Outsider Campaigns Seek Inside Track

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are confronting the same paradox: the fate of their insurgent campaigns built on scorn for the political establishment rests on how well they play the inside game.

For Trump, the challenge is shifting from a strategy of piling up state primary wins to one that also takes into account states that award delegates in a more intricate fashion. Trump's organizational weakness in that type of contest was underscored Saturday when he was swept by Ted Cruz in the Colorado Republican convention.

Sanders, meanwhile, has to win not only more pledged delegates but also more superdelegates -- party officials and other elites who can vote however they choose -- if he wants to take the Democratic battle for the White House to the convention floor.

Trump is already making the case that the system is inherently unfair and is a symptom of the insider politics practiced by distant elites that disenfranchises grass-roots voters like those who have flocked to his campaign.

"The nuts and bolts of presidential politics is an archaic language and very few people understand it. Outsiders need insiders to be successful," said Republican political strategist Ford O'Connell. "If you want to crack the Da Vinci code, you need insiders."

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Analysis & Political Strategy