Delegates to the Rescue in the Year of the Outsider

RNCconventionby Jon N. Hall    4/11/16
Republicans will hold their presidential nominating convention July 18-21, and Democrats will hold theirs July 25-28. Consider this: what if both conventions nominate someone who hadn’t run in the primaries and caucuses? Perhaps Hillary gets indicted and is forced to drop out, but the Dems can’t quite bring themselves to nominate Bolshevik Bernie, so they bring in Biden. And let’s say that neither Trump nor Cruz has the requisite 1,237 votes by July 18, triggering a contested convention, and after the first ballot someone puts into nomination a complete “outsider” who wins. Since the 2016 general election is on November 8, what that would mean is that these fresh new candidates would have more than 100 days to campaign. That’s more than enough time to make one’s case to the voters.

What the above scenario also means is that the primaries would have been for naught, making the convention delegates far more important than usual. That’s fine with me, as I think the whole primary-caucus system should be scrapped, as it can prevent a party from running their very best people. Now, compare 100 days of intense campaigning with what the nation will have been made to endure in the year preceding the conventions. Some might call it “The Circus.”

One reason to hope that Hillary is indicted is because the shenanigans the Dems would then go through might provide a bit of “cover” for the Republicans. If the Democrat machine can kick Bernie to the curb, why couldn’t GOP convention delegates do the same with any of their candidates they deem unelectable?

On March 24, McClatchyDC ran David Lightman’s terrific “America to Establishment: Who the hell are you people?” If one wants to understand the attraction of regular Americans to outsiders like Trump, Cruz, Carson, and Fiorina, it is required reading:

Somehow, people all over America are saying loudly and clearly this election year, Washington and its enablers — the media, the political pros and Wall Street — don’t understand us. […] In 2016 America, the deepest divide is not between Democrats and Republicans. It’s not even between conservatives and liberals. It’s between Us and Them — the people versus The Establishment.

That’s why in a recent article, I urged delegates in a contested convention to not even consider “establishment” types like Jeb Bush, Speaker Ryan, and any member of Congress. I also urged voters to essentially cast a “tactical vote” for Ted Cruz precisely to bring about a contested convention. On April 5 in “Poll: GOP says no last-minute candidates like Paul Ryan,” Lesley Clark writes:

While Republican Party insiders angle for a last-minute alternative to Donald Trump, GOP voters are warning against convention deals that seem to go against the will of the rank and file. […] And a big majority want any contested convention to be off limits to politicians who didn’t first run in the primaries […] The findings puncture some Republican hopes that a more establishment-friendly candidate such as Ryan or Romney could become the party nominee at a contested 2016 Republican National Convention if front-runner Trump doesn’t clinch the nomination before then.

On April 4, candidate Cruz said it is a “fevered pipe dream of Washington, that at the convention they will parachute in some white knight who will save the Washington establishment.”

Okay, but what if delegates “parachute in some white knight who” is not part of the Washington establishment? What if the delegates want to parachute in some really outré “outsider” who is not a politician? The delegates need to be able to do that in case the convention becomes hopelessly deadlocked. But Trump and Cruz may try to prevent it when the new rules are set. In 2012, the infamous Rule 40 would have prevented any parachuting.

On April 1 at his FiveThirtyEight blog, Nate Silver, the statistician whose political prognostications have proved pretty prescient, ran “It’s Probably First Ballot Or Bust For Donald Trump At The GOP Convention.” If you’re concerned about the GOP convention, this is your article. There are a bunch of links, and Mr. Silver delves into some sexy stuff, like “faithless delegates.” He reminds us that “delegates are people,” not “statistical units,” and most of the GOP delegates, he contends, won’t like Trump.

In our two-tiered judicial system, I’m not counting on the Justice Department to do the right thing and indict Mrs. Clinton for her scandalous treatment of the nation’s secret data. So the GOP will likely have to go up against the dragon lady. Doesn’t the GOP need to neutralize Clinton’s gender advantage?

Here’s the deal: “Nearly 10 million more women than men voted in 2008.” And at the Wall Street Journal, we read:

The 2008 election also suggested that the gender gap will continue to be politically important. About 66% of women voted compared with 62% of men. Neither was statistically different from 2004, but 10 million more women said they voted than did men in 2008 — 70.4 million women compared with 60.7 million men.

Republican delegates concerned about winning might consider practicing a little gender politics, (but with a conservative edge, of course). If the GOP wants to play it safe, they’ll be lining up lady parachutists. So, Republican delegates, try this campaign button on for size — 2016 Fiorina-Cruz.

In the Year of the Outsider, that ticket might be “outsider-y” enough to win. But there are other great GOP ladies who might be prepared to put on a parachute. Let’s keep our options open … as well as our convention.

In the meantime, keep voting for Cruz.

Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City. • (663 views)

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11 Responses to Delegates to the Rescue in the Year of the Outsider

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    I rather like Cruz-Fiorina, and could probably accept Fiorina-Cruz if she’d done better in the primaries. I would be sympathetic to a non-establishment surprise nominee, such as Jeff Sessions — if he were willing.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      My Republican inside operator says that a Cruz-Fiorina ticket is in the works because she would supposedly bring California. I’ll believe California voting Republican when I see it. But it’s a theory. With Fiorina you get the “diversity” ticket and someone who (you would think) wouldn’t go all Romney-milquetoast when it comes time to critiquing the other side. I don’t particularly like Fiorina but if she’s Cruz’ pit bull then I’m fine with that.

