Donald Trump's thing is suing people, suing organizations, suing anything and everything that thwarts him. So he's suing the Republican National Convention over the fact that Ted Cruz is getting extra delegates out of Louisiana by doing what campaigns do—swooping in and claiming undeclared delegates and those from vanquished candidates. Trump's campaign, however, has been careful to clarify that it's not really a lawsuit, even though it might be in Trump's head.
Barry Bennett, a Trump senior adviser focused on his delegate operation, said Monday that Trump’s “lawsuit” was not in fact meant for a court of law, but for the Republican National Committee’s committee on contests—which under GOP rules hears complaints over the allocation and selection of delegates.
It’s clear why. Election lawyers and party operatives said challenges to the arcane state-by-state delegate selection rules being used to outfox Trump would face an unwelcome reception in court.
Political parties are non-democratic entities, and while individual states may set laws governing some of the conduct of primaries and caucuses, national party rules generally have supremacy in federal court.
“The parties are given broad leeway to choose their nominees,” said Heather Gerken, a professor at Yale Law School who specializes in election and constitutional law. “The courts are generally averse to jumping into politics generally—they never want to be seen as choosing the winners—and judges are particularly reluctant to interfere with the nominating process. As a general matter, then, they treat the parties like adults and let party leaders sort things out.” Gerken added that the one exception is when the parties are involved in some sort of discrimination.
Trump himself might feel he's been discriminated against. The thing that the campaign is highligting is that there was a meeting of the Louisiana convention delegation that Trump delegates were not invited to where Cruz picked up those extra delegates. Except that Barry Bennett, Trump's adviser, had to admit that there were actually representatives from the Trump campaign at that delegate meeting. The problem, he says, is that "the Trump campaign was not notified of the meeting in an appropriate manner." That's sure not enough for a lawsuit.
It's possibly not even enough for a complaint, but that's not going to stop Trump. He needs to keep his supporters enraged at the establishment and needs to keep the threat level high all the way to the convention.