April 11, 2016

Cruz's specious "disenfranchisement" argument.

There are some wonderful liberties inherent in commenting as opposed to blogging. I had an idea I wanted to use to get the blog going this morning, and — reading around — I saw that my son John had set up a discussion on a post of mine, "The incoherent notion that the GOP convention must pick Trump or Cruz."

Though I hadn't yet overcome my new-morning inhibition and started this blog up again, my idea tumbled out over there. I said:
... Cruz is involved in seizing more than his share of delegates after the primaries. He's been quite successful at that, but how can he seek the benefit of those extra delegates he's finagled and then highhandedly argue based on democracy?
John responded:
Yeah, it's one thing if he can manage to get to a contested convention that way — but if and when he does, he can't use his delegate count to argue that we should choose him based on the will of the people. The only democratic choice will be Trump. Anything else will be an elite decision about who will be best in the general, and they can't expect to be taken seriously claiming it's anything else.
And I said:
Even if he wasn't out and about undercutting Trump everywhere in the delegate selection phase of the process (and changing the balance of delegates from what the primary voters voted for), Cruz should have a hard time pushing the "disenfranchisement" argument to get the open convention to pick him. Why, if Trump is rejected for failing to get a majority, should the guy who got even less have some special entitlement? The democracy argument only works for Trump, so why is Cruz making it? Because it's the best argument he's got! It's lawyerly. You can give him credit for patching it together and making it with a straight face, but the credit due does not include handing him the nomination. It's a specious argument and it should be recognized as such. I'm saying this now and maybe not that many others are saying it, but I think that's because the process of stopping Trump from getting to 1237 is still happening.

127 comments:

David said...

Sausage being made transparently. Makes one kind of sick.

David Begley said...

Ted is playing by the rules of the game. The Donald doesn't even know the rules and hasn't hired any people who do either. See, Colorado convention results.

Brando said...

Cruz is a lawyer and like any litigator he's making both arguments at once--his ability to wrangle delegates shows he has good organization and therefore will be better in the general election, and to the extent the RNC rejects Trump (and if Trump were remotely acceptable to them, we wouldn't be where we are--Trump would have sewn it up by now) then Cruz is the next biggest vote-getter.

And the point of that isn't so much that "most Republicans like Cruz which is why he's winning so many votes" but rather "Cruz has been tested in many primaries and is the highest vote-getting "acceptable" choice. It's not an incoherent argument once you accept that (1) the party does not want to nominate Trump, and (2) Cruz has better organization and better primary-winning skills than any other candidate once Trump is eliminated.

Big Mike said...

Ted Cruz and his campaign staff understand how to play the game. Trump's campaign manager thought his job was to play security guard. Trump may yet win the nomination, but unless he gets someone on his team who understands the rules of this game he's going to lose.

BTW, having a candidate that understood how to play the game didn't seem to bother you very much back in 2008, Professor Althouse. What changed in the intervening eight years?

Brando said...

"Ted is playing by the rules of the game. The Donald doesn't even know the rules and hasn't hired any people who do either. See, Colorado convention results."

Just wait until this master dealmaking genius and his Alpha Team start running the federal government. Somehow we'll end up paying to build Mexico's wall on their southern border.

Brando said...

"Ted Cruz and his campaign staff understand how to play the game. Trump's campaign manager thought his job was to play security guard. Trump may yet win the nomination, but unless he gets someone on his team who understands the rules of this game he's going to lose."

Give Trump's campaign manager some slack--how many petite female reporters got to shove a pencil into Donald Trump lately? The answer is zero.

tim maguire said...

Ted may be playing by the rules, but that doesn't create an obligation on anybody's part to stop complaining about the rules. Why do we have a superficially democratic process if we're then going to turn around and say everybody knows it's not really democratic? (The Democrats, with their superdelegates, have the same problem.)

One of the ways the brokered convention seems most wrong is the free-for-all of the post-first round voting. My sense of fairness tells me that the Trump delegates are not merely obligated to vote for Trump on the first round, but to represent the interests of Trump voters in all rounds. Their vote is not their personal property to do with as they wish once that first ballot is over with.

You can talk all you want about how that's not how it works, but I'm not going to find your logic persuasive. Me and tens of millions of other people who's votes you're going to need one day.

Birkel said...

John Althouse Cohen uses the word we. How odd.

AprilApple said...

"8 years ago, there was a guy who understood his party's byzantine nom process better than his competitor.

Today, we call him Mr. President."


The NPR link is worth reading. Trump didn't engage or use strategics in CO. Trump wrote CO off. Now, he's whining "It's not fair!" again, when he is the man who dropped the ball.

I'd prefer a president would doesn't whine "It's not fair" at every turn. Is that too much to ask?

Ann Althouse said...

"Ted is playing by the rules of the game. The Donald doesn't even know the rules and hasn't hired any people who do either. See, Colorado convention results."

And the rules of the game include using Ted to stop Trump, getting to an open convention, adopting new rules that allow those who haven't won any delegates to be nominated, and giving the nomination to Paul Ryan.

Ted's not the only one playing.

I agree that Trump has failed to play the delegate selection part of the game well, but Cruz is playing it so well that it's generating negative publicity for him as Trump calls it "unfair" and cries out for "democracy." How does that affect Cruz's longterm success at the game?

Cruz needs a democracy argument himself to exclude the Ryan scenario, but he will have burned that bridge.

MikeR said...

"My sense of fairness tells me that the Trump delegates are not merely obligated to vote for Trump on the first round, but to represent the interests of Trump voters in all rounds." How in the world are they supposed to do that? Refuse to change their votes? So what's the point of the later rounds - everyone can go home, no candidate nominated.

AF said...

"The democracy argument only works for Trump, so why is Cruz making it?"

Tremendous ignorance contained in this statement. First-past-the-post is not the only form of democratic voting. It is perfectly coherent to have a system where if nobody gets an outright majority on the first ballot, there is then a run-off among the candidates who met a certain threshold on the first round. That is democratic and quite common. In contrast, it is not democratic to simply ignore the election results if nobody gets an outright majority. Seriously, this is Poli Sci 101 stuff.

Gusty Winds said...

We'll see what the vote tallies look like after the NY and Pennsylvania GOP primaries. Trump's vote lead will get larger.

It'll be interesting to see how many GOP members of congress and state houses join in the scheme of throwing their constituents' votes out the window. Especially in areas and districts where Trump won.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Brando said...

...but rather "Cruz has been tested in many primaries and is the highest vote-getting "acceptable" choice.

Assumes facts not in evidence.

Brando said...

"We'll see what the vote tallies look like after the NY and Pennsylvania GOP primaries. Trump's vote lead will get larger."

It won't matter if he can't get a majority by the first ballot.

David Begley said...

Ann Althouse wrote, "Trump calls it "unfair" and cries out for "democracy." "

Trump is both a crybaby and a sore loser.

Not presidential.

Sebastian said...

"this is Poli Sci 101 stuff" Right. It is a bit reassuring that at least one guy in the race is aware of the actual process of actually getting nominated and elected, even if he is not the best candidate to beat H. There's nothing "incoherent" about it or him. Voting for Cruz to get Ryan nominated, now that's another story. Not too many Republicans, you know, people who think of themselves as supporting the, you know, Republican party, think that way.

"BTW, having a candidate that understood how to play the game didn't seem to bother you very much back in 2008, Professor Althouse. What changed in the intervening eight years?" But, but hope and change wasn't specious, was it? That was real, wasn't it?

Brando said...

"Assumes facts not in evidence."

That's why I put "acceptable" in quotes. Cruz is going to try and make the case that moderates, etc. should find him acceptable, though right now I doubt many do.

Virgil Hilts said...

I disagree with this anti-democracy crap. If you ran all of the primaries that DT won anew, you would have quite different results (today and as you get closer to convention). The convention process is not a suicide pact by which the party agrees to lose the general even if the guy/gal who won the most delegates over time has gone into a death spiral. A lot of us had some enthusiasm for Trump (and might have voted for him) early on, but not any more. He has proven incapable of beating HC and the party should do whatever it takes to nominate someone who can (ryan16!). The anti-democratic argument would only be relevant if Trump had maintained his support and remained a viable opponent to HC - which is not the case. (it is, however, very relevant to what the corrupt HC/Wasserman power machine is doing to Bernie).

Michael K said...

"The Donald doesn't even know the rules and hasn't hired any people who do either."

Trump has a convention manager who I saw interviewed yesterday, He has been down this road before although he used some inflammatory language in the interview.

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s convention manager said in an interview that aired Friday that campaigns have different phases, and Mr. Trump has recognized that simply winning might not be enough at this point.

“Campaigns have different phases. Trump has done an historic thing in this campaign with message and with social media,” convention manager Paul Manafort said on CNN’s “New Day.”

