May 6th, 2016


Trump, Cruz, and the delegate question

I can't remember whether my friend L. is still on LJ, but in case she's not, I'm leaving the post public but pre-emptively closing the comments, since I don't feel like arguing about this.
Caveat: While I may have been active in conservative (usually Republican) politics since 1988 or so, this is the first time I've been a delegate to a state GOP convention, so I'm not exactly a master of the parliamentary procdedures, inside baseball, and arcane rules used to run these things. Still, I'm going to answer the question as best I can.
"Now that Cruz has dropped out of the race how does that affect his delegates? (I seem to remember you were one? Maybe I'm crazy.) Could he still win on delegates even though he left the race or is it Trump uncontested now?"

Well, first of all, Cruz hasn't dropped out of the race. He's suspended his campaign. It's a subtle but important difference. If he'd gotten out of the race entirely, he would be releasing his delegates to do whatever they wanted to do. As it is, he still has control over his delegates (mostly) on the first ballot. What complicates this is that different state party organizations have different rules. MOST of them only require that a delegate vote for their candidate on the first ballot, after which they can vote for whoever they want. SOME of them don't even require that. Some state parties have penalties for not sticking by your candidate and others don't. So it's possible that some delegates who are generally considered to be in Trump's camp may not vote for him at all. (South Carolina's delegation in particular has been much speculated about in this regard.)

Secondly, although Trump has won a number of primaries in states like Arizona and Virginia and Nevada, his people have failed to follow through and ensure that Trump loyalists are named as delegates to the state conventions, and it's entirely possible that at these three state conventions, the state GOP may decide to give no delegates at all to Trump, lump all the not-Trump votes together and give Cruz a number of delegates in proportion, or screw Trump completely by selecting either uncommitted (but pro-Cruz) or pro-Cruz delegates. The press has paid surprisingly little attention to this maneuvering except when Trumpkins throw a hissy fit about their delegates being "stolen".

The bottom line is that it's entirely possible that when the GOP National Convention is convened in Cleveland, most of the delegates present may not, in fact, be committed to vote for Trump on the first ballot or any ballot. We'll have to wait and see how the delegate selection process works.