Yes, the system is — and ought to be — ‘rigged’ against Trump

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(AP)

“The political parties choose their nominees, not the general public, contrary to popular belief,” a top Republican Party official explained last month.

That’s a hard truth, but a truth nonetheless. Despite its public function, a political party is a private organization, and as a private organization it makes its own rules, it enforces those rules and if it wishes it can change its rules. And in district conventions across the state last weekend, the Georgia Republican Party gave Donald Trump and his backers a taste of what that could mean at the national convention in July.

Back on March 1, Trump won the Georgia GOP primary pretty easily, beating Ted Cruz by 14 percentage points at the ballot box and earning the pledged votes of 42 of Georgia’s 76 delegates at the national convention.  However, under party rules that victory did not give Trump the right to decide who those 42 delegates should actually be, meaning that he can’t dictate that they be Trump loyalists. Instead, the right to name those delegates was left to Georgia Republicans who attended and ran district conventions Saturday. Most of those who attended were longtime party activists, and most of those whom they elected were also longtime party activists.

The result? Yes, Trump will still get the 42 first-ballot Georgia delegates that are bound to him as a result of the primary. However, if the nomination isn’t decided on the first ballot, those 42 delegates will be free to follow their consciences in any subsequent votes. And many of them have already made it clear that given the chance, they will abandon Trump at that point and look elsewhere, probably to Cruz.

It’s a pattern being repeated in the delegate-selection process around the country, raising the odds that if Trump doesn’t go to Cleveland with close to the 1,237 pledged first-ballot delegates needed to claim the nomination outright, he will be denied the prize he seeks. And delegate selection is just one of uncounted potential ways in which party insiders can attempt to undermine his candidacy.

What will happen if they succeed? How will Trump’s supporters react?

“I hope it doesn’t involve violence,” Trump said this weekend. “I hope it doesn’t. I’m not suggesting that. I don’t think it will.”

“But I will say this, it’s a rigged system, it’s a crooked system.”

I can see why Trump and his followers would think that.  He has drawn almost 2 million more votes than Cruz, and is certain to pad that lead as well as his delegate lead in tomorrow’s New York primary. In addition, the two national polls released this month give him an average lead of 15 points among Republican voters. In any other year, if Trump were any other candidate, he would already have been given the keys to the party. Instead he faces a very real chance of losing, or as he sees it, of being “cheated”.

So yes, the system is “rigged” against candidates like him. But it probably ought to be.

The genius of the American system — the key to its survival for more than two centuries — is its ability to let the people govern themselves and make their own decisions while ensuring that self-governance does not devolve into mob rule in which the passions of the moment overwhelm common sense. The Founders were deeply fearful of what James Madison, the chief architect of our Constitution, described as “the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.” As a result, our politics and government are replete with features designed to slow and if necessary frustrate the easy expression of popular passions.

That’s why the unwieldy, seemingly anti-democratic Electoral College, not the popular vote, was made the deciding factor in presidential elections. That’s why the Bill of Rights forbids the majority from infringing upon, abridging or disparaging the basic rights of the minority. The presidential veto exists as a check on temporary passions that might sweep through a legislative body, and the Supreme Court is given the power to override both Congress and the president if populist pressures push them to unconstitutional action.

The political parties have installed similar checks on populist passions, designed to require second thoughts or even third thoughts before rash action can be taken. That’s what Trump and Bernie Sanders are both running up against, and if those roadblocks are frustrating to those intent on carrying out a revolution … well, that’s by design. They don’t make a successful revolution impossible, but they do make it difficult.

That’s a feature, not a bug, and it’s a feature worth defending.

Reader Comments 0

892 comments
John Bishop
John Bishop

"Sorry AJC, you took the news straight out the Post"!

Bill Logan
Bill Logan

he will run third party and could still possibly win

Obie Booker
Obie Booker

If this is true, then the idea that anyone's vote really counts is in the dustbin.

Marian Chapple
Marian Chapple

I hope that will be the OUT Come. He's A Dangerous Stupid Man I don't care how much money he has, We Need A President With Good Sense.

Joel Shipp
Joel Shipp

Wait for it, wait for it, here it comes...dozens of hate filled comments.

