Eh, maybe. Probably not, but it's just plausible enough, if still unlikely, to make gaming out the scenarios fun and worth the effort:
While Donald Trump holds a healthy lead in the race, there’s still a decent chance he will fall short of the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination, meaning the GOP convention could be contested for the first time in forty years.
Not brokered, but contested.
Trump, as well as his....rival, Senator Ted Cruz....are assiduously preparing for that possibility. Aside from courting delegates who could become free agents during the convention, campaigns are also engaging in the tedious task of turning out their supporters at State and local conventions around the county in the coming months to fill delegate slots....
But in some places, delegates have the ability to choose any candidate they want from the start. The biggest pots of these types of delegates fall in Colorado and Pennsylvania.
In Colorado, where Republicans decided not to hold a presidential nominating contest this cycle, thirty-four of the thirty-seven delegates will be elected at the State convention April 9th. The other three are the Colorado GOP chairman and the State’s two RNC members, all of whom will remain uncommitted until the July convention.
That's thirty-four. Add the unbound portion of the Keystone State's delegates to Colorado's and that totals eighty-eight. Add to that pile Marco Rubio's 166 delegates, which were released with his withdrawal from the race, and suddenly there are 254 free agents up for grabs in a race that Trump currently leads by 274. This means, of course, that Cruz needs to win more delegates the rest of the way than Trump in order to hold him under 1,237 before reaching Cleveland in July, especially considering that John Kasich, being in the tank for Trump, will stay in the race to hold his 143 delegates and then release them only to the millionaire slumlord at the convention.
As I say, an unlikely but not impossible outcome. But if Cruz could deny Trump that magic number going into the convention, as well as on the first ballot, all bets would be off, because all bound delegates would be released and freed to vote as they each prefer. And as we've seen over the past couple of weeks, with first Lindsey Graham, then Jeb Bush the other day, and John McCain today endorsing Cruz with (varying degrees of enthusiasm), the too-long deferred circling of the GOP wagons, conservative and "establishment" alike, is finally, at long last, taking place in defense of the party against the hostile Trump takeover. In a past-first ballot scenario where it was then every delegate for themselves, and given Cruz's superior organization and the fact that most delegates, regardless of to which candidate they are bound, are party loyalists, the advantage would pass to Cruz.
Of course, this being the Stupid Party, that's probably when the party poobahs would swoop in and screw it all up by trying to broker and parachute in another candidate that hasn't run for anything, piss off conservatives AND Trumplicans, and turn a ten-point Hillary Clinton victory in November into a twenty-point extinction level event.
I have a bit more confidence that that wouldn't happen then the rest of you do, I'm sure - because as much as the "establishment" hates Cruz, they're not stupid enough to not realize what's at stake - but I'm not stupid enough to not realize that it's always a possibility (and now my butt is covered in case it happens). So there.
The above is the context for the latest poll out of Wisconsin, which shows Cruz now leading Trump outside the margin of error, 36%-31% with 21% for Trump's mini-me. That's a four-point surge in forty-eight hours, and coincides directly with Trump's vile, detestable attack on Heidi Cruz. A huge mistake on his part, since sliming and ridiculing a man's wife is really easy for the average voter to parse and identify with. It used to be one of the third-rails of election campaigns: "You can say whatever you want about me, but you attack my family, and it's war, asshole." Substitute the term "sniveling coward" and that's what the Texas senator said yesterday. It isn't that Trump hasn't "gone too far" many, many times before this, but that this time, everybody can understand it. And it may finally be opening the eyes of some Trumplicans and costing him support. In Wisconsin, at least.
Trump's nightmare general election numbers are also belatedly rising in the Republican collective consciousness:
Almost forty percent of Wisconsin Trumplicans would bail on The Donald, corresponding to fifteen percent of his primary vote based on percentage of the votes cast so far - IF they could be convinced that he would lose in November. Something of which there has been precious little evidence up to now, given their brainwashing in the "Trump always wins" brand-aganda despite the incontrovertible evidence of his voter toxicity. Plus when most Trump supporters are forced to confront their candidate's unelectability, they just don't seem to care, because winning in November is, after all, not the point of Trumpmania, but to stick it to the "establishment". But who knows, maybe those horrid numbers will finally start sinking in, especially if Cruz can build momentum for the perception by trouncing him in the Badger State.
That combined with Trump's now apparent full-court press to prove just how much of a degenerate - and perhaps how secretly insecure, worried, even desperate - he really is. Allahpundit breaks it down:
1. It’s all true. Better men than Cruz have exploited their stature in Washington for sexual conquests. And the Enquirer’s been right before about political sex scandals that no one else would touch. As every Trump fan on Twitter will eagerly tell you today, they got the John Edwards story right.