“But because the campaigns come in stages, he also understood that there [comes] a time when winning isn’t enough, but it’s how you win and how much you win,” he said. “And he recognized this was the time, and he reached out to some people who suggested maybe we got together.”


Cruz may be a good lawyer but there are a lot of people who think we have too many lawyers running things.

We saw the movie "Eye in the Sky" the other night and part of the theme was too many lawyers.

That may be a serious problem for Cruz if he looks too "lawyerly" in what he is doing.

"like any litigator he's making both arguments at once"

Yes, this is the argument that "My client was out of town the day of the murder and, besides, the sonofabitch came at him with a knife."

AprilApple said...

The optics of being a better organized candidate and a more conservative candidate are now considered negatives.

Cruz needs to start whining "No fair!" - then his popularity will soar.

Lyssa said...

I disagree with Althouse's logic on this issue. Cruz is, in this sense, a compromise candidate. He's not Trump, but he's also not a completely dismissal of the "anti-establishment" branches the way Ryan would be. I agree with John that the primary issue should be who can win, but I am very much not convinced that someone chosen by the "establishment" won't seriously alienate a lot of voters, possibly for decades to come. Of course, the problem with a compromise candidate is that you might just piss off both sides (alienate the pro-Trump/anti-establishment branches and the more moderate establishment types), but them's the breaks.

On the whole, it's an ugly situation and I'm not sure that there's a way out of it. Particularly since (assuming a loss, which I am) whatever happens will be held up for generations to come as evidence of the wrongness of that way of thinking and the rightness of whatever the opposition was (despite the fact that there will be no evidence that the opposition would have been better, or even not disastrously worse).

There are a lot of people I'd rather see than Cruz (though I'm not clear on why one of them should be Ryan, who I see as about equal to him), but most of all, I just want someone who will keep things from completely falling apart (win or lose the presidency in this round) in the years to come.

tim maguire said...

MikeR said...
"My sense of fairness tells me that the Trump delegates are not merely obligated to vote for Trump on the first round, but to represent the interests of Trump voters in all rounds." How in the world are they supposed to do that? Refuse to change their votes? So what's the point of the later rounds - everyone can go home, no candidate nominated.


How about you read what I wrote? That's not a reasonable interpretation. And note what I said at the end, the part you didn't quote, about the point of the whole exercise.

cubanbob said...

Cruz's maneuvering is rather impressive albeit a bit sleazy looking.
I look forward to President Cruz using such skills to rollback the leviathan state.

Brando said...

"He has proven incapable of beating HC and the party should do whatever it takes to nominate someone who can (ryan16!). The anti-democratic argument would only be relevant if Trump had maintained his support and remained a viable opponent to HC - which is not the case. (it is, however, very relevant to what the corrupt HC/Wasserman power machine is doing to Bernie)."

That I think is the best argument for the convention to have a "do-over" and pick someone who did not run in the primaries. The party's primary goal is to win elections and their secondary goal is to get things done (or stopped) that fit the agenda of its general membership and stakeholders--sort of like any club. Trump, it is quite clear, can't win and even if he could he certainly wouldn't advance any agenda desired by the conservative mainstream of the party. So why commit suicide by nominating him?

Of course, I still think the process of the primaries is hard to override--we've come to accept those votes as mattering, and I know I'd be pissed if this override were being done to a candidate I favored. But ultimately, the party is a club and can do what is its best (or least bad) option for survival.

Tank said...

Why, if Trump is rejected for failing to get a majority, should the guy who got even less have some special entitlement?

The point is that the two "not the GOPe" guys got the vast majority of the votes, and one of them should be the nominee.

The GOP nominee should not be one of the guys, or like one of the guys, who the vast majority voted against being the nominee.

AprilApple said...

From the very start I knew Trump would hand this election to Hillary.

He will. Conspiracy or not.

Imagine this election season without a Trump... if you can.

Tank said...

AprilApple said...
From the very start I knew Trump would hand this election to Hillary.

He will. Conspiracy or not.

Imagine this election season without a Trump... if you can.


I can. It would be the GOPe + the MSM 24/7 attacking Cruz.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...And the rules of the game include using Ted to stop Trump, getting to an open convention, adopting new rules that allow those who haven't won any delegates to be nominated, and giving the nomination to Paul Ryan.

I'm surprised there aren't more stories about HOW the convention rules are made and how the mix of delegates at the convention will determine what rules are adopted. That seems like the thing most likely to decide the ultimate outcome (or at least exert the most influence on the outcome) at this point.

Cruz needs a democracy argument himself to exclude the Ryan scenario, but he will have burned that bridge.

"Burned that bridge" is too strong. Cruz would still be able to say "it's more in line with the idea of democracy to nominate me, as someone who received X# of individual votes in X# of states, than it is to nominate someone who received none (and didn't even bother running)."

It weakens his case to argue against a decision on purely "democracy" grounds (meaning the largest # of individual votes), sure, but it's not fatal to a later argument that actually getting SOME primary votes should count for something (should count, that is, for enough to make him a better choice than someone who got 0 primary votes).

AprilApple said...

Tank -
we all know the MSM will always attack anyone with an R - and give anyone with a D special treatment. Look at how the MSM barley mention Hillary and the FBI investigation (and when they do, they wrap the "news" with soft landings for her. "Why she's not in trouble, it's her e-mail... bad e-mail.")

Gusty Winds said...

Trump yesterday: It really started with Colorado -- and the people out there are going crazy. In the Denver area, Colorado itself. They're going absolutely crazy because they weren't given a vote, this was [chosen] by politicians. It is a crooked deal. And I see it with Bernie too -- I've gotten millions more votes. Not just a couple, millions more votes than Cruz. And I've gotten hundreds of delegates more. And we keep fighting, fighting, fighting, and then you have Colorado where they choose the delegates. And it is not a system

Go ahead. Hand Trump the outsider disenfranchisement argument. While everyone else is pontificating dirty details of rule 42, 48...Trump can hammer this.

The Colorado situation over the weekend is crazy.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Which is MORE democratic:
1.) to say that if no one receives a majority of the delegates the primary up to that point should count for nothing and the nominating process should (essentially) start from scratch (with no consideration for any individual voting that's occurred)

2.) to say that if no one receives a majority of the delegates then the nominee doesn't have to be the person with the most delegates on the initial vote but that the primary voting up to that point should still be a consideration when deciding the ultimate nominee?

M Jordan said...

Ted gets credit for milking system. Trump gets everything else. This Colorado thing was a huge, huge mistake, not just for Cruz but for the GOPe. Now Trump truly is the choice of the people.

Laslo Spatula said...

Some people will do anything to keep people from Shitting in the Caviar.

I am Laslo.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Sebastian said...

Voting for Cruz to get Ryan nominated, now that's another story. Not too many Republicans, you know, people who think of themselves as supporting the, you know, Republican party, think that way.

It was probably close to a third of all people who voted in the Republican Presidential primary in Wisconsin on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. The others voted for Trump; or really wanted, or were satisfied with, Cruz; or voted for Kasich - and many of those who voted for Kasich really wanted somebody else and would be happy to see that happen - depending, of course, on who that somebody else was.

Birkel said...

Trump's bankruptcies = using the system provided to achieve his ends

Cruz's Colorado delegate pursuit = huge, huge mistake

Disconnect, much?

Paddy O said...

Trump's free media coverage was also "anti-Democratic", and he used that to his advantage at every step.

People use the advantages they have or can find, including complaining about opponent's advantages. Such is politics.

Trump has an easy way to make it all go his way. Be a candidate that knows the issues, responds well to questions, and gathers more supporters.

It's like complaining about shoot-outs at the end of a tied soccer game. It's no good, but it only takes place if neither side dominated enough to win.

Trump has every advantage going into this, and so just needs to appeal to more people (rather than losing supporters as he seems to be doing)

Birkel said...

Sammy Finkleman:

Reading minds of all Wisconsin voters since before it was cool.

Kirby Olson said...

I am for Trump. This is mostly, I admit, because I want to see the left spit sparks like one of those wind-up toys. Eight years of that, please.

I don't think the delegate thing is very worked out. Trump got 9 delegates from winning American Samoa, in which something like 400 people voted. That was weird. Or was it the Marianas. I'm for Trump, but let's face it: it was weird.

New York will have millions of voters next week but only 95 delegates.

Trump has about 760 delegates at this point. If people would just coalesce behind him, he would have won the whole thing by now. New Republic and Glenn Beck and others decide he's not a "true conservative" - which they fail to define. What even is a conservative, much less a true conservative?

If he makes leftists spit sparks, he's a conservative. The more sparks, the more true. He makes leftists spit sparks. So, he's good enough for me.

