicts Cruz beating Trump by a whopping 16 points.
It looks like Trump disillusionment is settling in. Maybe it’s the violent demonstrations that increasingly plague Trump rallies. Or the fact that the man has bounced back and forth his whole life from Democrat to Independent to Republican, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that his views are probably more Democrat than Republican and Democrats are better at the economy. Oh, and Hillary was a great secretary of state. Or maybe “The Wall” doesn’t have the allure it did before he started promising the big fat hole he’d carve in it so immigrants could come back right after they’d paid a short visit to their home countries.
In the battle for delegates, Miracle Max may yet show up for Ted Cruz.
Joy Overbeck is a Colorado journalist and author who writes for Townhall.com, The Washington Times, The Daily Caller, American Thinker, BarbWire and elsewhere. More columns: https://www.facebook.com/