I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about the “Republican Establishment stealing the primary”. Well, one should really understand that there is a process in place, and that process has been used throughout our party’s history. No one is “stealing” anything, they are simply abiding by the rules. I’d like to take this time to go over the facts, and review a few things. As of this writing, here is the reality regarding the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination:
- To win the nomination outright, a candidate needs 1237 delegates
- Mr. Trump currently has 743 delegates
- Sen. Cruz currently has 517 delegates
- Gov. Kasich currently has 143 delegates
- There are 769 remaining delegates
- Mr. Trump, therefore, requires 494 of them, or 64%
- Sen. Cruz, therefore, requires 720 of them, or 94%
- Gov. Kasicah, therefore, can not reach 1237 delegates
- Mathematically, both Mr. Trump and Sen. Cruz can still win 1237 delegates and secure the nomination
- Realistically, while Mr. Trump has better odds, neither is likely to win enough delegates
Those are the facts. So what happens next? As I have mentioned in a previous article, and as I eluded to above when I mentioned “a process in place”, if no candidate goes into the Republican Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18th with 1237 delegates, then the delegates at the convention will have to choose a candidate. They do this by holding votes. Each vote is called a round.
In the first round of voting, all delegates vote for the candidate who won them, however, there are 112 Republican delegates who are “unbound” because their states and territories – North Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, American Samoa and Guam – hold no primaries or caucuses. Instead, delegates are chosen at state convention without reference to voters’ views on the presidential candidates. So, if a candidate wins 1125 bound delegates, and all 112 unbound candidates vote for him, it’s over after the first round. It’s unlikely however, that all 112 unbound candidates will vote for the same candidate. So, obviously, the closer the candidate gets to 1237, the more likely he or she is to win on the first round.
After the first round, any delegate can vote for any candidate they chose. There are rules to follow, and all of the current rules can be found here: The Rules of the Republican Party. According to rule #40(b) Each candidate for nomination for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States shall demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates from each of eight (8) or more states, severally, prior to the presentation of
the name of that candidate for nomination. Currently, only Mr. Trump and Sen. Cruz are eligible.
However, it is crucial to understand that the RNC Rules are subject to change as they are merely rules of an organization, they are not law. An organization must abide by it’s own rules, but the organization itself has the right to dictate if, when, and how it can amend the rules in place.
Jeff Berkowitz wrote at Medium:
“There are several opportunities to change Rule 40 before the convention begins the nomination process. The RNC will hold its spring meeting on April 20–22 and could modify the rules then. The rules committee will also meet on the eve of convention and could modify the rules then as well. Once the convention is underway, its first order of business will be to approve the rules, which affords delegates the opportunity to seek to amend them. And lastly, it may be considered in order for delegates to move to suspend the rules during the nomination process to allow Cruz, Rubio or another candidate who fell short of the Rule 40 threshold to be placed into consideration and receive votes on the floor from the delegates they won in primaries and caucuses.” * this was written prior to Sen. Cruz having won eight states and Sen. Rubio dropping out of the race.
So, if the rules are changed, and they may be changed prior to the convention, anyone can be nominated after round one. If the rules are not changed, then only Mr. Trump and Sen. Cruz can be voted on. If the rules are changed, does this constitute “stealing”? No, because the rules say the rules can be changed. Nothing illegal or immoral is being done. Would I personally like to see anyone other than Mr. Trump or Sen. Cruz be nominated? No, I would not not. Do I think anyone other than Mr. Trump or Sen. Cruz will be nominated? That depends. If the rules are changed, then yes, I do believe it will be possible and actually likely.
Folks, I was a police officer for 21 years, and I believe in following the rules. What frustrates me is that people who never follow politics and have no knowledge of the rules in place, complain and cry foul when the rules don’t suit them. All of the candidates knew the rules when they entered the race. If any of the candidates reached 1237, none of this would come into play. 1237 represents 51%, or a majority. Without a majority, all parties are encouraged to build alliances. We do not live in a simple democracy, and thank goodness we do not. Without a majority, one group of 40% does not get to decide, by default, what three groups of 20% do. It doesn’t, nor should it, work that way. If the 40% can convince 11% of the remaining 60%, then it can win. But if 51% of the three groups of 20% can decide on something, it can win. It’s called coalition building, and it is ultimately the fairest way to decide something.
None of the candidates have gotten a majority of delegates. The onus is on them to do so in the convention. The Republican Party can change the rules and nominate someone else, but that doesn’t mean that person will win the votes needed to secure the nomination by default. Regardless, it is all part of the process that has been in place throughout our nation’s history. There have been ten contested Republican Party Conventions in history. Republicans won 6/10 of those elections.
2/10 they chose the candidate who came into the convention in second place. That would be Sen. Cruz. Those two choices were Dwight Eisenhower (34th U.S. President) and Abraham Lincoln (16th U.S. President). Two of the six wins.
4/10 they chose the third place and fourth place candidate. That would be Gov. Kasich. They won three times with Warren Harding (29th U.S. President), Benjamin Harrison (23rd U.S. President) and Rutherford Hayes (19th U.S. President). They lost once with Wendell Willkie (1940 Republican candidate). Three of the six wins.
1/10 they chose a candidate who was not in the primary. That would be anyone the Republican Party chooses other than the three remaining candidates even if they have zero delegates. They won that election with James A. Garfield (20th U.S. President), and he was chosen as a compromise candidate after 36 ballots (the longest in GOP history), Garfield won the general election by an electoral blowout with 214 or 58.0% of the electoral vote.
3/6 they chose the candidate with the most delegates going into the convention. That would be Mr. Trump. They lost all three of those elections with Thomas Dewey (1944 Republican candidate), Charles Hughes (1916 Republican candidate), and James Blaine (1884 Republican candidate).
So when all is said and done, the purpose of a contested convention is to select a nominee who is the most acceptable to Republicans nationwide, and who can win a general election. Six out of the ten contested Republican Conventions have produced a nominee who went on to become president (with five of them winning the popular vote as well). In contrast to that, since 1960 in the ten elections that the Republican party was not nominating an incumbent President (primaries selecting a candidate without a contested convention), the Republican nominee only won four times.
Say what you will about a contested convention, but the fact remains: their track record in producing Presidents is better than than the modern system of choosing nominees. Isn’t defeating Clinton and the Democrats our ultimate goal? Then a contested convention, with whoever the eventual nominee is, may be our best hope. No one is “stealing” anything. They are just trying to stop a nightmare from happening. I urge all Republicans to support whoever the Republican candidate is in November, whether he/she is your first choice or not. But hey, I’m just a cop.by