Following-up from last night, "Donald Trump Surrogate Paul Manafort Claims Ted Cruz Campaign Using 'Gestapo Tactics' (VIDEO)."
Here's some juicy tidbits from this week's Time cover story, "Can America Learn to Love Ted Cruz?":
After his loss in Wisconsin, Trump’s only certain path to the nomination is to win 60% of the remaining pledged delegates, an unlikely feat. But Cruz would need to win an even less likely 92%. If neither reaches the 1,237 delegates needed on the first ballot in Cleveland, the process will be thrown open to the crowd, whose names are still largely unknown and motivations subject to dispute. If both Cruz and Trump struggle to get majority support after several ballots, there is even a slim chance that a third person, such as current House Speaker Paul Ryan or also-ran Governor John Kasich of Ohio, could wind up the nominee.
As a result, the unity that Cruz now peddles remains more of a wish than a thing. Many people who openly dislike Cruz have simply chosen him as their vehicle to stop Trump on the convention floor in Cleveland – for now...
In Washington, among the so-called cartel of power brokers and party bosses, Cruz has, for the moment, become the best foil to maintain some control over the party, an irony not lost on either his supporters or detractors. Republican insiders have started to compare Cruz to a parking lot, the safest place to keep your car idling for now. “Are you really for Cruz or are you trying to run up Cruz’s delegates so that Trump doesn’t win on the first ballot?” asks Richard Hohlt, a veteran GOP consultant. “That appears to be what’s going on.”
Cruz, in other words, still has his work cut out for him before he can unify his parking lot. There will be more lurches and jolts before anyone accepts the nomination in Cleveland. “There is an ancient Chinese curse,” Cruz told his supporters in Waukesha. “May you live in interesting times.”
The prospect of four days of televised political chaos has led GOP chairman Reince Priebus to move in recent days to take back his party....
Meanwhile, there is little mystery about who has the best operation for wrangling, recruiting and securing delegates. From Tennessee to Colorado, Cruz’s delegate-hunting operation has dominated, with his aides confident that around 200 Trump delegates will swing to Cruz after the first ballot. In Virginia, where Cruz finished a distant third, the campaign is hustling to install supporters in the state’s 13 at-large delegate slots. In Louisiana, Cruz is set to pick up as many as 10 more delegates than Trump, despite losing the Bayou State primary by four points. In a show of organizational muscle, 18 of 25 delegates elected at the North Dakota state convention backed Cruz. In Georgia, where Cruz finished a distant third, his allies have dominated preference polls of the party activists showing up at precinct and county meetings. “We’re going to make sure we get dealt four aces,” says a member of Cruz’s delegate operation. “You don’t just want Cruz supporters. You want fighters. At the national convention, there will be more browbeating and arm twisting than you can imagine.”
Consider what has been happening in Arizona: Trump romped to victory in the state on March 22, crushing Cruz with 47% of the vote. The win netted Trump all 58 of the state’s delegates–but only for the first ballot. Cruz’s operatives in the state have been working for weeks to secure activists who are inclined to support the Texas Senator once they’re no longer bound to Trump. The result is an intimate lobbying campaign, carried out through phone calls and texts, emails and in-person contacts at party gatherings and Tea Party functions, gun shows and forums held by taxpayer groups.
“You’re not trying to move thousands of people,” says Constantin Querard, Cruz’s Arizona state director. “These meetings usually have 30 to 200 people. It’s feasible to contact everyone.” Cruz boosters estimate that anywhere from half to 90% of the Arizona delegates will switch to Cruz after the first ballot.
Cruz has made the shadow campaign a personal priority. While Trump planned his next megarally, Cruz left the campaign trail three days before the critical Wisconsin primary to speak to the North Dakota state convention in Fargo. Cruz also found time to campaign in Wyoming, with only 29 delegates. “It’s good old-fashioned grassroots politics,” says Quin Hillyer, a conservative columnist who is part of a group that has met to discuss how to stop Trump. “Cruz and his team are showing that they’re masters at it.”
At least so far. The result in Wisconsin, where Cruz trounced Trump 48% to 35%, by no means ends the suspense. The coming terrain in the Republican battle will be far friendlier to Trump than the landscape of the past two weeks, and Trump has signaled a retooling of his operation to get back on track. The real estate developer still polls above 50% in his home state of New York, which votes April 19, and has been endorsed by Governor Chris Christie in nearby New Jersey, which votes on June 7, where the popular-vote winner will take home all the delegates...