Why “Contested” Is Not “Crooked”

It’s getting pretty tiring.

As we move closer to the GOP convention this summer, there is an increasing likelihood that GOP voters will face an unusual process.

The possibility of this process–I am constantly reminded–had “better be” determined by the voters.

Words like brokered and contested and open and fixed keep getting interchanged with one another. Most importantly, supporters of one candidate, also throw in an assumption–that what all those terms refer to is not only something the voters don’t have say over but that the process assumes those things are crooked and governed without rules.

Add to that the public idiocy of an unnamed GOP official who was dumb enough to tell a news outlet that the voting public doesn’t decide the nominee for the party, but that the party does.

It’s an idiotic thing to say because it’s both true and said in the most confusing way possible.

It’s true in that it’s not the voters themselves that cast the ballots to nominate the candidate. It is the delegates of the party who do. But it is the voters in caucuses and primaries whose votes secure the first ballot delegates that cast the vote for the nomination.

Simply because the party can’t accommodate several million citizens at its convention doesn’t mean in any way that the vote of the citizen doesn’t matter. The idea of having representatives act on your behalf is the core essence of our “representative republic.” 

I know–there may be much great shock when supporters of one candidate in particular hear for the first time that we don’t live in a democracy.

But we don’t. So get over it and move on.

The larger point is that a voter in a primary voluntarily chooses to participate with a private non-profit organization that holds a convention every four years, established through the will of its delegates what it’s platform and governing rules will be for the next four years, and also chooses who will represent that party to stand on the ballot of the general election.

Yesterday one candidate implied that if he comes in to the convention lacking the necessary delegate support to be nominated that he should be in essence “given” the nomination in complete non-compliance with the rules of the convention. He argued in essence that he deserved special “dispensation” or treatment because he’s who he is.

He also went so far as to imply that if he is not granted such special treatment that his supporters would be justified in reacting with violence. 

Violence has been a big theme of his. Some 30 protestors have been seriously injured at his rallies. And his reaction to protestors has been to encourage his supporters to “punch them in the face” or to “knock the crap out of them” or to “knock ’em the hell out.” This direct encouragement to escalate the violence has been followed by the declaration that he “promised” to “pay the legal bills” he “promised… he promises.”

Given that as his history to now basically blanket his supporters with permission to become violent at the convention because he first lacks the necessary votes and secondly doesn’t meet the criteria is sickening. 

Of course his followers believe it’s great. Literally on the social media feed of a “friend” I had a Trump supporter first threaten to KTFO of folks at the convention. (Knock the f&$k out.) And when called out on it was ready to don the gloves and “box” me at a place and time. I left the conversation for two reasons. I only talk to blocks of wood that I’m splitting into kindling. And… Well you know what they say about people who have to brag…

But I digress.

Across social media, my radio audiences, and correspondence from Fox viewers, the repeated meme that these types of supporters of said candidate continually say is that this had better not end up in a “contested convention.”

Only one problem. 

It probably is.

But contested is not the same as corrupt.

Everyone talks about the number 1237. Trump called it a “random” number set by “some guy.” 

It’s anything but.

1236 is exactly 50% of the nominating delegates needed to be nominated. 

The rules of the GOP nomination process–as determined by previous convention delegates that were elected by the people/voters–said that in order to be given the nomination automatically that a candidate would need “50% plus 1 vote.”

In other words a majority.

In terms of percent it works out to 50.19% of the total delegates available. 

Why did the past elected delegates to the previous convention(s) decide that 50.19% was the needed amount? We’d have to ask them.

But likely it was something to do with integrity.

The desire to be able to honestly say that the “majority” of the voices of the elected delegates of the voters themselves were being adhered to.

Why is that? 

So that they can go back to those same voters and explain that as they promised in their founding the party of Lincoln and Reagan would abide by “the will of the people.”

In an elected body of representatives it can not be asserted that the will of *most* of the people is done without achieving a majority.

So back to the scenario. What should happen if the delegates fall short of the majority.

It’s very simple, the campaign continues.

The candidates speak, the campaign’s call one another and if a majority does not exist on the first ballot, then one is sought on the second or third or fourth ballot.

Coalitions are formed and cooperation ensues to put forward a nominee/ticket that satisfies the requirements of speaking for the majority of the party.

The biggest point to understand that this process is lawful, is governed by rules the candidates have already (even this far out) agreed to, and has been in place since the last convention.

If the candidate fails to rally his turnout and get majorities in the primaries and caucuses then it’s unlikely that he/she will get a majority on the first ballot at the convention. 

Other nations like Israel face constant coalition building in order to maintain lawfully elected governments. We in the United States are not used to it because candidates usually rack up the delegates so early. And there are usually fewer candidates still in this late in the process.

But the GOP has four candidates that now have more than 100 delegates. In fact 1300+ of the delegates have been gobbled up. The chance that someone under 700 delegates this late in the process will get to see 1237 grows increasingly unlikely.

But it does not mean that following the lawfully and duly elected process of what happens according to the rules is in any way corrupt.

Because it’s not.

It is in fact preventing the “establishment” from doing exactly what so many Trump supporters are saying will be done.

And this final note: if the GOP were stupid enough to go into back room negotiations and attempt to insert someone who had not won any states in a “brokered fix” to solve the dilemma. That would be corrupt, and I don’t care who the nominee would be that they would attempt to insert, I would join forces with the Trump supporters and set fire to the convention personally.

But a contested convention is not the same as a brokered convention and everyone needs to take a deep breath and wait to see if we even need one.

And it would help Make America Great Again if A certain candidate would shut his flap and stop encouraging his people to punch, knock and riot when things don’t go his way. Truly!