I'm voting for him next Tuesday. There's something in him to drive almost anyone up the wall. He has his hair. He has his billions. He has a nerve-shattering simplicity in terms of his answer to the illegals - a wall, and I'm going to make them pay for it. He doesn't really think, and yet he does. He has a nice wife and daughter. He may or may not give money to the Clintons. Maybe he's paying for her campaign, too.

He's the joker in the pack. I say we vote for him now, and find out what he's for later on.

damikesc said...

One could also argue that Trump has done best in open primaries, where Dems can vote for the GOP nominee. It's not a sign of super-strong Republican support (of course, having open primaries is damned idiotic).


And the rules of the game include using Ted to stop Trump, getting to an open convention, adopting new rules that allow those who haven't won any delegates to be nominated, and giving the nomination to Paul Ryan.


They CAN do that. No argument.

But it'd lead to an electoral disaster that'd make Mondale or Goldwater seem like close calls.

We'll see what the vote tallies look like after the NY and Pennsylvania GOP primaries. Trump's vote lead will get larger.

Don't see how "he does great in states he, literally, has zero shot of winning in a general" is a great argument for Trump.

He is only by 7 in CA over Cruz. Seven. In a state Cruz shouldn't be competitive in.

That I think is the best argument for the convention to have a "do-over" and pick someone who did not run in the primaries. The party's primary goal is to win elections and their secondary goal is to get things done (or stopped) that fit the agenda of its general membership and stakeholders--sort of like any club. Trump, it is quite clear, can't win and even if he could he certainly wouldn't advance any agenda desired by the conservative mainstream of the party. So why commit suicide by nominating him?

Well, the party's ability to pick winners is suspect at best and, THIS YEAR, it's electoral suicide. The voters are thoroughly anti-Establishment right now. Stuffing an establishment guy in a race when the Establishment, to be gentle, shat the bed during the primaries would be more destructive than Trump.

Go ahead. Hand Trump the outsider disenfranchisement argument. While everyone else is pontificating dirty details of rule 42, 48...Trump can hammer this.

The Colorado situation over the weekend is crazy.


If your EXPERTISE is "Deal making", you'd think you wouldn't have been snookered this badly, wouldn't you? It's like when Uri Geller went on the Tonight Show and couldn't do anything he did in his act up to that point. You can cry foul or what have you...but, in the end, if you have the ability, it'll show regardless.

M Jordan said...

"Blogger Birkel said...
Trump's bankruptcies = using the system provided to achieve his ends. Cruz's Colorado delegate pursuit = huge, huge mistake. Disconnect, much"

Trump's bankruptcies were fought in a courtroom under the nose of a man or woman in robes. Cruz's electoral vote-stealing will be fought in Pennsylvania, New York, and California under the lever-pulling hands of millions of voters.

Big difference.

CarlF said...

M Jordan: "Ted gets credit for milking system. Trump gets everything else."

What about Trump milking the system.

Trump used eminent domain to seize the property of others for his business purposes and when people complained, Trump said he does not like such use of eminent domain, but that's how the system works. So he milked the system.

Trump gave money to Democrats, including Hillary. When people complained, Trump said he does not like having to give the money, but that's how the system works. So he milked the system.

Bay Area Guy said...

Smart people in the media, and smart people on this blog, are having trouble distinguishing between a primary vote and a general election vote.

For most our history, there was no voting in the primary. And nobody with a clue yapped about "disenfranchisement" or "unfairness".

The primary is how a party selects its candidates for the general election, nothing more. If you don't like it, join a different party. It's not hard to do.

Of course, there is a check and balance. If enough party members don't like how the party is selecting their candidate, they may (a)bolt to form a new party (TR in 08'), (b) throw their support to an independent candidate (Perot in '92) or (c) sit home during Election Day.

The General election vote is what matters, not the primary rules. Trump doesn't get this.

M Jordan said...

Kirby: "He's the joker in the pack. I say we vote for him now, and find out what he's for later on."

I think you nailed the Trump phenomenon. We've had enough of these guys who know the answers to all the fake questions. We'll take a chance on a guy who figures it out as he goes along just like we do in real life.

M Jordan said...

"What about Trump milking the system. "

I gave Cruz credit for doing that. The problem for him is its a phyrrhic victory. He wins a battle but loses a war. You cannot say the same about Trump's working the system with his business dealings.

policraticus said...

When you think of each candidate as an individual, then Trump clearly has the best argument. Trumps voters constitute a plurality of the votes cast. He wins. However, if you think of each candidate as a subset within larger groups, then Trumps case becomes less rock solid. Cruz is arguing, as the leader of the Group "Not Trump," he commands(perhaps) a clear majority of the votes. (Cruz + Rubio + Kasich > Trump) The problem for Trump is that he hasn't been able to gather a clear majority of 50%+1 and that a large portion of the majority of voters who haven't voted for him will not, under any circumstances, support him. The problem with Cruz, is that very few in the "Trump" group will support him and many in the "Not Trump" group are, at best, lukewarm toward his candidacy. I think what Cruz is arguing is that, even given these facts, there is no way a third group "Team Dark Horse" doesn't do even worse among the loyal "Trump" and "Not Trump" voters.

As for Cruz "finagling" votes, I think that is pretty unfair, assuming he is playing by the rules. If the rules allow his actions, then he isn't finagling anything, he is playing fair and using the rules to his advantage. If you find that "unfair," learn how to play the game better. Of course, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, so if Cruz finds himself on the short end of a convention maneuver that installs zombie Dwight Eisenhower, then we will be able to relearn what "hoist by his own petard" really means.

Quaestor said...

Seriously, this is Poli Sci 101 stuff.

What's going on has nothing to do with Poli Sci and everything to do with Poli Psy, as in the psychology of politics. If Paul Ryan,Ted Cruz, and the "elites" don't realize this they're worse than stupid.

The rank-and-file voters of Colorado (and elsewhere) feel shat upon. Whether they have any legal or even ethical right to feel that way is immaterial. Come November these people are going to say home, or mark their ballots for Trump somehow as a protest. That means that the Ryan's machinations are in fact worse than useless. Instead of leveraging the mechanics of the convention process Ryan ought be concerned about his current assignment. Come November he won't be President or Speaker of the House; he'll be Paul Ryan, unemployed private citizen. Every Republican currently seated in any office ought to strict pay attention to growing mood of disenfranchisement many Republican voters are feeling. Their political careers are in mortal jeopardy.

What can they do? Firstly, they must somehow contrive to invalidate yesterday's delegate fiasco. In the next five or six weeks the Republican Committee of Colorado must dis-award the delegates "awarded" to Ted Cruz (Cruz's lawyerly tantrum will be epic) then they must organize a primary election or precinct-level caucus that restores at least the illusion of an inclusive democratic process -- all before June 1st. This is vital or it's going to be President Hildebeest come next January with a solidly Democratic House at her back.

Mike Sylwester said...

tim maguire at 8:37 AM

My sense of fairness tells me that the Trump delegates are not merely obligated to vote for Trump on the first round, but to represent the interests of Trump voters in all rounds.

I appreciate your argument, but the rules and the tradition allow delegates to adjust to the rare situations where the candidate cannot win a majority of votes at the convention.

Trump has failed to act Presidential, and so he will not be able to win a majority of votes at the convention. Trump himself has failed the people who voted for him and has failed their convention delegates.

I say this as someone who supported Trump from August through November 2015. I expected that he eventually would act Presidential, that he would master the issues, that he would improve his demeanor and rhetoric. He has failed to do so, and therefore opposition to him has grown to the point where he cannot win a majority at the convention.

In this situation, his delegates cannot continue to vote for him forever. They can vote for Cruz, for Kasish or for anybody else.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Ann Althouse wrote, "Trump calls it "unfair" and cries out for "democracy." "

Trump is both a crybaby and a sore loser.


If you don't like him. If you do then he is fighting against a corrupt system designed to thwart the will of the people and impose the establishment's choice on the party's base.

Brando said...

"Trump has an easy way to make it all go his way. Be a candidate that knows the issues, responds well to questions, and gathers more supporters."

That would involve him suddenly not being Trump.

"I am for Trump. This is mostly, I admit, because I want to see the left spit sparks like one of those wind-up toys. Eight years of that, please."

You won't be getting that. You'll be getting their smug satisfaction of beating the GOP handily this year, up and down the ballot, and spending the next four years deciding just how much of their leftist legislation they want to pass. You will have a lot of angry conservatives though, so if that's a plus for you then go right ahead.

"Well, the party's ability to pick winners is suspect at best and, THIS YEAR, it's electoral suicide. The voters are thoroughly anti-Establishment right now. Stuffing an establishment guy in a race when the Establishment, to be gentle, shat the bed during the primaries would be more destructive than Trump."

Anyone the delegates pick would seem to be an establishment choice, but Cruz's best argument is that he's got enough anti-establishment cred that if they can stomach him he'd be able to hold the party together. It's odd to think Cruz could play the role of uniter, but I don't know who else could.

