An Anti-Trump Super PAC Overplays Its Hand
Policy + Politics

An Anti-Trump Super PAC Overplays Its Hand


A major anti-Donald Trump Super PAC on Thursday released a public statement about the Republican presidential primary and just what it will take to stop the New York billionaire form sewing up the nomination at or before the GOP’s nominating convention. Coming on the heels of a major Trump victory in New York, and just days before he is expected to do very well in five more states that vote next Tuesday, the memo has a bit of a whistling-past-the-graveyard quality to it.

The release from the Our Principles PAC said, “Despite Trump’s victory in New York on Tuesday night, he still has a nearly impossible path to secure the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination on the first ballot. As a consequence, we are confident that there will be an open convention – and that Trump will not be the Republican nominee.”

Related: Fearing Trump, More Republicans Are Skipping the Convention

The well-funded PAC has received million-dollar contributions from wealthy donors including TD Ameritrade founder J. Joe Ricketts, his wife Marlene Ricketts, hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer and investment banker Warren Stephens. Its primary mission appears to be taking down Donald Trump.

Unfortunately for that effort, however, the PAC’s assertions about Trump’s current status in the race are not obviously correct.

For example, while Trump’s path to a 1,237-delegate majority before the convention in July is not an easy one, it is far from “nearly impossible.” Various analysts have sketched out multiple potential routes to the majority. None is a completely clear path, but Trump has plainly made the decision to invest more money and to hire more competent personnel as the race nears the finish line.

Another problem with the Our Principles memo is the assumption that Trump arriving at the convention with less than 1,237 automatically translates into a contested convention -- that’s contested in the sense of there being multiple ballots in the candidates’ efforts to secure a majority.

Related: Does a Tamer Trump Risk Losing His Mojo?

But in Cleveland, many delegates will show up with no obligation to vote for any specific candidate. If Trump falls short of 1,237 bound delegates but come close, he and his campaign will have more than a month between the final primaries on June 7 and the convention to make his case to them, and as former Republican nominee Mitt Romney pointed out earlier this week, Trump has many means of persuasion at his disposal.

Our Principles may have a lot of money, but the group can’t buy its own reality. Stopping Donald Trump from securing a first-ballot nomination is far from being a done deal.