Colorado served Donald Trump a blow Saturday, giving Ted Cruz all Republican delegates. The Donald’s reaction: whine, blame and present an excuse.

Although Cruz has long been favored in Colorado, he closed the deal by running a strong campaign leading up to the state’s seven congressional assemblies and the state convention. He arrived in Colorado Springs on Saturday and gave a rousing speech to a packed Broadmoor World Arena. The crowd responded with multiple standing ovations. Trump didn’t bother with Colorado before the assemblies and didn’t fly in for a convention speech. In a last-ditch effort to cut his losses, Trump hired heavy-hitting Colorado strategist Patrick Davis a few weeks before the assembly. Although it’s hard to top Davis at his game, there was little he could do to perform a miracle at such a late date.

In the wake of Trump’s Colorado disaster, a key campaign strategist said the candidate’s decision to ignore the state was strategic. Trump ignored us, he said, because the caucus system favors party insiders.

Bashing Colorado’s caucus-assembly-convention system is popular these days, and for good reason. It is flawed and should be replaced. But one cannot claim it favors “party insiders” — especially not this year.

Quite the contrary. This year’s Fifth Congressional District assembly put a 32-year-old woman who has never held elective office on the ballot to challenge a party insider. U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, in Congress since 2007, came within 5 percentage points of missing a spot on the primary ballot and losing his congressional seat during the assembly.

Saturday’s state assembly gave a landslide for the United States Republican senatorial nomination to El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn. He has little statewide name recognition and entered the convention with a poorly funded, grassroots campaign that consisted mostly of family. A party insider he is not.

A show of hands in the packed convention arena revealed at least half the delegates had not previously participated in the caucus process. The newbies made it clear they don’t know party insiders, don’t care about them and are not interested in electing them.

This was exactly the kind of setting that would have rewarded a fiery, anti-establishment speech by party outsider Trump. He simply failed to work Colorado on terms established by the state party.

This is not a small mistake by Trump. Each day the likelihood increases for a brokered convention. With all of Colorado’s delegates pledged to Cruz, Colorado’s caucus system could haunt Trump in Cleveland.

the gazette editorial board

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