Donald Trump has threatened to deny Ted Cruz and John Kasich speaking slots at the #Republican National Convention unless they endorse him. However, because Cruz won the majority in at least eight states during the primaries, he can just have his name entered in nomination, thus ensuring a speaking slot. What he has to say will largely depend on Trump,
Since Trump clinched the nomination, he has engaged in a series of tactical political blunders, including ruminating about a Hispanic judge hearing a case about Trump University. Trump should have been reaching out to his former rivals, working his “art of the deal” magic to ensure their support. No evidence exists that he has tried to do so.
Rumors of a delegate revolt have bubbled up ever since Trump won the Indiana Primary. His missteps and his terrible poll numbers against Hillary Clinton have not helped matters. It is not that Clinton is particularly popular as she is stuck in the mid to low 40s. The problem is that, thus far, Trump is even less popular, polling in many cases in the high to mid-30s.
One could see a scenario in which the Rules Committee passes a provision allowing delegates to vote their conscience. Cruz’s famous ground game goes into action, wooing delegates, many of whom were pledged to Trump but who actually support Cruz. Then Cruz makes a stem-winder speech before the convention urging the Republican Party to turn away from the abyss that, as he sees it, Trump represents. The delegates, swept up by the enthusiasm, denies Trump the nomination and nominates Cruz instead, if not on the first ballot, then on some subsequent ballot. The spectacle would be a political junkie’s dream.
Trump can stave off this potential Charlie Foxtrot by reaching out to Cruz and doing what he needs to to get his support. An apology to Cruz’s wife and father for the insults offered during the campaign would help. An advisory role for cabinet picks would be a great sweetener. Cruz likely would not like the vice presidency, in case Trump achieves the remarkable feat of losing to Hillary Clinton. But a promise to not run for reelection in 2020 would be sweet.