Donald Trump recently hired lawyer and lobbyist Paul Manafort to be the point man for his delegate search. Manafort comes with experience in this area of politics. He served President Gerald Ford’s campaign in a similar position (although only limited to eight states) in 1976, when Ford was being challenged for the Republican presidential nomination by Ronald Reagan. That year, the primary season ended with neither man having enough delegates to clinch the nomination. However, once the convention began, Ford was able secure enough previously uncommitted delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot, thanks in part to Mr. Manafort. With that experience in hand, Manafort is regarded by the media as an expert in delegate acquisition. I’ve heard several members of the media say he “gets it.”
But I’m not so sure, considering what I heard him say a few weeks ago, shortly after he was hired by Trump. In regard to the delegates that Ted Cruz was adding to his total in states like North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, and Louisiana, Manafort said they didn’t matter. He went on say that it was because Trump was going to win on the first ballot. It was as if Manafort believed those delegates couldn’t vote for Cruz until the second, third, or fourth ballots. If that were the case, then he would be right. But it’s not true. Those delegates will be voting for Cruz on the first ballot. In fact, they may represent just the votes Cruz needs to stop Trump from getting to 1237 delegates before the convention begins. So, apparently, Manafort really doesn’t get it. Not if he believes what he said about those delegates.