I keep hearing how Trump is the Republican party’s problem, and they can’t do a thing about it. Must they give him the nomination (if he wins the most number of States)? Isn’t the Republican convention no different than the Electoral College? Can’t they back whoever they so choose? Must they listen to the delegates?
Good question. In Australia, parties have policy platforms, you cannot join the Liberal party (our conservatives) and then just spout whatever policies you want when running for election, if you did that they’d kick you out of the party. You start your own party if you want to be able to set your own policies with complete freedom.
Does the US not have any system where the GOP could kick him out and proclaim that his policies are not representative of the Republican party?
Short answer, yes, the convention goes by the vote of the delegates. The delegates get there by a number of routes, primaries, caucuses, picked by leaders, but it’s designed to give the power to the delegates. No one can come in and tell them how to vote or snatch the outcome out from underneath them.
There are no official parties in the U.S., coremelt. No membership cards, no official registers, no secret handshakes. The people calling themselves party leaders can anoint candidates and give them lots of money and support, but there are procedures for getting yourself on the ballot in primaries. If you win a Republican primary you are the Republican candidate for that office and nobody in America can say otherwise. Nobody else has a system like it, probably for good reason.
And though parties create official platforms during presidential conventions (and usually gubernatorial ones), nobody reads them or pays the slightest iota of attention to what they say. Voting has nothing to do with policies. If anyone thinks so, ask them what the party platforms say.
As I understand it the Republican party has approx 400 un-pledged delegates out of 2400 and presumably the GOP establishment can put considerable pressure of them to vote for a particular candidate, whether or not thats acknowledged?
That’s the “picked by leaders” I mentioned. 437 out of 2470, to be exact. But you shouldn’t think there’s some national leadership that handpicked them to vote as they direct. They include all the members of the Republican National Committee, a group about as unified as Dopers, plus officeholders and state party bigwigs.
We don’t know how they would vote even in theory, because every convention in the modern era has had the nominee set months before it started. A so-called brokered Republican convention hasn’t happened in Donald Trump’s lifetime, and he’s 69.
Unpledged delegates aren’t going to save the Republican Establishment because the odds are enormous that their votes won’t matter this time either. Even if the unthinkable happens, there’s nobody over their heads who can put pressure on all of them.
I suppose in other countries it’s unheard of for situations like the 1990 gubernatorial election in Louisiana, where the avowed white supremacist and Holocaust denier David Duke could wind up in a runoff election against the corrupt ex-governor Edwin Edwards.
Or in 1986, when the followers of all-purpose nutjob Lyndon LaRouche managed to win the Illinois Democratic primary, which led the party’s nominee for governor to drop off the Democratic ticket and run as an independent.
Or how in some states like New York and Minnesota the same person can be nominated and placed on the ballot of two different parties for the same office in the same election, while in other states like Texas, it’s possible for one person to be nominated and on the ballot for several different offices in the same election.
Or how in 1872, Horace Greeley received three electoral votes for President, despite being dead, while in 2000, Missouri elected a man who had died three weeks earlier to the U.S. Senate.
But in America, such things merely illustrate our political system.
Something sort of similar happened in France in 2002, with the same kind of joke slogans about voting for the crook too.
Parties do have a lot of influence though. the RNC definitely doesn’t want Trump and will do everything possible to make sure Trump doesn’t get the nomination. But in the end, if Republican voters want him as their nominee, he will be the nominee.
The RNC’s hands are a little tied though, because Trump has the option of running third party. So the RNC can’t actively sabotage his candidacy, or else he’ll sabotage the party in return.
And if I gambled, that is the outcome I would bet on happening. If he doesn’t get the nomination he will bluster and carry-on about how the process was rigged or unfair. Then he will run as an independent.
Short of his heart stopping, Trump is not going away and the GOP needs to face it.
Along those lines, if he does win the primaries, do the Republicans have to nominate him at the convention, or can they choose someone else?
The problem with Trump as independent is that he doesn’t want to spend money. As a 3rd party guy spending Ralph Nader-level funds he’ll get Ralph Nader level results. Now if he wanted to spend money, he could be a force, but his celebrity is not going to be enough to get Republican voters to hand Hillary Clinton the White House. He has to be willing to outspend the GOP nominee and make the GOP nominee effectively the 3rd party.
The delegates are pledged to him, so if he has a majority of delegates they’ll put his name in nomination and he’ll carry the first ballot.
What you might see for the first time in a long time is them not making it unanimous on the 2nd ballot. Trump might win his majority and the rest might leave.
The election will probably be very close, and even a 2% vote for Trump might swing the election … IF most of that vote is at the expense of one party.
Do we know what portion of an independent Trump’s vote (in Ohio, Florida, Virginia) would come from otherwise-Democrats and what portion from otherwise-GOP?
In Australia (or other Parliamentary-system countries) if a sitting M.P. is kicked out of his Party, does he lose his seat? (I ask because this was the law in Thailand, and it struck me as very wrong.)
I believe you can keep your seat and stay in Parliament as an independent. If you were a cabinet member you’d lose your cabinet position. Basically you become an independent backbencher.
In the UK, you can be kicked out of your party (or leave it) and stay on as an Independent (or join another party) until the next election.
It would be interesting to see the fallout if Trump gets the nomination but then loses the general election in a landslide.
Would the Republicans then be able to implement a proper party system to prevent it happening again? I assume there’s nothing legally stopping someone from setting up a new political party in the US with a more formal membership system and the ability to boot people from the party?
As leader of the Tea Party wing, Trump has successful fractured the GOP. I cannot imagine he would be getting too many liberal, progressive, or independent voters going his way. He seems to have jerked the party rightward against their will. He has hijacked this election cycle, and GOP leaders know it. If they boot him out and he runs as Tea Party, he will siphon votes from a “legit” GOP candidate. He’ll lose for sure to Hillary if he stays in the party. They’re damned if they do, damed if they do. He’s got them by the short and curlys, and he’s calling the shots.
I am not saying this is bad.
He’s definitely got this liberal’s vote…in the Michigan primary.
It isn’t even a question of can they. They cannot and they won’t. This would be the same establishment GOP who utterly and completely failed to stand up to the Tea Party/Freedom Caucus for years now. The same GOP leadership who could not keep their own members of Congress in line over fear of the exact same base that Trump has in his pocket now. There is no reason to think they’d suddenly grow a spine and try to stop this. There is no evidence that they even could stop it if they wanted to!
They created Frankenstein’s monster and now it is loose and destroying the village. And there isn’t a thing they can do about it.
It’s not a question of formality; the difference between the two systems is where the money comes from. Candidates in a parliamentary system submit to the party platform because, by and large, the party funds the campaign. In the US, party funding is only one source of a candidate’s funds, and often a small one, so the candidate is not beholden to the party to get elected.
Another way to think about it is that parliamentary systems typically form coalitions among many parties, while the US system forms coalitions within the two parties.
It’s not just the US; there are plenty in UK Labour who are not thrilled to have Corbyn as their leader.