RUSH: Ted Cruz has recently spoken up. We have the sound bite here. He is in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and it was at a reporter gaggle, I guess a little campaign appearance in Hershey for the Pennsylvania primary up next, and Cruz is sticking to the narrative of yesterday before the primary that, “Hey, nobody’s gonna win this on the first ballot, so I’m staying in this.”
CRUZ: Donald right now is terrified. It’s the reason Donald won’t debate, because he can’t defend his policies. The math is virtually impossible for Donald Trump. Donald Trump is not getting to 1,237, nobody’s getting to 1,237. The reason Donald’s so scared is the last three weeks, and in particular the win in Wisconsin, put the nail in the coffin and made clear Donald doesn’t get to 1,237. He knows that, which means this race is headed to Cleveland, it’s headed to a contested convention.
RUSH: Okay, let me just ask, how many of you believe Donald Trump right now is terrified? Now, I have some Trumpists here, they’re on the other side of the glass and they would naturally think this is a nonsensical statement. But even, you know, dump your Trumpists, is Donald Trump terrified? And later in the sound bite that’s the reason Donald is so scared the last three weeks. Does anybody look at Trump and see somebody terrified? Do you look at Trump and see somebody who’s scared?
I don’t know. I think it’s a stretch, and I think this kind of illustrates one of the — well, here I go. I’m just gonna jump into this head first. I think this sound bite is an example of Cruz missing the mark. Let me just put it that way. ‘Cause Donald Trump isn’t scared, and he’s not terrified right now. I don’t know what he is. He looked pretty celebratory to me last night. He looked pretty pleased with what’s happening. Whatever, he didn’t look terrified. But about this 1,237, you know, this is another story, folks, this has been percolating out there, and there have been any number of stories generated by comments made by Republican officials that, “Hey, you know, if somebody gets close enough to 1,237, that he may just go ahead and win it anyway. It may not require 1,237.”
Then you probe deep, you say, “Why, the rule’s the rule.”
“Well, because there’s gonna be at least 200 unbound delegates on the first ballot. So all Trump’s gonna have to do is pick up whatever number short he is of 1,237 before the first ballot.” And you’ve seen these stories, I’m sure. We have pointed them out to you. And there’s another one today from The Politico, and this is the most to the point of all of these stories yet. Headline is: “Trump’s Real Magic Number is Less Than 1,237.” The subheadline is: “GOP elite whisper about a lower threshold for the front-runner to clinch the nomination.” And here’s how this story begins.
“Even before Donald TrumpÂ’s big win in New York Tuesday night, the conversations among party officials and high-level operatives about a contested Republican convention were already shifting dramatically. The magic number of delegates for Trump to clinch the nomination on the first ballot, likely to be his best and perhaps only chance to do so, remains 1,237. But there are now whispers that the real number of delegates Trump must win by June 7, when the final contests take place, may be lower.”
One RNC member attending quarterly meetings — they’re down in Ft. Lauderdale — whispered, he didn’t give his name, he said, “The closer Trump gets to 1,237, even if he doesn’t get all the way there by the final primaries, the more likely he cobbles it together. There are plenty of delegates unbound on the first ballot. You’ve just gotta go find ’em.”
And as I say, these whispers are not particularly new and they’re not particularly recent. We’ve been hearing Republican official like Randy Evans say what this official just said for weeks. And back to the story. “When the convention opens in Cleveland in mid-July, roughly 200 delegates will arrive as free agents, unbound by the results of primaries or caucuses in their states. TrumpÂ’s campaign is confident they can win as many of them as they must in order to get to 1,237 on the first ballot.”
“‘Trump has to get to 1,237, but thereÂ’s a lot of talk about, “What is the real number?”‘ said another RNC member.” What’s the real number? This is how they’re beginning to think now, according to The Politico story. If 1,237 isn’t the number; what is the real number? “Whatever half the uncommitted number is, that’s probably a reasonable number.”
“‘I think a lot of people think if he gets within 50-100 [of 1,237], heÂ’ll be able to carry it,’ said Steve House, the Colorado GOP chairman, who is himself an unbound delegate and is already being courted by the Trump and Cruz campaigns.”
