Donald Trump has found another reason to complain: he’s having his nomination stolen by that nefarious Snidely Whiplash, Lyin’ Ted Cruz!
How is it possible that the people of the great State of Colorado never got to vote in the Republican Primary? Great anger - totally unfair!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2016
What’s the Entitled Prince of New York’s complaint now? He says that the Colorado presidential delegation process is unfair. He’s basing that on his cursory reading of headlines at The Drudge Report – which, not coincidentally, has become a pro-Trump outlet par excellence – which currently looks like this:
There’s only one problem: the Drudge headline is highly misleading. Colorado Republicans voted at precinct caucuses for delegates; those delegates voted at the Colorado convention. This process was approved back in August 2015 as a response to the 2012 Ron Paul attempt to hijack the delegates from Colorado. As Jim Geraghty at National Review reports, Colorado began holding caucuses in 2004; in 2008, they shifted to a caucus/straw poll system that sent unpledged delegates to the convention; in August, the RNC said that Colorado shouldn’t waste money on the straw poll, since the delegates were unpledged anyway. Here’s Geraghty:
On March 1, Colorado Republicans gathered at 2,917 precinct caucuses to select delegates to the County Assemblies and District Conventions. If you’re a Coloradan with a view on the Republican primary, this is when you got to vote. At the County Assemblies, those delegates elect delegates to the Congressional District and State Conventions. (Colorado Republicans pick three delegates and three alternates from each of the seven congressional districts, and then another 13 to represent statewide.) Once again, this is all laid out in the party rules. This isn’t hidden somewhere. It’s not written in code.
But for Trump, it’s simply too much to ask for him to read the rules for each state, or hire the very best, fabulous people to do it for him. According to The Denver Post, “Trump’s campaign didn’t put a visible paid staffer on the ground in Colorado until last week, when it hired Patrick Davis, a Colorado Springs political consultant, to organize national delegate candidates at the 7th Congressional District convention in Arvada. By then, Cruz had won the first six delegates….The Trump campaign’s list of preferred national delegates distributed at the state convention on Saturday was riddled with errors and misspellings that only further hurt its chances.”
None of this should be surprising. Trump is a man whose own children didn’t re-register Republican in order to vote in the New York primaries. This is a human who decides political positions based on whether he had a solid bowel movement that morning.
And, by the way, Donald Trump seemed to understand delegate processes pretty well back in 2012:
But, we should ask, does the primary process actually hurt Trump? No, of course not. First off, winner-take-all primaries are designed to manufacture consensus. Trump has won 37 percent of the national Republican vote. But he’s won far more delegates – 45 percent -- thanks to winner-take-all rules that disenfranchise large majorities of the Republican electorate. As NBC News points out, “For each percentage point of total primary votes that Trump has won, he has been awarded 1.22 percent of the total delegates.”
And it’s worthwhile noting that the delegate allocation process itself favors Trump, since the number of delegates for a given state does not follow Republican registered voters or Republican votes in prior elections, but simple population. That’s why California, which has not voted Republican since George H.W. Bush in 1988, carries 172 delegates, while Texas, which has not voted Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976, carries 155 delegates. There are approximately 9 registered Republicans in California.
Nonetheless, as always, Trump proclaims himself a victim. “They’re trying to subvert the movement,” Trump said in Rochester. “They can’t do it with bodies, so they’re trying to subvert the movement with crooked shenanigans.” Trump compared himself with Bernie Sanders, who has been losing states to Hillary Clinton not because he lacks a delegate outreach effort, but because the DNC has actually picked superdelegates – usually party officials -- without any Colorado-style caucus elections.
Trump has always been looking for an excuse to revolt should he lose the nomination. His followers will certainly believe whatever he tells them, even if he only loses the nomination through his own incompetence. In fact, his followers celebrate that incompetence as evidence that Trump isn’t a political insider.
No matter what happens, though, two key Trump claims have fallen apart thanks to his inability to fight for delegates properly: he’s not a great dealmaker, and he doesn’t hire all the very best people. A third claim is on the ropes, too: Trump doesn’t have a very good brain.