Will Trump and Sanders Fall to Corrupt Bargains?

In the race for the Republican nomination, Donald Trump would seem to be in the catbird seat. He has won the most states, the most delegates and the most votes—by nearly two million. He has brought out the largest crowds and is poised for huge wins in the largest states of the East, New York and Pennsylvania.

Yet, there is a growing probability that the backroom boys will steal the nomination from him at a brokered convention in Cleveland.

Over the weekend, Colorado awarded all 34 delegates to Ted Cruz. The fix had been in since August, when party officials, alarmed at Trump’s popularity, decided it would be best if Colorado Republicans were not allowed to vote on the party’s nominee. After all, these poor folks might get it wrong.

In South Carolina, where Trump swept the primary, a plot is afoot for a mass desertion of Trump delegates after the first ballot. The Republican Party in Georgia, another state Trump won, is also talking up delegate defections.

In state after state, when Trump wins, and moves on, the apparatchiks arrive—to thieve delegates for Cruz. “This is a crooked system, folks,” says Trump, “the system is rigged. … I go to Louisiana. I win Louisiana. … Then I find out I get less delegates than Cruz because of some nonsense. … I say this to the RNC. I say it to the Republican Party: You’re going to have a big problem, folks, because the people don’t like what’s going on.”

Something rotten is also going on in the Democratic race. Bernie Sanders is on a roll, having won seven straight primaries and caucuses. Yet, he keeps falling further behind.

“I watch Bernie, he wins. He wins. He keeps winning, winning,” said Trump in Rochester. “And then I see, he’s got no chance. They always say he’s got no chance. Why doesn’t he have a chance?

“Because the system is corrupt.”

Sanders seems to be shorted every time he wins a primary or caucus. And the insurmountable hurdle he faces was erected against folks like Sanders some time ago — the 700-plus superdelegates.

These are Democratic congressmen, senators, governors and Party officials. By more than 10-1, close to 500 of these superdelegates have lined up to back Hillary Clinton and stop Sanders. The Democratic Party believes in democracy, up to a point—that point being that Democratic voters will not be permitted to nominate a candidate to whom the party elites object.

Richard Nixon’s 49-state triumph in 1972 cured the Democrats of their naive belief in democracy. Henceforth, the George McGoverns and Bernie Sanderses can run. But they will not be allowed to win.

Yet, since it is Trump and Sanders who have stirred the greatest passion and brought out the biggest crowds, if both are seen as having been cheated by insiders, then the American political system may suffer a setback similar to that caused by the “corrupt bargain” of 1824.

Andrew Jackson ran first in the popular vote and the Electoral College, but was short of victory. John Quincy Adams, who ran second, got Speaker Henry Clay to deliver the House of Representatives, and thus make Adams president. Clay became Adam’s secretary of state.

In 1828, Jackson got his revenge, winning the presidency. Clay would never make it. On his deathbed, Jackson confided that among the great regrets of his life was that he did not shoot Henry Clay.

While the turnout in the Democratic primaries and caucuses has not matched the Obama-Clinton race of 2008, Sanders has rallied the young and working class, turned out the biggest crowds and generated the greatest enthusiasm.

But on the Republican side, the Party has had the largest turnout in American history. And the reason is Trump. And if, after having won the most votes and delegates, Trump is seen as having been swindled out of a nomination he won, by intraparty scheming in Cleveland, the GOP could suffer a self-inflicted wound from which it might not recover.

Another matter that could prevent a return to national unity? The deepening split over trade and foreign policy, both between the parties, and within the parties.

Sanders, last week, was saying that what disqualifies Clinton as president is her support for free trade deals that gutted American industry and cost millions of jobs, and her support for an Iraq War that was among the costliest, bloodiest blunders in U.S. history. On both issues, Trump agrees with Sanders. Cruz, an uber-hawk and free trader, is more aligned with Clinton.

If the “America First” stance on foreign and trade policy, close to a majority position today, is unrepresented by either party this fall, and we get a free trade, War Party president, the divisions within the country will widen and deepen.