Steve House, this is the guy that rigged the system in Colorado, quote, unquote, is claiming he can go, you know, 50, 1,137 and still be able to carry it. Now, House is the guy who, together with the Colorado GOP, did away with the straw poll, which some say was done to prevent Trump from winning their delegates. The old argument here about the rigged system, people being denied a chance to vote. And House, this guy, is on record as being very anti-Trump right before that change of rules in Colorado last August.
“The whisper conversations about this indeterminate Â“real numberÂ” that Trump must hit by June 7 reveal a growing if reluctant consensus among party officials and establishment Republicans that if he gets close enough, they canÂ’t take the nomination away.” And I’m gonna tell you, that’s happening too, folks.
You know, yesterday — the day before, the week before, the month before — this was all speculative, all based on unknowns, all based on polling data. There was a lot of empty time that needed to be filled up in the cable networks. Here comes expert after expert after expert opining on that magic number 1,237. It is hard? It is flexible? As we get closer and closer to it, reality is gonna set in, and what is the reality that we’re gonna see? You can see it this story. Reality is beginning to set in that the real magic number is less than 1,237.
Let me tell you what the real reality is that’s going to be seen by some of the people at the RNC even. They’re gonna look at this. After June 7th, we get the final delegate count. Let’s just hypothetically say Trump is a hundred short, that he’s at 1,137 and needs 1,237. And let’s further add to this speculation/this belief/this theory that Trump has to win it on the first ballot or he’s finished. Have you heard that, that Trump can’t win the second or third ballots for a combination of reasons? A, so many delegates are opposed to him that Cruz is out working hard for second ballot delegate support and all that.
I’ve heard this theory bandied about, that if Trump doesn’t win it on the first ballot by virtue of the primaries, that when it gets to actual delegate votes, he’s not gonna get 1,237. He’s not that popular among people who vote. That’s the wrong way to look at it, and the way some of these RNC people are looking at it is this: You strip all of this away, and what would be the view? Trump shows up at 1,137, a hundred delegates short, and nobody’s anywhere near him, and they engineer a mechanism where they take it away from him.
Some party people are looking at it and saying they would have an abject disaster on their hands by having that many people ticked off, fit to be tied, maybe walking out of the convention or what have you. And that’s where all this talk is starting now. That’s why this magic number, 1,237, may not actually be a hard number. It could be even less. ‘Cause when you get down to where the pedal meets the metal, the rubber meets the road, the actual denial of the nomination to the guy that got so many, many more votes than anybody else?
That scares them. And others are excited at the prospect. Others are so anti-Trump that they would love to see that happen, even if it means the party takes it on the chin for two or three more election cycles. But this is about keeping you on the cutting edge, and I’m just telling you that there are a growing number of people in the RNC who think 1,237 is a soft number, not a hard number. And I’m just warning you you’re gonna be seeing more of it as the days go by.
RUSH: There’s also something called a bandwagon effect, and I think that’s what these anonymous RNC officials speaking to The Politico. Remember what The Politico is. The Politico is the place where GOPers go to leak, to unburden themselves in the Drive-By Media. And this talk now that 1,237’s a soft number, it may not be required, ’cause 200 unbound delegates are going to show up in the first ballot; Trump can go get them. The bandwagon effect is this, and you see it all the time. It’s the front-runner effect. It’s called celebrity. It’s…
Well, I can’t use the word. It’s the four-letter F-bomb word. But it’s celebrity, and the way it works is, the convention finally gets here, and it’s not the middle of April like it is now. It’s actually late July, and it’s Cleveland, and the convention is starting and rah-rah and all the pomp and circumstance and all that stuff. It’s now in gear, and Trump rides into town on Trump Force One and all this itinerant glitter. Many of these 200 unbound might just want to get on that bandwagon just to bask in the glow.
I think that’s what a number of these unnamed RNC officials are talking about in this scuttlebutt here that 1,237’s a soft number. Look, I’m not trying make anybody mad. I’m just telling you what’s happening on there. You can make the mistake of saying, “Oooooh, you’re advocating it! I can tell in the tone of your voice, you’re advocating it!” I’m not advocating anything. I’m not doing any of this. I am just informing you. I want to grab a call quickly before the hour ends. This is Bruce in Rapids City, South Dakota. Welcome, sir. It’s great to have you with us.
CALLER: Hello, Rush. I want to thank you for what you do. I salute you for what you do, sir.
RUSH: Thank you! Thank you very much.