Mike Sylwester said...

Virgil Hilts at 8:52 AM

The convention process is not a suicide pact by which the party agrees to lose the general even if the guy/gal who won the most delegates over time has gone into a death spiral. A lot of us had some enthusiasm for Trump (and might have voted for him) early on, but not any more. He has proven incapable of beating HC and the party should do whatever it takes to nominate someone who can (ryan 16!). The anti-democratic argument would only be relevant if Trump had maintained his support and remained a viable opponent to HC - which is not the case.

Well stated. I agree completely.

Birkel said...

M Jordan:
Nice job doing exactly what I said you were doing.

I, for one, am shocked that there is gambling at Rick's.

Gusty Winds said...

damikesc said...

If your EXPERTISE is "Deal making", you'd think you wouldn't have been snookered this badly, wouldn't you?

The politics of this will play to Trump's favor. He will point out that as a deal maker he knows a raw deal when he sees one. He knows corruption when he sees it.

This isn't isolated. Right now there are 8.5 million Trump voters getting 'snookered' and set up for a raw deal. And if the nomination goes to a candidate other than Trump or Cruz, you can add Cruz' total of 6.5 million. These voters will recognize a raw deal too.

This whole vote for Cruz and some strategic play, in which the Professor and Meade participated, didn't start until Wisconsin. Doesn't look like NY Republicans are playing the same game with Cruz in third place with 18%.

Go ahead. This needs to be played out. Pretend this is going to help the Republican Party.

AprilApple said...

Mike Sylwester @ 8:37 - a million times - THAT.

When Trump first arrived on the scene, I thought he was in it for Hillary.(back when he toyed with a Perot-style 3rd party run) (never mind all the money and support he has given her over the years. Never mind Trump was miffed at Obama when he selected Biden over Hillary as his VP...)

Trump and his supporters refuse to understand that many Americans are not pro-Cruz per-say, instead we are so turned off by Trump's UNPRESIDENTIAL bottom-feeding behavior, we simply refuse to reward him.

Trump is free to wise up and become presidential. I keep waiting. Instead, his behavior devolves daily into a never-ending "no fair" loop of misery, complaining, and tabloid mud-slinging.

Each time Trump says "Lyin' Ted" I am further repulsed.

Michael K said...

"The General election vote is what matters, not the primary rules. Trump doesn't get this."

I think he gets it very well and the GOPe doesn't. I guess we will see how this plays out but I now doubt the GOP can win the general election. I don't see Cruz getting crossover votes from angry voters who have not voted in recent elections.

I was 100% for Romney in 2012 and dismissed all the complaints about him as a RINO but he ran a poor campaign. He did not respond to Candy Crowley's thumb on the scale. He did not have an answer fro the Democrats allegation that Obamacare was Romneycare. His GOTV program on election day was pathetic.

This year we see voters in revolt in both parties. To think they will all go back to sleep and support the candidate their betters have chosen is foolishness squared. The Democrats have a lot of advantages in a boring election. The MSM will whip up enough enthusiasm. The teachers union will be out in force.

So Cruz is going to out-lawyer Hillary ? Come on.

Brando said...

The latest news is two of Trump's kids did not register as Republicans in time to vote in NY's primary. I realize this is only two votes, but geez--what does this say about their organization? If he can't get his own family members eligible to vote in the primary, how serious an operation does he have? How on earth can he rev up the ground game to take on Hillary this fall?

I know there's a temptation to see everything Trump fails at as being some secret way of winning--something I used to laugh at Andrew Sullivan for when he did the same with Obama--but at a certain point you just have to take a hard look at the guy and realize what has been obvious all along about the guy.

CStanley said...

I think Cruz's argument makes sense in the sense of the spirit of the rules, but he is making a lawyerly case as though it is according to the letter of the rules and that seems to be a faulty argument.

The spirit of the rules though is that the primary system is designed to test candidates and voter sentiment, so the delegates should vote for someone who passes these tests. This is an argument he should be making to the delegates, not presenting it as though it is a rule that binds them.

Brando said...

"So Cruz is going to out-lawyer Hillary ? Come on."

Cruz is a hell of a lot smarter than Hillary, and his organization is the best in the GOP right now. I've said before that he has a hard road ahead if he's the nominee (the Dems will savor having such an easy time painting him as an extremist) but there is a path for him to beat her. I wouldn't rule him out at this stage.

Quaestor said...

Who killed the Republic?

It wasn't Caesar.

It was Brutus.

AprilApple said...

Trump wants to win on the back of insults and free media time. He is the reality TV super star candidate. Except reality TV isn't reality.

mccullough said...

Cruz finagling is fine. It's also fine for the other GOP to finagle the nomination from Trump and Cruz if they don't get a majority of the delegates.

It's silly of Cruz to complain about disenfranchising anybody. The delegates pick the nominee and the state, local, and RNC pick most of the delegates. Trump and Cruz are unelectable. The delegates might think it's more important to keep Cruz 1/3 of primary voters in the tent than Trump's 37% or that picking someone other than Trump or Cruz will alienate too many primary voters as both Cruz core supporters and Trump's core supporters would feel robbed. Or the delegates might think it's best to pick someone who has a chance to beat Hillary so they'll go with Kasich or Ryan who have been semi vetted for a general election race and take their chances that the Cruz or Trump voters will stay home.

If you're a GOP party loyalist, it's probably best to go with the third option. Cruz is a poor spokesman for conservatism because he's unlikeable as hell. You don't want conservatism associated with Ted Cruz. Someone like Mitch Daniels is a good spokesman for conservatism because he's normal and not creepy and can point to some accomplishments. Cruz conservatism is theoretical because he's a first term senator who pops off way too much with nothing to show for it. Don't know why small government conservatives want a guy like Cruz tainting their message.

Kevin said...

If the RNC has evidence of Cruz's adultery, they'll just save it for right before the convention. Cruz will have done his job for them and they can simply nuke him as the family values candidate and nominate someone "clean".

You know, for the good of the party....

Not only will they not have Ted as the nominee, they will have used his own ego as their tool to knock out Trump and put their preferred person in power. Don't think that wouldn't be the ultimate "screw you" to the many of his peers who hate his guts.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

This year we see voters in revolt in both parties. To think they will all go back to sleep and support the candidate their betters have chosen is foolishness squared.

The fact that the GOPe wanted to nominate Jeb! to run against Hillary Clinton and thought they could secure his nomination shows how moribund their thinking is.

Seriously, three people from the same family, a father and two sons, as President in the span of 28 years!

And Hillary, whose only justification for being President is that she was married to one and its her turn!

What does that say about the Democrat party?

Discussion about the intricacies of political party infighting based on rules that most people find arcane is beside the point. Both parties have become sclerotic and more and more people feel that they are being governed without their giving any meaningful consent.

That is why someone who so many people find so distasteful has been able to garner so much support.

As for the wailing about Hillary beating Trump in the general election, did you think Jeb! was going to attract new, Hispanic voters because he too was going to support amnesty?

If the GOP is going to become Democrat Lite (We just want to slow things down a little so the rubes don't notice) party then I see no reason to support them. I see no difference between Hillary and a GOPe designated candidate. Both parties are fine with undermining civil liberties and enforcing the will of the elite despite whatever the rubes in fly over country think. Hell, those people are obsolete and don't watch the right TV shows or movies. They probably don't even read. Worst of all, they listen to "TALK RADIO!"

Shudder!

mccullough said...

The GOPe is for slightly lower taxes and in favor of fracking. Those are the main differences between Hillary and someone like Ryan or Kasich.

BDNYC said...

The democracy argument doesn't even work that well for Trump. A majority of GOP primary voters have rejected him and expressed disgust with him in opinion polls. His share of the GOP primary vote has not increased very much, if at all, despite the departure of more than a dozen candidates. It seems like a fairly stable majority of the party is unshakably opposed to Trump.

Quaestor said...

Except reality TV isn't reality.

The Poli Psy 101 Syllabus
Lecture 1: Reality Is What You Think It Is
Lecture 2: Perceived Arrogance Goeth Before a Fall

It doesn't matter what Cruz supporters or anti-Trumpsters think they're doing (saving conservatism, saving the party, saving the country, whatever) what they are perceived to be doing -- machinating unfairly to deny Trump a first ballot win -- is going to have fatal consequences in November, not only for a nascent Cruz Administration strangled in the cradle, but for hundreds of Republican backbenchers serving marginal districts and a dozens of Republican governorships, mayoralties, and state house seats. There'll be even a few Republican dog catchers looking for work thanks to the brilliant GOPe.

AprilApple said...

The CO GOP may have screwed the pooch by not having a caucus. Still the rules be the rules. Trump blew off CO. Totally. blew. us. off.

