In an ongoing battle between Republican front-runner and the Republican Party establishment, Donald Trump penned a scathing opinion piece, writing that a "planned vote" in Colorado had been "cancelled," causing Republican voters to be "sidelined."
The piece, published in the Wall Street Journal, is the latest move by Trump, who won zero delegates in Colorado after a series of local party conventions, to paint the process as tainted. The storyline also fits into his larger campaign message to voters who feel disaffected that the political, economic and social system is working against them.
"In recent days, something all too predictable has happened: Politicians furiously defended the system. 'These are the rules,' we were told over and over again," Trump wrote. "Let me ask America a question: How has the 'system' been working out for you and your family?"
Under fire, the Republican National Committee shot back. Communications Director Sean Spicer released a memo that landed in reporters' inboxes early Friday morning.
"And for decades, the grassroots-driven, democratic process has been transparent and effective," Spicer wrote. "This cycle is no different."
Spicer notes in the memo that each state develops its own process, which the party's activists approved in October "with over 100 member of the media in attendance."
Colorado joined Wyoming, North Dakota, the Virgin Islands and Guam in not holding an election or a caucus and instead used conventions, which are attended by the most ardent party activists, to choose the delegates.
Trump didn't do the work. He had no presence in Colorado until the very end, while opponent Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, had organized supporters to vote for delegates who backed him.
Since being swept in the state, Trump has criticized the system, calling it "rigged" and a "total fix."
In the battle for delegates, each one matters. Trump has the best shot of winning enough delegates by the end of the primaries to clinch the nomination, but he must win an impressive 60 percent of those remaining. Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are attempting to win enough delegates to keep Trump from gaining the necessary 1237 to win the nomination, making the convention a contested one.
In his opinion piece, Trump went on to tie Cruz to the establishment.
"The great irony of this campaign is that the 'Washington cartel' that Mr. Cruz rails against is the very group he is relying upon in his voter-nullification scheme," he wrote. "My campaign strategy is to win with the voters. Ted Cruz's campaign strategy is to win despite them."
He added: "The political insiders have had their way for a long time. Let 2016 be remembered as the year the American people finally got theirs."