If Sanders and his revolution are sent packing in Philadelphia, and Trump is robbed in Cleveland of a nomination Americans believe he won, political disillusionment, and political realignment, may be at hand.

Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the new book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.

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35 Responses to Will Trump and Sanders Fall to Corrupt Bargains?

  1. balconesfault says:

    The Democratic Party believes in democracy, up to a point—that point being that Democratic voters will not be permitted to nominate a candidate to whom the party elites object.

    The superdelegate “firewall”, if you will … was erected in part because the primaries in many states have no guarantees that “voters in Democratic primaries” = “Democratic voters”.

    To wit, the “party elites”, if you will … are largely people who have in the past been elected by the Democratic Party voters who haven’t just appeared because Bernie was promising free healthcare and free college to everyone.

    If this groundswell of Bernie backers had shown up at the polls in 2010 – we would already have had stronger laws governing Wall Street. Dodd-Frank passed with only 2 GOP votes in the Senate, and once the GOP took control of the House and the Dems lost their filibuster proof majority in the Senate, there was not going to be any followup regulation of Big Banks and Wall Street during Obama’s Presidency.

    The Dems who did show up in 2010, and 2014, as well as 2012, elected a lot of the Congressmen and Governors who are current Superdelegates. Add the Dems who show up to vote in Mayoral races and for County Judges. These people aren’t superdelegates via some nefarious big money “fix”, as a lot of Bernie backers would have you believe. They’re the ones who have been largely responsible for keeping any progressives in office, particularly in states outside Vermont, where one actually does have to raise money to have a shot at winning a race.

    OTOH, I have little doubt that the delegates being selected from various Democratic state caucuses to represent Bernie will actually be Bernie supporters. And they’re going to make sure their voice is hear during the Democratic Convention.

    Meanwhile, in many states a Trump supporter has as much chance as getting chosen to be a delegate for Trump at the national convention as they have of winning the lottery. The fix is in, and states GOP conventions are choosing to have dedicated Cruz supporters “representing” Trump. This ensures that Trump voters, and their concerns, will have virtually no voice in a GOP convention which be crafted to show a GOP “unified” behind the guy nobody really likes but his most hardcore devotees.

  2. William Dalton says:

    Like Donald Trump, Ron Paul drew enthusiastic crowds in a campaign four years ago that attracted people to vote in a Republican primary who were sick and tired of Republican politicians, many voting as Republicans for the first time in their lives. Unlike Trump voters, however, Paulbots, as they were called by their detractors, did not show up in numbers significant enough to win primary elections, but they did come to the country, district and state organizing conventions, and they took over some state party structures by the force of their numbers and they sent delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa far in excess what would have been predicted from primary results alone. Donald Trump’s campaign as proven to have the opposite effect.

    The difference, I think, is that Ron Paul was a thinking man’s candidate. He energized voters by his thoughts, by advocacy for policies which no other Republican would venture. Those who believed in his message realized that it would not be enough just to come out and vote for him in a primary election – that was tried in 2008 to little effect. They knew that to change the Republican Party they would have to take over the Republican Party, from bottom to top.

    Ironically, Trump has appealed to voters with a message which has occasionally sounded like an echo of that of Dr. Paul, particularly when voicing skepticism of foreign aid and foreign wars, of trade deals that only masquerade under the name of being “free”. But Trump is not consistent in his message. Whereas Ron Paul never campaigned for himself, really had no desire to be President, Trump’s campaign has been about nothing, really, except himself, his persona. For that reason he has drawn crowds to vote for him on primary days, people who never come and vote in any other election. But they aren’t people interested in ideas, much less in rebuilding the Republican Party and the work it will take to do that. They aren’t coming out to organize for Trump and send delegates to see that he actually gets the Republican nomination for President. Their interest in politics extends no further than the effort it takes to mark a box on a ballot.

    A real political movement needs to be built of sterner stuff than that. Pat Buchanan once had such a movement. If Donald Trump is serious about politics, next time around he might enlist Pat Buchanan to teach him something about that. And maybe, by then, he’ll have done something that would cause real Republican voters, those who come out and work for their candidates, to take him seriously.