Although I can scarcely conceive of two greater moral opposites than John Edwards and Ted Cruz, can you?
Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for further details on the twelve mistresses Barack Obama supposedly has. Or how it could be that Hillary Clinton had six months to live six months ago. Or why no major mainstream newspaper has yet exposed the fact that Antonin Scalia was assassinated by a hooker hired by the CIA. Personally, I’m more interested in that one than this Cruz business.
2. It’s a smear. As it turns out, the Enquirer is emphatically pro-Trump. They endorsed him a few weeks ago. He’s been friends with the paper’s CEO, David [No, seriously, that's the slimeball's name] Pecker, for years. And this wouldn’t be the first time they’ve done him a solid by publishing a spoonfed attack on one of his opponents, according to Gabriel Sherman. Supposedly it was Team Trump that handed the Enquirer a story last year about Ben Carson leaving a medical sponge inside a patient. It’s also noteworthy, as Cruz himself mentions in the clip, that Trump adviser-turned-Trump cheerleader Roger Stone is the only quoted source in the Enquirer piece. Stone’s reputation for bare-knuckle politics is so infamous, the profile of him that the New Yorker published a few years ago was titled “The Dirty Trickster.” (Cruz’s odd reference in the video to copulating with a rat is, of course, an allusion to "rat-fucking", at which Stone is said to be a practiced master.) Trump himself has been known in the past to feed stories to the media which he knew were false, simply because it benefited him to do so. [emphases added]
I simply ask the question: Which does a reasonable person consider to be more likely? That Donald Trump is a filthy liar, or that Ted Cruz is a bigger horndog than Trump and Bill Clinton put together? Apparently even the Obamedia sides with Cruz on that question because the smear about his alleged womanizing was peddled to just about every other media outlet before the Enquirer, and they all refused to touch it:
Why didn’t any big media outlets push the story? They must have investigated. A sex scandal involving the man endorsed by many of America’s most prominent evangelical leaders likely would have detonated Cruz’s campaign on impact. Some conservatives, ever suspicious of the media’s motives, will probably argue that they’re holding off on publishing what they’ve found until after Cruz clinches the nomination, ensuring an easy victory for Hillary in November. I don’t know. The media CW lately is that no one but no one would fare more poorly in the general election than Trump. If he’s a pushover for [Mrs.] Clinton then the media should be looking to kill Cruz now, to eliminate any chance of him beating Trump at the convention. And big media’s motives don’t explain why Breitbart, which is famously pro-Trump....would have sat on the rumors too. The simplest explanation may be the correct one: There’s just not enough beyond mere rumor to substantiate an accusation, which is why the story had to be farmed out to the National “Scalia Assassinated By A Mexican CIA-Backed Hooker” Enquirer.
Ace condensed it with his trademark bluntness:
A few weeks ago there were claims-about-claims about Marco Rubio[, too].
Not only did I not mention them, it never even occurred to me to mention them. Not even on my fucking radar. Not even on the list of possibilities.
There are sociopaths in our party. Sociopaths are attracted to politics, because it gives them license for cruelty under the alleged justification that “it’s all for the greater good” and “it’s just politics.” [emphases added]
And because it's the only way that Trump may think he can win.
By the way, he's TOTALLY DENYING planting the Cruz/Enquirer smear in that trademark passive/aggressive, Bart Simpsonesque "I did it but you can't prove it so I can deny it" way of his:
And did I neglect to mention that Trump's own spokeswoman, who used to work for Cruz and is one of his alleged "conquests" in the Enquirer "story", emphatically calls it BS?
Trump's denial of planting the smear is tantamount proof that he did, given his track record, and the believability antithesis of the righteous indignation with which Senator Cruz denied the smear itself.
And, since he keeps stepping in these turds as fast as his pompadoured boss can squeeze them out, I leave you with the latest foolishness from Trump's court jester whose self-debasement I'm not even going to try to describe anymore but which, out of a respect I hope I can one day regain, I'll leave all at the link.
UPDATE: Another reason it's crystal clear that Trump fed the NI the "Boinkin' Ted" smear - probably weeks ago with the instructions to David [Really, dude?] Pecker to deploy it when the time and/or opportunity was right - is the "intimate" proximity to his social media punch in Heidi Cruz's face. Think about it: Make America Awesome PAC posts the nudie pic of Trump's wife (which I still don't see how it was damaging to him), and Trump uses that as his pretext for Twitter-maligning Mrs. Cruz. The senator gallantly defends his wife as any decent husband would do, and then the very next day here comes the "Is that so, cheatin' Ted?" piece. The whole thing was one inter-connected, coordinated, slimy psy-op. And I'd wager it isn't over yet.
Good thing Jester Ben is coaching Trump in the refined arts of "statesmanship", huh?