Greetings everyone, from the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. I’m here to address the International Society for the Advancement of Spinal Surgery this morning. What a great country — a fella born and raised in the inner city gets to address some 800 of the most incredible medical minds in the world. Well, Tuesday evening, yep, you know what I was paying attention to, so let’s have that discussion.
Once again, keep your emotions to yourself! This is an objective assessment…not a cheerleading section for anyone.
First of all, the contest between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders reminds me of the old vampire movies — not the “Twilight” genre where vampires are young, sexy, and sparkle in the daylight. Hillary Clinton just cannot seem to find the stake to drive into the heart of Sanders’ campaign. What is this, six of the last seven primary/caucus contests won by Senator Sanders? This is a reflection that the current Democrat Party is truly full bore embracing a socialist philosophy of governance. And they’re off to Wyoming where, well, he’ll probably win there too. Now, you still have the big challenge of New York coming — Sanders can claim being born there. Hillary Clinton can claim being a carpet-bagging Senator from the Empire State.
You just have to ask yourself, when will this fiasco on the Democrat side come to a head? I mean, at some point in time will the pledged “Super Delegates” — a Democrat phenomenon — scratch their heads and shift to Sanders? And there is the dark specter hanging over Hillary Clinton’s head of an FBI investigation. Say what you wish, but if this were a GOP presidential frontrunner candidate with an ongoing FBI investigation plaguing his endeavor, you know it would be front page news every day and night.
Now, onto the real main event: the GOP presidential primary contest. And let me be very clear: stop bellyaching about the 1,237 number. Every one of the candidates went into this contest knowing it took 1,237 delegates to win the GOP nomination for president.
Let me explain this in a simple southern manner and metaphor. In football, you don’t get a touchdown just because you made it to the 2-yard line. It doesn’t matter that you got close, you have to get the ball into the end zone. If you don’t, you’re not just “given” anything. Heck, you may have to kick a field goal and risk missing or having it blocked. So let’s all end this ranting about “fairness.” Either make the number or make your case at the GOP convention in Cleveland, Ohio.
With that being said, the tough question at this point has to be can Trump or Cruz make the 1,237 standard? At this point, Trump still leads with 740 delegates and Cruz has closed the mark with 514 delegates. There are some pretty big contests coming up in New York, Pennsylvania, and California. You have to mathematically look at the possibility of not having someone who can achieve that goal. We know Senator Marco Rubio has decided to hold onto his earned delegates. The issue will be precision and organization. Precision relates to the messaging and the reduction of unforced errors — which is what severely hurt the Trump campaign in Wisconsin. Going into the Badger State and attacking a popular governor who’s won three elections in the last four years was a serious mistake, self inflicted.
One of the telling exit poll items from Wisconsin was that Trump lost with white, non-college educated males – that’s supposed to be his base. And we know he was hurt badly with the female vote. Precision means to turn the dial and present yourself as a leader and statesman – that’s not boring; it’s what’s needed. The antics and gimmicks can only take you so far. You can’t wing it running for the presidency of the United States. Trump needs a daily morning brief and his policy talking points, unless he wants to continue to hemorrhage support.
Organization? Well, that advantage goes heavily to Cruz who possesses a serious ground game which, after being beaten badly early on in the SEC primaries, and has found its sea legs. In New York, Cruz must overcome the faux pas statement about “New York values.” He needs to confront that statement and take responsibility, and apologizing at this point would appear disingenuous. But it is his organization that could make a difference in the Northeastern states. In Wisconsin, Sen. Cruz pulled off a 25 point turnaround, currently he’s behind in New York between 25 and 30 points.
Clearly there is total polarization between the two respective GOP frontrunner campaigns. Both have their respective negatives. Trump is horrible with women and a Fox News poll had 37 percent “concerned or scared” of a Cruz presidency. The two of them need to attend a little charm school and become more likable in order to perform better — instead of being bloodied all over the face. The message and the organization need to focus on what they bring to the table by way of leadership — policy solutions, the how.
But, if neither Trump or Cruz makes the 1,237, then yes, it goes to the GOP convention and that’s where organization REALLY pays dividends. Relationships with the grassroots and key influencers will make the difference. The two of them, if unable to make the 1,237 number, need to be focused on winning on first or second ballots. If this goes beyond two ballots, well, the possibility of their success in securing the GOP presidential nomination surely diminishes.
My final assessment is this: the window is closing for Trump or Cruz to reach the 1,237 number. And according to RNC Rule Number 40, Gov. John Kasich needs to have won a minimum of eight primary contests. He’s the one hanging on by a thread, praying no one reaches 1,237 and neither Cruz or Trump are successful in the early convention ballots. Still, he’d be better served opening up a concession stand at the convention. For Donald J. Trump and Senator Ted Cruz it comes down to precision and organization — Trump must run the table including big victories in New York and California. If Trump does not get to 1,237, the chances of his winning via convention floor are weak.
There is an ancient proverb (possibly from China, Mr. Trump) which states, “may you live in interesting times”…