This is why we have words like “Byzantine” and “arcane”.
One of the interesting quirks about America being composed of 50 States each responsible for itself is that each State gets to apply their own approaches to solving problems.
The downside is that the process gets hard for all but the most dedicated of policy wonks to keep straight. Even politicians can run afoul of them.
That is where we find ourselves today. Donald Trump is upset about Colorado. Specifically, he is upset about changes to the rules, and how delegate counts work.
It’s a little ironic, considering this story shows Trump is personally benefitting more from the delegate distribution than Cruz — “Taken together, the data show Trump has been awarded 8 percent more delegates than Cruz for the same rate of voter support.”
But Trump is accusing Cruz of using “Gestapo tactics”. “We should have won it a long time ago. But, you know, we keep losing where we’re winning,” he complained. “It’s a corrupt system. It’s not right, we’re supposed to be a Democracy.” [Of course, I’m sure he meant to say “Constitutional Republic”, right?]
In the interest of full disclosure, I have a bias. I personally find it difficult to take Trump’s steady stream of complaints seriously, even if I did not already prefer Cruz to Trump. Call it a “Boy Who Cried Wolf” skepticism. Probably because this takes me back to Al Gore whining about hanging chads, Popular Vote, and a court case. Whiners don’t warrant a lot of respect with me.
When Trump is leading in a poll, or winning a State, he is happy to take credit for it. If a poll has him trailing, or if he does poorly, he cries foul. That poll is biased. The game is rigged. Hashtag Lying Ted – there is always some excuse. Now my biases are disclosed, I will attempt to remain objective moving forward.
For those who are trying to make sense of it all, it gets confusing. Who to believe? There are outright propaganda sites churning out false news stories either to promote one guy or smear another. We have news sites and public personalities who have completely bought into one candidate or another, and will see every issue through that bias. It makes understanding and evaluating these conflicts more difficult. Can we trust the story, or Is it political posturing, carrying water for “your guy”? (That’s why I was up-front about my own.)
Am I reading a legitimate argument, or is someone working backwards from the conclusion they want you to draw? Would they make the same argument if the other guy were benefiting from the process? It really is hard to sort out sometimes.
So here’s the most objective help I can offer for this issue. I will lay out Trump’s objections to Colorado, and point to Cruz and the GOP’s argument for why they think the rules are appropriate.
Here’s Trump’s complaint in his own words: “The people of Colorado had their vote taken away from them by the phony politicians. Biggest story in politics. This will not be allowed!” Also on Twitter he asked, “How is it possible that the people of the great State of Colorado never got to vote in the Republican Primary?” There’s the typical Trumpian hyperbole there, but you get the gist.
And, honestly, it would be unfair to call Trump paranoid here. The GOP in Colorado obviously doesn’t like him much. (Evidence, this #NeverTrump tweet.)
What happened in Colorado? Cruz swept all 34 delegates. This was without a public vote for which Presidential candidate they liked better. So how did it play out?
True, Colorado did not have a straw poll binding their delegates to any specific candidate. The upside of this is that Colorado’s delegates are not obligated to support a failed candidate like, say, Rubio or Carson who has already withdrawn from the race. The caucus process was used, instead, to select delegates who would choose from among whichever candidates are still standing.
While this is not “direct Democracy”, proponents would point out that this is still within the scope of a Constitutional Republic.
Whatever your opinion of the process, this can hardly be considered a #NeverTrump conspiracy. The story about changes to the rules around this vote was published all the way back in August, long before there we and narrowed it down to a Trump/Cruz slugfest.
For all his criticism of the process, it’s surprising that he isn’t making better use of it. He lives and breathes the business world. It has its own arcane rules, and lawyer-speak. Things you can leverage for personal gain, like profiting off of the depreciation of assets.
Trump’s entire case on why he will succeed as President currently rests on his claim that he has “a very good brain”, and he surrounds himself with the best people. Colorado really should be Trump’s moment to shine. Surrounding himself with the best organizers. Those who understand the system, and can bend it to his will. “Art of the Deal” and all that.
But the guy Trump put in charge in Colorado was none of these things. As reported by Fox News, “The Trump campaign’s flyers in Colorado naming their preferred delegates were also riddled with errors.”
That same article went on to say,
“And on Twitter, the Colorado GOP retweeted a message, saying: “You may not like CO’s caucus system, but it’s representative, and claiming delegates were ‘stolen’ insults the Republicans who participated.”
Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier also retweeted a message saying the rules “were publicly available for months to people who know how to read and understand words.”
Was Trump cheated? Was the will of the People ignored? Did Cruz just do a better job of playing by the rules? That’s what the comment section is for. Tell us what you think.