Jeanette Curry
Jeanette Curry

Well I'm from Cleveland and I can tell u, he's not getting anything here! ✌

Timothy Evans
Timothy Evans

The whole system is the devil point blank, Babylon the great, they trying to start a serious war, and god people shall win. The idiots know this.

Sean Ward
Sean Ward

If he doesn't have the delegates, then he should NOT hlget the nomination. He should read the rules that he is so fond of disregarding. Rules that were available to Him and all candidates before the election cycle. He is nothing more than a cry baby that doesn't like the rules because he can't play by them. Once the second vote is taken at the contested convention, he has a chance to win that way. When he loses, sadly he will whine and complain again. He fails to see that a great number of his 'supporters' are democrats voting in open primaries. If all the primaries were closed like they should be, trump wouldn't even be in the running.

Kevin Kitchen
Kevin Kitchen

Rule 30c states that a candidate must run in the primary and must win at least 8 states to be the Republican nominee. Only 2 candidates have done that. And one of them is foreign born and not eligible to serve as President of the United States of America.

Dawn DeLay Lamprecht
Dawn DeLay Lamprecht

It has already legally been established that he is considered a natural born citizen as a child of US citizens-this isn't even an issue.

Kevin Kitchen
Kevin Kitchen

Nothing has been established because it hasn't been in court. And it is an issue. And if he got the nomination it will be a big issue

Cheyenne Breen
Cheyenne Breen

me and my north Korean nuclear army will always vote republican for eternity ,you not going to change that

Bob Knowles
Bob Knowles

Sorry to say, but these rules have been in place before Trump decided to run. Can't change it now just to help you out. Rules are rules. Guess he thought he coild also do the same with laws if he were president...doesn't work that way.

Stephen Scruggs
Stephen Scruggs

WHAT AN IMPRESSIVE LIST OF OBAMAS ACCOMPLISHMENTS First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner. First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in. First President to preside over a cut to the credit-rating of the United States. First President to violate the War Powers Act. First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. First President to defy a Federal Judge’s court order to cease implementing the Health Care Reform Law. First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party, a violation of the U.S. Constitution. First President to spend a trillion dollars on ‘shovel-ready’ jobs when there was no such thing as ‘shovel-ready’ jobs. First President to recommend changing our National Anthem as it portrays and promotes violence and is warlike in its theme. First President to cancel the National Day of Prayer Breakfast and activities. First President to initiate a Cash for Clunkers Program to clean up exhaust that adds to global warming, then extended it because it was so popular — wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. First President to abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control of companies to his union supporters. First President to bypass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat. First President to order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S., including those with criminal convictions. First President to demand a company hand over $20 billion to one of his political appointees. First President to terminate America’s ability to put a man in space. First President to have a law signed by an auto-pen without being present. First President to arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it. First President to threaten insurance companies if they publicly spoke out on the reasons for their rate increases. First President to tell a major manufacturing company which state they are allowed to locate a factory in. First President to file lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN). First President to withdraw an existing coal permit that had been properly issued years ago. First President to fire an inspector general of Americorps for catching one of his friends in a corruption case. First President to appoint 45 czars to replace elected officials in his office. First President to golf 73 separate times in his first two and a half years in office, 90 to date. First President to pledge complete transparency while campaigning, then hide his medical, educational,and travel records. First President to win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing NOTHING to earn it. First President to go on multiple global ‘apology tours’. First President to go on 17 lavish vacations, including date nights and Wednesday evening White House parties for his friends; paid for by the taxpayer. First President to have 22 personal servants (taxpayer funded) for his wife. First President to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer expense. First President to repeat the Holy Qur’an and tells us that the early morning Islamic call to worship is the most beautiful sound on earth. And you wonder why I'm behind Trump lmao.Get educated people!

Stephen Scruggs
Stephen Scruggs

F.Y.I. what anybody that voted for Obama really got.

D.j. Turner
D.j. Turner

You do realize that Obama cannot run for president anymore? What does his performance have to do with Trump?

Stephen Scruggs
Stephen Scruggs

Who mentioned Bush? If Bush covered up 9/11 he should go to prison. Period.