CALLER: First of all, I want to say I’m a Cruz supporter. Um, but I think it’s time that Cruz makes that secret phone call to Trump and starts to align with him. I believe that they need to get together and say he’s gonna be Trump’s vice president. We don’t need to be selfish here. We need to win the White House, and there’s a lot of wall mending that needs to be done right now in the Republican Party.
RUSH: Let me ask you, Bruce. Are you old enough to remember the 1980 convention, Reagan and George H. W. Bush? Are you? Were you an adult at that point, remembering that?
CALLER: Absolutely, sir. I’m 57 right now.
RUSH: Okay, good. So do you remember when Reagan was advised by James Baker to pick Bush as his veep for the purposes of unifying the party? Do you remember how angry people got at that?
CALLER: Oh, yes, sir.
RUSH: Well, that’s the equivalent of what you’re suggesting here, that Trump choose Cruz. They are diametrically apart on many, many things. The only thing that argues for this is so-called unity of the party. As a Cruz supporter, what indication do you have that he’s even thinking of this or would even entertain the idea being Trump’s running mate?
CALLER: Well, last night, listening to the speech that he gave, he started talking about needing to unify the party and bringing people into the party to support the Republicans to beat the Democrats.
RUSH: That’s all true. I just… I’m not sure that Cruz is… He’s thinking he’s maybe the guy to do the unifying. Anyway, Bruce, I appreciate the call. I really do. I’m really out of time.
RUSH: We had a statement here from an RNC… Well, a member talking about the delegate count. Well, I guess we don’t.
ANNOUNCER: Now, an RNC Convention Club Rules Update…
HOWELL: On behalf of the Republican National Committee Club, I want to say we so look forward to seeing all candidates at the convention. But to make things more convenient, and keep the undesirables out of the clubhouse — and you know who you are — a couple of rule changes have been proposed. Nothing that drastic, of course. You will still need 1,237 delegates to win the nomination, but now it must be exactly 1,237. Anyone going over 1,237 will have to forfeit to a more viable candidate. Also, some random delegates will be counted as half or even one quarter of a delegate. But you will be promptly informed after each ballot how many of your delegates were given this special designation. See you at the convention, and may the most acceptable candidate win. T’ta!
RUSH: Thurston Howell IV there, official member of the Republican National Committee. You heard that? Some delegates will be counted half delegates, thirds of a delegate, fourths — and you have to get to exactly 1,237. Anybody getting more than 1,237 will be considered disqualified. …
Grab audio sound bite number five. Rafael Cruz was on (impression) Breitbart News Daily today on SiriusXM, and Rafael Cruz is the father of Ted Cruz. And of course (impression), they love Trump and they say Trump’s a rich guy, great kids; he flies around on his jet. I’d love to be Trump’s son for a day! Could I be Trump’s son for a day? Breitbart News Daily. Rafael Cruz, though, goes on the program, and he’s there, and he tried to take a shot, here. He’s not happy with what happened. The question: “A lot of people believe Donald Trump has a better shot at taking on the Clinton apparatus than your son.”
RAFAEL: We gotta realize: Donald Trump really is more of a Democrat than a Republican! He has been funding Democratic people like Chuck Schumer, like Harry Reid, like Anthony Weiner, like de Blasio and many others. For 40 years, he’s been supporting all these ultra-liberal politicians. He would be worse than Hillary Clinton, but he cannot beat Hillary Clinton.
RUSH: Now, don’t be confused. Rafael Cruz is not suggesting he would vote for Hillary over Trump. He is merely pointing out that in his opinion that Trump is actually a liberal Democrat and he’s much more at home with people like Schumer and Dingy Harry and Anthony Weiner. (chuckles) There’s a reason he got thrown in there, I think. (laughing) There’s a reason Rafael Cruz decided to throw Anthony Weiner and de Blasio in that whole bunch. “For 40 years, he’s been supporting all these ultra-liberal politicians.” So, anyway, Ted Cruz’s father not happy with what’s been going down. Here’s Trump, by the way, at Trump Tower last night, after being declared the winner of the New York state primary.
TRUMP: I don’t have much of a race anymore. Based on what I’m seeing on television, Senator Cruz is just about mathematically eliminated.
