South Carolina Delegate Update

And now, South Carolina. Cruz and Kasich are working hard behind the scenes to secure the state’s delegates. And ignore the stuff about the first ballot – the rules for the convention have not yet been written, and if Cruz and Kasich succeed in getting their allies on the rules committees, you can be sure the delegates will be explicitly freed by rule to “vote their conscience.”

The Rules Are The Rules

Five minutes ago a lot of Bernie’s supporters were arguing that Super Delegates were illegitimate, but now that Their guy is arguing they might switch to him, I’m sure they will change their tune. And you know what? They should! Because the rules are the rules are the rules, and everyone participating agreed to them in advance. So if Bernie can convince the Super Delegates to switch sides, good for him!

Seriously, people should stop pretending like playing by the rules is immoral or illegitimate. They are what they are. Join the party and fight to change them for the next set of contests, but until then, these are the ones we are all playing by.

Ted Cruz on Trump: “I have no desire to copulate with him”

I can’t even with this election

It is a story that quoted one source on the record: Roger Stone, Donald Trump’s chief political adviser. It is attacking my family. And what is striking is Donald’s henchman, Roger Stone, had for months been foreshadowing that this attack was coming. It’s not surprising that Donald’s tweet occurs the day before the attack comes out. And I would note that Mr. Stone is a man who has 50 years of dirty tricks behind him. He’s a man for whom a term was coined for copulating with a rodent. Well, let me be clear: Donald Trump may be a rat, but I have no desire to copulate with him.

Remember when this party claimed to be the party of family values?

Daily Delegate Update

So check out what’s happening in Louisiana:

Donald Trump beat Sen. Ted Cruz earlier this month in Louisiana’s Republican presidential primary by 3.6 percentage points, but the Texan may wind up with as many as 10 more delegates from the state than the businessman. Mr. Cruz’s supporters also seized five of Louisiana’s six slots on the three powerful committees that will write the rules and platform at the Republican National Convention and mediate disputes over delegates’ eligibility this summer in Cleveland.

That, right there, is perfect illustration of the two points I’ve been making since starting this blog back up. First, you’ve got the fact that the election doesn’t actually determine the delegates – the county and state conventions do that. Cruz understands this, but apparently Trump does not. So assuming this holds, it’s a 20 delegate swing towards Cruz (add 10 to his total, subtract 10 from Trump). Second, Cruz has taken control of the state’s spots on the rules committees, which is going to be essential once he actually gets to the convention. The state conventions have only just begun, and yet this isn’t even the first time this has happened. Cruz clearly understands the rules better than Trump, and he’s using it to his advantage. Expect a lot more of this over the coming weeks and months.

Today’s Delegate Update

So Lawrence O’Donnell had a fantastic segment on his show tonight with two members of the Rules Committee for the Republican Party. If you weren’t convinced by what I wrote last night, check out what they have to say. And pay particular attention to their predictions. When one of the men who writes the rules that determine which delegates will be credentialed says that he expects Trump will come up 75 short…the rules determine how many delegates Trump will get, and this is the guy who write those rules. So…uh…yeah.

A few other interesting observations to share with you today, in no particular order…

According to the 538, Trump got a little bit closer to the total that he needs to supposedly secure the nomination, but even after a big win the best projection is that he will fall a bit short. And that’s even without taking into consideration any of the things I wrote about at length last night, all of which still very much applies. So no, he’s not yet the presumptive nominee, and if that is what he eventually becomes, it will only be after the primary in California. So this process isn’t nearly over, no matter what anyone keeps insisting.

We’ve got our first real polling on how Republicans feel about the idea of a contested or open convention, and things don’t look good for Trump. According to a new Monmouth poll, among GOP voters not currently supporting Trump, 55% want their party to nominate someone other than Trump if Trump doesn’t win on the first ballot at the convention. Trump has the backing of 41% of Republicans in this poll, so that’s 55% of 59%, or roughly 1/3 of the party. If you’d asked me to guess, I would’ve guessed a much lower number, and for a bunch of reasons. Most people don’t know much about the ways conventions actually work, and even fewer know anything about the specific rules this convention will operate under. If they do know anything about conventions, they know that way back in the “distant past,” “power brokers” in “smoke filled rooms” picked the nominees, and that for reasons that are usually unstated and unexplored, that what we do know is “better” than what they did. Generally speaking, people have a pretty dim (and wildly inaccurate!!!) view of the way conventions used to work, so I would’ve expected a much lower percentage of people willing to say this. And yet here we are, with a full 1/3 of voters saying they actively want their party to choose someone other than the current front-runner if that option becomes available at the convention! That’s pretty amazing. Will that number climb or collapse? It’s hard to know at this point, I can think of all kinds of arguments either way.

Remember what I said last night: it only takes a tiny number of people to trigger a challenge under the rules, and at that point either the Rules Committee or the Chair of the Convention has to issue a ruling. So I’ll ask again: do you honestly think that either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz will be shy about using the rules to their advantage at a convention? That either will choose to put the interests of the party ahead of their own? Would you be willing to be money on that? And while I’m asking questions, do you know just how nasty Cruz’s campaign manager is willing to get?

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. The convention is a long way off, and as things stand right now, Trump is likely to fall just short even if all of the states award all of their delegates in the ways that the results of the caucuses and primaries suggest they will. Which they won’t, because they never do, not even in years when things aren’t this closely fought. Just look at what has been happening in the Virgin Islands, for example! That’s some seriously crazy business!