Colorado & Representation: A Primer

Ted CruzHow about a reasonable discussion of what occurred in Colorado over the weekend, devoid of hyperbole and false accusations? First, here are the facts.

Last year, the Colorado Republican party decided to forego a caucus and simply have members of the party meet in their districts and at a general convention and choose delegates to the national convention. Each of Colorado’s congressional districts held their own caucuses to select some of those delegates; the convention then chose the rest.

I’ve always been in favor of the political parties choosing their own people. Open primaries, which allow independents, and even those who are historically members of the opposite party, to vote in the other party’s primary, is nonsensical to me.

So what the Colorado Republican party decided to do with its delegate selection is not unfair, but a true representation of what party activists would like to see happen.

The rules for this selection process were put in place last summer. Every candidate knew about these rules ahead of time. Ted Cruz, wisely, set up a very solid organization that worked hard to get the kinds of delegates who agreed with his candidacy. Donald Trump ignored the rules, did not set up any ground game at all, and didn’t even show up at the convention to speak to the assembled Republicans (8,000 in all).

Result: Cruz won all 34 delegates who are going to the national convention.

And now Trump is calling “foul,” labeling the process as corrupt, saying the people didn’t get a chance to vote. As one of my former students commented on Facebook, she was at that convention and she voted—is Trump saying she wasn’t one of the people?

ConstitutionLet’s dig a little deeper here. We don’t live in a democracy. Rather, we are a constitutional federal republic. The Founders who established the Constitution set up a system whereby the people had a direct vote for the House of Representatives, the state legislatures were represented in the Senate, and official electors from each state, chosen by the state legislatures, would cast the official ballots for president.

In this way, all players in the political “game,” if that’s what you would deem to call it, were represented. A constitutional federal republic believes in representation, but that is not the same as the people in general making all the decisions collectively. We were not supposed to be a “mobocracy.”

In our collective foolishness, an amendment was add to the Constitution back in 1913 that robbed state legislatures of their representation in the federal government by switching the election of senators to the people directly. No longer do senators have to answer to state legislatures and the laws they pass.

I would argue that one very detrimental consequence was Roe v. Wade, which overturned 44 state laws restricting abortions. If senators had had to take into consideration their state laws, they might not have confirmed some of those Supreme Court justices who opened the door to the murder of 58 million innocent babies.

As for the presidency, if you read the Constitution (which I strongly recommend), you will discover that there is no provision at all for a popular vote on who should be president. We allow that popular vote now—a practice that didn’t begin in earnest until about 1828—as a concession to getting some concept of where the people stand. However, it’s not the popular vote that absolutely determines the winner. Just ask President Al Gore about that.

In the same way, the political parties can set up whatever rules they deem proper in determining who should be their candidates. To complain about the process after the fact and begin calling it corrupt (when it didn’t appear to bother anyone ahead of time) is phony.

Donald Trump 3Let’s be clear. Donald Trump has famously announced that he doesn’t play by the rules. He clearly didn’t in this case. He proclaims that he has the best people. Are those the same ones who handed out ballots in Colorado with inaccurate information?

Trump says he can handle the presidency better than anyone in history, yet he cannot put together an organization in each state to deliver his message and get the results he wants.

D0047142_Frame58.tifI agree with Charles Krauthammer, who commented,

I think the assumption that Trump is making, his supporters are making is, that the only really fair way to do this would be something like a national primary, to have a direct correlation between the number of votes you get, and number of delegates, but you know, in Florida, Trump wins 47% of the vote, he gets 100% of the delegates. I didn’t hear anybody complaining about the unfairness. …

And the fact is, everybody’s had the rules for about a year and everybody had a chance to go after the delegates. Trump says in negotiations with the nefarious Chinese, and Mexicans, and Japanese, he’s going to win, they’ve been killing us, they’re so smart. But how’s he going to win? He’s going to have the best people. Well, if you can’t handle the Colorado delegate selection process, how’s he going to handle the nefarious Chinese?

What happened to the 53% of the votes in Florida of those of those who do not support Trump. I don’t think they have any complaint that Trump has all of the delegates, because those were the rules going in, everybody understood them.

As a citizen of Florida, I don’t like the result, but I’m not complaining about how my vote didn’t count. And here’s another point: Trump has amassed about 46% of the delegates at this time while only winning 37% of the vote of the citizens of those very states where he received those delegates.

It appears to me that Donald Trump has been the one who has benefited thus far from the process. Only when he loses a state does he begin to bellow about unfairness.

Just before posting this blog today, I was alerted to a report about the chairman of the Colorado Republican party receiving death threats from Trump supporters. Here’s what Steve House, the party chairman, posted:

Death threats over running a caucus instead of a primary because it is the law here and over the fact that one candidate[Cruz] had a better strategy and a much bigger team on the field.

3000 phone calls with many being the trashiest stuff you can imagine over a tweet we didn’t send and because a candidate [Trump] says he didn’t get to speak at our convention when we tried very hard to get him there.

Shame on the people who think somehow that it is right to threaten me and my family over not liking the outcome of an election.

We need a grownup in the White House, not a petulant child who whines about not getting his way all the time.