  3. AJ says:

    You hear sometimes the idea that the US political system is functionally really just one party, except for a few hot button issues that rile their respective bases. You can really see that in this election, how the Democrats and Republicans have their own ways of insuring the same outcome, that the powers that be determine the nominee. The similar horribleness of Hillary and Ted on free trade and foreign policy mentioned here is another case in point. Democrats and Republicans, Hillary and Ted, Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum.

  4. Mick says:

    Pat,
    Keep your corrupt bargain theories where they belong: within Republican Party politics. The party of FDR, Truman and Kennedy has a history or respecting the choices its voters make. McGovern ’72, Carter ’76 and Obama ’08 are all anti-establishment choices. Trump will probably have the most delegates going into the convention and have the nomination taken from him by sleight of hand maneuvering. That is to be expected in the Republican Party of the house of Bush and Romney.

  5. Daniel (not Larison ) says:

    I have felt for years–and become more and more convinced every election cycle–that we sorely need a Constitutional amendment to change the way we elect President to a same-day primary across the nation, with a runoff between the top two popular vote receivers if one fails to get 50% plus 1 vote.

    The primary system gives far too much power to political parties, and the electoral college no longer serves any apparent purpose (other than to frustrate democracy–and no, it doesn’t offer a credible check against electing a dictator.)

    As a late-primary state, my vote is worth nothing compared to a vote in Iowa or tiny Vermont. We should recognize it for what it is: a stupid, stupid system.

  6. Alex says:

    And from now on the possibility of a third party is starting to be seen. And both GOP and Dems are risking to lose bitterly in such case.

  7. Lance says:

    I’m not sure why there is any big surprise. The Republican and Democratic parties are private groups. Is it any surpise that they want to pick someone from inside their group? Instead of “backroom deals” you could insert “those inside the group trying to keep someone from outside the group from winning”.

  8. TG says:

    Hey, the elites don’t care if the voters go away mad – just so long as they go away. If we don’t have a real choice, the donors win, and that’s that. The parties could crumble into dust and voter participation rates could fall to single digits. So what?

  9. Montana Marvin says:

    And why does the establishment want to crush the common peoples’ choices? Because their wants and desires are different from ours. For the past 25 or 30 years they have been able to deceive the rube voters into voting against said rubes’ interests. Now the gig is up. The day when the Clintons and the Bushes could convince the average working Joe that he should support the causes, at Joe’s expense, that benefit global billionaires is drawing to a close. So, go ahead and steal the nomination – just to hammer home the point that the whole idea that the 1% and the 99% were on the same side was a cruel farce.

  10. EliteCommInc. says:

    I am not going to defend these tactics in any manner. They are in my view indefensible. The biggest threat to democracy is unaccountable leaders, financial dealings (that violate the law an ethics), immigration at every level and the caterwauling about one candidate so much so mean and women desperate that the backroom dealing is done in the parlor.

  11. Mark says:

    What you seem to have forgotten, Mr. Buchanan, is that we do not elect nominees by comparing rally attendance numbers or whatever ephemeral quality you want to point to. We elect them by votes, and Mr. Sanders has far fewer votes than Mrs. Clinton. This will almost certainly still be true when we reach the convention. There is no ‘robbery’ or ‘backroom dealing’ going on in the democratic primary, and to try to imply that the candidate who has (and will likely keep) a clear majority of the votes is winning ‘unfairly’ shows nothing but an unwillingness to concede defeat.

    As for the republicans, Trump has known how delegates will be chosen in each state for months and months. There was no ‘blindsiding’ at the state convention in Colorado of any sort. Whining ‘it’s not fair’ when he completely neglected to even try to get delegates at the convention is unworthy of an adult. Besides this, Trump only seems to complain about ‘unfair rules’ when they don’t benefit him. How is it that a candidate with 37% of raw votes has 46% of the delegates? This is clearly very unfair to ‘Lyin Ted’ and Kasich, but Trump has no problem with the rules then.

