Once Trump starts winning winner-take-all primaries but gets less than a majority of the popular vote, will the GOP move towards giving delegates in proportion to the popular vote so a hung convention could choose a compromise nominee in future elections?
No. It’s irrelevant in primaries for a candidate to have a majority. They may change to make it easier to have a brokered convention so the choice can be taken away from the party voters.
In the past 2 elections the Republican nominee had won far less than a majority of the primary/caucus vote because of winner-take-all, and the eventual nominee didn’t reflect the views of a majority of the party’s rank and file voters. The GOP lost both elections.
Did you think there was a candidate in the last 2 elections that would represent the majority of the party?
Romeny won 52% of the primary vote in 2012. McCain won 47% of the vote in 2008. It’s not a majority but calling it “far less” is probably overstating it. He still would have been in a strong position at the convention since he had more than his two nearest opponents combined. The second place guy was also somebody named Romney that got painted with too moderate brush 4 years later. The not “real Conservate” nominees for two elections won almost 70% of the primary vote in 2008. It’s hard to paint that as a case of ignoring the rank and file voters.
It’s also important to remember that half the pledged delegates are awarded by March 8th this year. That’s before winner take all is even allowed. From the 15th on winner take all is allowed but not used by every state. Even when the state is nominally winner take all delegates can be shared. Examples are Missouri (winner take all only if the winner gets 50+%) and Indiana (delegate each by Congressional district and then winner take all of the state level delegates).
By the time March 15tth is over, the first time Trump could win a winner take all, the race is more than half over. Making a change at that point gets trciky. It’s trickier because the states have to change their rules to comply with the RNC rules. That generally takes legislation. In some of those states the Republicans don’t control the legislature. Does anybody really expect California to be able to legislate a change that the RNC wants? That just opens up a can of worms when states don’t/can’t change their delegation allocation rules.
Maybe not, but if the Republicans hadn’t had winner-take-all contests, meaning a candidate couldn’t simply overwhelm everybody else with money, then maybe some other people would have been candidates.
The GOP’s trouble is that the party establishment is now firmly pro-Wall Street at the expense of Main Street while a growing libertarian faction is liberal on social issues. So when a socially liberal toady for Wall Street gets nominated conservative Christians either vote 3rd party or stay home and this deprives the GOP of its margin of victory. George W. Bush managed to win because he was willing to at least give lip service to social conservatives the way Ronald Reagan did. McCain and Romney were both social liberals and both lost.
On the basis of winner-take-all Romney had enough delegates to win the nomination on April 25. This naturally dampened turnout for his opponents in the rest of the caucus/primary contests. And don’t forget the trouble the GOP had in counting the votes in Iowa- which dampened Santorum’s momentum.
When the convention roll call came Romney was the 1st place choice of 53 of the 56 delegations (remember places like Puerto Rico had delegations), but he came in 1st place in only 45 of the 56 caucus/primary contests. In a close general election winning only 52% of your party’s popular vote while alienating one of your party’s traditional factions (Christian conservatives) will cost you the White House.
While a hung/brokered convention is the quadrennial dream of Americans who yearn for interesting times, experts in these matters think it would result in a weakened nominee.
Also, I think if Trump is nominated, he will lose badly in November. The chastened Republican base can be counted on to pick a conventional candidate next time without a rules change.
What about a Cruz nomination? Harder to say.
The party establishment – especially his fellow GOP senators – today consider President Cruz a bad outcome. But if Cruz wins in November, they’ll reconcile. Again, no rule change needed.
What about a narrow Cruz loss? Then the GOP party establishment will fear their base won’t have been spanked hard enough to learn their lesson. So maybe they would try for a rules change, but I doubt if it would be the one you suggest.
A big Cruz loss, also possible, of course is just a like a big Trump loss – the GOP base will learn their lesson for a generation or two, as they did after 1964.
I see what you’re getting at, but you are pointing out that the Republican party is a coalition party, and has been for a while. It may be impossible for any one candidate to bring out all of the factions on election day now. I believe this is due to that kind of lip service being used since Reagan which results in eventually all of the factions feeling betrayed and then less willing to back up the next candidate who is pandering to them. This is compounded by their congressional success which is the advantage they get out of the coalition since its factions tend to toward geographic concentrations. However it results in giving the Democrats the excuse that Republicans are blocking their efforts in Congress when they actually betray their own factions.