I'm hoping Trump loses the primary fair and square, but I'm not optimistic. He is ahead in the current wins and delegate count. I am not at all in favor of a Paul Ryan take-over. Want to piss-off just about everyone? That's how you do it.

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for this Trump guy to act like an adult and to pull ahead of Hillary IN AT LEAST ONE POLL.

traditionalguy said...

Cruz is a lawyer in the sense that he can switch arguments at need and seeks only to win a decision by argument made to the known biases of the Judges.

But Cruz has no experience with Jurors who get in the way. Jurors and voters will carefully hear the case they have seen presented and ignore the lies made up by a slick lawyer claiming it was all different. Confusing the Jurors and the voters is nearly impossible

A calling off of the election in favor of a Party Caucus or simply a refusing to go by the count of the votes is going to sink the Cruz Campaign.

pm317 said...

Why, if Trump is rejected for failing to get a majority, should the guy who got even less have some special entitlement?

Why, indeed! And from a democracy stand point, his wins are even less legit. They are coerced with lies and cajoled and sometimes, simply bullied in the many caucuses. He should be the last one to get any benefit of a democratic process.

Michael said...

First Ballot: All delegates must vote for the candidate that won in their state, eg. if Trump won 25 delegates and Cruz 15 delegated from State X, then each will receive that number of delegates - REGARDLESS if the Trump delegate is a Cruz supporter.

Second Ballot: Some states require the delegates to continue to vote as in the First Ballot; other states free up the delegates to vote for anyone nominated.

Third and Further Ballots: All delegates are free to vote for anyone on the ballot.

So where Cruz has outworked Trump is the state selection of delegates. The delegates are chosen by voting at the state convention. All candidates can put up a slate of potential delegates and provide this slate to all the attendees. Cruz has the ground organization to provide delegates that are well-known to the attendees and mostly they are the ones who are elected delegates.

As a result, Cruz has put in place delegates that either support or lean towards him. This is a Second Ballot strategy.

However, if Trump masses the 1237 delegates needed on the First Ballot, the delegates are required to vote for Trump whether or not 200 of those would rather vote for Cruz.

50 states and territories - each have a different way of selecting delegates. Knowing how to navigate through this Byzantine system will usually win the nomination. That is the way the current game is played. If you do not like it, then get involved in your local and state political party and work to change it.

Paddy O said...

As I think about it, I'm not entirely convinced yet that Trump wants to win the nomination.

He got ahead by doing the most minimal things, striking up controversial positions, being himself and getting massive media. He has a lot of people get behind him, but he doesn't really seem to be playing to win, as I would expect Trump plays when he wants to win.

He doesn't have that ol' fire in the belly for being President, otherwise his legal team would be all over the requirements and strategies.

He hasn't invested himself. Others, though, have invested a lot in him. Which would make this a win for him no matter how it turns out, and if he doesn't win the nomination (or presidency), he doesn't have to deal with all those pesky decisions and issues of actually being president.

Also, it's not like Hillary is going to play along with all the rules according to fairness. If anything, Cruz is showing that he can compete with Hillary in terms of ground game, where the Clintons will do everything legal and anything illegal they get away with in order to win. Trump doesn't seem to have that fight in him for whatever reason.

Bay Area Guy said...

@Michael K

I think he gets it very well and the GOPe doesn't. I guess we will see how this plays out but I now doubt the GOP can win the general election. I don't see Cruz getting crossover votes from angry voters who have not voted in recent elections.

It's a fine line to walk. I've been reluctant to criticize Trump, because I do think he is the likely nominee and I still believe that he is better than Hillary, because she and the Left are so awful (obamacare, soft on radial Islam, soft on illegal immigration, etc).

However, I am not drinking the Kool-aid on whether Trump or Cruz are likely to win the General. Both face serious challenges for different reasons. I hope either wins, and, in the California primary, will vote for whoever I think has the best shot in the General. Right now, I think it's Cruz, but I could be wrong.

Also, I don't think Obama's DOJ will indict Hillary, nor do I think the FBI will recommend indictment. They are dragging it out as much as possible to find a soft landing.

We are where we are. Interesting times.

MikeR said...

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/ted-cruz-not-paul-ryan-would-probably-win-a-contested-convention/
Ted Cruz may not need Glenn Beck's argument, and I haven't seen any claim that he is making it.

Bay Area Guy said...

@Quastor

Who killed the Republic?

It wasn't Caesar.

It was Brutus.


I love this. A thousand year old problem. Who guards the Guardian? No solution in sight.

Sometimes the cure is, in fact, worse than the disease.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

He got ahead by doing the most minimal things, striking up controversial positions, being himself and getting massive media.

I agree. I have often thought that Trump got involved in the race as a publicity stunt and was just as surprised as everyone else at his success.

The thing is, what's interesting about this race and Trump's success is what it reveals about the current state of our polity.

Brando said...

"Second Ballot: Some states require the delegates to continue to vote as in the First Ballot; other states free up the delegates to vote for anyone nominated."

What's the sense in requiring delegates to vote the same way in the second ballot as they did in the first? Doesn't that just ensure deadlock if all states had that rule?

"As I think about it, I'm not entirely convinced yet that Trump wants to win the nomination."

He hasn't even donated to his campaign--the money he spent he "lent" so if he did get the nomination and accepted large amounts of donor cash (much larger than he's taken in so far) he would first use that cash to pay himself back. I think the reason for this is he's not nearly as rich as he claims and very little of his money is liquid. I think if he went third party, he'd rely on donor money or keep it a very trim--maybe "write in only"--campaign.

My theory is he jumped into this thing to stroke his ego, expecting to get a bit of attention which of course he needs or he'll shrivel up, and he was as surprised by his success as anyone. He doesn't really have an interest in doing the boring, frustrating work of governing. It's not nearly as fun as being a reality TV star (and he's largely retired from the actual development and construction business and mostly just lends out his name). So best case scenario for him is to find a good way to walk out of this, still being able to tell people he could have won it and done a great job.

If the GOP gave their nomination to someone else, no one would be secretly more happy than Trump. He can claim he was robbed, but (1) feign graciousness and say in the interest of party unity his supporters should back the nominee; or (2) make a big stink and encourage a walkout at the convention, call for his people to write him in as a third party to play spoiler. Either way, when the GOP loses he can say this is what happens when they don't pick a winner like him. And some people will actually believe that.

mccullough said...

Trump is definitely bullshitting his way through the primaries and isn't invested in becoming informed on many issues, much less forming coherent policy proposals to address them, so he doesn't seem like someone who wants to win. But he's definitely touched on some important issues as for the effect of trade and iegal mmigration on a chunk of Americans, along with the general attitude that things are worse than they used to be for many people. And his views on the dangers of immigration from Muslim countries are widely shared, especially when you look at Europe. And he calls out progressive bullshit more than anyone with access to such a big megaphone.

But he doesn't want to be president and didn't think he'd get as far as he has.

DavidD said...

The best thing, I think,would be for Trump to go into the convention short of 1237 delegates.

All the delegates could vote their commitments on the 1st ballot. Then the delegates for Kasich, Rubio, et al. would be free to vote for whomever they wish.

Trump's delegates could continue to vote for Trump and Cruz's delegates could continue to vote for Cruz. Then we'll see who can get to 1237 on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th ballot.

Cruz/Walker 2016.

Amanda said...

I can almost believe Trump really doesn't want to be President. Who knows, maybe he's realizing that it wasn't going to be as easy as he thought. Ha.

Gusty Winds said...

Trump is up on Cruz by 2 million votes, 198 delegates, and 9 states. This lead will be much bigger in all areas after the NY, Pennsylvania, and other east coast primaries are completed.

By all means, this is glaring evidence the man has no idea how to run a campaign.

Seems he only knows how to get more votes by getting people out to the polls. What an idiot!

Now let's name the GOP party darlings that totaled zero's in all three areas.....Walker, Bush, Christie, Paul, Jindal, Pataki, etc....

Brando said...

"Now let's name the GOP party darlings that totaled zero's in all three areas.....Walker, Bush, Christie, Paul, Jindal, Pataki, etc...."

We constantly hear from Trump about what a "choke artist" Mitt Romney was. But at this point in 2012 Romney had wrapped up the nomination, and he certainly didn't embarrass himself by winning a primary and getting fewer delegates because his team didn't understand how delegates worked (as in Louisiana) or fall flat on his face in Colorado by printing the wrong names on delegate selection ballots. And Romney lost by six points to a skilled politician and incumbent president who had his party's full support during an economic recovery. Trump is now averaging over ten points down against one of the least popular nominees the Democrats ever put up.

Keep spinning, but in the end the best thing for this guy is if he finds a way to drop out before November. Even someone as delusional as him should see a major humiliation is coming his way.

damikesc said...