    If you decline to play by the rules of the game, don’t be so surprised when you get penalized.

  12. Fred Bowman says:

    What’s the old saying “America has the best government money can buy”. And it’s certainly going to be true in this election. Once again, the donor class will have it’s way.

  13. TB says:

    The Trump-Sanders parallel goes only so far. Trump’s trend lines peaked a month ago and have been slipping south. Bernie’s trajectory has been in steady ascent.

  14. Clint says:

    Americans are witnessing how low, both The Democrat and GOP Establishment “Stoop to Conquer ” the will of American voters.

    Clinton and Cruz and their Establishment Control Freak Apologists are attempting to sneaky steal these primaries and caucuses away from American voters.

    Colorado is the wake up call that appears to be exposing the Clinton and Cruz and the corrupt Establishment, as well as their apologists for what they are, Sneaky Low Stoopers.

  15. EngineerScotty says:

    Whatever the merits of Sanders candidacy at the moment, Hillary is winning the Democratic nomination. Without superdelegates. Indeed, now its the Sanders camp that is suggesting that superdelegates flip the nomination to him, should he fail to amass a majority of pledged delegates.

    If Bernie Sanders does manage to amass a majority of pledged delegates, most observers think the superdelegates will flip to him; after all, they did for Barack Obama despite being overwhelmingly pro-Hillary at the start of the 2008 cycle. But they’re not about to overturn a Clinton majority of pledged delegates–not unless something disastrous happens to the Clinton campaign.

  16. Ken Hamilton says:

    Clinton has, and will end up with, the most pledged delegates. The super delegates are not the cause of that. Clinton is simply winning the Democratic race, fair and square.

    If Trump doesn’t get to the 1,237 delegate mark on the first ballot and someone else wins the nomination on a subsequent ballot, again, that is fair and square. These primaries and caucuses are choosing delegates who are empowered to use their own judgment after the first ballot. Trump and his campaign’s inability to master the preset rules all the way through the process is their problem, not a problem with the rules.

    Sanders is running a losing campaign. Period.

    Trump is running an incompetent campaign. Period.

  17. cka2nd says:

    balconesfault says: “The superdelegate ‘firewall’, if you will … was erected in part because the primaries in many states have no guarantees that ‘voters in Democratic primaries’ = ‘Democratic voters’.”

    This is incorrect. Superdelegates were created in the early 1980’s, long before the widespread use of open primaries, as a reaction against too much rank-and-file democracy in the party (itself a change after the 1968 convention to lessen the power of party bosses), which many Democratic establishment figures (Bob Strauss rings a bell) felt resulted in the nominations of weak presidential candidates like George McGovern and Jimmy Carter. I’d guess that the reasoning regarding Carter was that his win in 1976 was the last gasp of the post-Watergate anti-GOP backlash.

  18. cka2nd says:

    Mick says: “Pat, Keep your corrupt bargain theories where they belong: within Republican Party politics. The party of FDR, Truman and Kennedy has a history or respecting the choices its voters make. McGovern ’72, Carter ’76 and Obama ’08 are all anti-establishment choices.”

    As I noted to balconsfault, superdelegates were created as an establishment reaction against “respecting the choices its voters make” and as a way of restoring the earlier power of party leaders. As for Obama, he was only an anti-establishment choice in the minds of way too many naive Democrats who ignored his closeness to Democratic Leadership Council stalwarts like Joe Lieberman and that many establishment figures readily deserted Hilary Clinton for Obama. The Clintons had strong-armed most of the Democratic establishment into supporting Hilary in the first place (the press was full of these stories at the time). Said party-types remembered what a disaster the Clinton presidency had been for the party in the Congress, statehouses and governors mansions, in large part due to their selfishness and laser-like focus on getting Bill re-elected at all costs and to the exclusion of the party (see George Bush campaigning aggressively for the rest of the GOP in 2004 for a counter-example). If the candidates positions on the Iraq War were reversed, there’s a good chance we would be living through the waning days of an actual second Clinton administration right now, instead of its spiritual and in-most-practical matters successor.

