by Timothy Lane 4/19/16
One of Donald Trump’s favorite lies is that Cruz is cheating by winning states (North Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming) that didn’t allow the voters to choose their delegates. It’s certainly true that these states relied on local caucuses to choose delegates to county conventions, which chose delegates for state conventions, which chose the final delegates for the national convention.
Of course, there were local voters at those caucuses, though not as many as in a primary and probably fewer even than in some other caucuses, such as Iowa or even Utah. In Wyoming, where there was a straw poll and 12 delegates were chosen on that basis, only a thousand votes or so were cost, with Cruz getting most of them. In the other 2 states, there was no straw poll because this would have required binding the delegates, which the party leaders didn’t want to do.
Such caucuses are generally dominated by party workers, but nothing requires that this be the case. If Trump had wished to notify those masses of voters that he claims he had available, he could have found out when and where the caucuses were being held and notified his voters to go there and vote — and thereby take over.
It’s happened before. I remember reading in 1968 (when I first started paying serious attention to politics) that the McCarthy forces had done exactly this in Connecticut, outvoting the bosses. The Eisenhower campaign did this in several Southern states (including Texas and Georgia) in 1952. Party leaders were most unhappy, and argued that these voters were really Democrats (neither state had — or has now — partisan registration) and the results thus invalid. So they held their own more private caucuses and selected Taft delegations. This lead to a series of fights over rules and credentials at the convention, which Eisenhower eventually won — and the nomination with them.
Trump could have notified his voters in Colorado and North Dakota. He didn’t. And so, unwilling ever to admit that he lost fair and square, he has chosen a “rule or ruin” strategy to extort victory if he can’t win outright: “Choose me or I will claim ‘unfair’ and take my acolytes with me.” And that doesn’t even take into account their thuggery with its threats of violence. It’s the abundance of Trump Whines and his threats that have created such a stench that I’m not sure Trump is actually a lesser evil than Slick Hilly the Fire Witch.
Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine.
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