Let this be a lesson in the difference between a republic and a democracy, Trumplicans: What you are voting for in these primaries and cauci are electors - i.e. "delegates" - who are, in turn, the ones who REALLY select the nominee. Party rules hold them to the candidate to which they've been assigned, but if no candidate gets a majority on the first ballot - and even Trump Pravda is now conceding that the Donald won't - then they're released to vote as they choose, and all bets are off. And since most delegates are long-time party members, operatives, and elected officials at various and sundry levels, they're, all other things being equal, more likely to gravitate toward the actual Republican candidate over the charlatan Trojan horse interloper.
And Ted Cruz isn't letting all things be equal, nor leaving anything to chance:
Colorado is a rare State where party officials choose delegates without any input from a primary or caucus vote. The bulk of the State’s thirty-seven delegates will be picked at a series of congressional district conventions on Friday and a State convention on Saturday in Colorado Springs. Prospective delegates can run as unaffiliated free agents or pledge to back a candidate.
“There just doesn’t seem to be any Trump organization at all, to be honest,” Dick Wadhams, a former Colorado GOP chairman, told MSNBC. “I do think that Cruz has an advantage going into this convention on Saturday.”
With the odds rising that no candidate will secure the 1,237 delegates necessary to clinch the nomination, the race increasingly hinges on this kind of Byzantine State-by-State delegate selection process. Trump has won....the most pledged delegates, who are required to support him on the first ballot.
There is little evidence Trump’s campaign is up to the task so far, however, giving Senator Ted Cruz a major opening to overtake the front-runner on the Cleveland convention floor. Most will be free to vote for whomever they chose after that and candidates rarely select their own delegates, meaning they need a major grassroots effort to ensure they have loyal backers at the convention.
Colorado will provide a major test of the dueling campaigns when it comes to gaming the delegate process. [emphasis added]
Remember that the Cruz organization has been preparing for this "Byzantine State-by-State delegate selection process" for not days, not months, but several years. The Trump Train is belatedly, dazedly trying to get into that aspect of the game, rather like a marathon runner coming out of the starting gates when the leaders are passing the twenty-three-mile mark, but they're so hopelessly behind as to have negligible impact on the process at best, unless threats, extortion, and blackmail can make up for all that lost time. We'll see.
Meanwhile, not only will Colorado's thirty-seven delegates neatly offset Maryland's thirty-eight (not all of which Trump will win, as he's only leading there with 41% to John Kasich's 31% and 22% for Cruz), but remember those fifty-eight delegates in Arizona that Trump thought he'd swept? Better take another look, Donnie:
North Dakota and Colorado may be naturally unfriendly States to Trump based on the primary map thus far. But strategists also see trouble for Trump in Arizona, a State where he dominated and – unlike in Colorado – enjoys support from some prominent Republicans.
Arizona’s GOP chooses its delegates through a complicated multi-step process that requires picking supportive State delegates at local assemblies who go on to choose the national RNC delegates at the State convention. All of the State’s delegates will be bound to Trump initially, but they can support any candidate the want if Trump fails to win on the first ballot. That makes locking down reliable supporters absolutely critical.
“The only campaign I see aggressively organizing is Cruz,” Nathan Sproul, an Arizona-based Republican strategist, told MSNBC in an e-mail. “I did this for Romney in 2012 and know how important getting the right State delegates is. As best I can tell, Cruz is sweeping most State delegate slates.”
Trump’s Arizona backers say they became aware of the threat only late in March, when Cruz’s team began consolidating State delegates at district meetings, but have since built an operation to counter Cruz. [emphases added]
(1) "Only late in March" was LAST WEEK; and (2) you don't "build an operation to counter" a well-oiled machine the foundations of and preparations for which were laid years in advance like pulling a real Green Lantern ring out of a box of Fruit Loops.
In short, on organization and ground game where they're going to count in this convention unlike any other since 1976, Donald Trump is screwed like he's been screwing people for forty years.
Incidentally, lets take another look at that Breitbart delegate projection. If Trump falls a hundred delegates short of a majority, that would put him at 1,137. Marco Rubio is holding on to his 171 until Cleveland, and figure Kasich picks up a few in the northeast contests and ties him. That would leave Ted Cruz with 993. With his YUUUUUGE nationwide organizational advantage, and the likelihood of a first ballot nomination functionally eliminated, would you bet against Senator Cruz picking up an additional 244 votes? That'd only be not even five per State.
Paul Manafort can and will try. But I think a metaphorical hernia is in his near future.
UPDATE: Incidentally, Manafort is a RINO's RINO, and not particularly good at his avowed job.