  19. JLF says:

    @ Daniel (not Lairson): The compromise at Philadelphia in 1787 involved not political parties but various state rules regarding the franchise, hence the notion of an Electoral College to ameliorate the differences. Today there are still those opposed to democratic rule, and they use the “system” put in place 229 years ago. The fear of true democracy remains strong and manifests itself gerrymandering, voter ID laws, restricted voting hours, and a myriad of other rules sufficient to limit the damage that might come from giving just anybody a say in government.

    The current constitutional system disfranchises every voter who votes for other than the winner in a given state in November and makes hollow the boast of government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”.

  20. cka2nd says:

    Daniel (not Larison ) says: “I have felt for years–and become more and more convinced every election cycle–that we sorely need a Constitutional amendment to change the way we elect President to a same-day primary across the nation, with a runoff between the top two popular vote receivers if one fails to get 50% plus 1 vote.”

    What you are essentially calling for is an open, top-2 primary, which has so far failed to increase voter turnout or ideological diversity in the states in which it has been tried. Also, how long a campaign season would you allow for? Because the only way Bernie has gotten as close to the nomination as he has is through a long, drawn-out primary season that first allowed him to build momentum and then to come back from setbacks. Without your idea, Clinton would almost certainly have been one of the finalists, with Bush and Trump probably fighting for second place.

    Daniel (not Larison ) says: “The primary system gives far too much power to political parties”

    Do you mean the party’s membership or its establishment? If not for superdelegates, the Democratic Party’s primary/caucus system could be considered quite democratic because it awards convention delegates on a proportional basis and largely independent of establishment control. And if the GOP replaced winner-take-all with proportional delegate allocation in the w-t-a states, it would be pretty democratic, too.

    I would like to see three major reforms adopted:

    1. The end of all state-mandated open primaries. Freedom of association should allow the members of parties to say whether they want only their fellow members to choose its nominees to public office, or not.

    2. Much easier ballot access at all levels, federal, state and local, for both parties and independent candidates.

    3. So-called “ranked voting,” where voters can rank the candidates in either primary or general elections in order of preference. This eliminates the need for run-offs and is closer in legitimacy to an out-right majority win than out-right electing the candidate with the non-majority plurality of votes.

  21. Joe the Plutocrat says:

    I do not know all there is to know about American History, but I do know this much. ANY “bargain” related to elections/political office is, by definition, “corrupt”. It is like trying to quantify a crime as a “hate crime”. To Daniel (not Larison)’s point; why would those who benefit from the present election “corrupt” system change it? There is a reason we use the word “establishment”. As I am wont to suggest these days, there already exists a “third part” – the Plutocrats who rigged the game in the first place.

  22. Greg says:

    I don’t understand. The Republican and Democratic Parties, like America, are not democracies. They both include select candidates in partially non-democratic fashion, and there are reasons for this.

    The rules of the game say that winning the nomination is not merely a matter of winning most votes or most delegates.* If you don’t win by the rules, then you didn’t win period. No one can steal a nomination from you when you lost it, fair and square.

    Trump lost every delegate in Colorado because he does not know how to run a campaign, even when the rule change was announced 8 months ago. It’s because his campaign is inept, not because there is a conspiracy against him. Of course, Trump supporters thrive on the latter sort of explanations.

    *Obviously there are even tensions between winning the popular vote nationally, winning the most states, and winning the most delegates. When the front runner is a real, decisive winner, these things all go together. When the front runner is a worse front runner than Mitt Romney, they might come apart. If all we cared about was pure democracy, there would be no distinctions between states or delegates, we would just look at popular vote. To ignore this fact is just to play dumb to cover up one’s incompetence.

  23. balconesfault says:

    @Montana Man The day when the Clintons and the Bushes could convince the average working Joe that he should support the causes, at Joe’s expense, that benefit global billionaires is drawing to a close.

