Voting and State Conventions

Conventionsby Timothy Lane4/19/16
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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18 Responses to Voting and State Conventions

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    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.

    You took the words right out of my mouth, Timothy.

    Listen, it’s acknowledged that any candidate has his or her strengths and weaknesses. And having entered the realm of politics, they are all thus politicians and due a certain amount of sober skepticism. I do not criticize Donald Trump on trumped-up charges because I’m a Cruz fan. My preference is Cruz, but there is no need to demonize or otherwise exaggerate Trump’s faults.

    But, goodness gracious, those faults are large enough on their own. It should be disconcerting to anyone to have this Nixonian paranoid character in the White House.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      What concerns me is how closely his public persona (which is all I have to judge him by) resembles Barry Screwtape Obama. Do we need four more years of that?

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        One of the interesting realities is that Trump exposes without doubt that the “conservative” GOP base is not as conservative as we’ve been told. Rush mentioned this the other day (a day late and a dollar short, but still). Many of these “conservatives” have had their views shaped by college, movies, the media…basically by the Progressive culture at large.

        It would be an interesting (if perhaps pointless) article to explore what “conservative” actually means in the age of Trump. I contend it means about as much as “Christian” means.

        We are a changed populace. We are not our father’s Oldsmobile, for better or for worse. But we use much of the same language as if nothing has changed. But everything has changed. I hate to be too persnickety, but I know only a handful of people in real life who I consider conservative — the #1 distinguishing feature is that they are at least partially aware of the cultural milieu that they are swimming in. You can’t actually be a conservative by being non-reflective and just accepting what the Vulgartariat presents to you.

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Trump and his followers do not much display fidelity to one of the fundamental beliefs of conservatism, i.e. rule of law.

    Every lasting human organization has a set of rules. This includes political parties.

    Such parties make their own by-laws as to how they operate. And it is in the nature of things that those people most involved in any organization have the most influence as to what the by-laws are and how the organization operates.

    That being the case, if a person wishes to have influence in a particular party, or any organization, it behooves that person to get involved and spend time and effort in within the organization to try and bring about what ever changes that person wishes.

    For such a person to show up once every four years and complain that he does not agree with the by-laws of the organization and that they are not fair and rigged, is disingenuous, at best.

    Yet this is what Trump and his Trumpkins are doing. What they are doing and claiming is either dishonest, uninformed or both.

    Trump and his followers are like the man who joined a poker game, but is losing. In an attempt to recoup some of his money, he starts complaining that it is not fair the other players at the table know the rules and that he can’t bluff someone holding a straight with a pair of deuces. Why, that’s not fair, the guy holding the straight should have folded when Trump threw so much verbiage into the pot.

    I understand that Trump is being a cynic, but those of his followers who complain about things being unfair are mostly ignorant and certainly not conservative.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Basically, they’re following the sort of tribal behavior that is common among liberals (though hardly exclusive to them). It’s especially disappointing when conservative pundits such as Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan sink so low. They should know better, but their zealotry has blinded them.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Trump and his followers are like the man who joined a poker game, but is losing. In an attempt to recoup some of his money, he starts complaining that it is not fair the other players at the table know the rules and that can’t bluff someone holding a straight with a pair of deuces. Why, that’s not fair, the guy holding the straight should have folded when Trump threw so much verbiage into the pot.

      Brilliant analogy, Mr. Kung. Brilliant.

  3. oldguy says:

    I think the general public feels they should have more say picking the delegates. After all, they are the ones paying for the elections. Your “rules” are merely a smokescreen for your dishonesty.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      If you think the rules should be changed, fine. Indeed, there’s only one obvious reason why DC gets more delegates than Delaware or Vermont, and many other delegate-selection rules are rather arcane. (Pennsylvania doesn’t list which candidate each delegate prefers, and West Virginia’s rules are almost literally inexplicable.) But that’s a very different matter. Trump’s emphasis has been on smearing Cruz as cheating because he made use of the rules and Trump didn’t. Nor were those rules set up (last year) to benefit Cruz. He simply did a better job of preparation. (But not perfect; he failed to get a complete slate of delegates available for selection in Pennsylvania.)

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I think the general public feels they should have more say picking the delegates.

      If someone “feels” they should have more say in picking the delegates, maybe they should get off their ass and get involved. Perhaps they should join a party or establish one of their own. How will the general public determine the way to choose delegates? It takes more than “feeling”.

      Showing up every four years only entitles one to vote, nothing more. And frankly, if that’s all the effort and interest one shows in the political system then they probably don’t even deserve that.

      Your “rules” are merely a smokescreen for your dishonesty.

      What does that mean? Establishing rules and a system as to how things need to be done is now dishonest? Should we perhaps have no rules? Capriciousness can be far worse than disagreeable rules.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Here’s a good article by Paul Osnes: 6 Myths about the Republican Primaries

      • Timothy Lane says:

        A nice article, but Trump already has the 9 delegates from the Northern Marianas (and Cruz supposedly did get one from Guam). But American Samoa, Virgin Island, and the remaining 8 from Guam are indeed available.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        An excellent debunking of the nonsense being spouted by Trump and much of the press. Both are spouting this nonsense for personal gain, Trump to stir up his low-info voters and the press to keep people coming back for more.

        A flailing rage to blindly strike out seems to be the main motivator of many Trumpkins. If they really want to know who should be punished for the state of the nation, they should take a good look in the mirror.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Mr. Kung, Trump is acting in the true spirit of a demagogue. Much like those on the Left, he is stirring up resentment based upon lies or exaggerations

          Great mirror analogy. I think Trump is the “magic mirror” (as I’ve stated before in so many words). People can pretend that they are for reform. But if they did their homework they would realize that this guy is far closer to Hillary than to a conservative reformer.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Trump’s behavior consistently is like a liberal — one might say an example of his New York values. We have a man who admits to bribing politicians for his business claiming that Cruz can only win by bribing delegates — one of many example of Trump projection. Whatever his views, he acts like Barry Screwtape Obama.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              This should be a big red flag for those who think Trump will actually do some of the things they hear that they like.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Speaking of obtuse articles about Trump: Trump Stump Deniers

    Nevertheless, Donald Trump is still somewhat of a pariah, a personification of political shock therapy. America has been hit by a stun gun. Political elites, the media, and a good percentage of the “progressive” populace are apoplectic about Trump’s candor and candidacy. While the left has misgivings about Trump, the American right is contemplating seppuku.

    This re-defining of America and conservatism on-the-fly seems more at home on the Left. The Left is “shock therapy.” Conservatism, by its very nature, is not supposed to be “shock therapy” unless it’s the shock of the lawless and the moochers no longer being given free rein.

    This willful blindness about Trump is revealing. I’m not quite sure myself what it reveals, but many are putting putting Vaseline on the lens and seeing what they want to see.

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