With Donald Trump’s resounding win last night in Pensylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland and Delaware, Trump captured over 60 percent in four out of five of these races. This signals the end of the Ted Cruz campaign, with him only winning 3 Delaware delegates. He has reached the point where he cannot reach a majority of the delegates on the first ballot, and because of this he must now deny Trump 1237 so he can win on a potential second ballot.
Cruz’s problems are more deep than just his losses last night, a new FOX poll has Trump leading Cruz by eight percentage points in Indiana, a mathematical must-win state for Senator Cruz. Analysts say that if Trump were to win Indiana, it would likely mean that Trump has the nomination at the end of this fight. He currently sits at 954 pledged delegates with Cruz at 562 delegates. There are a total of 502 delegates left outstanding. This count doesn’t include the 39 unbound delegates from Pensylvania who are likely to vote for Mr. Trump on the first ballot due to his resounding win on Tuesday. Only three unbound delegates who promise to vote for Cruz were elected in Pensylvania.
Mr Cruz appeared to have an ace up his sleeve today however when he chose former CEO Carly Fiorina to be his running mate, undoubtedly a play for female Republican primary voters. It’s unclear if this will have any impact in Indiana or anywhere else in the country because Carly Fiorina placed seventh place in both Iowa and New Hampshire before dropping out due to her extrordinarily awful polling numbers. We’re going to have to wait to see what kind of data we get from these states before we know for sure what the impact will be, but if the past is any indicator, it wont do much, and much of the news cycle today has been dedicated to Trump’s resounding win last night and Cruz’s desperation today.
Not only does it seem unlikely that Fiorina will help Cruz, but the move may play to Trump’s benefit. Trump has extensively campaigned as the champion of the middle class. He campaigns on bringing back jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan and anywhere else that has been the beneficiary of outsourcing in this country. Yet Carly Fiorina as CEO of Hewitt-Packard laid off thousands of workers to other countries as the .com boom busted. I expect Donald Trump to hammer this point home in the coming days.as he campaigns in various parts of the country.
Ted Cruz needs to do something he doesn’t appear apt to do: Concede defeat. He has damaged his brand significantly with the selection of Carly Fiorina as his running mate, not only due to her failed presidential campaign but due to her failed business record. We have a nominee of the Republican party, and I call on all Republicans to unite behind Donald J. Trump this november to defeat Hillary Clinton. There isn’t anything we can’t do together.
The GOP Delegate Process has revealed the need for reform
The battle for the GOP nomination this year has been perhaps the most divisive contest yet. We have seen a degree of passion by supporters of candidates that seems unmatched by what we’ve seen in the recent past. In the process of the primaries and caucuses of this year, we’ve also spirited campaigns run by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz for the nomination, not to mention the other candidates who also ran. But in the end, the GOP will need to nominate a candidate and hope to unite behind the nominee and defeat Hillary Clinton in November.
The stress of this hotly contested fight for the nomination has revealed some shortcomings in the GOP delegate process and this has highlighted the need for some reform going forward after this election year. Ted Cruz trails Donald Trump substantially in pledged and elected delegates, and he his staff and supporters skulking around in the bowels of the GOP delegate process to win uncommitted delegates, those not pledged to support primary or caucus winners, or other delegates that can somehow be won by means other than winning primary or caucus votes from registered voters. Cruz can engage in this strategy under the rules, but many voters and supporters of other candidates perceive this to be wrong if Ted Cruz is gaining support of delegates he didn’t win at the polls when voters turned out for primaries and caucuses.
When the voters in Louisiana participated in their GOP primary, Trump defeated Cruz by 3.6 percent of the vote, with Marco Rubio coming in third place. The 46 delegates of the state were allocated 18 each for Trump and Cruz based on their vote totals, and five delegates to Marco Rubio for coming in third place. Then there were also five uncommitted delegates, and I’m not sure why the state’s GOP delegate rules left those uncommitted rather than also allocating those to the candidates based on the peoples’ votes. All five uncommitted delegates were won by Cruz, who also won over the five Rubio delegates. So while Trump won primary in Louisiana 41.4 percent to 37.8 percent, Cruz comes out with 28 delegates to Trump’s 18 delegates. Cruz played by the rules to win those delegates, but it looks grossly unfair that Trump wins the state and Cruz wins more delegates.
Cruz is winning delegates in other places, and by other means, which is giving openings for supporters of Trump to say the process is rigged and unfair, and accuse Cruz of gaming the system to win delegates he hasn’t won by the voters in primaries and caucuses. Any perception, or reality, that the GOP delegate process is not fair and just will undermine the confidence of voters in the GOP delegate and nominating process. The very legitimate issues that have being raised by this process require some very reform. I have some ideas I”ll share here for some basic reforms that will improve this process and dramatically increase our confidence in the integrity and basic fairness of this process in the future.