AUDIENCE: (cheers and applause)
RUSH: Wait a minute. Stop the tape. See there? Let me throw one more switch on my little implant here. I thought things sounded strange. There, I’m back. Did you notice that he didn’t say “Lyin’ Ted”? He said, “Senator Cruz.” Yeah, he didn’t say “Senator Lyin’ Ted,” he didn’t say, “Lyin’ Ted,” he said, “Senator Cruz.” Again, if you’re just joining us, I’m bouncing here off of a… Recue that bite, by the way; play it again in its entirety. Chris Cillizza — card-carrying, certified, accredited, member of the establishment Drive-By Media — made a point today that last night we saw Trump 2.0, i.e., Trump as presidential.
He made a point of noticing that Trump called Cruz “Senator Cruz,” not “Lyin’ Ted,” and there are other sound bites from other Drive-Bys making this observation as well. Look, I know this is frustrating for those of you in Rio Linda, in the Cruz camp. I’m not trying to do that. I’m just… This is what the news is today, and it’s… I mean, it’s what happened. Well, he was mathematically… Cruz was mathematically eliminated before last night. Everybody’s known that Senator Cruz has been mathematically eliminated from 1,237 on the first ballot.
Maybe now it’s official. It was certainly going to be official toward the end of the month. But so what? Cruz has always been — not always, but the recent Cruz strategy has always been second ballot. That’s what running around and securing delegates is all about. And by the way, I’m gonna say one more time: There’s not a single illegal thing that Ted Cruz has done in securing delegates at these primaries that have already taken place, in these states where primaries have taken place. I know what’s happening.
This is one of these things that’s so easily demagogue’d. So you have a primary. Let me run through it very quickly. You have a primary win, let’s say, South Carolina. I don’t care which one it. You have the South Carolina primary, and Trump wins it, but he didn’t win all the delegates. But the South Carolinians haven’t had their state convention yet. They had the primary but they haven’t had the convention. So the South Carolina primary ends, other primaries take place, and the campaign schedule rolls out.
At some point down the road, the South Carolina Republican Party convention is held, at which time the delegates are chosen. The primary has… Very rarely does the primary select the delegates. The delegates happen in an entirely different process at an entirely different time at the state convention. And as I’ve said over and over, the delegate selection process differs from state to state. Some delegates are chosen by party bigwigs as an honor. Some have to run for election at the state party conventions, like in Colorado.
Others are automatically delegates if they are elected officials in the state. Every state does it differently. But when those states have their conventions… Even though they’ve had their primary, the delegates haven’t been chosen. All that’s happened in the primary is that X-number of delegates won by the candidate are required to vote for those candidates on the first ballot. But nobody knows who the delegates are. So all Cruz has been doing — brilliantly, strategically, legally, and uber-professionally.
All Cruz has been doing is going to these state conventions and doing everything he can to secure as many pro-Cruz delegates in the South Carolina delegation as he can get for the second ballot, for the third ballot. None of this is to deny the first ballot pledge. Nobody’s votes are being uncounted, discounted, ignored. It’s just nobody ever sees this take place like it’s being seen this year because we never need to go this deep to get to the nominee. So in South Carolina they have their primary, and everybody leaves, and they’re on down the road with the next primary.
A couple weeks or a month later, South Carolina has its convention. Cruz goes in and goes to the convention and tries to get as many of the total delegates in the state supporting him as he can get. He would love to get all of them supporting him. On the first ballot, there are pledged delegates that have to support Trump because he won the South Carolina primary. Cruz is not tampering with that. Nobody can tamper with that. It’s the second ballot and the third ballot where the delegates are free agents and can vote however they want — except in Florida, where the delegates are pledged to vote for the state winner on the first three ballots.
But South Carolina’s not that way.
Only the first ballot are delegates pledged or bound to vote for who won the state. In this case, Trump. Well, Cruz is not trying to deny that. He’s not trying to keep anybody from voting for Trump on the first ballot; he can’t. But the second ballot, if there is one, that’s what Cruz is doing, is trying to get as many pro-Cruz delegates in every state as he can for the second ballot and the third ballot.
Now, it Trump decides not to go to those conventions and doesn’t try to get as many delegates on his side, then that’s not Cruz’s problem, and it’s not anybody cheating. It’s just Cruz deciding to get as many delegates as he can. And Trump, I’m sure, figuring there isn’t gonna be a second ballot ’cause he’s gonna win slam dunk on the first ballot and all the rest of this is just idle waste-of-time chitchat. But it’s the only chance Cruz has, because Cruz has never — well, not never. But for weeks now it has been abundantly clear that Ted Cruz can’t win 1,237 before the convention.
