Trump’s Troubles and Democratic Sparring Precede Wisconsin Vote

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 6.25.05 PMMAGGIE HABERMAN

Monday, April 4, 2016

Good Monday morning.

Donald J. Trumps rough week was followed by a rough weekend, as he suffered potentially consequential losses at party events related to precious convention delegates in two states.

Mr. Trump’s poor showing at Republican conclaves in Tennessee, a state he won, and in North Dakota in terms of accruing support emphasized a reality that he has not been able to surmount: an organization that cannot keep up with his poll numbers, speeches and support among voters. Nominations are not won by words alone, and Mr. Trump is learning that the hard way.

He says his delegates are being “stolen” in places like Tennessee and Louisiana, despite the fact that his  campaign has not engaged in the type of brinkmanship and parliamentary tactics needed to win. Mr. Trump recently hired a veteran delegate wrangler, Paul J. Manafort, but Mr. Manafort’s tenure is only beginning.

In the meantime, North Dakota’s delegates, who are not bound to any candidate, so far have little reason to bend toward Mr. Trump.

All of the delegate skirmishes were obscured by Mr. Trump’s statement to The Washington Post that the nation is on the verge of another “massive recession,” a comment major economists say is unfounded.

On the Democratic side, there were debates about debates, conflicts over how many donations from the fossil-fuel industry constitutes “a lot” and a county-by-county delegate slog in Nevada in which Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont fared well over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.

Each side has accused the other of negotiating in bad faith for a New York debate, for which a range of dates and venues has been proposed.

Then there was the battle over donations to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign from people involved in the coal, oil and gas industries, which Mr. Sanders has denounced. Mrs. Clinton has said her rival is overstating those donations, a point she made with frustration when asked on a rope line at a campaign stop.

And there was the more consequential battle at the Clark County Democratic convention in Nevada. Mrs. Clinton won Clark County, the largest county in Nevada, during the state’s caucuses. But Mr. Sanders had more supporters at the county convention, meaning he could have a bigger presence from the county at the state Democratic convention in May. Mrs. Clinton maintains a wide lead in delegates, but Mr. Sanders’s backers will point to such skirmishes as evidence of why he should fight on.

That same logic is held by Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio, who, Mr. Trump said on Sunday, should drop out of the race.

Soon after Mr. Trump’s wins in New Hampshire and South Carolina, some of his top advisers assured him that the fight would be over shortly. That was weeks ago. Around that time, some in Mr. Trump’s circle urged him to bring in a more-seasoned group of top operatives. If Mr. Trump loses Wisconsin to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, as polls suggest he is on track to do, he is likely to reassess just how his campaign has served him in a variety of contests in which he was in contention, but lost.

What We’re Watching Today

Mrs. Clinton will hold events in New York City and will be upstate in Cohoes, near Albany, later in the day.
Mr. Kasich will hold events in New York, including a town-hall-style event at Hofstra University. Mr. Trump will hold several events in Wisconsin, as will Mr. Sanders.
Mr. Trump has criticized the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as “obsolete,” and President Obama, the White House said, will hold a bilateral meeting on Monday with Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, that “underscores the importance the United States places on the trans-Atlantic bond that NATO embodies.”
Delegates counted ballots on Saturday at the Republican convention in Fargo, N.D.

Dan Koeck for The New York Times

No candidates for delegate had to declare whether they would support Donald J. Trump, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas or Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Senator Ted Cruz during a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wis., on Sunday.

Hilary Swift for The New York Times

As the state prepares to vote on Tuesday, the candidates are at it again, circling and prodding each other in a final sprint before the high-profile contest.

Donald J. Trump speaking at campaign rally on Sunday in West Alles, Wisc.

Joshua Lott for The New York Times

Supporters of Mr. Trump, who has been criticized for months for his comments on race, are planning to create a website that will showcase others of his supporters to try to tell a different side of his story.

Senator Bernie Sanders with Jeff Weaver, his campaign manager, in Chicago last month. Mr. Weaver says more time on the campaign trail early on would have been preferable.

Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Hillary Clinton was beatable in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. But Mr. Sanders has not proved to be the candidate to do it.