Donald Trump, and a good many of the folks supporting him, continue to complain about how poorly they are doing in selecting delegates to the national convention.
Of course, the way they phrase it is as “Ted Cruz defying the will of the majority.” While they are entitled to their narrative, they are not entitled to their own facts. Consider a few salient points.
First off, Donald Trump has won a majority of the votes cast almost nowhere. He has won a plurality in many states, but not a majority. The majority of the folks in most every state voted against Donald Trump.
Second, even in the states he won, he won only the votes of folks who voted in the primary or the caucus. That is only a tiny percentage of eligible voters, single digits in most cases.
Third, in the vast majority of the states where he won the primary or caucus, even that small percentage of the voters were voting in what amounts to a nonbinding preference poll. They were not actually selecting delegates. And it doesn’t matter what the polls say. It matters who votes. This has always been the case.
Fourth, no Trump supporter is complaining of “disenfranchisement” of the hundreds of thousands of voters who voted against Trump in “winner take all” states where he has won, sometimes by the slimmest of margins, yet taken every single delegate. It’s not disenfranchisement; it’s the rules, and he won the votes.
Fifth, this year is exactly, precisely, explicitly the way it has always been done. Iowa has never elected delegates at the caucus. Cruz won the primary there, but if he did not do his job at the subsequent county conventions, he would not take any delegates. New Hampshire has never elected delegates at the primary. Virginia never elects delegates at the primary. Here in Virginia, we elect them at district and state conventions. The same is the case in state after state.
The vast majority of people do not vote in the primaries. They wait until November. Then they complain about the candidates foisted on them by the folks who actually voted in the primaries. Now the Trump folks who voted in the primaries are doing the exact same thing. They either do not care enough or are not informed enough to participate in the process that actually elects the delegates to the national convention, where an even smaller number of voters actually participate.
So, Trump folks, your argument simply does not hold water. The fact is, elections are won by the people who vote. Where it matters more than anywhere else is at the county, district or state conventions where delegates to the national convention are selected. If you do not know or care enough to participate, then you, like all the other voters who do not vote, will be stuck with a candidate selected by others who did vote.
What you’re really asking is that the election should be handed to the person who won whatever nonbinding poll you voted in. The problem is, every single poll shows that a majority of Americans do not want Donald Trump. In fact, even a majority of Republicans do not want Donald Trump. You don’t want the will of the majority. You want the will of the small plurality of whatever small percentage voted in whatever nonbinding poll you participated in and your guy won. That’s not how elections work!
No American major party presidential nomination was ever determined by one giant national vote where the person who got the most votes won the nomination. Never. In fact, Trump today has a LARGER percentage of elected delegates than his percentage of total votes cast.
Elections are not won by folks who vote in polls. They are won by the people who go and have their votes counted when the election happens. In fact, what you’re really asking for is that the election be handed to your candidate without you or your candidate having to do the terribly hard work involved in winning the election.
Your problem is not “the system.” The rules are the same as they were four years ago. Under “the system,” elections are won by a majority, or at least a plurality, of the people who show up to vote when the election matters. The rules were the same four years ago. In 1992, we elected three Pat Buchanan delegates at Virginia’s Fifth District convention. Had the 1992 national convention gone to a second ballot, those three delegates would have switched from Bush to Buchanan. Four years ago, the Ron Paul folks employed exactly the same strategy Cruz is employing today. They just didn’t have the organization and the voters in state after state that the Cruz campaign has.
The problem is, your team doesn’t understand the rules. If you try to play football without understanding that you score points by crossing the opponent’s goal line, you will be furious when your opponent keeps racking up points by crossing the goal line and you will think the officials are just cheating for your opponent. The reality is, your opponent understands that you have to cross the goal line to score points, and you don’t understand that. He’s not cheating; he’s playing the game by the rules. You’re not playing the game. The rules were not written for Trump. The same rules applied four years ago.
My family are signed up to be delegates to the district and state conventions, because they want their vote counted when it matters. If you are not, you didn’t vote where it counted.
Too many Trump folks (and others) want elections won and nations changed by people who take 10 minutes out of their lives on the way to work to pull a lever. News flash – it has never been that way! Citizenship is not something you can do in 10 minutes a year. Elections are won and history is changed by people who are committed enough to invest in the process of building a republic and preserving liberty for their children. If you do not care that much, it will all happen without you and in spite of you.
As the time-worn adage goes, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain. And yes, that is how our representative republic works. This is not the will of the people being subverted. It is precisely the candidate winning with the majority of folks who actually cast ballots when it matters.