      My operative says that Cruz will win easily on the second ballot. Of course, anyone who doesn’t support Trump is a “liar” or a “cheater,” so the cry-baby forces of the Trump Left will likely go scorched earth. Could be messy.


        Fiorina actually does match up fairly well against Clinton, and I have believed since the time in early 2015 I successfully predicted she would enter the race (a scoop I’m sure everyone read right here on ST!) this is one of the main reasons she thought she had a chance at the nomination. However, I also think she was intelligent enough to realize her chances at the VP slot were much greater. Like you, Brad, I don’t care much for Fiorina as she’s basically a female version of a tougher Mitt Romney, and I don’t believe she could put California in play or that she could pull off a win if nominated.

  2. oldguy says:

    If the party has control of the nominations then just who financed all these primary elections?


      The taxpayers of each state.

      Jon seems to be of the mind that the Democrats and Republicans are essentially private clubs that can do exactly as they please. I’ve run into quite a few people, mainly I believe of a Libertarians bent, who see things that way. But they ignore the fact that the parties have a direct line to public office in the form of placement on the official ballots, which makes them truly “affected with the public interest” in a way that private businesses are not despite the courts’ designation of them as such, and therefore subject to reasonable public control by law. There is a difference between the parties and the Loyal Order of Moose.

      And I see no reason why it should be otherwise. A number of Trump-haters have openly suggested that the voters’ wishes mean nothing, thus regressing to the dark days of “King Caucus” as it was known before it was rightfully dethroned, say by about 1824. A self-governing people that cannot choose their own candidates for public office is a contradiction in terms.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        George Washington knew well the dangers of political parties. They generally become rackets which are there to promote and protect “special interests” and not the public interest.

        Our two parties are perfect examples of how political parties become corrupt. I think the fact that we operate under a presidential system instead of a British-type parliamentary system, might have something to do with this.

        No third party has been really successful in our history. The only time that I can recall when a relatively new party had great success was the 1860 election. Since that time, the established parties have pretty much been able to keep the competition out.


          Yes, the great problem with representative government is that those who are supposed the represent the people fail to do so. They help themselves and their friends, a description applicable to both parties although there are of course some differences between them. I’m at a loss as to what to suggest, but it may be that certain questions should be decided by the people themselves through plebescite.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            Those, like ST readers, who believe in small government are at an immediate disadvantage when choosing our representatives.

            Almost by definition, even so-called conservatives running for governmental office have more use for and higher regard for government than us. So they don’t really represent our beliefs. That is one reason the government always grows.

            The Left has no such problem.

            One thing I especially like about Switzerland is their system of putting important issues up for a direct vote.


    Jon, you’ve got a talent for cooking up thriller-type political plots, something like a modern-day Allen Drury. So let’s consider some of your scenarios:

    “If the Democrat machine can kick Bernie to the curb, why couldn’t GOP convention delegates do the same with any of their candidates they deem unelectable?”

    Answer: because the Democratic Criminal Syndicate has ceased to be a political party in the American tradition (that is, one appropriate to a free state) and now serves the needs only of the ruling class, functioning as the filter by which the current rulers are to be selected from the contenders. Very powerful special interests rather than the common people are in control, and they have selected Hillary over Bernie (Hillary also does seem to be more popular with Democratic voters, which still matters a little). The Republican Party cannot operate that way, especially now when it’s so bitterly divided.

    As Jon notes, the base is in no mood to accept a “white knight” in the form of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, or even Carly Fiorina (who in the end is of the Establishment, which is what caused her numbers to sink as the campaign wore on). But what about an outsider, Jon asks? The answer is that there isn’t anyone on the visible horizon to fill the bill.

    There are a few Conservative stalwarts in House like Louis Gohmert, but they generally lack name recognition and pizazz. The Senate is in worse shape, with Tim’s suggestion, Jeff Sessions, the only probable alternative in that body to Ted Cruz. But Sessions is now tainted by his support for Donald Trump, which brings us to another point:

    While the principal division within the GOP is Establishment vs. Everybody Else, the candidacy of Donald Trump has also created a second division, the “#NeverTrump” group (how I hate Twitter and hashtags!) and the “Trump-or-no-one” group. Thus the odds are against a GOP victory against Hillary even with Trump or Cruz as the nominee because some of Trump’s supporters will never support Cruz and some of Cruz’s supporters will never support Trump. An outsider would lose the support of both these groups, which would probably be enough to assure Hillary’s victory regardless of other factors.

    So some interesting possibilities, Jon, but in the end the odds are against a Republican victory, and I would say heavily against a Republican victory with anyone except Cruz or Trump at the top of the ticket.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I agree, and would note that the basic problem is that Trump has made it his practice to encourage paranoia and anger among his acolytes (as with his war on Colorado over rules he didn’t object to until he lost). His whining, combined with his other numerous flaws, (in essence, his extreme similarity to Barry Screwtape Obama) is making it difficult even for me to prefer him to Slick Hilly.

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