Trump's new convention manager: Cruz is using "Gestapo tactics" to win delegates

I don’t know what this means. Probably it’s not supposed to mean anything. I think Team Trump’s just throwing words out there now, the more sinister the better, to delegitimize the fact that Cruz is humiliating them in wrangling delegates. (We’re a week away, I figure, from Manafort comparing Cruz’s delegate operation to slaveholding.) It may even be that the more vicious Trump and his allies get, the more hyperbolic the Trump’s campaign’s accusations against Cruz will become to try to create a false sense that the race has turned equally nasty on both sides. Note that the “Gestapo” answer here is preceded by Chuck Todd playing video of Roger Stone threatening to send pro-Trump mobs to delegates’ hotel rooms for “discussions,” the sort of intimidation tactic that the actual Gestapo would recognize and appreciate. How’s Manafort supposed to spin that? Well, by following his boss’s playbook: Gaslight, gaslight, gaslight. Pounding down a delegate’s door isn’t what the Gestapo would do; circulating a slate of handpicked delegates at a state convention, now that’s Gestapo tactics. Who are you going to believe, Trump or your lying eyes?

The key bit starts at 3:30. The humiliation this weekend extended across three states, incidentally, although Colorado got most of the press. Cruz outmaneuvered Trump in two districts in South Carolina to claim five delegates on the second ballot (all 50 of SC’s delegates are pledged to Trump on the first) and then beat him in four districts in Iowa to take another 11. (The one South Carolina delegate elected yesterday who favors Trump said he’s open to supporting Cruz instead if it looks like Trump is doomed after the first ballot.) Colorado was the big news, though, not only because it was the biggest delegate windfall for Cruz — he ended up netting more there (34) than he did in his big win in Wisconsin last week (30) — but because it exposed the extent of Trump’s disorganization most vividly:

“We could have had some things going, but the campaign decided to not put resources here,” Becky Mizel, a former Pueblo County GOP chair and Trump delegate candidate, told NBC News.

On Saturday, Trump backers passed out flyers at the convention site with official campaign slate of 13 delegates and 13 alternates accompanied by their three-digit number position on the 600-plus person ballot. Seven of the names, however, directed people to the wrong number and one delegate’s name was misspelled. Other candidates did not have errors on their slates.

In one case, an erroneous number corresponded with a Cruz supporter. A second flyer handed out by the Trump campaign contained four mismatched names and numbers.

Among the names listed incorrectly on both flyers: Becky Mizel.

No doubt a dirty trick plotted by the Himmlers and Heydrichs of the Cruz campaign. One note of concern for the Cruz crew, though. Team Trump managed to shut Cruz out in elections in Michigan aimed at deciding which delegates will serve on various committees at the convention, including the crucially important Rules Committee. How’d they do that? By … partnering with Team Kasich, an ominous development if it signals cooperation between those campaigns going forward. Maybe it doesn’t: The Kasich campaign claims they intended initially to partner with Cruz in order to block Trump’s delegates from the committees but that Team Cruz got greedy by trying to get its own people elected to all available committee slots instead of splitting the slots with Kasich delegates. Is that true, or have we just seen the first stirring of a Trump/Kasich ticket? If the latter, er, why is Kasich still campaigning in New York and Pennsylvania instead of endorsing Trump? Stay tuned.

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