And now after New York, I mean, you could dot that I, cross the T, whatever, but the only hope that Cruz has — and Kasich, if you want to include hum in this — is second and third ballot voting. That’s all Cruz is doing. Colorado, there was no cheating there. But it’s easy, when Trump runs around and claims that, “Well, you know, I won the delegates and they’re not gonna be for me.” They are, on the first ballot. There’s nothing that can change that. If he won the state in a majority delegates, they’re required to vote for him on the first ballot. There’s nothing rigged here.
In fact, you could say look at New York, and I jokingly opened the program, “How about these rigged rules in New York. Trump got 60% of the vote, but 95% of the delegates.” Doesn’t seem fair, does it, given the way we’re discussing everything else. How come nobody’s worried, how come nobody’s standing up, “Wait a minute, wait a minute, Trump only got 60% of the vote and 95% of the delegates?” Yeah. “Well, but that’s rigged. It’s rigged.”
Trump is not getting that specific when he rips into Cruz for this. The only point that Trump’s making — and it’s resonating because people have this thing about their votes being denied. I mean, you tell people that their vote’s being discounted, uncounted, thrown out, you’ll get their attention. So if you go out there and say that they’re rigging the system, people are gonna fall for it and think that’s happening. It’s not what’s happening. So, see, this is the way it works. Now, they’re shouting, “Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump.” Sorry.
Trump won 60% of the popular vote and gets 95% of the delegates. Stop. That fair? Doesn’t that seem rigged to you? No, it doesn’t seem rigged to me because I understand the process. But you talk to some people that don’t understand the process, and they happen to be for Cruz, you could make the case, “My God, Ted really got shafted there.”
“How did Ted get shafted? He didn’t win enough to a delegates.”
“I don’t care, you can’t give Trump 95% of delegates if he only got 60% of vote.” And that’s where we are with some of this. Look, I don’t blame Trump for parlaying this and playing this up. By the way, I think Cruz ought to be out there explaining this because you can do it in as little time as I’ve taken to explain. It’s not complicated. Nothing illegal about it.
Okay, so we had the New York primary. I don’t know if New York has chosen the actual human beings that are gonna be the delegates yet. Now, it probably isn’t gonna happen here because Cruz, New York values, it’s over. But if he hadn’t said that, he’d be working the New York state convention and he’d be trying to get as many delegates as he could to support him, chosen as delegates.
What he’s actually trying to do is get as many people that support him chosen as delegates in these conventions so that when we get to second and third ballot, they’re loyal to him. That’s all that’s been going on. And he’s had some success doing it, which has caused people to get their underwear in a wad, go out complain about rigged and cheating. There’s nothing rigged; there’s nothing cheating here.
But, look, I got into this explanation because we’ve now reached the point where it’s mathematically impossible for Cruz to get 1,237 before the convention. He can’t get there. There aren’t enough delegates left. There aren’t enough primaries left. So his only hope and prayer is that it goes to a second ballot. That’s why I’m spending so much time telling you that the GOP, the RNC, more and more stories here about that 1,237 not being a hard number now.
All of a sudden it’s becoming a soft number. All of a sudden more and more RNC people, “Yeah, you know, I’d be really tough to take it away from a guy who got all these votes and was the far-and-away leader in the popular vote, only a hundred delegates short, we can’t take it away from that guy, there would be hell to pay.” They’re right. Wouldn’t you agree? (interruption) You just told me this morning that you thought that there’s no way that they will deny Trump if he gets close. That’s all I just said. That’s all they’re talking about. Well, okay. All right.
Look, the 1,237 is not gonna become — they’re not gonna give it to Trump at 1,120. They’re assuming, because there’s 200 unbound delegates, that he’s gonna be able to arrange enough trips to Trump Air One to get half of them to vote for him, or whatever. And that’s why I talked about the bandwagon effect. They’re all starting to realize here that if Trump shows up 50 or a hundred short that there’s enough unbound delegates in the first ballot unpledged that he can go get. That’s all that’s happening here. And Cruz and the guys are hoping first ballot doesn’t produce any winner, because second, third ballot is the only chance they’ve got.