In most instances, the delegates are only pledged to vote for the candidate they were elected to support on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention, and after that, they can vote for anyone in most instances on any ballots taking place after the first ballot. Additionally, they are free to vote for convention rules that benefit anyone, and not necessarily the rules their pledged candidate wants passed. And furthermore, the actual delegates don’t even have to be supporters of the candidate who won the primary or caucus, they are more likely to be party insiders. This year, that means many of these delegates being sent to Cleveland as delegates for Trump or Cruz are not actually Trump or Cruz supporters.
The first change that needs to be made in the GOP delegate process is, the actually delegates selected need to be supporters of the candidate who won those delegates, preferably actual supporters of that candidate selected by that candidate or their campaign. In the instance where a candidate hasn’t name enough Republicans to be their delegates, the party should select them but they should be pledged to vote for that candidate who won those delegates (based on primary or caucus votes) on all ballots or until the candidate releases delegates or withdraws from the campaign. There should also be no uncommitted delegates or so-called “super delegates.” Every delegate from each states should be allocated based on the votes cast in the primaries and caucuses, either proportionally or winner-take-all, whichever each states chooses to allocate their delegates based on the votes.
The individual states can also enact other rules, such as placing a minimum percent of votes received before a candidate is allocated delegates. In some states, a candidate must win 15 or 20 percent of votes to win delegates, which narrows down how many candidates the delegates will be split between. The states can choose to allocate delegates by winner-take-all, either state-wide or by congressional districts or other units. Some states could even use instant-runoff-voting to narrow down the number of candidates getting over a certain percent of the vote, or to allocate all the delegates to the top two or three vote-getters in the process. Whatever rules are adopted, it should be considered what best represents the voters casting their voters, while also arriving at a process where a candidate ultimately has a chance of winning enough votes to become the choice of the voters of the party.
The purpose of reforming the system should be to create a system where the choice of the voters become the party’s nominee, and one in which the legitimate winner under the rules is also the candidate the voters chose and therefore is also perceived legitimately to have won the nomination. Reforming the GOP delegate process in this way will make it more likely the party can unite around a candidate who becomes the nominee. This also makes it more likely Republicans can nominate a candidate who can win the general election running against the nominee of the Democrats. That, after all, is the reason why we nominate a candidate, to have our choice actually getting elected to the office. We don’t run issue campaigns, we support our candidate to actually win the office.
Dear voters, I know you all have individual opinions about who should be nominated. Right now, we have only one real choice: We must nominate Donald J. Trump for the presidency. This is a moral imperative if nothing else. Ted Cruz has run an honorable campaign, he has spoken about the conservative agenda in ways that have excited many voters, however he lacks the mandate from the electorate. More states have gone to Trump (21) than Cruz (11) and weather or not he won a majority in any of these states is a mute point because NO one won a majority in any state, with the possible exception of Ted Cruz in a few small caucus states.
Trump has also won more popular votes than any other candidate, and voters believe their voices should be heard. The arguement that Trump has only received 37 percent of the vote and therefore everyone else was voting against him doesn’t fly either, because in any of these states the Kasich, Rubio, Bush, Carson, Christie, and Fiorina votes didn’t go to Cruz either. None of these candidates have won a “majority”. It’s almost impossible for any candidate to win a majority of the delegates in a field of 17 candidates. The standard isn’t fair, and voters agree, according to a new NBC News poll, over 60 percent of voters believe the person who has won the most votes going into a convention should be nominated. That’s because most voters believe in a democracy, weather we live in a constitutional republic or not. Voters want their voices heard. That’s probably why 45 percent of voters in this same poll believe it would be acceptable for Trump to run as a third party, as 47 percent do not. If we potentially lose 45 percent of our party, it could be fatal. When perception is matched against the “rules,” the perception will always defeat the “rules.”
But what about the delegates? Don’t they decide the nominee? Technically, yes, they do and they have for many many years. But in the age of the 24/7 media and the primary and caucus system influencing perception, its difficult politically not to give the nomination to someone who has won more votes, more states and more delegates. I’ve heard many Cruz supporters argue that it’s entirely up to the delegates, and they are 100 percent correct. It’s also up to voters in November, and if they choose not to turn out for our nominee, we will lose to Hillary Clinton. We cannot allow the perception of a rigged political process to take hold. In today’s America, voters demand their say, weather they technically have a right to it or not.
