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Tags: 2016 | gop | candidates

The GOP Establishment Stacked the Deck for Its Candidate

Ben Weingarten By Thursday, 05 November 2015 07:19 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

In politics, as in all facets of life, the devil is always in the details. One of the most overlooked manifestations of this fact by the public comes in the form of the nuts and bolts of the electoral process itself.

As you might guess, the machinery of the GOP, which is definitionally the establishment, has crafted the 2016 GOP presidential nomination process in a way most advantageous to its still to-be-coalesced-around chosen candidate.

An essential piece for the FiveThirtyEight site explains.

In the article, David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report argues that the campaigns of the so-called "outsiders" of Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump may be "cooked" because the nomination process gives outsized power to "moderate" Republican voting blocs over conservative grass-roots primary voters.

Wasserman writes: "Only 11 of 54 GOP senators and 26 of 247 GOP representatives hail from Obama-won locales, but there are 1,247 delegates at stake in Obama-won states, compared with just 1,166 in Romney states."

What's more: "A total of 832 delegates (about 34 percent of all 2,472 delegates) spanning 23 states will be awarded based on results at the congressional district level. Here’s the catch: According to the RNC’s allotment rules, three delegates are at stake in each district, regardless of the partisan lopsidedness of the seat. This creates a “rotten boroughs” phenomenon in which Blue Zone Republicans’ votes can be disproportionately valuable.

"For example, three delegates are up for grabs in New York’s heavily Latino, Bronx-based 15th District, which cast just 5,315 votes for Romney in 2012. But there are also three delegates at stake in Alabama’s 6th District, which covers Birmingham’s whitest suburbs and gave Romney 233,803 votes. In other words, a GOP primary vote cast in the bluest part of the Bronx could be worth 43 times more than a vote cast in the reddest part of Alabama."

Stated differently, the GOP is in effect systematically disenfranchising the strongest “R” partisans by virtue of its state-by-state electoral rules.

It is virtually inconceivable that this will not work to the detriment of more conservative Republican presidential nominees.

As Wasserman rightly notes, his editorializing aside: "The average blue district awards one convention delegate per 28,912 Romney voters, while the average red district awards one delegate per every 56,714 Romney voters. Thanks to this disparity, if a hard-right candidate like Cruz dominates deeply red Southern districts in the SEC primary, a more electable candidate like Rubio could quickly erase that deficit by quietly piling up smaller raw-vote wins in more liberal urban and coastal districts."

Moreover, the facts raised in the FiveThirtyEight piece would seem to undermine the veracity of existing nationwide polls that might otherwise give anti-Establishment Republicans cause for cheer, as such polls do not account for the relative worth of primary voters by geography.

One other notable headwind for more conservative candidates comes in a rule change implemented by the RNC in 2014. As Henry Olsen wrote in a September 2014 article for National Review, the RNC created a “'proportionality window.' It requires all state contests, whether caucuses or primaries, held between March 1 and March 14 to allocate the delegates available statewide proportionally.

". . . This is a potential death sentence for the conservative candidate. Most of the highly conservative southern states traditionally hold their primaries inside of the March 1–14 window. If that occurs again in 2016 [which it will], a conservative candidate will probably not gain many delegates over the establishment choice by winning the states in his base.

"Even if a southern state in the window allocates, as many non-southern states do, three delegates to each congressional district on a winner-take-all basis, the proportional allocation of the statewide delegates will place a conservative statewide winner at a severe disadvantage. He or she will then have to compete in less hospitable states that have the freedom to select all of their delegates by winner-take-all methods."

The takeaway is that the RNC seeks to win the war before a shot is even fired — Republicans can be very shrewd political operators at least when it comes to sinking their more conservative foes and preserving their power.

More broadly, conservatives frequently fail to realize that as with for example the Iran deal, many of the battles they perceive to be most critical are already fait accomplis, all too frequently due to collusion between the GOP Establishment and the Democrats.

In the case of presidential elections, the GOP establishment is more than well equipped to thwart the conservative base of the Republican Party all by itself, as has been going on since time immemorial (or at least since before Reagan came on the scene).

How the sausage is made in politics is critical and critically overlooked by those of us who are passionate about political ideology and philosophy.

Indeed, the Republican who seeks power and the conservative who seeks a modicum of purity are anathema to each other.

Ben Weingarten is a frequent commentator on economics, politics and defense, and is founder and CEO of ChangeUp Media LLC, a media consulting and publication advisory firm. Previously, Ben was a publishing manager and editor at TheBlaze. He began his career in investment banking, specializing in bankruptcies and restructurings. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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As you might guess, the machinery of the GOP, which is definitionally the establishment, has crafted the 2016 GOP presidential nomination process in a way most advantageous to its still to-be-coalesced-around chosen candidate.
2016, gop, candidates
Thursday, 05 November 2015 07:19 AM
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