Cruz himself said this week that the party is risking a “manifest revolt” at the convention if someone besides the top finisher in delegates receives the nomination, but it’s clear in context that he’s thinking of a scenario where an establishment hero like Romney or Rubio is tapped while populist candidates are passed over. His point is simply that party leaders shouldn’t rig the outcome to favor one of their own. Unless I missed it, he’s never suggested it would be inappropriate per se to deny the candidate who finishes with the most delegates.
But some of his fans have. John McCormack is mystified by this bit from Glenn Beck. So am I.
Beck then argued that the Republican party should roll over and make Trump the nominee even if Trump fails to win a majority of delegates required to win the nomination.
“If [Trump] gets close enough and the GOP tries to play games, I won’t vote for Donald Trump ever, but I will stand with his right, because the people have spoken,” [Glenn] Beck said.
“You just said you don’t believe it’s fair to deny Donald Trump the nomination if he has the lead going in” to the convention, George Stephanopoulous said a little later in the interview. “Of course not,” Beck replied.
Beck argued that “the options of the party playing politics to break us apart at the convention” would lead the party “to civil war on the floor and quite honestly it could lead to civil war in the country.”
In this same interview Beck compared Trump to Hitler circa 1929. We owe it to Hitler not to block his path to the nomination, even when he’s failed to satisfy the rule requiring a majority of delegates to win? What?
To answer AP's last “what?” — maybe Glenn Beck doesn't actually believe Trump is Hitler.
But what about all this?
Assume Trump doesn’t win outright, and that the convention has to take a second vote. For clarity’s sake, assume that vote is completely open. The delegates pledged to Trump can stay with him; the delegates pledged to Cruz can stay with him. But what are the others supposed to do? Are Carsons delegates supposed to vote for the guy that compared Carson to a child molester? The second choice of the voters represented by the “establishment” pledges is to be inferred as Donald Trump?
This might turn out to be one of the rare times when “disenfranchised” might actually apply. Here, and coincidentally at the same time in history, to Bernie Sanders supporters.
It feels like the day that Conservatives are going to want to stand together is coming, and knowing that the whole space between here and there was filled with the repeating warning, “a vote for candidate x is a vote for Trump” isn't going to make the blue pill go down any easier.
As for a contested convention: let’s face the fact that the Republican party is probably going to lose this election, because it is fractured so badly. But if you want to make that possibility a certainty, concoct a scenario where the guy who is in second place in delegates — or third, or fourth, or nowhere — ends up being the nominee.
Yes, we may well be headed towards a “contested convention” where the delegate leader lacks a majority of delegates. But there will be a strong expectation that whoever is in the lead emerges the winner.
If you’re looking to buck that trend, look ahead to Stage Two. Stage One: your candidate comes from a second or third place position in delegates to be the nominee. What happens in Stage Two?
I’ll tell you what happens. The supporters of the original delegate leader walk. And the nominee loses.
Patterico’s main point is that, in his generalized scenario, the deposed leader’s supporters should be expected to sit the general election out. I think that concern is variably overblown, depending on the relative sizes of the two camps. I don’t doubt some people who would have otherwise voted would instead refuse to vote for the eventual nominee, but how many, really? And the generalization loses a few consequential details of our specific situation, like the fact that a pool of people, committed to sitting the general election out if the current leader in the delegate count wins the nomination, already exists. Also, I think a candidate winning the convention who is the clear first choice of the voters behind the delegates, of the surviving candidates, whether he walked in with more delegates or not, is a different world from one where a new candidate, say Mitt Romney, forms from the shadows and promises to save the day.
I agree with Patterico that a path without all the weeping and gnashing of teeth is preferable. And it’s available. Cruz is placing within a length and winning outright, and that with a divided field.
A note for Senator Rubio. I didn't quote it all, but Patterico goes on to say that you will never drop out of the race and therefore “must be crushed.” But let’s think a minute. The nomination, this cycle, is out. You’re preparing for another shot, later. You’re going to drop out, and you’re trying to choose the right time. Will there be a better time? Read my title, Senator.
Update. Since I mentioned Ben Carson by name, a bit of housekeeping is in order now that Ben Carson has endorsed Donald J. Trump. I’ll be scooping up all Carson’s chips from Cruz’s pile and stacking them in front of Trump.
Meanwhile, some background music. From the days when Carson was a threat to Trump in Iowa, here’s the video of Trump on Ben Carson’s child-molester-like incurable psychopathy, penchant for fraud, the stupidity of the people of Iowa, and the stupidity of the American people.
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