Sunday, March 27, 2016

Rule changes will have to be made for anyone other than Trump or Cruz to get GOP nomination

From an article on the potential for a brokered convention:
Henry Barbour, a Rules Committee member from Mississippi, stressed there is nothing exceptional, let alone unfair, about following the party's procedure for a primary that ends without a candidate clinching the nomination.

"The rules are plain: You have to get a majority of the delegates," he said, noting that if no candidate wins them before the convention, "we have a process in place and the delegates vote."
This those-are-the-rules-I-didn't-make-them approach isn't just disingenuous, it's blatantly false. The rules committee meets as the convention commences to determine what the rules of that convention are going to be. The rules were rewritten in 2012 to keep Ron Paul off the ballot and they will almost certainly have to be revised again this year to get anyone other than Trump and Cruz on the ballot this time around. Rule 40, from the 2012 iteration of convention procedures, reads:
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 [my emphasis]. Notwithstanding any other provisions of these rules or any rule of the House of Representatives, to demonstrate the support required of this paragraph a certificate evidencing the affirmative written support of the required number of permanently seated delegates from each of the eight (8) or more states shall have been submitted to the secretary of the convention not later than one (1) hour prior to the placing of the names of candidates for nomination pursuant to this rule and the established order of business.
Unless Kasich manages to get a majority of delegates in seven of the seventeen remaining states, which is exceedingly unlikely even if Cruz drops out, he won't be on the delegate ballot, nor will any of the other candidates who've already dropped out previously. The only two names will be Trump and Cruz.

In this two-man scenario, where Trump leads Cruz in both pledged delegates and primary/caucus votes received, the fallout from choosing Cruz in the second round, when delegates pledged to other candidates are free to vote for whoever they want to, would be enormous. Protestations about a "compromise candidate" wouldn't even enjoy the veneer of legitimacy. The party would simply be passing over the winner to hand the nomination to the runner up. It'd be the most blatant, indefensible snubbing imaginable, and Trump would be justified in bringing the whole corrupt temple crumbling to the ground in response.

To pull off the "compromise candidate"--someone other than Trump or Cruz--shenanigans, the rules would have to be changed prior to the vote to lower the requirements for inclusion on the delegate ballot. They'd have to be altered substantially to allow those who haven't even campaigned but whose names have been thrown around, like Romney or Paul Ryan, to serve as potential step-ins.

But if the rules are changed to allow for that, there's no compelling reason why they shouldn't be changed in other ways to protect outcomes that adequately address the intentions of primary and caucus electorates, say by compelling, in the case of no one receiving a majority of the pledged delegates, the presidential candidate with the most pledged delegates to be named the presidential nominee and the presidential candidate with the second most pledged delegates to be named the vice presidential nominee (alas, the the last embers are finally about to extinguish).

In other words, this whole "our hands are tied" explanation is complete and utter bullshit. The party can rewrite the rules however it wants to. At present none of these procedures are set in stone.

If Trump goes in with the most delegates and the most votes but gets cut out of the nomination, it will be because the GOPe decided to make it so on the first day of the convention. That's when the rules committee decides what the procedures for selecting the nominee are going to be. If that happens, I will certainly vote straight Democrat at the congressional and presidential levels in November and will be vociferously urging everyone in my networks to do the same.


Joshua Sinistar said...

I've always hated Lincoln and his party. Reagan was the only guy I really liked and they hated him too irregardless of what they say now. He was "too extreme" to challenge Carter in 1976, so they went with Gerald Ford. Only Chevy Chase agreed with that call.
However, these dead elephants can finally do something I like. Show everyone that democracy is a sham. This system is too corrupt for reform. When the rot is too deep, its better and cheaper to knock it down and rebuild.

Anonymous said...

If Trump doesn't get a majority of the delegates, then he isn't the "winner," but instead is also a "runner-up." And given the current polling, showing Donald being crushed by Hillary, I think that urging a vote for Trump is the most pro-Democrat endorsement you can make. Not that you care.

Audacious Epigone said...


The markets don't believe that. No one other than Trump is given even a double-digit chance of winning the presidency. Demographic realities almost preclude it. Trump is a wildcard though, which is why the money is more hesitant to write him off like it's writing off Cruz, Kasich, etc.

Anonymous said...

