Republican voters are laboring under the illusion that they choose the Party’s nominee for President. Shows what they know. Party officials let voters go through the motions of voting but it is them, not voters, that chooses the nominee. And they like it that way. So says, Curly Haugland, a Republican Party official and unbound delegate from South Dakota.
Haugland was surprisingly candid – even smug – as he bragged to CNBC that party insiders rule. Another delegate from South Dakota, Gary Emineth, told CNBC the following:
“Most delegates bound by their state’s primary or caucus results are only committed on the first ballot. If subsequent ballots are needed, virtually all of the delegates can vote any way they want, said Gary Emineth, another unbound delegate from North Dakota.
“It could introduce Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, or it could be the other candidates that have already been in the race and are now out of the race [such as] Mike Huckabee [or] Rick Santorum. All those people could eventually become candidates on the floor,” Emineth said.
These guys have a point. And it’s a huge story that the public isn’t following. Right now there is a shadow war being waged by the campaigns, party operatives, and legions of lawyers to choose the delegates that will attend the convention. The elections and causcuses determine the number of delegates bound to a candidate but not who the delegates are. That little detail usually doesn’t matter, but this year it could mean everything.
Delegates – the actual people – are generally chosen by the state party. Because Trump is running against the Republican establishment he is not particularly popular with many of the people responsible for delegate selection. And those state party leaders can choose delegates who personally support other candidates. Most delegates are free under the rules to vote for whomever they wish after the first ballot. The plan for the Cruz campaign and for the #NeverTrump forces is to deny Trump a majority on the first ballot – even if by just 1 vote – and then pick their own nominee on the second ballot when the delegates can vote for anyone. So right now, the Cruz campaign is trying to get Cruz supporters selected as Trump delegates. At the same time party chairmen are trying to get their people – people they control – selected as Trump delegates so they can have influence at the convention. (We wrote about the delegate hunt yesterday here.) If this sounds down and dirty, there’s reason. And if backroom plots end up denying the will of voters it cannot end well.
Any attempts by party bosses to steal the nomination from whoever has won the most delegates – probably Trump, but maybe Ted Cruz – will cause an insurrection. Supporters of both Trump and Cruz distrust the party establishment and are in no mood for their clever plans. Just today, ex-Speaker John Boehner endorsed Paul Ryan as a candidate for President. He’s not helping anyone including Paul Ryan by getting involved. Gary Emineth, the delegate from South Dakota, explained:
“It’s important that the Republican National Committee has transparency on what they’re doing [on the rules] going into the convention and what happens in the convention,” he continued. That’s because of “all the votes that have been cast in caucuses and primaries. Don’t disenfranchise those voters. Because at the end of the day, our goal is to beat Hillary Clinton or whoever their [Democratic] nominee is in November.”
He’s right. Let’s hope that simple truth settles in before the convention in July.
COMMENTS ARE OPEN BELOW