No, we don’t need Shock and Awe over Colorado Springs or boots on the ground in Denver. An invasion of Colorado to restore Democracy, as Trump supporter Matt Drudge, (sarcastically?) suggested would not be necessary to restore Democracy after delegates to the Republican National Convention were elected at the Colorado State Republican Convention as well as seven congressional district conventions.
As usual when Donald Trump loses, it’s someone else’s fault. In this case, the man who wrote, “The Art of the Deal,” declared that his loss in Colorado was the result of “a crooked deal.” There was no deal. A decision was made back in August to hold no straw poll in conjunction with Colorado’s presidential caucus. Ted Cruz took the time and resources to map out a strategy to win Colorado’s delegates: Donald Trump didn’t. Result: Ted Cruz wins.
It also should be clear, contrary to the assertion of many Trump supporters, the voice and vote of Republican voters was not taken away in the process. The State Convention and Seven Congressional District Conventions began in homes, churches, and schools throughout the state of Colorado where 65,000 voters met in precinct caucuses to choose delegates to County Assemblies who then choose delegates to the District and State Convention. The Colorado convention was an example of representative democracy, not tyranny. In attacking the convention, Donald Trump and his supporters are slandering the integrity of regular Republicans. The fact is it was the votes of grassroots farmers, ranchers, small businessmen, and stay-at-home parents not some evil “establishment” sent up from precinct caucuses to the State Convention, that denied Donald Trump all of Colorado delegates.
Also, if one needed any more proof of the conservative nature of the Colorado convention, you can look to the results of its Senate vote which saw 70% vote for Christian Conservative Daryl Glenn and also voting for a write-in conservative challenger over five-term Congressman Doug Lamborn.
So if this wasn’t a fraud perpetrated by a mustache-twirling establishment, what caused Donald Trump’s defeat in Colorado? Others have made reference to Trump’s lack of organization and poor execution. Yet, I think these are the symptoms of the problem rather than the problem itself.
Many, including former Republican Presidential candidate Marco Rubio, have made reference to the fact Donald Trump is presenting himself as a strong man whose election will unilaterally make America great again. To listen to the Trump campaign, the future of America doesn’t depend on God, the virtue of our people, our adherence to the constitution, maintaining a market economy, or checking the out-of-control power of the federal government. It depends on us trusting, embracing, and without question following the leadership of Donald Trump in all things.
Donald Trump doesn’t need anyone else to fix America. He’s his own greatest foreign policy adviser and with his inimitable wisdom can appoint all the right people to serve as his underlings and yes-men in solving all the problems and slaying all the dragons. And the campaign is run on that philosophy. The key to winning is to let Donald be Donald. It’s Donald Trump on Twitter, Donald Trump flying in to the rock star rallies, Donald Trump dominating the news cycle, that’s how the campaign is won.
The second Congressman to endorse Trump, Duncan Hunter (R-CA.) said, “I don’t think Donald Trump wants my endorsement.” And Trump’s bragged about not wanting campaign money. When it comes to winning the presidency, it’s nothing but the charm and star power of Donald Trump that will carry the way to victory. He doesn’t want your endorsements and really doesn’t care if you choose to give it.
Trump’s campaign appeals to the mass of voters, who are civically disengaged according to a poll by the Atlantic: disconnected from their communities and inactive in sports, book clubs, churches, civic organizations, or neighborhood associations. Fifty-two percent of Trump supporters fall into this category, compared to 29% of Cruz supporters, 27% of Kasich supporters. Furthermore, 65% of Trump voters believe we need a President who will “break the rules” (including the law and the Constitution.) The appeal of Trump to these voters is obvious. “There are problems. I don’t really want to do anything to fix them, but if I vote for Donald Trump, he’ll fix the problems.”
It’s a stunning departure from any other American political movement and not in a good way. President Obama, at his most arrogant, never believed he could win a White House victory by the power of his will and charisma, he needed an army of volunteers. The message of every presidential candidate to voters leads an appeal to become donors and volunteers, “We can’t do this without you.” Donald Trump believes he can do this alone.
You don’t see the type of movement that sprang up around Ron Paul because Ron Paul had a message about ideas and beliefs that emphasized the power of the individual. Supporters got motivated and of their own initiative held “money bombs” for Paul culminating in supporters raising $6 million on a single day. An Independent group of supporters created a PAC funding a Ron Paul blimp to fly to sporting events. Paul’s campaign inspired supporters to run for office and challenge establishment members of Congress around the country.
There are no money bombs for Donald Trump. Most activism for Trump is limited to retweeting, liking and resharing whatever cheap and tawdry rumor about Trump’s opponents is going around the Internet and conspiracy theories alleging someone is denying the will of (37% of) the people who voted for Trump, or attending big Trump events where supporters can act badly and crudely in the safe anonymity of an angry and unruly mob. And as for challenging establishment Congressmen in primaries, forget about it. Donald Trump is going to fix everything and make America great again regardless of who’s in Congress. Unlike every other candidate for President, Trump isn’t seeking partners and supporters to be part of his team. He’s looking for sheep willing to blindly put their full faith in him with no stated obligation on their part.
But then something comes along like the Wisconsin Primary where pure rage by disengaged and uninformed occasional voters isn’t enough to win the day, or Colorado where the battle doesn’t go to “the strong man,” but to (in the words of Patrick Henry), “the vigilant, the active, and the brave,” and Trump’s model doesn’t work. And the model’s failing across the country. Those who believe changing America should be as simple as it was to cast a vote for the last American idol aren’t getting involved in the process to elect district and statewide delegates. So, in the increasingly likely event that Donald Trump doesn’t get to 1,237 delegates on the first ballot, his presidential campaign will collapse as delegates pledged to him on the first ballot abandon him in droves to support a candidate they believe can bring the Republican Party together.
If Trump loses the nomination, it will be a victory for our nation’s republican principles over the idea of the strong man that idle voters are so eager to embrace. The patriotic citizens of Colorado who boldly worked through a multi-stage system took a big step towards that end, and they deserve the thanks and not the scorn of the American people for that effort.