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Trumpworld is quietly preparing for a chaotic battle on the convention floor

Welcome to Trail Mix, a fun yet nutritious snack for your election news diet. See something interesting on the road? Send me an email to [email protected].

This week, we delve into the Trump campaign’s bizarrely premature plans for a contested convention. Plus, a Michigan permanent candidate who can’t decipher himself from photos with some recently convicted fake voters.

As the Trump campaign says, the 2024 Republican presidential primary is already over.

Six months before they cast their ballots, the former president and his team have a huge lead in the polls — and more than bravado.

“We’re not going to lose Iowa,” Chris LaCivita, one of the Trump campaign’s top advisers, said. he said on a podcast in June. “It just won’t happen. We’re not. And we won’t lose New Hampshire. The data is where it needs to be.”

But behind the scenes, Team Trump is quietly planning the messiest outcome of a bitter primary war: a fight on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee next July.

According to five Republicans familiar with the debates, Trump and his team are making a concerted push to ensure the convention is full of loyalists who can bolster their position, should another candidate win enough delegates during the primaries to potentially maneuver the nomination.

The effort includes calls from Trump and his advisers to senior party leadership in early primary states as well as in delegate-rich states later in the calendar, such as California, Florida, and Michigan, asking for updates on the delegate selection process, pushing for the selection of MAGA loyalists, and generally emphasizing the importance of the process.

“I fully anticipate indoor games in Milwaukee, as do all experienced conference hands,” the longtime Trump advisor told The Daily Beast.

In Trumpworld, there is a sense of paranoia about the possibility that his enemies will try to block his path back to the nomination. Their memories of contested conference chatter from 2016 linger, especially since the former president and his staff remain convinced that the same forces that wanted to block him are the same ones that support rivals like Florida’s governor. Ron DeSantis now.

“There will be a big battle on the ground with the Republican candidates,” a Republican familiar with the discussions told The Daily Beast, asking not to be identified to relay the sensitive conversations.

Trump is already pressuring the people who are going to this conference to prepare for it. It’s saying, “You need to get ready, this is going to be our biggest fight,” they said. “He’s lining them up the same way he did on January 6th. That would be a mess.”

Planning a contested convention, several Republicans said Trump and his team may also be dealing with his gravest political threat: two criminal indictments lying in store for him, and two more in the wards.

By locking loyalists into the delegate slates now, Trump’s team can guard against the possibility that any criminal prosecutions, or even convictions, could prevent him from winning the nomination. A more acute threat would be any cuts to party rules in the state that could free up delegates to vote for a candidate who is not indicted or indicted, even if Trump cleans up in their state.

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Prior to primary contests, each state party will select operatives to serve as their delegates to the national convention in July 2024. While those delegates will technically be bound by numbers based on election results in their state, campaigns have historically filled state delegate slates with their supporters.

If a candidate fails to reach the delegate threshold required to win the nomination, some of those delegates are released to vote however they want—allowing the convention to decide the party’s nominee.

For decades, the caucuses have played the decisive role in the primary process. But the two major parties reformed their bases to emphasize the results of the primary elections in the aftermath of the violent and chaotic 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

In 2016, as Trump was working his way up to the nomination, the senator said. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had mustered enough votes and racked up enough delegates to raise the possibility of a ground battle in which the Republican establishment could clinch the nomination away from Trump. But the chatter eventually died down.

Eight years later, Trump and his allies now make up the establishment of the Republican Party. Right now, none of Trump’s rivals appear to have the resources, strategy, or gravitas required to derail him — though DeSantis’ operation is peppered with veterans of Cruz’s 2016 effort, which only adds to Trumpworld’s paranoia.

DeSantis’ campaign initially indicated that it might try Cruz’s 2016 strategy of banking to as many delegates as possible over the entire primary calendar, but that plan appears to be changing as the governor’s bid fails to gain traction. No other campaign has given any indication that it is developing strategies that go far beyond the early primaries.

However, Trumpworld’s concerns about a contested convention seem to focus more on the Florida governor than any other contender. Emphasizing the disputed convention’s buzz, a Trump-aligned adviser said DeSantis’ operation would “do everything it can to get to the convention,” but also tried to sow doubts about whether he would have enough cash to get to Iowa.