Anyone the delegates pick would seem to be an establishment choice, but Cruz's best argument is that he's got enough anti-establishment cred that if they can stomach him he'd be able to hold the party together. It's odd to think Cruz could play the role of uniter, but I don't know who else could.

Right man, right time. Just as only Nixon could open up Red China, only Cruz can re-unite the GOP.

The politics of this will play to Trump's favor. He will point out that as a deal maker he knows a raw deal when he sees one. He knows corruption when he sees it.

With the Trump U fraud case lingering, he might want to hold off on corruption complaints. Cruz has been real soft on that...but I have little doubt he can drive that fiasco hard if he so wants.

This whole vote for Cruz and some strategic play, in which the Professor and Meade participated, didn't start until Wisconsin. Doesn't look like NY Republicans are playing the same game with Cruz in third place with 18%.

Who wants to gamble that Cruz does way better than expected and Trump does way worse in NY?

Not saying Cruz wins, mind you.

So Cruz is going to out-lawyer Hillary ? Come on.

Umm, Cruz is demonstrably a far better lawyer than Hillary has ever dreamed of being. He's argued multiple cases in front of the SCOTUS.

Hillary thinks she can outlawyer HIM? Hell,

It doesn't matter what Cruz supporters or anti-Trumpsters think they're doing (saving conservatism, saving the party, saving the country, whatever) what they are perceived to be doing -- machinating unfairly to deny Trump a first ballot win -- is going to have fatal consequences in November, not only for a nascent Cruz Administration strangled in the cradle, but for hundreds of Republican backbenchers serving marginal districts and a dozens of Republican governorships, mayoralties, and state house seats. There'll be even a few Republican dog catchers looking for work thanks to the brilliant GOPe.

If Trump fails to hit 1237 (and he probably won't hit it), then how is he being finagled out of a first ballot win he didn't, you know, win?

Why, indeed! And from a democracy stand point, his wins are even less legit. They are coerced with lies and cajoled and sometimes, simply bullied in the many caucuses. He should be the last one to get any benefit of a democratic process.

But if Cruz gets enough delegates to end up winning, then how is Trump the superior "deal maker"? Again, deal making is Trump's self-professed expertise.

As I think about it, I'm not entirely convinced yet that Trump wants to win the nomination.

Nor am I. I think he'd rather be able to say "I could've had it if I wanted it" then going the slog of a campaign and losing.

damikesc said...

Now let's name the GOP party darlings that totaled zero's in all three areas.....Walker, Bush, Christie, Paul, Jindal, Pataki, etc....

Your point?

Cruz missed 50% in TX due to Rubio. Take away that and this race is far closer.

Trump will win NY, which for the GOP is utterly useless. He'll also probably win CA, but he's not up by that much.

He won't hit 1237. And Cruz's ground game makes Trump's look amateurish.

Saint Croix said...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again!

After a few near riots and a free-for-all at the convention...

Marco Rubio - Republican nominee for President
Donald Trump - Republican nominee for Vice-President
Ted Cruz - Republican nominee for Supreme Court Justice

and everybody is happy! yes?

Bay Area Guy said...

@Saint Croix,

Heh -- I'm with you on that, but we are in a distinct minority:)

One tweak: Nikki Haley as VP, and make Trump the Press Secretary:)

Gusty Winds said...

damikesc said...Your point?

Clearly all evidence and results to this point show that Trump actually does know how to run a successful campaign. All the 'experts' and professional politicians we're the ones who got it all wrong since last summer.

Seeing as it's his first one, and it's for President, combined with the fact that he is winning, speaks for itself.

Obviously he has no clue. Total amateur.

mccullough said...

I wonder what the overlap between Never Trump and Lose With Cruz is among the delegates.

CStanley said...

Going with the idea that Trump never really thought he'd get this far, and doesn't really want to be president, you would think he might formulate an exit strategy. I'm entertaining the thought that he'll go all the way to the convention and then make an announcement that he will not accept if nominated, and then throw his support to someone else of his choosing.

So in this scenario (unlikely, but play along if you will) scenario who does he pick? And who, if anyone would his supporters rally behind?

Brando said...

"Who wants to gamble that Cruz does way better than expected and Trump does way worse in NY?"

I'd bet Cruz does far better than expected, because much of the NY race is the 27 separate district races where you get some delegates for coming in second and more for coming in first even if you lose the state overall. He has a smart campaign organization that is likely figuring out how best to marshal his resources and get the best possible delegate haul. Trump is going to coast on his poll numbers--he doesn't really have a ground game. Kasich is more a threat to Cruz in NY than Trump.

"Seeing as it's his first one, and it's for President, combined with the fact that he is winning, speaks for itself."

So we're grading on a curve? He gets endless free media and instant name recognition, and ran against the largest and most redundant GOP field ever, to the extent they couldn't get them all on one debate stage. He's on track to fall well short of the majority of delegates, and his poll numbers have him the most unpopular and weakest general election nominee the GOP ever put up--worse than Goldwater.

If he were actually good at this--hell, if he even really wanted this--he would have put together a smart campaign team and spent actual money on the ground game and would have put this away by now. He would be mollifying the conservatives and moderates and making amends with the very people he needs if he wants to secure the nomination and beat Hillary. He'd be reassuring his supporters (and picking up new supporters) by handling his TV appearances well and displaying gravitas, intelligence and a command of the issues. Instead, he has done the opposite and even while there's a good chance he'll be nominated, he's got almost zero chance of becoming president.

Brando said...

"Going with the idea that Trump never really thought he'd get this far, and doesn't really want to be president, you would think he might formulate an exit strategy. I'm entertaining the thought that he'll go all the way to the convention and then make an announcement that he will not accept if nominated, and then throw his support to someone else of his choosing."

I figure he'd pick Cruz. Trump is just volatile enough to go from telling us a guy is a child molester to warmly accepting his endorsement. I could see him decide "Lyin' Ted" is suddenly a "great guy" who will do great things in office.

bmk50211 said...

It looks likely that no one will receive a majority on the first round or even the second round. The Paul Ryan option advanced by the GOPe would require the majority of delegates/supporters to accept that their guy was a loser and they lost. Yeah, that will work. It might be time for the Cruz and Trump supporters to entertain the thought of someone other than their guy to nominate and see if there are any names in common. The GOPe would do well to step back and listen. The goal is to beat Hillary/Bernie.

Beldar said...

I respectfully dissent from Madame and Mister Justices Althouse.

Alhouse-mère wrote: "Cruz is involved in seizing more than his share of delegates after the primaries." That's a loaded and negative judgment based on an oversimplified mischaracterization of what Cruz is doing. Cruz is seizing opportunities to influence the selection of the individual delegates who will be bound, on the first ballot, in accordance with the primary or caucus voting in their states. This is the way politics works, and has worked for decades -- and indeed, the way that the American political system is designed to work. It's not "seizing more than his share" unless you set your focus level at "naive and shallow."

Althouse-fils wrote: "[I]f and when [Cruz forces a contested convention], he can't use his delegate count to argue that we should choose him based on the will of the people. The only democratic choice will be Trump. Anything else will be an elite decision about who will be best in the general ...."

This is what we call republican democracy, actually. I think Trump might have skipped civics class at New York Military Academy the day they explained that, but you can look it up: it's a thing.

Beldar said...

I know Trump would rather that the Republican National Convention be conducted via online and telephone polling to create direct democracy. "Dial 1 if you believe Trump will save the country by building a wall. Dial 2 if you believe Trump will save the country by beating up on China."

If he were a consensus candidate who'd already won the nomination and locked up a majority of committed delegates, he could put his own people in the Rules and Credentials Committees and he could turn the convention into TRUMPMANIA_RNC or however he wanted to brand it.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Turns out that winning the presidential election really is harder than getting TV ratings.

CStanley said...

Excellent comment Beldar.

For those who still keep playing the democracy card, perhaps consider that the very nature of the primary voting system makes that impossible. Lots of candidates have dropped out, and a lot of voters supported them. Why, when it gets to the convention, should those votes not matter? And other voters, in the states that vote later, might have preferred the candidates who were available to the early state voters.

It simply doesn't make sense to talk about disenfranchisement. The system is a way for the party to get a sense of the electorate and a sense of how the candidates perform, but it is not a democratic election. Imagine if the general election had some states voting months before others!

Qwinn said...

To those worried about poor Trump being robbed by anti-Democratic party rules, those same rules have given him 45% of the delegates awarded so far despite having only received 37% of votes cast.

Will those same people complain about these rules which clearly benefit him above and beyond what the vote entitles him to?

Didn't think so.

mccullough said...

Brando,

Cruz is slight less disdained by the electorate at this point than Trump. Shouldn't the fact that they are both unelectable figure into any delegate's vote? What qualities does Cruz have that would allow him to change people's perception of him? Is it his positions or his personality that people find distasteful or both?

