1,237 delegates and Trump

In the Miami debate, Trump blurted out that he didn't understand the delegate requirement of 1,237.  The number is apparently random.

Trump said at the debate:

If two of us get up there, I would say this, if -- if Marco, if the governor, if Ted had more votes than me in the form of delegates, I think whoever gets to the top position as opposed to solving that artificial number that was by somebody, which is a very random number, I think that whoever gets the most delegates should win. That's what I think. 

But it isn't random or artificial.  It's simple.  There are a total of 2,472 delegates in all the primaries and caucuses and in all the jurisdictions that hold them, including the at-large delegates, the congressional district delegates, and RNC delegates.  This was decided on before the race began.  Joining the race implies agreement with the process, much as enrolling in a college implies agreeing with the number of units needed to complete your major or general education requirements.

Half of 2,472 is 1,236 or exactly fifty percent.  The RNC quite sensibly requires a candidate to reach that number plus one, or 1,237, or 50.1%.

It is probable that no one – barring a political tornado hitting unexpectedly – will reach 1,237, unless Trump wins Ohio and Florida.  But let's assume he doesn't.  What then?  The convention is contested. 

After the first round of voting at the convention, and no one winning a majority, then the delegates are free or unattached, though I'm not sure what roles the three categories of delegates play with each other. 

In any case, here's how the rules should be drafted in simplest terms.  (1) Before each round of new voting can take place, the candidates who had the most delegates (the four leaders right now, excluding Carson, who has, significantly, now endorsed Trump, so he may encourage his delegates to vote for Trump) before the first round of voting should give speeches explaining why the delegates should switch to them.  Limit the speech to five minutes.  (2) Then the delegates vote. 

They keep doing this until they reach a majority of 1,237 for one candidate.

Of course, the candidates can wheel and deal and perhaps form a coalition – say, Cruz-Rubio (though I prefer Rubio-Cruz) or any other combination.  But in Rubio's case, that may not be viable if he doesn't win Florida, so maybe a rule exists or can be agreed on beforehand that says you are excluded from being on the top of the ticket if you lose your state.

Whatever happens, Trump's supporters should not cry if the not-Trump delegates, who make up around two thirds right now, don't vote for him, but settle on one of the other three, mostly likely Cruz. 

The convention leaders must, however, keep the process open and guided by the vote; then the process is fair and democratic.  And there will be no (reasonable) accusations of a cabal of the so-called Establishment deciding things behind the closed doors of a smoke-filled room, twirling their Snidely Whiplash mustaches.  It will be the delegates who decide.

James Arlandson’s website is Live as Free people, where he has posted Reagan’s balanced and reasonable politics, Gov. Reagan’s Secret Missions (his outreach to minorities), and How conservatives can finally read America accurately (for a change).