And by "Trump ally," I mean the always, er, colorful Roger Stone -- who recently sounded the alarm over the Cruz campaign and other Republican officials working assiduously to fill delegate slates with people who are legally bound to support Trump on an open convention's first ballot, but who would bolt immediately thereafter. These "trojan horse" delegates, as Stone labeled them, could also vote against Trump's interests on key decisions involving the convention's rules, which will be determined by a special committee that anti-Trump forces are moving behind the scenes to stack in their favor. Bear in mind that all of these moves are fully within the bounds of hardball politics; for the latest instance of Trump getting outmaneuvered on important details, read about Cruz's big below-the-radar wins in North Dakota over the weekend.
Stone frames all of this as "the big steal," as if Trump is being robbed of what's rightfully his. In reality, Trump controls his own destiny He can lock down the nomination by doing what presumptive nominees all do: Winning a majority of delegates. If he fails to do so, it'll be because Republican voters chose to deny him the winning threshold he needs, after which other factors come into play. Trump and friends have indicated that they won't go quietly if things don't go their way. After Trump warned of the possibility of "riots," one of his knee-jerk media defenders (who was savaged on SNL over the weekend) told CNN that violent upheaval might be justified. Stone, for his part, has been talking about leading "days of rage" protests to "stop the steal" if Trump fails to clinch the nomination outright, a reference to the violence perpetrated by the left-wing Weather Underground terrorist group led by radicals like Obama pals Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. Buzzfeed has more:
Asked to elaborate, Stone said he was talking about “rally-protests -at delegate hotels street theater.” Stone said the campaign was not involved in organizing this, instead saying the protests will be “organized by Trump nation,” but said that “we did inform them.” He said he had “issued the call to action” on Infowars, the Alex Jones-run conspiracy show, on March 30, that they “will stage protests at hotels of state delegates of states supporting the BIG STEAL,” and that he and Jones would be speaking (Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul are both invited). Stone, a colorful figure known for his dirty trickster reputation, worked for the Trump campaign until August, when he and the campaign parted ways after disagreement over Trump’s feud with Megyn Kelly. But Stone still supports Trump and acknowledges talking to him even though he no longer works for him. “We just have a rhythm,” Stone told GQ this week. In the same GQ interview, Stone hinted at unrest at the convention, saying “I think there’d be extreme anger by the Trump supporters. I don’t know that it would boil over into violence. Trump is certainly not advocating violence.”
Oh yes, Trump would certainly never encourage or advocate violence. Anyway, Stone has now escalated his threats, stating that irate Trump followers will be provided with delegates' hotel room numbers:
"We will disclose the hotels and room numbers of those delegates... We urge you to visit their hotel and find them." pic.twitter.com/VnPsD8rFOy— Liam Donovan (@LPDonovan) April 5, 2016
Roger Stone tells radio station that Trump supporters will know hotel rooms of delegates at convention. pic.twitter.com/ItPOL4QDhe— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) April 5, 2016
Essentially, we know where you live. If you want to know what the resulting "lobbying" campaign might look like, just talk to Michelle Fields, who's been targeted with death threats after several media outlets accidentally revealed her home address. This is thuggery, orchestrated by a close Trump confidant who's remained in touch with the candidate after the two officially parted ways last year. The goal would be to intimidate delegates while stirring up chaotic fury in order to drown out the real reasons Trump could lose the nomination despite entering the convention having won the most votes: (1) Organizational incompetence, (2) enduring unpopularity across wide swaths of the party, and (3) the rules themselves, which Trump openly disdains as irksome niceties:
Trump on Louisiana delegate situation: "I don't care about rules, folks"— Betsy Woodruff (@woodruffbets) April 5, 2016
Fact check: True. I'll leave you with the RNC's new 'open convention explainer' video, which attempts to cheerfully walk -- ahem -- concerned voters through the process of how a contested convention would potentially come about, and how it would work, if that's what Republican voters decide:
Parting thought: Would "Trump Nation's" pledge to menace delegates in their hotel rooms apply to, um, members of the media deemed to be "unhelpful"?