The Cruz campaign is by all accounts highly calculated. The campaign’s ground operation is unparalleled. Not since Obama’s Organize for America has a campaign harnessed the power of analytics and technology to so successfully play the chessboard of politics.
Cruz’s campaign operatives have been working the electoral map for weeks, consolidating uncommitted delegates to bolster support in the (likely) chance that the candidates slug it out at a contested convention. Their latest target? Arkansas.
“Ted Cruz's and Marco Rubio's supporters have teamed up in Arkansas to pack the state delegation with individuals who'll turn against Donald Trump in a contested convention,” reports The Washington Examiner. “Trump's organization is as sloppy in Arkansas as elsewhere, just as Cruz's is an efficient machine in state after state.”
Cruz is masterfully playing the game; a game designed months ago by party officials. All of the campaigns, including the Trump campaign, were well aware of the delegate scrambling at the beginning of August when the RNC publicly published its primary process guidelines. Trump is crying foul play ex post facto. He knew full well that not all delegates are apportioned based on popular vote.
Even though the real estate mogul won Arkansas by popular vote during the primaries, the state still maintains that delegates can support other candidates after the first round of ballots at the party convention.
“This could ding the Donald, costing him as many as 25 delegates after a first inconclusive ballot,” notes The Examiner. “Cruz, who finished with 15 out of the available 40 delegates in primary voting, stands to gain all 16 Trump delegates and the 9 won by Rubio.”
Although Rubio’s nine delegates in Arkansas are forced to cast their ballot for the Florida senator in the first round of voting, according to state rules, they can vote for somebody else in the second round. And they likely will, given Cruz’s superior ground game.
It looks like Donald J. Trump, the bestest negotiator on the face of the earth, the man who boasts about making the greatest deals the world has ever known, doesn’t have the wherewithal to effectively play the delegate game. Cruz clearly does.