Michael K said...

"It seems like a fairly stable majority of the party is unshakably opposed to Trump."

And a larger majority opposes the donor class candidates.

"Umm, Cruz is demonstrably a far better lawyer than Hillary has ever dreamed of being. He's argued multiple cases in front of the SCOTUS.

Hillary thinks she can outlawyer HIM? Hell, "

I had to wait a minute to stop laughing. That comment is so illustrative of the donor class mentality it is hilarious.

I am pretty well resigned to the GOPe stopping Trump, and Cruz for that matter. They are just not housebroken yet and the Masters of the Universe (anybody read "Bonfire of the Vanities?") would not have that.

You guy go ahead congratulating yourselves on Cruz's brilliance.

I just ordered some bags of silver coins as gold will probably be too expensive to use to buy flour after Hillary crashes the economy.

mccullough said...

Whoever obtains the Sword of Power, raises it, and shouts "by the power of Grayskull" will be the GOP nominee

Brando said...

"Cruz is slight less disdained by the electorate at this point than Trump. Shouldn't the fact that they are both unelectable figure into any delegate's vote? What qualities does Cruz have that would allow him to change people's perception of him? Is it his positions or his personality that people find distasteful or both?"

That's something they'll have to consider. What works in Cruz's favor, at least compared to Trump, is his negatives are not nearly as high and for many voters they still don't know him that well (does anyone not have a strong opinion of Trump by this point?). I don't know if Cruz could pull it off--he may not be able to--but if he could mollify moderates that his presidency would not be anything to fear, and that what he has to offer is preferable to Hillary, he has a chance. It would be a change of pace because so far he has not seemed to make any moves towards winning over moderates.

But Cruz does have the 'outsider' thing, the religious right cred and the Tea Party cred--the only group he has no appeal with right now is moderates. But then, who else has all those groups?

Sebastian said...

"One tweak: Nikki Haley as VP, and make Trump the Press Secretary:)" No. Rubio Prez, Haley VP, Cruz SCOTUS, and Trump UN ambassador.

pm317 said...

Cruz is an outsider? What a laugh! His wife isn't. And he is an outsider because nobody wants him in.

mccullough said...

So what in Cruz personality would allow him to appeal to moderates? What in his policies appeals to moderates? Does his cred with the religious right and the tea party turn off moderates? Will his 54% unfavorability rating be better, worse or the same as more voters get to know him? Cruz and Hillary have high negatives but people already know Hillary better.

mccullough said...

Cruz is an outsider compared to Hillary. So is Sanders. They are both senators like Obama was, so they aren't total outsiders. But compared to Hillary they are outsiders.

gadfly said...

Somehow the argument has changed to make the Cruz campaign's continued search for delegate support to become patently illegal, immoral or fattening. Folks, this is a political campaign and the only certainty before death and taxes is that some delegates will get their wallets fattened.

I understand that the EPA has intervened and as a result, smoke-filled rooms are bygone (unless we are talking vapes) - but politicians have not changed their stripes much. In the words of immoral and sometimes illegal James Traficant (who knows all about stripes), "Beam me up, Scotty!"

Brando said...

"So what in Cruz personality would allow him to appeal to moderates? What in his policies appeals to moderates?"

As yet I haven't seen anything from Cruz that would suggest he could appeal to moderates. He would have to do a real pivot (and one that doesn't seem so obviously like a pivot, or it would backfire) and modify his approach. I don't know if he could do that. But I can easier see that than Trump suddenly turning himself into a serious candidate.

mccullough said...

Can't see either of these guys winning. Maybe Cruz does a little less damage to the GOP brand than Trump but maybe not. Trump's not even a Republican. And Cruz is a poor messenger. It's understandable why a lot of GOP people want a different nominee.

Brando said...

"Can't see either of these guys winning. Maybe Cruz does a little less damage to the GOP brand than Trump but maybe not. Trump's not even a Republican. And Cruz is a poor messenger. It's understandable why a lot of GOP people want a different nominee."

Maybe in a normal year, a different nominee would be possible. Someone like Rick Perry, who is both establishment and religious and conservative and an experienced governor at once, or Nikki Haley who crosses enough coalitions and would provide a strong contrast to Hillary's race-baiting and gender-pushing strategy. But this year the pull of the "outsider" is strong, and few can fill that bill. By definition, anyone the convention plucks in now would be seen as "establishment".

It may even be that the damage is done--Trump effectively poisoned the GOP brand among a lot of key demographics which may avoid the GOP altogether even if someone else is nominated. Certainly, he caused a split in the party which may be unrepairable this cycle. And if that's the case, maybe it doesn't matter what the GOP does this year because it's heading for an unnecessary loss and its best hope is to try and salvage some downballot races and build for 2020.

mccullough said...

Looks more like Trump exposed a split in the GOP much as Sanders exposed a split in the Dems. Maybe it would have been a few more years if these guys hadn't run this time but what they exposed, and by exposing helped escalate, is that both parties have some very deep divisions. The Dems will probably weather it a little better this cycle but I doubt it's going away for either party. Their coalitions are going to be smaller.

traditionalguy said...

The Republican Party owes no one anything, it seems. As pointed out, no voter can be disenfranchised when the State run Primary elections are charade non binding semblance of elections only held to fake out emotional voters.

And all that Profound Preibus Pledge required from "candidates:" To Support The Nominee meant less than nothing.

But an important lesson has been learned here: You cannot trust a Republican to keep his word on anything at anytime.



mccullough said...

The primaries and caucuses and other of the GOP are pretty convoluted. Some states have open primaries and caucuses, some states have closed, some states have a hybrid of primary/caucus determining the bound delgates but still having unbound at large delegates, some are winner take all delegates, some are winner take all if one candidate takes 50% of vote or else it's apportioned by popular vote if a certain threshold of votes is received, some as low as 15%, and some are just hybrid of winning a congressional district and the popular vote winner gets the at large delegates, some states have no primary or caucus and the state convention picks the delegates who are not bound at all on a first ballot. Only 12 states allow the candidate to pick the persons who will serve as delegates, otherwise the local and state GOP, by convention or otherwise pick the persons who will serve as delegates.

Then the convention rules are temporary and can be changed by majority vote of the delegates after the rules committee has approved them by majority of 112 members, who are up of three party people from each state, territory, and DC.

This is an arcane process that can be controlled by party insiders if any candidate doesn't get a majority of bound delegates before the convention. These are what the rules of the RNC and the state parties allow for. They are complex but they are the rules. The arcana, however, has the practical effect of looking like the GOP doesn't care about actual voters because hardly any of them knew or understood the rules, especially Trump. He's basically saying the process is bullshit because he had no idea it was this convoluted and neither did the voters.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...Cruz is involved in seizing more than his share of delegates after the primaries.

Isn't "his share" exactly what's under consideration/being debated here? Is there a name for assuming the answer the to question as a part of a the question itself?

rich hahn said...

Cruz reminds me more and more of Obama. Anything is fair if it gets him what he wants.

I think Cruz may be turning off more people with his tricks than he knows. The backlash will be big enough to make a difference.

mccullough said...

In context, receiving more than his share of delegates means more than his share after the primaries and the first ballot at the RNC convention based upon votes from the primaries and caucuses. He's free to do this just as others are free to change the convention rules and select someone other than Trump or Cruz after the first or second ballot. But it's silly of Cruz to take a hybrid approach of doing what's he doing and then trying to complain about disenfranchising the voters by passing over Trump, which is all good with Cruz, but it's disenfranchisement to pass over Cruz by changing the convention rules, which under the rules can be changed. It's incoherent. He's a bigger whiner than Trump.

mccullough said...

The majority delegate Rule (Rule 40(d)), can be changed as well by majority vote. They could say that whoever has the most delegates from Ohio shall be the nominee.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I challenge the assumption that the GOP would have won absent Trump and Cruz. And the assumption that this was an easy victory and Trump has poisoned the well.

Since Ronald Reagan left office in we have had the original Bush who was the vice-president of an extremely popular president during good economic times that, despite the MSM, was credited to Reagan. Bush then managed to lose to Clinton (albeit with the help of Ross Perot.)

Then in 1996 we ran Bob Dole, who lost in another three way race with Perot, but with Perot's percentage greatly reduced. In any event, in both the 92 and 96 elections the Democrat nominee won the vast majority of electoral votes.

Then we come to 2000 were the second Bush barely won with 271 electoral votes vs Gores 266. In fact, Bush actually had a lower percentage of the popular vote than Gore. Bush then managed to get reelected during a war, running against John Kerry, by a slim margin.

