When Sen. Bernard Sanders won New Hampshire and Hillary Clinton walked away with the majority of delegates, people were shocked but made some very funny “spreading the wealth around” jokes.
When Sen. Ted Cruz started winning delegates at conventions in Colorado and then Wyoming, the cries of foul play and shouts of unfairness shook the rafters. People are beside themselves because they believe it is a rigged system. If it is, it’s nobody’s fault but our own.
We have sat by, asleep, voting in the same state and federal congressmen for decades, without doing any homework on our own, because we recognize their names on the ballot. We complain about the system but what have we really done to stop it? We moan and whine about the establishment running everything but what have we really done to change it?
If we were honestly paying attention and doing our duty, as we should, then this year’s unusually high primary voter turnout should not be so unusual. Primaries are the time when “We the People” make the real choices. By November, the John Boehner s, Mitch McConnell s, Paul Ryan s and John McCain s have already won the tough battle, and they did it while we sat home complaining about the politicians. Then in November, we go to the voting booths with our chests puffed out declaring, “We’re going to stick it to the man this year,” only to discover the same old politician is on the ballot. We then hold our noses, grumbling that there aren’t any choices, and begrudgingly check the box because he’s at least better than the other guy.
No one is arguing the establishment has set up a system designed to keep outsiders out. This has been the focus of the entire primary in both parties. Which is why the only way to defeat them is to win by their own rules. Beat them at their own game.
So what are the rules? Well, that depends on the state. The Constitution says nothing about how private political parties nominate their candidates. Under the 10th Amendment that means the states decide. In this case, the party leaders in each state decide who picks their delegates and how. They could have the governor or state legislature pick the delegates if they really want to. It is their choice. If the citizens don’t like it, then it is up to them to work within the system to change it and it takes more than just complaining. Sorry, people, that’s called liberty and freedom.
I personally believe it is insane to have open primaries. That’s how John McCain got a second life in 2008 in New Hampshire. Democrats came out in droves to vote for him, which gave him enough momentum to garner the nomination. How well did that work out? On the other hand, this has been Donald Trump’s biggest benefit and he won at their game. Whining and crying about it, sending out tweets calling it unfair and demanding a change does me no good. If the system is broken, the citizens of each state have the responsibility to work to change it before the next election occurs. If they don’t care, then it’s not going to get fixed.
As far as delegates, if you truly believe whoever is closest to 1,237 without actually achieving that number is the winner, then you must be furious that Abraham Lincoln became president. The first Republican president went to the Convention, like the other candidates, with less than the required delegates. In fact, Lincoln wasn’t even in the lead but he did have a powerful ground game and the convention was in his home state. This is why John Kasich thinks he has a shot. After several votes, the delegates united behind Lincoln and gave him the nomination. Those are the rules and in that case, I believe right person won.
The Establishment has intentionally manipulated the delegate system to prevent candidates like Cruz, Trump, and Sanders from receiving their party’s nomination. Trump expected to just win enough delegates outright that it would not be an issue. Usually, that’s all it takes, but this is not a usual election year. Cruz was hoping to do that too but he developed a backup plan just in case. He studied each state’s delegate requirements and then got to work. Sanders is just being swindled by Super Delegates.
Some Trump supporters compare his strategy to Jesus turning over the tables in the temple. Jesus disrupted business for a moment, but the church leaders quickly had Jesus crucified and then went back to work as usual. I don’t think this is the result we want.
I see victory against the Establishment as the ending of The Matrix, where Neo confronts the agent. Neo reflected and dodged the agent’s bullets and punches, but that didn’t destroy the agent. Neo had to go after him head-on, jumping into the agent, and then completely shattering the structure from the inside. This appears to be Cruz’s strategy and at the moment, he seems to be grabbing up the delegates the establishment needs to crown their own nominee. He’s beating them at their own game.
With few exceptions, the overwhelming majority of delegates in the Republican primary are bound on the first ballot to vote for the candidate the voters elected. If no candidate receives 1,237, and no delegate could change their vote after the first ballot, then no candidate would ever reach the required amount. That is why most are then released to vote as they see fit. It is up to the candidates to make sure their supporters are sent as delegates, as the Lincoln campaign did, to ensure victory after the first ballot.
No matter what happens, I think both parties are seriously damaged. Many are already exploring new ones. Good! We need to be adhering to principles, ideas, and the Constitution, not parties.
President George Washington warned Americans in 1796 about the dangers of allowing ourselves to get too enveloped in parties. His remarks are summarized by Heritage.org:
“Washington also warned of “the baneful effects of the Spirit of Party”—one of the two most famous recommendations of the Farewell Address (along with a warning about permanent alliances). By party, Washington meant factious groups that sought their own good, to the detriment of the common good and the rights of others. The proliferation of faction or party in this sense was a dominant question of his presidency. He spoke of designing men, who would divide sections of the country as a means to their own political power. The factions of the 1790s foreshadowed those of the Civil War.”
This is a mess we the American people have created because we have not headed the warning of our Founders and became lazy. The Establishment is not going to roll over and let an outsider in without a fight. It’s time to stop whining about fairness and rules. They are what they are. If we are going to succeed we have to stop killing ourselves in little battles and focus on winning the war.
But that’s just my 2 cents.