Another week gone, another opportunity lost for Donald Trump to pick up Republican National Convention delegates.
Nebraska is tailormade for Ted Cruz, and when the state holds its winner-take-all primary on May 10, party leaders say Trump is an all-but certain loser.
Facing those dim prospects, Trump’s best hope in the state might have been to get a few of his supporters on the list of people who will fill those delegate slots — supporters who, in later rounds of voting at a contested convention, would be inclined to abandon Cruz and help Trump.
But that’s where the billionaire appears to have missed his chance: Party officials say they saw virtually no organization by the mogul’s campaign last week when Republicans in all 93 Nebraska counties held local conventions. Those county conventions picked 800 delegates to May’s Nebraska state convention, where 33 delegates to the national convention in Cleveland will be selected.
Because there was little resistance, many county conventions became Cruz pep rallies, according to interviews with party insiders and convention attendees.
“I didn’t see any Trump supporters,” said John Orr, chairman of the Washington County Republican Party. Party leaders, who attended dozens of the conventions around the state, reported similar voids.
Wishful thinking seems to be as much a part of the Trump campaign as it was of the Carson campaign:
[Craig Sefranek, chairman of the 3rd District Republican Party, and a Trump supporter] said his own area, Custer County, seems stacked toward Trump, but he expects that the delegate selection process will lean toward Cruz because Trump’s backers are political newcomers without experience in the process. Sefranek himself intends to pursue a national delegate slot, but he’s not sure which candidate he would back on a third ballot. He said he’s hopeful that the state delegation votes proportionally according to the primary results if given the opportunity to vote freely.
Nebraska delegates are bound for two ballots. Cruz is expected to win the state. Cruz is also packing the delegate slate with loyalists. And this guy thinks that on a third ballot that delegate slate is going to fracture and start voting against Cruz. If he was quoted accurately, that statement was lunacy.
The Trump campaign is sliding, rapidly, to the point where a) it cannot win on the first ballot and b) on the second ballot it will see mass defections of previously bound delegates. They will whine and cry but it will be no one’s fault but their own.