A telling insight into yesterday's speculation-igniting, closed-door meeting between Donald Trump and top officials at the Republican National Committee -- via the New York Times:
It's almost as if surrounding yourself with unsuccessful people actually isn't a wise way to run a presidential campaign, a realization that may belatedly be dawning on Trump. Turning to a new Politico report, is the Republican frontrunner aware of these realities? The math is difficult as it is -- particularly if he loses Wisconsin and especially if his South Carolina delegate haul is actually in some danger. And as we've discussed previously, Team Trump is being seriously out-organized in the crucial shadow campaign for delegates:
The reality of a contested convention has become more real than ever, with Donald Trump facing the risk of losing Wisconsin next week, meaning he’d have to win roughly 60 percent of the remaining delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination outright. If Trump heads into the convention without the magic number of 1,237, already more than a hundred delegates are poised to break with him on a second ballot, according to interviews with dozens of delegates, delegate candidates, operatives and party leaders...In one of starkest examples of Trump’s lack of support, out of the 168 Republican National Committee members — each of whom doubles as a convention delegate — only one publicly supports Trump, and she knows of only a handful of others who support him privately. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz has been whipping Trump in the quiet, early race to elect his own loyalists to become delegates to the convention, meaning that the Texas senator could triumph through delegates who are freed to vote their own preferences on a second ballot, regardless of who won their state...
The risk of a routing at a contested convention is becoming more acute because of Trump’s uncertain standing going into Wisconsin’s primary on Tuesday. Two polls this week showed Cruz 10 points ahead of Trump in the state. A loss in Wisconsin would hardly be devastating, but it would surely embolden the anti-Trump forces in other states, making his efforts to win the 60 percent of the yet-to-be-awarded delegates to reach the 1,237 figure needed to clinch the nomination outright that much more difficult, according to a POLITICO analysis. “They’ve got to get their s--- together in Wisconsin,” said a top Trump ally in the South. “If he doesn’t have 1,237, I'd be very concerned with what happens in Cleveland.”
I discussed the 'trojan horse delegate' phenomenon on Fox News yesterday, which Trump supporters are casting as Cruz "stealing" delegates. Cruz would argue that he's simply employing technocratic excellence and due diligence to exploit the existing rules to his benefit, more or less echoing Trump's frequent defense of his own engagement in self-enriching cronyism:
If Trump had sought out and hired hyper-competent experts and professionals, his campaign would have been aware of the rules and fully prepared for this behind-the-scenes battle. But he made another choice. As always, please remember that a strong, unifying frontrunner would have closed the deal by now, so none of this would matter. Trump is not a strong, unifying frontrunner, to put it mildly. He still has an opportunity to get to 1,237 and put this all away, but it's narrowing. I'll leave you with an observation from frequent Trump apologist and establishment stalwart Newt Gingrich, followed by Trump's trajectory with women voters. From (-27) in August, to (-37) in January, to (-47) today:
This seems important pic.twitter.com/Le8Pz9CMcb— David Frum (@davidfrum) April 1, 2016