The Note: Donald Trump’s Delegate Protection Program

VIDEO: Donald Trump Battles for Womens Votes After Offensive
WATCH Donald Trump Battles for Women's Votes After Offensive Tweet


--THE INSIDE STORY OF TRUMP’S CONVENTION STRATEGY: As Donald Trump rolls through the political calendar, his campaign has already begun focusing on a new battle that may have a broader set of consequences -- finding delegates who will be loyal to his cause at the Republican National Convention. Part of the battle has come in the form of emails to delegates and supporters trying to lock down crucial votes. The other half is a five-person task force that has been quietly being trying to amass the 1,237 votes needed. Candidates accumulate their delegate count based on the primary or caucus vote, but the processes by which the actual human beings are chosen to fill these delegate slots take place much later and vary by state. ABC’s KATHERINE FAULDERS and RYAN STRUYK have more.

--EMAILS OBTAINED BY ABC NEWS SHOW THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN CALLING ON SUPPORTERS in Michigan to watch for precinct-level delegates who may defect to a rival candidate during a contested convention. “Are they a true Donald Trump supporter?” an email to supporters asks. “Many impostors that are actually aligned with the establishment will emerge from the woodwork and try to throw off the process.” Another email to supporters and delegates details complicated parliamentary procedure strategies, even including how to topple the chair of the convention. It also instructs precinct-level delegates to record audio or video of their local conventions. “If we are going to make credential claims, we must have proof and evidence," the email reads. "Do not be intimidated by a bully chair, you have every right to record the caucus.”

--5 QUESTIONS ABOUT 2016 DELEGATE PATHS ANSWERED: With more than six in 10 of the Republican delegates in the rear-view mirror, candidates are aiming to lock down the final large prizes of the 2016 election cycle to clinch their nominations. Major contests in Midwest states like Wisconsin and Indiana and deep blue states like New York and California are some of the important ones to watch from here. Facing a scenario in which it's possible no candidate can reach a majority of delegates, Republicans are preparing for the possibility of a contested convention, where delegates would vote multiple times to determine a nominee. But what is each candidate’s outlook with such a limited pool of delegates? ABC’s RYAN STRUYK has the answers to some of your most pressing questions.


TODAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: Ted Cruz is in Wisconsin, a critical state that votes April 5th. This morning he holds a town hall in Oshkosh and later this afternoon he will be in Green Bay to stop at a Fish Fry called the Rite Place. Bernie Sanders is in the west with an afternoon rally in Portland, Oregon, the state votes in May. Sanders also has an evening rally in Seattle. Washington’s Democratic caucuses are Saturday. 


SUNDAY ON ‘THIS WEEK’: The Powerhouse Roundtable debates the week in politics with MSNBC political analyst and Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson, ABC News contributor and ESPN senior writer LZ Granderson, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Mary Kissel, and ABC News contributor and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. See the whole political picture, Sunday on “This Week.”


POWERHOUSE POLITICS PODCAST -- THE ANTI-TRUMP EFFORT. This week ABC’s JONATHAN KARL and RICK KLEIN examine the campaign to stop Donald Trump.  Former Marco Rubio campaign manager Terry Sullivan and writer Sasha Issenberg, perhaps the only man on Earth who understands the delegate process, tell us how the GOP can take the nomination away from the Donald – House of Cards style.  But the Trump campaign won’t be blindsided.  Their strategist Barry Bennett tells us how his team is gearing for a convention fight.



CRUZ TELLS TRUMP TO LEAVE HIS WIFE ‘THE HELL ALONE.’ Sen. Ted Cruz lashed out at Donald Trump yesterday after the GOP front-runner’s comments about the Texas senator’s wife in recent days. When asked by ABC News if he could still respect and support Trump were he to win the Republican presidential nomination after the latest attacks, Cruz raised his voice and told Trump to leave his wife, Heidi, "the hell alone." “I don't get angry often,” Cruz said while campaigning in Wisconsin. “But you mess with my kids, you mess with my wife, Donald, you’re a sniveling coward and leave Heidi the hell alone!” “Let me be absolutely clear our spouses and our children are off bounds,” Cruz added. “It is not acceptable for a big loud New York bully to attack my wife.” ABC’s JESSICA HOPPER has more.

KASICH SHIFTS FOCUS TO CONVENTION IN NOMINATION FIGHT. Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich has in recent days turned his focus squarely on his party’s convention this summer and the small number of delegates he hopes to win. The Ohio governor, who trails his two remaining opponents by millions of votes and hundreds of delegates, has argued that his electability in a general election will convince convention delegates to hand him the nomination if his opponents fail to clinch it themselves. “We’re just going to keep plugging, and we’re continuing to raise money,” Kasich told reporters outside Milwaukee on Wednesday, ABC’s BEN GITTLESON notes. “I think a convention is going to consider who can win.” While it is mathematically impossible for him to win 1,237 delegates – and, in effect, the nomination – before the July convention, Kasich has said he thinks neither of his opponents, businessman Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, can do so either.

5 MOVIES TED CRUZ HAS QUOTED ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL. On the campaign trail, presidential candidate Ted Cruz may trade barbs with Donald Trump over foreign policy, call John Kasich’s route to the GOP nomination mathematically impossible and describe with glee the potential opportunity to debate Hillary Clinton, but he also seems to revel in something not related to the political world: quoting movies. Cruz, a self-described movie buff who once pondered moving to Hollywood and becoming an actor, has a penchant for quoting classic cinema on the campaign trail. ABC’s JESSICA HOPPER and VERONICA STRACQUALURSI have more on the 5 movies the Texas senator has quoted on the campaign trail.



CLINTON JOKES TRUMP PROBABLY COULDN’T NAME CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER. Hillary Clinton appears to have serious doubts about Donald Trump’s foreign policy chops. During an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" yesterday, the Democratic presidential candidate was asked whether she thinks the GOP frontrunner could name the prime minster of Canada. Cracking a smile, she replied bluntly: “Um. No." (FYI, the prime minister of Canada is Justin Trudeau.) Clinton has recently slammed Trump for, what she says are, “dangerous” policy proposals for combating ISIS, ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ notes.



@WisVoter: Trump's Waukesha problem: huge negatives in GOP's base counties in WI  big north/south divide

@SenSanders: If our democracy is to survive, we need to make this clear: our elections are not, and must never be, for sale to the highest bidder.

@HillaryClinton: We need a president who will provide leadership that’s strong, smart, and steady. The last thing we need are leaders who incite more fear.

@jameshohmann: Chelsea Clinton goes into hostile territory – college towns – to help her mom. Today's Daily 202 comes from MADISON: …

@NYTStyles: At lunch with Cory Booker and Susan Sarandon