- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 27, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Oh, how cruel the game of politics can be — especially if you don’t have a ground game.

On Sunday night, Donald Trump tweeted, “Just to show you how unfair Republican primary politics can be, I won the State of Louisiana and get less delegates than Cruz — lawsuit coming.”

It’s true: On March 5, Mr. Trump took 41.4 percent of the Louisiana vote compared with Ted Cruz’s 37.8 percent and Marco Rubio’s 11.2 percent. Mr. Trump was awarded 18 delegates, so was Mr. Cruz, and Mr. Rubio got 5 delegates.

So what happened between March 5 and Sunday? Mr. Rubio dropped out, and under Louisiana delegate rules, those pledged to Mr. Rubio became unbound — meaning they were free to choose whatever remaining candidates were left in the race. Looks like they chose Mr. Cruz.

Mr. Cruz knows that in order to secure the number of delegates he needs to take the Republican nomination, he’s going to have to woo over Mr. Rubio’s supporters — and although he’s fallen short of an endorsement from the senator from Florida (as of now), many in the establishment lane are seeing Mr. Cruz as the only way to stop Mr. Trump.

Not to mention the grunt work Mr. Cruz’s team is putting in.

Mr. Cruz’s campaign has worked a state-by-state delegate strategy — both encouraging his supporters to run as delegates and by lobbying them to run and serve on various committees at the Republican National Convention.

As The Wall Street Journal noted last week: “Mr. Cruz’s supporters seized five of Louisiana’s six slots on the three powerful committees that will write the rules and platform at the Republican National Convention and mediate disputes over delegates’ eligibility this summer in Cleveland.”

Mr. Trump can threaten a lawsuit — but if he wants to win in politics, he needs to learn how the game’s played. Louisiana may just be the first state to fall.

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