Where do we go from here? That’s a good question. I think we must put our emotions aside and focus on what’s really important here, as I discussed in my previous article. The #NeverTrump crowd needs to think about what they have fought for over the last several decades AND what they fought against. Most conservatives didn’t fight against Donald Trump in the 90s, but they did fight the Clintons. They fought Hillary when she tried to install universal healthcare, they fought for justice when agents were fired from the travel office. They fought against the Clintons when Bill Clinton vetoed welfare reform, until he signed it. I don’t remember a lot of conservatives fighting against Donald Trump in the 90s, because Donald Trump said at the 1988 convention that he was a Republican… that’s right…all the way back to 1988.
Ted Cruz is a smart man, with a great political future. As Donald Trump’s vice president he would be in good position to run in the year 2024, after serving two consecutive terms as Trump’s right hand man. As a original voter for Ted Cruz, having lived in Texas in 2012 and voted for him in both the primary and general elections, I know Ted Cruz is a man of integrity, and I look forward to him supporting this party and becoming president in the future.
GOP Convention could be quite interesting this summer
Let’s suppose, as some are projecting now, that Donald Trump finishes the primary season quite strong and wins more than 50 percent in several of the remaining states, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the remaining New England states. Let’s suppose also that Ted Cruz wins Indiana, West Virginia and narrowly in New Mexico. The map above shows the results using the Real Clear Politics delegate simulator with the state results input as outlined above. Let’s suppose this happens, and Real Clear Politics reports, going into the convention in Cleveland, that Trump has 1169 delegates, Cruz has 834, Kasich has 209, and Rubio has 171. Now it only gets much more interesting from here.
Let’s assume next, also, that the changes in delegate counts reported in the last article here in this column remain true, that essentially give Trump a decline in 95 delegates from his reported total, and with an endorsement of Marco Rubio and other factors, Cruz gains 229 delegates. John Kasich stays in the race, and is nominated from the floor on the first ballot, because he believes that neither Trump nor Cruz will win the nomination on the first few ballots, and he therefore can make the case for coming out as the nominee in later ballots. It’s a long shot, but Kasich thinks there’s an outside chance for him.
The first ballot is conducted at the convention, and the loudest spin comes from the Trump forces, who expect to finish the first ballot in first place, and their message is, if Trump comes in first place, even short of 1237, he should be the nominee. They aren’t compromising at all on this stance, and even if Trump wins by a single vote, or two, he should be the nominee. There are 126 uncommitted delegates left, that are heavily campaigned for by all three candidates. But in the end, they just about split in half, almost, 66 to 60 in favor of Cruz.
The first ballot is finished, and the results are, Trump with 1134 delegates, Cruz gets 1129 delegates votes, and Kasich is in third place with 209 delegate votes. Both campaigns try to cut a deal with Kasich, and he refuses both offers, maintaining that he has the best shot at beating Hillary Clinton so he should be the nominee even though he won only a single state in the primaries and caucuses. But since no candidates got 1237 votes, the convention begins a second ballot.
On the second ballot, most of the delegates are uncommitted and are not bound to vote for any candidate, based on primary or caucus results or anything else. Trump loses a lot of votes on the second ballot, most of which swing to Kasich, and some swing to Cruz. The results of the second ballot are Cruz 1227 votes, Trump 686 votes, and Kasich 559 votes. Kasich is gaining substantially and he stays in the race. The Trump supporters are claiming quite vocally that their candidate is being cheated out of the nomination, and Trump himself echoes that message. Ted Cruz is just ten delegate votes short of the majority and maintains he can and will win the nomination on the next ballot.
Kasich gains the most on the third ballot, and he ends up with 795 votes, behind Cruz at 1202, and Trump falls to 475 votes. The Trump supporters even more loudly step up their claim that their candidate is being robbed of the nomination they say he should win. The fourth ballot leads to Cruz getting 1224 votes, almost winning the nomination again, with Kasich rising to 840 votes and Trump falling to 408 votes.
What will happen after that? It seems the delegates are hopelessly divided between the three remaining candidates, and who will win this? Will enough delegates swing to Ted Cruz to make him the nominee? Will Cruz and Kasich cut a deal, or does Kasich still think he can win the nomination and will refuse a deal? Will someone nominate Mitt Romney, or someone else, from the floor of the convention as an additional candidate?
The convention could end up looking a lot like the 1920 Republican convention that nominated Warren Harding, the Governor of Ohio, to be the GOP nominee for president. A convention like that could well nominate Mitt Romney in Cleveland this summer. Or maybe they’ll instead nominate New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, a fresh face with low unfavorable ratings, to beat Hillary Clinton in November. Any number of possible results could come out of this convention this summer if no one wins 1237 votes on the first ballot.