In a recent fundraising email, Ted Cruz's presidential campaign asks supporters to donate at least $35 to become an "official deputy delegate" for the Cruz Crew. This is not to be confused with being a real delegate, as in the ones who will participate in the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July.
“You and I both have a lot riding on this election – the future of our country is at stake,” Cruz says in the email. “I know not everyone can come to Cleveland – but you can still become an official Deputy Delegate for my campaign. Please don’t sit this one out!”
And all it costs a supporter to "become the top Deputy Delegate" is $35, according to the email. The campaign even promises to send donors an official "Deputy Delegate card" in the mail:
That's right. You get your own card! Kind of like a police department appointing children to be junior detectives and giving them a small, plastic badge of their own. It doesn't mean much, but it makes the children happy.
Cruz has been playing the delegate game in states like Louisiana, South Carolina, North Dakota, and Colorado, the latter two states opting not to hold a presidential preference election of any kind -- by caucus or primary -- so the delegates were unbound to the will of Republican voters.
In North Dakota, party insiders elected 25 delegates to attend the RNC, 18 of whom came from the Cruz campaign's preferred list of delegates. Cruz also took all of Colorado's 34 delegates without a single vote being cast in his favor.
GOP front-runner Donald Trump has accused the Republican Party (at the state and national levels) of rigging the rules so that he would lose. He calls the system "crooked" and says it disenfranchises voters.
The Cruz campaign says it simply out-organized and outmaneuvered Trump in Colorado and argues that it is working within the rules established by the state and national Republican parties.
The Trump campaign announced a new delegate-focused strategy on Tuesday that will include veteran GOP strategist Paul Manafort, who recently accused Cruz of "Gestapo tactics."
Donald Trump currently leads in the delegate count 758 to Cruz's 538, and has received 1.9 million more votes than Cruz nationally. The next GOP contest will be New York on April 19.