Inside the Delegate Mayhem

If you are like me, then you probably had to flip through your old High School American History textbook to figure out what it up with all this talk about delegates. And if you are like me again, you will realize that this is one of those twisted rules in the election process that leaves many people confused, and wondering why there cannot be a straightforward vote when it comes to the election of the party’s candidate.

So, to break it down for you because this issue can be very confusing, here’s a simple outline of what is happening with all this delegate mayhem.

First of all, the reason that the political party leaders and other candidates are even bringing delegates into the mix, is because this group does not want Donald Trump to be the party’s nominee. The purpose of the primary is to simplify this part of the election cycle, and before this part was added, all conventions were brokered. Each state chose delegates to go to the convention and vote for who they wanted the candidate to be. In the first round, many candidates are obliged by state laws to vote for who won the caucus or primary. But if there is still no majority by the second round, the delegate can choose whoever they want.

So you have probably been seeing the number 1,237 everywhere, and that is because this is the number needed for a smooth transition to the nomination. If a candidate receives this many delegates, it is assumed the party will nominate this person. If not, then they can state that there is no clear majority winner for the delegate vote, and therefore, have a contested convention. Furthermore, if the convention becomes open, then the delegates can nominate any person they want. That means someone like Paul Ryan could become the nominee without ever having to campaign in the primary.

Now, for those of you who watch House of Cards, this part may be more easy to understand. Basically the room is full of delegates from each state who vote for a candidate, and then the party leaders mark down this vote until one candidate reaches a majority. This is why you may have seen some articles in the news that say Cruz is focused on choosing the delegates for the convention, because he clearly already sees the scenario playing out to be a contested convention and wants to make sure he has more delegates from each state on his side than Trump. In South Carolina, where Trump won, Cruz now has more delegates on his side than Trump does. This means that in a contested convention, even though Trump won the primary, those delegates could easily vote instead for Cruz and give him the state instead.

You would think in a democracy that the candidate with the most votes would be the obvious winner. But in our democracy, that sometimes is not the case. The primary is very much determined by party leaders, who in this case, are against the idea of Tump. The irony is that those who support Trump are against these very party leaders, and view this whole process as a reaffirming example that the Washington elite are corrupt, and do not correctly represent individual Americans.

June 7th is the final day for a candidate to win a majority of delegates. Cruz is quick on this issue, with a clear understanding of party rules to make sure if the convention is contested, he will be in a strong position. If this happens, there will be a loud outcry from Trump supporters, and this very well might be the last Republican Convention for the party that we know.