    It is useful to remember why the Clintons became ascendent within the Democratic Party. Because in succession, Humphrey, McGovern, Carter (second term), Mondale, and Dukakis – all much closer to Bernie Sanders than to Hillary Clinton on the political scale – went down to electoral defeat, putting a Republican in the White House for 20 out of 24 years. And had it not been for Watergate – it might have been 24 of 24 years.

    In essence – the American workers decided that they wanted to spend more money on military hardware (which incidentally was also part of Carter’s platform in 1996), to push back on affirmative action programs designed to promote black entry into numerous fields that had been shut off to them from America’s inception, and to make sure that wealthier Americans didn’t pay higher taxes to provide a more abundent social safety net. For this they were willing to trade off union protections, government regulation of the financial sector, and pro-American worker trade policies.

    Clinton was smart enough to read those tea leaves and move in the direction that the electorate was, quite frankly, demanding. Had he not done so, we would likely had a second President Bush term, followed by a term or two of President Bob Dole, all basically acting as continuations of the anti-labor Ronald Reagan Presidency.

  24. philadelphialawyer says:

    Jeez, where to begin?

    “Over the weekend, Colorado awarded all 34 delegates to Ted Cruz. The fix had been in since August, when party officials, alarmed at Trump’s popularity, decided it would be best if Colorado Republicans were not allowed to vote on the party’s nominee. After all, these poor folks might get it wrong.”

    Colorado had a beauty contest primary before this go ’round. NOT a meaningful election. The beauty contest was canceled because, under a new State law, it would have to be meaningful. And, yeah, that happened in August, but that was well before Trump was the 800 pound gorilla he is now. And, OK, the move was perhaps aimed at protecting the insider (who was probably JEB! at that point). Buuuuut, of course, the multi tiered convention structure in CO was still open to all Republicans, and, despite all the nonsense we heard this past weekend, Cruz simply out organized Trump. Trump’s campaign admitted it conceded Colorado, and whatever work it did do there was a comedy of errors. That being the case, Cruz won. What’s wrong with that?

    “In South Carolina, where Trump swept the primary, a plot is afoot for a mass desertion of Trump delegates after the first ballot.”

    “Swept the primary” with 32 per cent of the vote! And, for that, Trump gets ALL the SC delegates on the first ballot. But that is OK, I guess. Pretty much the same in MO, where Trump got almost all the first ballot pledged delegates, even though he garnered only a tiny plurality over Cruz. Indeed, Trump has more pledged first ballot delegates than the actual proportion of the total primary votes he received warrants, but that’s OK too, apparently.

    “In state after state, when Trump wins, and moves on, the apparatchiks arrive—to thieve delegates for Cruz. ‘This is a crooked system, folks,’ says Trump, ‘the system is rigged. … I go to Louisiana. I win Louisiana. … Then I find out I get less delegates than Cruz because of some nonsense. … I say this to the RNC. I say it to the Republican Party: You’re going to have a big problem, folks, because the people don’t like what’s going on.’”

    Yeah, Trump “moves on” after CNN leaves the State, and he and his slapdash organization and half baked campaign staff don’t know, or don’t care, about rules that have been in place since, um, forever, about how the delegates are actually selected. Cruz and his crew do know and care, and, as in Colorado in terms of first ballot delegates, take advantage of Trump’s negligence and self professed ignorance to secure support on subsequent ballots. How unfair!

    “Something rotten is also going on in the Democratic race. Bernie Sanders is on a roll, having won seven straight primaries and caucuses. Yet, he keeps falling further behind.”

    Proportional delegate allocation rules. They help Sanders when he “loses” a State, and hurt him when he “wins.” Same with Clinton. And it was the same in 2008 with Clinton and Obama.

    “’I watch Bernie, he wins. He wins. He keeps winning, winning,’ said Trump in Rochester. ‘And then I see, he’s got no chance. They always say he’s got no chance. Why doesn’t he have a chance?'”

    Because Hillary has received over two million more votes than Sanders? And won more, and bigger, States? It is hard to make up ground, sure. But that was baked into the cake long, long ago, and is not some plot, much less a “corrupt bargain,” designed to hurt Sanders. Again, Obama, who was the outsider in ’08, took advantage of these same rules, as well as the inherently anti democratic caucuses, to beat Clinton.

