Donald Trump has won most of the battles, but he may be losing the war. That’s the narrative emerging from several states as the Rube Goldberg machinery of the Republican nomination process cranks away, with no sign that Trump’s campaign has read the owner’s manual and can master its workings.
Before going further, a bit of explanation is in order. The rules for selecting delegates to party nomination conventions in the United States are far more complex, inconsistent and irrational than the Electoral College could ever hope to be.
Each state party chooses its own system, which may involve voters choosing bound slates of delegates directly; choosing delegates to local or state conventions; or voters not choosing any delegates at all, the choice being left to party conventions or committees.
These delegates arrive at the convention bound to vote for the candidate to whom they are pledged, or who won their state or congressional district, on at least the first ballot. But should that ballot fail to produce a majority for a nominee, then some of these delegates will become free agents, and that proportion increases with the number of failed ballots.
Delegates assigned to withdrawn candidates (e.g., Marco Rubio) may also become free agents. Only a minority of delegates are chosen from slates selected by the candidates (about 15 percent, according to The New York Times; 10 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight).
The evidence from recent conventions has shown that Trump’s populist campaign is badly suited to winning these insider contests.
In Colorado, the great populist proved unable to organize the election of a single loyalist at the district- and state-level conventions in March and April. All 34 of the state’s convention delegates went to Ted Cruz, the Texas senator who has emerged as Trump’s chief orthodox rival.
Cruz similarly dominated the North Dakota state convention. In South Carolina, Cruz supporters won three of the first six delegates elected at district conventions, even though Trump won the state (though the Cruz delegates will have to vote Trump on the first ballot).
As Reason, a libertarian-conservative magazine, put it, “The results from Colorado show that Trump is an incompetent manager who, in the face of a complex but knowable organizational challenge, cannot even capably represent his own interests.”Read the rest of the story HERE.
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