Not any less so than the Democrats have been since the days of FDR and likely not as much since the GOP has had fewer factions to pull the party in opposing directions. The trouble with the Republicans is that they are so beholden to Wall Street that even when they control the White House and both houses of Congress all they can deal with is tax cuts and economic deregulation. They don’t understand that at least half of this country’s problems are moral in nature rather than economic. If the convention rules were to be changed, perhaps social conservatives and Eisenhower-style pro-Main Street Republicans would have a decent chance at the nomination.
Overall I agree with your post. But I have a comment about the part snipped above.
After 2012 the chastened Republican party and electorate worked to decide what went wrong. And they came to a single coherent conclusion and have operated in disciplined lockstep ever since rallying around a single coherent theme and a single bellwether candidate since about 2014.
Screech!!! *Stop *the music!! What is that dude smokin’ ???
Back in the Real World …
In reality, following the 2012 loss each of several factions decided on a different narrative of why Romney lost and what the solution was. Which is exactly how we got a 22-player nominating race going into late 2015, plus media speculation surrounding 20 more potential candidates. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_presidential_candidates,_2016
The one prediction I feel especially safe making in this extra-wild election cycle is that IF Trump is the Republican nominee, and IF he loses the 2016 election, THEN the Republicans will be all over the map on what went wrong and which way to go to win in 2020.
The Republican base? Chastened by electoral defeat? That’s funny.
Ah. Now I really see what you’re getting at. You’re a culture warrior. Too bad, your side lost a long time ago, and generally gets all the blame for the things you are complaining about.
Good point. And as soon as we banish religion from the public sphere we’ll have a large enough open space to reinsert actual morality as the Founding Fathers intended.
There aren’t that many that are statewide Winner-Take-All. The last time I looked, the list is:
Florida (99 delegates)
Northern Marianas (9)
Virgin Islands (9)
New Jersey (57)
South Dakota (26)
In addition, some states give their statewide delegates to the statewide winner, and each Congressional district’s 3 delegates to that district’s winner:
South Carolina (29 state + 21 district)
Missouri (9 state + 40 district - in Missouri, each district gets 5)
Wisconsin (18 state + 24 district)
Maryland (14 state + 24 district)
Indiana (27 state + 27 district)
California (10 state + 159 district)
Also, 11 other states give all of their statewide delegates (one gives all of its district delegates as well) to a candidate that gets a majority in the state.
You mean, bringing back challenging a gentleman to a duel when my honor is besmirched?
You mean, breaking treaties with brown-skinned people?
Sorry, but bad as the GOP is, the world the Founding Fathers intended is worse.
Setting up the Founding Fathers as demigods results in the right thinking that their way is the way of the gods. A few from the revolutionary generation were fairly decent given the times they lived in (Franklin, Hamilton), but most were at least as flawed as today’s US politicians. I’m for bringing them back to earth.
When? Explain how and why Prop 8 was approved by the voters in California when a higher proportion of inner city blacks supported it than did white Republican suburbanites. The same goes for Hispanics. Blacks and Hispanics provided the margin of victory.
The GOP is finished as a national party. You will lose the White House this November and never again have any real chance of winning it. The GOP is fast on its way to being replaced as a presidential party and the party that will take its place will be center-left on economic issues and conservative on social issues so that white Christians and socially conservative/economically centrist blacks and Hispanics will outvote white, black and Hispanic leftists who will keep supporting the Democrats while the Republicans will only be supported by the libertarian fringe.
You are delusional. You should read the colonial charters and first state constitutions sometime. The Founding Fathers had no intention of removing religion from government and they full well knew that morality cannot be maintained without it.
Then why have so many GOP conventions in recent history seen such lopsided delegate counts when compared to popular vote totals?
And how do you take into account caucus states, especially Iowa, where the actual convention delegates aren’t chosen until months after the precinct caucuses? Santorum may have won the 2012 Iowa Caucuses in the winter, but hadn’t he dropped out of the race by the time Iowa’s state caucus chose the convention delegates?