    And the superdelegates? They have never been used to deny the pledged delegate winner the nomination. Clinton is two hundred PLEDGED delegates ahead of Sanders, and it is very unlikely that he will close that gap. And, once again, last time, in ’08, the supers went to Obama, even those who said that they would support Hillary, and even though she was the insider, because Obama had more pledged delegates.

    The entire premise here is false. The rules in place were not designed or implemented to foil Trump or Sanders.

    Trump has received less than 40 per cent of the vote and fewer than half the delegates chosen so far. And the longstanding (as in well over a century), written rules of the GOP say you need a majority of delegates to win the nomination. If Trump cannot (or, as in Colorado and elsewhere, can’t be bothered to do the work to) garner that majority, then he loses. So what?

    As for Sanders, he is losing to Hillary fair and square, by every conceivable metric, and that is why he continues to trail her in pledged delegates.

  25. Kurt Gayle says:

    @ William Dalton: I have two bones to pick with you:

    (1) You say that “Ron Paul was a thinking man’s candidate” but that Donald Trump supporters “aren’t people interested in ideas…Their interest in politics extends no further than the effort it takes to mark a box on a ballot. A real political movement needs to be built of sterner stuff than that…”

    Having slammed Trump supporters, you then turn around and admit about Ron Paul’s supporters in 2012: “Unlike Trump voters…[they] did not show up in numbers significant enough to win primary elections.”

    Ron Paul won zero primaries, whereas Trump has won 21 primaries already!

    So much for your definition of “sterner stuff”!

    (2) You say, William, that “Trump has appealed to voters with a message which has occasionally sounded like an echo of that of Dr. Paul, particularly when voicing skepticism of foreign aid and foreign wars, of trade deals that only masquerade under the name of being ‘free’.”

    But having admitted that Trump has appealed to voters with his skepticism of foreign wars and trade deals that aren’t really ‘free’,” you then make the extraordinary claim that “Trump’s campaign has been about nothing, really, except himself, his persona. For that reason he has drawn crowds to vote for him on primary days, people who never come and vote in any other election.”

    What you want us to believe, William, is completely contradictory: You want us to believe that Trump appeals to voters on the basis of many of the most important Ron Paul issues, but that the “reason [Trump] has drawn crowds to vote for him on primary days” is because his campaign “has been about nothing, really, except himself, his persona.”

    That makes no sense, William. What you should admit is that Trump has indeed appealed to voters on many of the issues that Ron Paul appealed to voters, but that Trump has done what Ron Paul was not able to do: Trump has actually gotten millions of voters out to vote (many for the first time) and is currently the Republican primary leader – the leader in both the popular and delegates votes – with a path to the Republican nomination for President of the United States!

  26. panda says:

    “I have felt for years–and become more and more convinced every election cycle–that we sorely need a Constitutional amendment to change the way we elect President to a same-day primary across the nation, with a runoff between the top two popular vote receivers if one fails to get 50% plus 1 vote.

    This is a terrible idea, for 3 reasons.
    1. It gives a huge, insurmountable lead, to candidates with higher name recognition and/or more money.
    2. Like or not, but one of the few ways we have to asssess someone’s capacity to be president is looking at the way they wage their campaign: can they build an organization from scratch? How do they deal with crises and setbacks? A one day primary takes that all away.
    3. I can’t believe that I am saying this as an urban liberal in favor of centralization, but this idea will totally screw over people who live in smaller and rural states. Candidates will go where the people live, and people live near to large bodies of water..

    What really needs to happen is to break the early state’s iron grip on the schedule: just organize the primary into 5 state blocks, and cycle those blocks’ dates every campaign, so that every states gets to go first and last. Also, caucuses need to be burned to the ground.

  27. Myron Hudson says:

    “If the “America First” stance on foreign and trade policy, close to a majority position today, is unrepresented by either party this fall, and we get a free trade, War Party president, the divisions within the country will widen and deepen.”

