Larry Buchanan and Alicia Parlapiano writing in the NYT
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The rules for how Republican delegates are selected — which differ in every state — could end up turning votes for one candidate into delegates who will support another candidate at the convention.
When voters cast ballots in the presidential primaries, they are really voting for delegates. Those delegates, in turn, are the actual people who will vote on the party’s nominee at the summer convention.
In a few states, candidates pick their delegates outright, but in most cases they have less control.
Many delegates are elected by party members at local and state conventions. The candidates often conduct parallel campaigns to get their supporters named as delegates.
When they get to the convention, most delegates are “bound” to vote for the candidate voters have chosen in their state or district. But if no candidate gets the 1,237 delegates needed to win, subsequent votes will be held until someone does. This is where the loyalty of each of the 2,472 delegates really matters.
* AND THIS IS WHERE MY OWN "MODEST PROPOSAL" COMES IN.
* ASSUMING DONALD TRUMP FAILS TO GET THE REQUIRED 1,237 VOTES PRIOR TO THE CONVENTION... BUT ASSUMING THAT HE AND CRUZ HOLD THE #1 AND #2 "SPOTS"... I PROPOSE THAT "WE THE PEOPLE" ("WE THE PEOPLE" OF THE GOP - REGISTERED REPUBLICANS... AND AMERICANS WHO VOTED FOR ONE OF THE TWO MEN IN "OPEN" PRIMARIES) DEMAND THAT THE CONVENTION CHOOSE FROM THE TWO TOP DELEGATE HOLDERS - AGAIN... TRUMP AND CRUZ.
* SIMPLE, RIGHT? A "PLAY-OFF" BETWEEN THE "TOP TWO CONTENDERS" AS PREVIOUSLY DECIDED BY VOTES OF "WE THE PEOPLE."
Most states “unbind” their delegates after the first or second vote. Then each delegate can vote for whomever they want.
* AND HERE'S WHAT I'M SAYING: IF IT SHOULD COME TO A "RUN-OFF," THE "RUN-OFF" SHOULD BE BETWEEN TRUMP AND CRUZ (#1 AND #2) - PERIOD.
In a handful of states like California, which holds its primary on June 7, candidates handpick their delegates to the convention, making it more likely that they will stay true to the voters’ wishes even when they are unbound (for Californians, this occurs after the second ballot).
In several states, including Texas, at least some delegates are elected through local caucuses and at the state convention.
In Texas, the presidential candidates run what the state party’s assistant general counsel described as “36 separate mini-campaigns” in the state’s congressional districts to get their supporters elected.
Some states do not unbind delegates after a certain number of ballots.
In Alabama, delegates are elected on the primary ballot, listed next to the presidential candidate they support. They must continue to support that candidate at the convention until two-thirds of the delegation votes to change, or until the candidate releases them.
Other states, like Alaska, unbind delegates if their candidate drops out of the race.
(Marco Rubio, who suspended his campaign in mid-March, sent a letter to the state party asking it not to release the five delegates he won there.)
Roughly five percent of delegates will go into the convention free to vote as they please, including 54 from Pennsylvania.
Three party leaders from each state — the national committeeman, the national committeewoman and the state chairman — are automatically selected as delegates. States have different requirements for how long these delegates must remain bound to a candidate.
The potential for rule changes is another reason the nomination could come down to delegate loyalty.
A rules committee, made up of representatives from each state, can propose pretty much any change to the rules before the convention begins, and it takes just a majority of convention delegates to approve them.
* AND FRANKLY... THIS IS WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN: I'D LIKE TRUMP AND CRUZ TO JOINTLY PROPOSE A RULE CHANGE THAT WOULD PUT MY "MODEST PROPOSAL" INTO EFFECT. (I DOUBT THEY WILL; BUT THEY SHOULD!)
* IN ANY EVENT... EITHER YOU LIKE THE RULES AS THEY ARE... OR YOU AGREE WITH ME THAT IT MAKES SENSE TO HAVE A "SHOOT-OUT" BETWEEN THE TOP TWO CONTENDERS SHOULD NEITHER AMASS 1,237 "VOTES" PRIOR TO THE CONVENTION.
* TO THOSE WHO DISAGREE... FINE... NO NEED TO READ FURTHER. I RESPECT YOUR VIEW... I DISAGREE WITH YOUR VIEW... BUT IT IS WHAT IT IS.
* TO THOSE WHO AGREE WITH ME, HOWEVER... HERE'S WHAT I PROPOSE: "SOMEONE" (PERHAPS TRUMP!) CREATE A WEBSITE WHICH IDENTIFIES EACH AND EVERY DELEGATE BY NAME, PHOTO, AND HOME ADDRESS. (AFTER ALL... THESE ARE PUBLIC CONVENTIONS AND THE PARTICIPANTS ARE ACTING AS PUBLIC "OFFICIALS" IN A SENSE.) THEN... LIST THEIR VOTES... EACH VOTE... EACH SUCCESSIVE VOTE THEY CAST.
* TRANSPARENCY, FOLKS. FULL AND UTTER TRANSPARENCY. THAT'S WHAT I'M CALLING FOR.
* LET THESE PEOPLE KNOW WE'RE WATCHING THEM... THAT WE'RE GONNA BE AWARE OF WHAT THEY DO... AND HOW THEY VOTE.
* PERHAPS SOME WILL STILL BE WILLING TO "VOTE THEIR CONSCIENCE" (OR THEIR WALLETS... THEIR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND POLITICAL INTERESTS) AND UNLESS THERE'S THE SORT OF RULES CHANGE I CALL FOR THEY'LL BE FREE TO VOTE AS THEIR CHOOSE... AGAINST THE PREVIOUSLY EXPRESSED WISHES OF THEIR OWN "CONSTITUENTS" IF THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE BOUND AND DETERMINED TO DO.
* BUT... I'M GUESSING THE TEMPTATION TO DO SO WILL BE FAR LESS INTENSE IF THEY KNOW THAT "WE THE PEOPLE" - AND THE PEOPLE OF THEIR OWN STATES - ARE WATCHING EACH AND EVERY OFFICIAL MOVE THEY MAKE... EVERY VOTE THEY - AS INDIVIDUALS - TAKE.