Trump rally violence will increase, not subside. This, plus the MSM spin attached to it, is frightening off white women in droves. Polls have been tracking this with seeming precision. Cuckservatives rolled over for MSM broadcast "race riots" in the 1960s when they were 80% plus and non-whites were much fewer. I'm certain they will do so again. In fact, they are already doing it.

The Plan is becoming visible now: stalemate the primaries to deny Trump an outright majority of delegates, manipulate the convention toward Manchurian candidate Ted or another like Paul Ryan, and throw the election to Hillary as Trump's white males and females stay home/vote Hillary by the millions.

That said, this website is a gold mine. Why aren't smart guys like you and your readers providing this information to the Trump campaign or Breitbart/Free Republic? And why are bloggers supporting Trump (Conservative Tree House, Chateau Heartiste, etc.) acting as if he has a secret plan for winning when the polls show otherwise?

M. Simon said...

My wife likes Trump - she voted twice for Obama. Her reason? Protection.

BTW why not vote Libertarian? If Trump is euchred? Show BOTH parties what you think of them.

Audacious Epigone said...


Trump, in a three-way race, is now just a hair under the 50% among Republican primary voters. That plus the lead he already has makes it impossible to spin a narrative in which he is anything other than the front runner going into the convention.

As for said convention, that a plurality does not necessarily constitute victory is based only on precedent, not on some hard and fast rule, and the last time it no majority was reached, the candidate with the plurality won easily (with the blessing of the party itself). Again, the rules for the convention are written at the commencement of said convention.

Inertia, precedent, and special pleading--as in the case of 2012, when the rules were altered from 2008 to keep Ron Paul off the ballot--are the major forces that make them what they are. The last time there was a brokered convention, in 1952, Eisenhower earned a plurality but not a majority. He then won the nomination.

Speaking of precedent, this election cycle has been unprecedented. Never before has the party taken it's highest profile event of the (non-election) year, the state of the union response, to savage its own front runner. Never before have second-tier candidates openly talked of trying to throw the primaries in certain states to stop the top guy. Never before have debate audiences been stacked with anti-front runner hacks who boo and hiss. Never before has the party refused to encourage the party to rally around the front runner after the first three (and now four with Nevada in the mix) states hold their primaries/caucuses.

So we're in territory uncharted in living memory and the parameters for the nomination have yet to be defined. Yes, the party reserves the right to write them however they choose (again, they could nominate Bernie Sanders if they wanted to), but to act as though the convention procedures need to be or even necessarily should be the same as 2012 is a questionable at best.

I certainly hope Trump seriously questions it, that's for sure. Cruz has, although now that he feels there is a path to victory for him under the 2012 rules he's changed his tune.

Regarding trying to help the TrumpTrain, I'd love to. I spoke for him at the caucuses in Kansas (shared the stage with Santorum who was stumping for Rubio). I've tried to tweet links to him and his sons but haven't been picked up on yet. He did retweet Heartiste at least once, though, so it looks like at least someone in the campaign is swimming around in these waters.


I've only voted for one of the two major parties once, in 2004, when I was a low-information 20 year-old. Since then I've voted for the Constitution party every year. If Cruz wins legitimately, that's what I'll do this time around as well. If he wins without a plurality of votes, or it goes to someone other than Trump, I'll feel compelled to double my usual snubbing of the GOP by voting Democrat.

As for punishing Democrats, I don't see the point. Their political incentive structure is obvious. There simply is no way middle American net tax-paying heterosexual white men can influence them.

Audacious Epigone said...


Interested in your position on immigration and how that squares with your Libertarian party support if you'd be interested in sharing.

HBS said...

AE, that poll that you linked to confirms what I've been speculating about Kasich and his supporters. Kasich is hurting Trump by taking votes away from him and helping Cruz. This is especially true in certain parts of the Northeast. Cruz won't win those states, but average John will take some delegates away.

I could see the GOPe allowing Trump to have the nomination even if he is short of the 1237 under the condition that he picks an establishment VP.

Audacious Epigone said...


Right. Kasich hurts Cruz in Wisconsin, but then he hurts Trump in the upcoming batch of Northeastern states. If it's just Trump v Cruz at that point, Trump will murder Cruz in every one of them, triggering the WTA 50%+ rules and giving Trump almost every pledged delegate in PA, NY, CT, RI, MD, and DE.