Which leads us up to 2008 where the GOP nominee, that most establishmenty of establimenters, John McCain, managed to get himself soundly defeated by Barack Obama and 2012 where Obama drubbed mister charisma himself, Mitt Romney. In 2012. Oh, by the way, I find it fascinating how much better conservative pundits now find the economy now that they need to explain away that win.

This record does not seem to support the idea that nominating a "moderate" is the way for GOP to win presidential elections. Especially since "moderate" seems to actually mean people who won't upset the apple cart. An actual moderate might reflect sentiments held by a majority of the electorate, but since the GOPe has established that those sentiments are racist by definition, not to mention inconvenient to their business interests, selecting such a person is simply not an option.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

mccullough said...
The majority delegate Rule (Rule 40(d)), can be changed as well by majority vote.


Yeah, all the rules can. I think that's the underreported story--people keep talking about the rules in place last time like they have to be adopted. They don't! Now maybe most of them will, but the people setting the rules are the delegates--they're highly interested parties. That's an unusual situation and (assuming no one comes in with the majority necessary to win on the 1st ballot) it seems to me that the rule-setting is the thing that will have the most influence on the final outcome, no?

mccullough said...

Rule 40(b) was new to the last convention so it doesn't have any tradition behind it as the majority delegate rule does. That's why the Powers That Be keep reminding people that it was only a 2012 rule and the motivating factor for it was to keep Ron Paul off the stage. They won't get rid of the majority delegate because of tradition. But it would be entertaining if they changed it to whoever wins the majority of delegates from whatever state, territory, or DC that the RNC chair pulls out of a hat.

Michael K said...

""Cruz is slight less disdained by the electorate at this point than Trump. Shouldn't the fact that they are both unelectable figure into any delegate's vote? What qualities does Cruz have that would allow him to change people's perception of him? "

"The electorate" means the GOP primary voters.

I think Trump is the one with the best chance to win the general election. I think it would be better with Cruz as VP but Cruz alone, I think, is a loser. Maybe if, beyond all likelihood, Bernie was the Democrats' nominee, he would probably hold all the Democrats who support him. If Hillary is the nominee, I think the young who do not already support Trump will probably stay home. I don't see Cruz getting Democrats and young voters with his "lawyerly" tactics.

A major terrorist attack before the election might change the situation but, short of that, I think only Trump can win the general election for the GOP.

commander0 said...

I don't know why either of them are bringing up the democracy card. The US is not a direct democracy (see electoral college among other things) and the parties most certainly are not. I don't know why the unserious dilettante, aka Donald Trump, is whining about the delegate process when they haven't, yet, changed the rules to screw him. They rules are exactly the same as they were when he started. He's just getting outplayed. Boo hoo. Maybe he'll sue somebody. That's what the brat does when he doesn't get his way

He also has zero chance in the general election. None. He is widely reviled.

mccullough said...

The favorable/unfavorable ratings of the candidates are based on polls of likely voters in general election. Trump has the lowest (negative 30%) Cruz has the second lowest (negative 20%) and Clinton has the third lowest (-14%). Cruz has the most not sure (at about 13%), while Trump and Clinton have the least unsure (at about 4%).

Sammy Finkelman said...

Bay Area Guy said...4/11/16, 9:27 AM

If enough party members don't like how the party is selecting their candidate, they may (a)bolt to form a new party (TR in 08'),

1912, not 1908. In 1908 Theodore Roosevelt said that the period sinceSept 1901 to 1905 had been his first term, and the 1904 election was for his second term, and a president shouldn't have more than two twrms, so he was not runing again, and he picked Tafy to suuceed him. Then he grew dissatiisfied wih Taft and tried to take the nomination from him. His "Bull Moose:" or Progressive Party came in second.

(b) throw their support to an independent candidate (Perot in '92)

Other years with important 3td party candidates were 1924, 1948 (two of them) 1968 and maybe 1980.

or (c) sit home during Election Day.

There's usualy a way to cast a protest vote.

The General election vote is what matters, not the primary rules. Trump doesn't get this.


Sammy Finkelman said...

The General election vote is what matters, not the primary rules. Trump doesn't get this.

Nobody could be really that dense. Maybe he hopes other people are. He keeps claiming he will beat Hillary.


Saint Croix said...

If Donnie is the Veep

Make Christie the Food-Taster

mccullough said...

What matters is winning states in the general election, as W showed in 2000. The GOP needs to hold the Romney states in the general election and flip several more, including Ohio and Florida. The people who run the RNC get this. Trump and Cruz do not. Maybe their core supporters don't care about losing to Hillary as long as their guy is the one who loses. But if they think either of them can beat Hillary then they are dense.

Brando said...

"This record does not seem to support the idea that nominating a "moderate" is the way for GOP to win presidential elections. Especially since "moderate" seems to actually mean people who won't upset the apple cart. An actual moderate might reflect sentiments held by a majority of the electorate, but since the GOPe has established that those sentiments are racist by definition, not to mention inconvenient to their business interests, selecting such a person is simply not an option. "

So you're saying a "moderate" is really left of center because a true moderate would hold views the GOPe decided were racist?

Regardless, I'm not arguing that the GOP should nominate a moderate--the problem with doing so is moderates such as Romney and McCain had to spend so much of the primary season (which is much longer than the general election season) tacking to the right to try and win them over that they make themselves toxic by the time they need to appeal outside their own party, and give the Dems plenty of ammunition to make it look like they're beholden to their party's extremists.

Instead, nominating a conservative who can appeal to moderates is likely to bear more fruit. The last time they tried this was George W Bush (who proved to be more moderate in practice, but had a conservative reputation in 2000 and didn't need to tack right--he instead could pull the "compassion" card and make himself acceptable to moderates without worry of losing his right wing) and before that, Reagan. The main ingredient though is simply a skilled politician who can do all of this without appearing to pander (e.g., Hillary).

The way the math breaks down the GOP has a rockier coalition of conservatives, evangelicals, libertarians, moderates and nativists. It's harder to hold them together than it is the Dem coalition of SJWs, racialists, unions, and moderates. The GOP has to figure out how to overcome that disadvantage.

damikesc said...

Clearly all evidence and results to this point show that Trump actually does know how to run a successful campaign.

Given his complaints, clearly, he cannot do so. He doesn't have people who seem to understand the rules they are all operating under. Whining how rules, initiated before this race began, are "unfair" is the talk of losers.

Cruz is slight less disdained by the electorate at this point than Trump.

Most polls show Cruz either beating Hillary or being exceptionally close. And that is with Hillary's negatives being basically ignored for weeks now.

Cruz is, above all, a winner.

I had to wait a minute to stop laughing. That comment is so illustrative of the donor class mentality it is hilarious.

I'm the donor class now? Intriguing.

It's simple factual accuracy. Hillary was a meh lawyer. Little of actual note in her entire career. Cruz was a top-level lawyer. One of the best. It's not even really a debate.

I just ordered some bags of silver coins as gold will probably be too expensive to use to buy flour after Hillary crashes the economy.

Because a candidate who, by any possible measure, loses by double digits on his best day is a better option.

Sure.

Hillary is a shit campaigner. God awful. Rubio was better and he was terrible. Trump has a laughably weak ground game, based on recent evidence while Cruz, clearly, does not.

You want somebody who will go after Hillary? Might be wise to put somebody competent enough to do so up for the vote. Trump doesn't seem to be that guy.

I think Cruz may be turning off more people with his tricks than he knows

When Trump does it, it is genius. When Cruz does, it is evil.

Yeah, that works.

Why not support a guy who has a team that actually knows what they are doing? Trump knows what he is doing when it comes to using eminent domain to get property and bankruptcy to screw investors. Cruz knows what he is doing to get delegates.

Brando said...

"Whining how rules, initiated before this race began, are "unfair" is the talk of losers."

What's Trump going to say when he signs a bill into law that he and his advisers never carefully read? How unfair it was that Congress misled him about what was in it?

"Most polls show Cruz either beating Hillary or being exceptionally close. And that is with Hillary's negatives being basically ignored for weeks now."

On the RCP averages Cruz is down a little over 2% to Hillary, while Trump is over 10% down to Hillary. Cruz will have some disadvantages in the general election, but it is easier to picture him overcoming them than Trump doing so.

"Trump has a laughably weak ground game, based on recent evidence while Cruz, clearly, does not."

Trump actually has no ground game. He is a notorious skinflint who is much poorer than he pretends to be, and is loaning money to his campaign and will pay himself back with donor funds. He is not serious about becoming president so he will not spend real cash on building a ground operation. Trump's fans need to wake up to this fact as they are about to hit a wall.

"When Trump does it, it is genius. When Cruz does, it is evil."

Remember, in Trump World, rules only apply to everyone else.
"I'm the donor class now? Intriguing."

It's easier for Trump fans to believe that all of us who oppose Trump are corrupt DC donors than to grapple with why so many reject him.