CHUCK TODD: Let me start with this concern. We've heard it from many people that are Cruz supporters and that Trump supporters over the airwaves, who are concerned that somehow the party establishment may deny both of them. What would happen do you think to, what would your listeners, how would they react?I know he wants Cruz, but he's mischaracterizing what the people are doing. We were enfranchised when we voted in a primary and our vote was given the effect that we were told it would have toward selecting delegates who would vote on our behalf at a convention. And let's be clear about where the passion is and is not. Many of us in Wisconsin who voted for Cruz were voting to stop Trump and to get to an open convention where we hope to see Paul Ryan selected. Don't imagine some passion on our part that augments that passion of yours. If the GOP convention picks Paul Ryan, I wouldn't feel betrayed. I'd feel vindicated.
GLENN BECK: I think it would be the end of the G.O.P. ...
CHUCK TODD: So you think if Paul Ryan is somehow plucked as the Republican nominee, that it would be the end of the G.O.P. --
GLENN BECK: -- I think it would be very bad. You can't disenfranchise people. We've all gone out. We've been passionate about it. We've all been going back and forth and voted on the people that we believe. I really think it has to be one of the two frontrunners. I just think people would feel very betrayed....
Beck proceeds to talk about the anger people already feel and how that anger will flare up if there's an open convention and it goes for Paul Ryan. The GOP need to "find their principles," he says, and not disappoint those who've worked hard campaigning for candidates — candidates that (as I'd put it) all failed to get a majority.
But wouldn't Beck prefer Ryan to Trump? Todd points out that Beck has been "pretty aggressively on the 'Never Trump' bandwagon." So is he saying that at an open convention, if it's not Cruz, he'd prefer Trump to anyone else? Beck talks a lot without answering the question:
GLENN BECK: No, no, no. I think a Trump nomination would be, I am a "Never Trump" guy.... I think a Trump nomination would be disastrous. With that being said, you can't disenfranchise people. If Trump wins the 1,237 or wins in the first, second, third ballot, it must go to him. And it can't go to dirty politics. You can't continue to disenfranchise people. I will never vote for Donald Trump. But if he's the guy that is picked with fair play, that's fine. But you have Reince Priebus saying that it will be somebody who is running right now. Okay, let's take the G.O.P. chair at his word. It's got to be somebody who's running.Well, what if Trump doesn't come in with the majority? Is it necessarily between Trump and Cruz and no one else? Beck never says. Instead of pinning him down, Todd asks what Beck will do if the convention nominates Trump: Will he support a 3rd party?
GLENN BECK: I just don't think this is going to happen. And I haven't decided on what I would do. I know I will not vote for Trump. And I would probably go and just look for the strongest people in the House and the Senate that would keep Hillary Clinton at bay. Because Trump is not going to win the general. If you look at the polls, Todd, and you know this, no matter what you say, you look at the polls, Hillary Clinton wins every time with Donald Trump.At that point, I was laughing, because Beck forgot which of the 2 first-name names was Todd's first name. (I call Chuck Todd "Todd" like I call Glenn Beck "Beck" — intentionally using last names.) And at that point Todd let Beck go.
But later, in the panel discussion, Todd finessed his own shortcomings and presented Beck's incoherence as if he'd nailed it down: "It was an amazing box that I feel like Beck basically has put the party in. Saying you can't ever nominate Trump, I'll never support him, but hey, you better nominate him if it isn't Cruz."
Molly Ball said Beck "actually contradicts himself":
Because on the one hand he's saying we have to respect the will of the voters and if the voters feel disenfranchised it''ll have to split the party-- as if that hasn't already happened pretty much. But if we're assuming a brokered convention, which I think is probable, nobody has the majority of the vote. Some plurality is going to be disenfranchised. We'll have majority of Republic- this is not a Democratic process.That's a tad — a todd — garbled. And fortunately Matt Bai stepped up:
MATT BAI: I object to the word disenfranchised only because I don't know where all these people got the idea that party primaries are constitutionally protected. They've always been this way-- you've got to get delegates.And if you don't have the majority, the delegates are real people, part of a deliberative body, and they should talk about what should be done under the circumstances. They should not feel bound by made-up expectations about the heart-felt passions of those of us who may have gone to the polls — as I did — steely-hearted and pragmatic.
CHUCK TODD: I also want to remind people again that we're a republic. Actually, even these private organizations called the Democratic Party and Republican Party-- private organization not governed by the constitution chose to essentially mirror the constitution. The constitution says we're going to have an electoral college, a federal system decide who our president is, and the two parties agreed....
MOLLY BALL: Well, this was a relatively recent innovation. This wasn't always the case. And it's only in the last few decades that they've chosen to resemble more, the quasi-democratic --
MATT BAI: However you pick the delegates, the fact remain it's always been the twos- Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, they didn't show up to the convention with the delegates. They had to go there, twist arms, and win delegates and earn it. And just because you're doing it with primaries and caucuses more now --
CHUCK TODD: Shouldn't you, by the way, if you want to be the leader of the party, shouldn't you be able to prove that you can do some behind the scenes stuff, too?
RICH LOWRY: Well, right. Organizing has always been part of politics and 1,237 is not an arbitrary number. It's a majority. It's the bare minimum requirement to show you have a majority consensus of the party.