Do you want to be a delegate in Cleveland? Then you, personally, need to win an election. In Pennsylvania next week, 54 Republicans, in eighteen Congressional Districts, will win such an election, and be free to vote however they please. In California, on June 7th, 159 Republicans — running as proxies for one of the candidates — will win such an election, and be pledged to their candidate.
But in the vast majority of states, you need to win an election at the State Convention. You need a majority of your fellow delegates to vote for you. Many of these people will either know you personally, or by reputation. Being a delegate, this year, is a big responsibility. These elections at State Conventions will be taken very seriously by all concerned.
And it is the delegates to these State Conventions who have all the power. Not the party bosses, or elites. These delegates will have won elections of their own. Most will have been elected at a precinct caucus to be a delegate to a county or district convention. There they must win another election to be a delegate to the State Convention. Where you’ll pay your own way, as well as a registration fee.
Very few people are interested enough in politics, or the Republican Party, to go through all these hoops. The people who do it year after year are a very special type. I’ve been one of them for over 50 years, and I know quite well how unusual such people are, at least in most places.
In my experience, very few of these people are in it for self interest. It may help your business somehow, or you may have some personal ax to grind, but that’s unusual. Aside from a few who have some personal political ambition, these people do it out of a sense of civic duty.
Republicans who do this stuff are overwhelmingly conservative. It’s their real motivation. They believe in the Constitution and the Founding Fathers, and they are patriotic Americans. And most of them understand politics a lot more than their average neighbor does. They follow it closely, and they have some understanding of the issues.
These are not Trump people. These are people who can’t stand Trump, for a whole suitcase of reasons. And these are the people who will deny him the nomination. Not Ted Cruz, or his campaign. These people will do it on their own. You saw it in Louisiana and Colorado and Wyoming. You’ll see it all across the country, in 25 more State Conventions, beginning this weekend in Bangor. The twelve Cruz delegates will be solid to the core. The nine Trump delegates and two Kasich delegates will have a more flexible attitude. Once they’ve cast their first ballot, they’ll have open minds, and be willing to listen to all sides. Or they may be up front about it, and say they’re only for Trump on the first ballot, and then they switch to Cruz.
The so called “unbound delegates” that Trump will need are almost all going to be selected by the delegates to these State Conventions. These people will be seriously vetted. If any shows any Trump tendencies they won’t get elected. Not by these State Convention delegates, the people with the power, and the people who hate Trump.
Oh, Donald, did anyone ever tell you that politics ain’t beanbag?
That’s the way the system works. It’s not simple, or easy, and it varies wildly from state to state. We’re a big and diverse country. People get to do things their own way. It’s federalism. It’s America.