Tricky Ted has been arduously working behind the scenes to poach delegates from Republican party front-runner Donald Trump but the operation hit a snag in Michigan on Saturday eliciting wails of betrayal. With the Wisconsin walloping in the rear-view mirror and Operation Cheat Trump in full swing the unexpected setback may be a harbinger of things to come. Trump has already brought in big gun and legendary operative Paul Manafort to mount a counterattack on the delegate finagling and it isn’t sitting well with Team Cruz.

According to a report from CNN “Trump, Kasich box out Cruz in Michigan delegation”:

Ted Cruz suffered a rare convention loss Saturday after delegates backing John Kasich and Donald Trump boxed him out of key positions in the Michigan delegation.

The Texas senator’s campaign ran eight delegates for eight committee spots and lost every one, alleging it was “double-crossed” by Kasich supporters.

The Michigan delegation picked one Trump supporter, Matt Hall, and one Kasich supporter, Judi Schwalbach, for the two seats on the powerful rules committee. The Cruz campaign lost votes for both seats.

The rules committee seats have become highly coveted prizes for their role in shaping a contested convention in Cleveland. After the delegates are selected in each state, they meet as a group and pick the members of four convention committees, the most important of which is the rules committee, which will ultimately decide who can be nominated president.

The rules committee seats have become highly coveted prizes for their role in shaping a contested convention in Cleveland. After the delegates are selected in each state, they meet as a group and pick the members of four convention committees, the most important of which is the rules committee, which will ultimately decide who can be nominated president.

The anger emanating from the Cruz campaign marks a new phase in the pre-convention scrum in that by reshuffling his team this week Trump will no longer put up with the chicanery. Cruz has been able to operate with impunity – and likely GOPe sanctioning – to rig the delegate game in Louisiana, Arizona, North Dakota, Colorado and Indiana but it has to this point been unopposed. Not any more.

An interesting wrinkle would a possible alliance between Trump and Kasich who is losing badly to establishment savior reluctant Paul Ryan in the popularity contest for a third option. The Donald has made it clear that he would pick an experienced politician as his VP and the Ohio Governor has the most actual insider experience of all 2016 candidates past and present. Such a twist of events would prove devastating to the establishment’s plans to deny Trump the nomination in Cleveland and politics indeed makes for strange bedfellows.

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