Delegates to the Rescue in the Year of the Outsider
Republicans will hold their presidential nominating convention July 18-21, and Democrats will hold theirs July 25-28. Consider this: what if both conventions nominate someone who hadn’t run in the primaries and caucuses? Perhaps Hillary gets indicted and is forced to drop out, but the Dems can’t quite bring themselves to nominate Bolshevik Bernie, so they bring in Biden. And let’s say that neither Trump nor Cruz has the requisite 1,237 votes by July 18, triggering a contested convention, and after the first ballot someone puts into nomination a complete “outsider” who wins. Since the 2016 general election is on November 8, what that would mean is that these fresh new candidates would have more than 100 days to campaign. That’s more than enough time to make one’s case to the voters.
What the above scenario also means is that the primaries would have been for naught, making the convention delegates far more important than usual. That’s fine with me, as I think the whole primary-caucus system should be scrapped, as it can prevent a party from running their very best people. Now, compare 100 days of intense campaigning with what the nation will have been made to endure in the year preceding the conventions. Some might call it “The Circus.”
One reason to hope that Hillary is indicted is because the shenanigans the Dems would then go through might provide a bit of “cover” for the Republicans. If the Democrat machine can kick Bernie to the curb, why couldn’t GOP convention delegates do the same with any of their candidates they deem unelectable?
On March 24, McClatchyDC ran David Lightman’s terrific “America to Establishment: Who the hell are you people?” If one wants to understand the attraction of regular Americans to outsiders like Trump, Cruz, Carson, and Fiorina, it is required reading:
Somehow, people all over America are saying loudly and clearly this election year, Washington and its enablers -- the media, the political pros and Wall Street -- don’t understand us. […] In 2016 America, the deepest divide is not between Democrats and Republicans. It’s not even between conservatives and liberals. It’s between Us and Them -- the people versus The Establishment.
That’s why in a recent article, I urged delegates in a contested convention to not even consider “establishment” types like Jeb Bush, Speaker Ryan, and any member of Congress. I also urged voters to essentially cast a “tactical vote” for Ted Cruz precisely to bring about a contested convention. On April 5 in “Poll: GOP says no last-minute candidates like Paul Ryan,” Lesley Clark writes:
While Republican Party insiders angle for a last-minute alternative to Donald Trump, GOP voters are warning against convention deals that seem to go against the will of the rank and file. […] And a big majority want any contested convention to be off limits to politicians who didn’t first run in the primaries […] The findings puncture some Republican hopes that a more establishment-friendly candidate such as Ryan or Romney could become the party nominee at a contested 2016 Republican National Convention if front-runner Trump doesn’t clinch the nomination before then.
On April 4, candidate Cruz said it is a “fevered pipe dream of Washington, that at the convention they will parachute in some white knight who will save the Washington establishment.”
Okay, but what if delegates “parachute in some white knight who” is not part of the Washington establishment? What if the delegates want to parachute in some really outré “outsider” who is not a politician? The delegates need to be able to do that in case the convention becomes hopelessly deadlocked. But Trump and Cruz may try to prevent it when the new rules are set. In 2012, the infamous Rule 40 would have prevented any parachuting.
On April 1 at his FiveThirtyEight blog, Nate Silver, the statistician whose political prognostications have proved pretty prescient, ran “It’s Probably First Ballot or Bust For Donald Trump At The GOP Convention.” If you’re concerned about the GOP convention, this is your article. There are a bunch of links, and Mr. Silver delves into some sexy stuff, like “faithless delegates.” He reminds us that “delegates are people,” not “statistical units,” and most of the GOP delegates, he contends, won’t like Trump.
In our two-tiered judicial system, I’m not counting on the Justice Department to do the right thing and indict Mrs. Clinton for her scandalous treatment of the nation’s secret data. So the GOP will likely have to go up against the dragon lady. Doesn’t the GOP need to neutralize Clinton’s gender advantage?
Here’s the deal: “Nearly 10 million more women than men voted in 2008.” And at the Wall Street Journal, we read:
The 2008 election also suggested that the gender gap will continue to be politically important. About 66% of women voted compared with 62% of men. Neither was statistically different from 2004, but 10 million more women said they voted than did men in 2008 -- 70.4 million women compared with 60.7 million men.
Republican delegates concerned about winning might consider practicing a little gender politics, (but with a conservative edge, of course). If the GOP wants to play it safe, they’ll be lining up lady parachutists. So, Republican delegates, try this campaign button on for size -- 2016 Fiorina-Cruz.
In the Year of the Outsider, that ticket might be “outsider-y” enough to win. But there are other great GOP ladies who might be prepared to put on a parachute. Let’s keep our options open… as well as our convention.
In the meantime, keep voting for Cruz.
Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.