    And so will the powers of the State.

  28. Colm J says:

    If people could be made to understand that it is rather irrational to place trust in elections run a by a ruling elite that – amongst many other crimes and misdemeanours – invents spurious reasons for invading faraway nations, we might start getting somewhere.

  29. Rurik says:

    Paul Ryan is a very intelligent man, which is why, earlier today, he Shermaned himself out of the GOP nomination.

    Wouldn’t you? The last place ANY Republican with a political future wants to be is as the “phony nominee” in a country with millions of Trump supporters, most of whom are heavily armed. (And yes, that means exactly what you think it means!)

  30. Ken T says:

    There are two groups of people who keep pushing the idea of equivalence between Trump and Sanders – Trump supporters, and Clinton supporters. The Trump people trying to burnish Trump’s image, the Clinton supporters trying to tarnish Sanders. In reality, the only similarity is in the fact that they are both fighting against the party establishment. Once you look beyond that, it becomes obvious that they are actually polar opposites. And while it is certainly true that the Democratic party set up their primary rules before the campaigns ever started with a very heavy thumb on the scales to favor any establishment candidate against any insurgent, there is nothing like the pathetically obvious after-the-fact “calvinball” rule changing that is taking place on the GOP side.

  31. JonPatrick says:

    AJ says “You hear sometimes the idea that the US political system is functionally really just one party, except for a few hot button issues that rile their respective bases. You can really see that in this election, how the Democrats and Republicans have their own ways of insuring the same outcome, that the powers that be determine the nominee. The similar horribleness of Hillary and Ted on free trade and foreign policy mentioned here is another case in point. Democrats and Republicans, Hillary and Ted, Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum.”

    That may be true on the economic issues, but there is still a gulf between the 2 parties on social issues. Social conservatives were drummed out of the Democratic party long ago. If Hilary wins, we can expect a continuation of the tightening grip of the secular State and increasing persecution of Christians as a “hate group”, whereas a President Cruz may be able to stall this off at least for a time. There is also the Scalia replacement, which in turn will affect SC votes on issues such as abortion for some time.

  32. Clint says:

    If Bernie Sanders does manage to amass a majority of pledged delegates, most observers think the superdelegates will flip to him; after all, they did for Barack Obama despite being overwhelmingly pro-Hillary at the start of the 2008 cycle

    Actually, Hillary Clinton released most of her superdelegates.

    “In the eight nomination campaigns since Democrats started using superdelegates, they’ve never upended the candidate with the lead in pledged delegates. Even in 2008, when Clinton was in a closely fought race against then-Senator Barack Obama, only about 30 superdelegates abandoned her campaign before she released them once the race was settled.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-04-13/clinton-s-superdelegates-are-ultimate-firewall-to-block-sanders

  33. panda says:

    “As for Obama, he was only an anti-establishment choice in the minds of way too many naive Democrats who ignored his closeness to Democratic Leadership Council stalwarts like Joe Lieberman and that many establishment figures readily deserted Hilary Clinton for Obama.”

    Obama did get support from many establishment dems (most notably, Harry Reid). However, Lieberman is a really weird name to use here, given that he, you know, endorsed McCain in 2008..

  34. EliteCommInc. says:

    I remain wedded to the spirit of the delegate process, which is the delegates reflect the popular will.

    But if one is to be technical. There is no rule that permits the party leadership to decide how said delegates are to be at the bidding of the leadership.

    Now the loophole that there is no rule is the rule. Since we are playing by the rules.

    Sen Cruz is not a natural born citizen of the US and is therefore ineligible to run for office.

    That’s the rule. If the rules matter. It’s very explicit. And even if a parent is a citizen, unless one is born on US property, they are barred from running for the executive.

    The rules are in fact the rules.

  35. Bangle says:

    Trump is not going to get the nomination. The best thing that can happen is that his supporters and I am a big Trump supporter will defect and go to either Hillary or Bernie. Either that or we sit this one out. We have in effect been disenfranchised by the GOP. Time for a third party that is the only way our votes will count.

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