Sunday, March 27, 2016

When Does Paul Ryan Start Working On His Acceptance Speech?


It's become pretty clear since we first started reporting about it in December that "the Republican Establishment" wants to hand Paul Ryan the presidential nomination on the same model silver platter Debbie Wasserman Schultz is using to hand it to Hillary. "Hey," GOP establishmentarians can say, "Paul was already vetted when he ran for VP in 2012." Ryan, feigning the exact same kind of reluctance he used when he was plotting to take over the speakership, has been doing everything he can do to guarantee a deadlocked convention that will have "no choice" but to turn to him. Ryan and Romney are plotting a convention as tumultuous as possible-- short of gunfights-- to underline Ryan's "sacrifice" when he accepts his responsibility to save the party from Trump and the nation from Hillary. And if Trump goes third-party... who cares? It would likely through the contest into a House of Representatives controlled by... Paul Ryan.

In his big speech last week, Ryan pretended he was above the partisan fray rather than in the thick of it. He did his best Reagan impression: "We don’t resort to scaring you, we dare to inspire you. We don’t just oppose someone or something. We propose a clear and compelling alternative. And when we do that, we don’t just win the argument. We don’t just win your support. We win your enthusiasm. We win hearts and minds. We win a mandate to do what needs to be done to protect the American Idea." Sounds good-- if you discount the fact it's unadulterated bullshit, especially the "clear and compelling alternative" he and his party still haven't offered to Obamacare (age 6 on the very day Ryan was try to polish his image for... his role).

Last week, MSNBC's Katy Tur and Ari Melber reported that Trump has caught on and is organizing to beat the establishment at its own game. "While Trump publicly dismisses talk of a battle in Cleveland," they wrote, "he is quietly assembling a team of seasoned operatives to manage a contested convention. Their strategy, NBC has learned, is to convert delegates in the crucial 40 days between the end of the primaries and the convention-- while girding for a floor fight in Cleveland if necessary." Trump seems to feel relatively confident he can probably buy enough delegates-- after all, we are talking about Republicans who are, first and foremost, cash-driven-- in June and July to guarantee him a first ballot win.

The outreach is already underway.

"We are talking to tons of delegates," says Barry Bennett, a former Ben Carson campaign manager now leading the delegate strategy for Trump.

...The campaign could obtain signed, public commitments from those delegates in June-- signaling to the rest of the party that Trump will be the nominee. Sources in the Trump campaign say this approach thwarts a key premise of the "Stop Trump" effort, which assumes a long floor fight if Trump finishes the primaries without a delegate majority.

The campaign believes, however, that it could line up those personal commitments from the remaining delegates. Then it would march into Cleveland with an orderly victory on the first ballot.

The math shows that this is an achievable path.

There are now 323 delegates currently up for grabs on the first ballot. These are delegates who backed Rubio and Carson or hail from states that don't bind their vote, (such as Colorado and North Dakota).

If Trump falls short by 100 delegates, he could close the gap by locking in one out of three of those unbound delegates. That is certainly possible, considering he has won about 37 percent of all votes so far.

...Trump faces an even more unpredictable process on the convention floor if he does not lock in a clear delegate majority before Cleveland.

If no candidate clinches the nomination on the first ballot, there are new rounds of voting, and the rules allow delegates to switch teams.

An operative on Trump's convention team, who was not authorized to speak on the record, described Phase Two as an effort to prevent attrition in that balloting.

"Our goal," the aide says, "is to make sure every delegate Trump has now stays a Trump delegate on the second ballot."

The horse-trading also intensifies on later balloting.

"It's every man and woman for themselves," Bennett said, "and that's when the negotiations start."

"It's everything from, 'Come campaign in our state,' or 'Do a fundraiser for a state party,' or 'Put stronger language about right to life in the platform,'" he said. "Or all kinds of crazy things that are important to whoever the delegate is."
Just the right environment for...

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