Adam touched on this subject yesterday, but I wanted to attempt to put to rest the ridiculous claim by Donald Trump and surrogates that Colorado voters are somehow being disenfranchised because delegates where chosen at the Colorado Republican District and State Conventions. The Trump train is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.
Here are the facts:
- The Colorado Republican Caucus that was held in the past was non-binding on delegate selection. This is similar to how the Iowa Caucuses were run until the rules were changed to make the Iowa results proportionately binding on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention. It wasn’t that way in 2012.
- The only difference between 2012 and 2016 was that the caucuses did not hold a presidential preference straw poll. They still met to select delegates to go on to the county conventions and district conventions. This is important… Colorado Republicans voted on their delegates. So yes Colorado Republicans had the opportunity to vote, and ask those who wanted to become a delegate what candidate they support. This is how Wyoming determines their delegates as well.
- This is not crooked. It’s not unfair. The Colorado Republican Party decided to forgo the straw poll during their caucuses in August. Donald Trump’s campaign had just as much opportunity to send delegates than any other campaign. The rules didn’t suddenly change. They lost because they were not ready for those caucuses and they didn’t pay attention to the state because there was no straw poll taking place. By the time the district and state conventions rolled around it was too late for Trump. Trump has concerned himself with votes more than delegates which brings me to the last point here.
- The nominee is chosen by a majority, not a plurality or having more votes. Whoever wins the nomination must win a majority of delegates whether that means clinching 1237 bound delegates so a candidate can win on the first ballot, or winning in a contested convention after multiple ballots. Each state has different rules for how those delegates are allocated and bound (or not bound) candidates are responsible for knowing and understanding the rules. Trying to ignore those rules in delegate allocation and nominee selection would be cheating and unfair.
At least one of Trump’s surrogates doesn’t seem to understand how Republican National Committee leadership works. In a remarkable interview with CNN Trump surrogate and attorney Michael Cohen admits that he is a registered Democrat and won’t be able to vote for Trump in the New York Primary (along with Trump’s children). That’s getting all of the attention, but I wanted to highlight something else Cohen that led up to this confession.
He was asked by John Berman about whether he thought Reince Priebus should stay or go as RNC Chair if Trump is the nominee.
Berman said, “That’s Mr. Trump and the campaign’s decision.”
No, actually it’s not. Berman asked Cohen his opinion whether Priebus should stay on. Cohen, at least appears to insinuate that Trump has a part in this decision. He doesn’t.
Not that I’m a huge Reince Priebus fan, but it is the Republican National Committee, not a presidential nominee who makes those decisions. From the rules of the Republican Party:
A chairman and a co-chairman of the opposite sex who shall be elected by the members of the Republican National Committee. The chairman or co-chairman need not be a member of the Republican National Committee. Except as otherwise ordered by a majority of the members of the Republican National Committee present and voting on the matter, the chairman and the co-chairman shall be full-time, paid employees of the Republican National Committee. The chairman shall be the chief executive officer of the Republican National Committee. The chairman or co-chairman may be removed from office only by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the entire Republican National Committee.
Certainly the presidential nominee can suggest and lobby the committee to remove the RNC chair, but he can’t make it happen. Those darn pesky rules again.