Donald Trump Has A Point About GOP Rules

Donald Trump has made a valid point. Colorado’s delegate selection process is a minefield and a red herring. The GOP’s rules, state by state, for delegate allocation and selection are no less dense and inscrutable.

The rules, primary schedule, and delegate selection process have been designed and refined over the years to quickly anoint and coronate the party’s chosen avatar. They exist mostly to quell rebellion and discourage challengers.

Many of the same voices who were chanting “rigged” in 2012 are now horrified when Trump brings it up in 2016.

  • Did Mitt Romney Rig The Michigan Primary? [Business Insider, March 1, 2012]
  • Dramatic, Little Known GOP Rule Change Takes Choice Of Presidential Candidate Away From Rank And File Republicans And Hands It To Party Elite [Forbes, April 7, 2014]
  • The Republicans’ new primary calendar is rigged [The Week, January 24, 2014]
  • Primary System Rigged Against Conservatives [RealClearPolitics/Weekly Standard, January 6, 2012]

But that’s Trump. When he’s handed lemons, he doesn’t make lemonade. He adds fertilizer, grows a lemon tree and serves everyone Italian ice. When Trump’s amateur hour ground game met epic failure in Colorado, Trump let it die–in fact, ensured it would fail spectacularly–then exploited the failure to make his latest point that the game is rigged.

A true populist would call for identical elections for the people in the party to select a nominee–a national primary if you will. A true pragmatist would realize that moving difficult or unpopular issues or candidates through a populist system would prove impossible.

Trump is neither.

A Trumpist is a negotiator. He wants to exploit the rules when it helps him, and create exceptions to rules that work against him. Donald is a Trumpist, the founder of political Trumpism.

If we offer Trump a populist solution (under which he’d lose, terribly), he rejects it. If we offer a pragmatic solution (under which he’d also lose, even more terribly), he rejects that too. He likes the engineered system, as long as he can fight against it when it doesn’t serve him.

Thomas Sowell notes that we should all be scared of Trump’s latest point about delegate rules.

That is how the Republicans ended up with Mitt Romney in 2012 and lost the election. That is also how the Republicans can end up with Donald Trump and lose this year’s election. Worse yet, from the standpoint of the country, that is how Donald Trump might end up in the White House.

The Republicans in Wisconsin who were scared of the possibility of Trump as President were on to something. We should all be scared.

Maybe the GOP should look at delegate selection rules, state by state, and make that more of a priority versus a Chinese finger puzzle. But now is not the time to have that discussion.

As Chairman Priebus tweeted, “The rules are the same.”

Trump raises a decent point, that the rules probably shouldn’t remain the same. But let’s not grant Trump a hall pass to willfully ignore and trash those rules in the name of “fairness,” because the only fair solution is to have everyone play by the same rules. Even Donald.

About the author

Steve Berman

The old Steve cared about money, prestige, and power. Then Christ found me. All at once things changed. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I spent 30 years in business. Now I write and edit. But mostly I love. I have a wife and 2 kids and a dog and we live in a little house in central Georgia.

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