The Trump team has kept a close eye on rule changes in the initial process in state parties across the country, as Reuters reported last month. Any changes that would split delegates in proportion to the candidates’ vote shares in the primary — rather than on a winner-takes-all basis — are seen as a red line by MAGA loyalists, with fears that a candidate like DeSantis could collect delegates without winning an outright state.

“There’s a lot of funny business going on,” said the Trumpworld consultant. “Al Qaeda will not be happy if there is any funny business.”

This time around, the Trump campaign is looking forward to getting to the convention assuring there will be no surprises.

Two Republicans who spoke to The Daily Beast regarding this story recently recalled Trump’s efforts to appoint more MAGA loyalists as members of the RNC National Committee, automatic delegates to the convention. The former president’s team was particularly interested in vetting candidates based on how they voted on a second hypothetical ballot in the 2024 convention, where they would not be bound by their states’ voting results.

Overall, the aggressive push from the former president and his top advisers has some Republicans concerned.

“If you hear the tapes coming from Georgia, he’s started doing it to different people in the state,” a New Hampshire Republican familiar with the contested conversations at the convention told The Daily Beast, referring to Trump’s campaign to pressure state officials to overturn the 2020 election in his favor.

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

The context for Trump’s push now is, of course, very different. The Republican source added that the reaction wasn’t much better. They said, “Most people just keep quiet.”

Fake Voter Friends. Student rep. John James (R-Michigan), who has seemingly run for or contemplated every major office in that battleground state, may be done with the big lie now that he’s settled into life as a Republican congressman in the swing district.

But it didn’t end with him. After news this week that Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel would criminally charge 16 Michiganders allegedly involved in a “fake voter” plot to overturn the 2020 election, James has remained calm, despite his previous high-profile role in amplifying allegations of fake election fraud in the state.

It turns out that James’ ties to the fake voters run deeper than was first apparent. Photos obtained by The Daily Beast on Facebook show him posing for pictures with two of the accused fake voters, Kathy Bearden and Michonne Maddock, including a photo where they are all at a fundraiser together and another where he thanks James Maddock for setting up an event for him.

A spokesman for James, a prime target for House Democrats in 2024, did not respond to a request for comment.

Acquired by The Daily Beast.

Acquired by The Daily Beast

Acquired by The Daily Beast

Acquired by The Daily Beast

Lincoln Notes. The Lincoln Project, the anti-Trump group, made a $20,000 ad in New Hampshire to take on centrist group No Labels city council in the state this week that sparked a third-party 2024 presidential bid, Trail Mix can report.

The 60-second ad, which ran heavily on NPR’s local radio station, NHPR, dropped the name of a reported donor to No Labels — Texas billionaire and Clarence Thomas Pal Harlan Crowe — and argued that a third-party bid would secure Trump’s second term.

In what may be an oddity or the start of a more troubling trend for DeSantis, a new Kaplan poll has the Florida governor ranking second with “anti-woke” entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy — at a paltry 12 percent. Trump has a lead of more than 30 points in this poll. He leads the field with 48 percent.

“As we move forward, we will likely see underclass candidates drop, and their voters will either return to Trump or rally behind rising stars like Ramaswamy or DeSantis,” pollster Doug Kaplan said in a statement Friday.

No labels, no plans, no problem. Your humble Trail Mix author saw No Labels appear closely on Monday and reported that it delivered little on substance despite its clear talk of discreet solutions.

Biden dollars. As President Joe Biden watered down his re-election campaign with official pauses to bolster his infrastructure record, his campaign has quietly become a fundraising juggernaut, The Daily Beast’s Roger Sullenberger reports.

Where’s the meat? Montana’s top Republican Senate recruit, Tim Sheehy, draws on his experience as a ranch rancher in hopes of challenging the senator. John Tester (D). But Sam Brody of The Daily Beast found that Sheehy had not paid the basic cattle taxes required of every rancher in the state.

on DeRopes. The long-hinted change about DeSantis’ campaign is here: The governor plans to scale back his events, open up access to the media, and get closer to voters, NBC News’ Dasha Burns reports.



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