Charlie Armitage
Charlie Armitage

No point delegates moving from Trump to Cruz if they're worried about Trump losing to Clinton. Cruz is even crazier than trump. If they want to beat Clinton move to kasich.

John Cooper
John Cooper

It's rigged against Trump and Sanders. Both should run as independents. That would shake up the 2 party system a bit.

Amir Ali
Amir Ali

There going to use this to Deny Bernie as well WATCH!

David Canada
David Canada

Bernie Sanders isn't going to win anyway

Chris Fisher
Chris Fisher

Plain and simple. If The Donald gets close to the 1,237 and the Republicans choose another, they may as well roll out the red carpet for Hillary. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Trump run as an independent (if just for spite) and hand the White House over to the Democrats.

Neal Cowan
Neal Cowan

Total idiot. That's what is wrong with the system. 525 members of cngress are bopught and paid for. That includes r. Cruz asnd Kasich. Trump is not.

Bill Snapp
Bill Snapp

Unbelievable! Liberals like Jay Bookman shriek about the US being a democracy and that "the people" should decide absolutely everything. It's too bad that it is actually a representative republic but the left missed that in civics class. So here now is Jay Bookman, complete with his usual finger-wagging lecture, on how the other party should nominate its candidates and what is right after all. He tells us that that NOW "the people" shouldn't decide anything but instead apparatchiks of the Republican Party should decide for their constituents. Personally I'm an Independent and don't care but I never cease to marvel at the lefts continued "better-than-you" arrogance and concurrent idiocy.

Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

Jay Bookman has never shrieked, much less shrieked that "the people" should decide absolutely everything. (Of course, ultimately it is people who decide, even if they are Supreme Court justices, or party leaders, or [ugh] corporations. :-/)

Mike Whitmore
Mike Whitmore

the people are suppost to choose the president not the government

Raymond McCord
Raymond McCord

Cleveland here we come....Yes!!!!!...This is how it will turn out.. .unless otherwise

James Bell
James Bell

Careful AJC, your hidden agenda is showing again.

Mason Harris
Mason Harris

the system wouldn't be 'rigged against Trump' if the GOP hadn't changed the convention rules for floor votes to stop Ron Paul from getting a floor nomination in 2012. Reap what you sow!

Ed Dobar
Ed Dobar

Might be time to update the "SYSTEM"!!!!!!!

John Sheffield
John Sheffield

But, with everything they have done to the country, doesn’t the GOP deserve Trump as their candidate? They have cultivated exactly the forces that bought Trump to the foreground.

John Sheffield
John Sheffield

As I was typing that I felt like I was wasting time, but I just couldn't stop. Clearly I don't have enough productive things to do.

Mason Harris
Mason Harris

aaand crickets. That's what you get for making sense. Now sit down and shush.

Steve Morris
Steve Morris

Trump will be nominated and be President

Delivery Jones
Delivery Jones

I disagree that the system should be "rigged." Rigging the system impedes the voters voice. Allowing Trump to fairly win keeps the integrity in the process, even though his winning will be an imminent loss in the general election.

Stephen Edwards
Stephen Edwards

Primaries are not elections. Parties are not the government. The primary process is a glorified opinion poll the parties use to gauge the popularity and electability of candidates, but at the end if the day they are private clubs. They could pick candidates with a quick game of hot potato if they wanted. The real outrage is that they use state funds to do it. Taxpayers shouldn't be paying for party primaries.

Lyma Adundo
Lyma Adundo

Parties should remain as "private clubs". That way will be forced to selll a platform rather than a nominee and if more people wanted to be involved in nominating candidates, they should either join the party to have a voice or form their own parties if none represents them. Right now we have too many varied opinions in the same pot. New ideas therefore take too long to get any consideration. I don't like it when people try to mask their intentions in order to appeal to have mass appeal. At least Bernie touts his true opinions even when they may be unpopular. Making the primaries private may get some off the sidelines. Too many people may not be currently voting for what they think they are voting for.

Rachel Montana
Rachel Montana

All Americans regardless of the candidate they back should be outraged by this! This is not a democracy and we need to rise up and let the government and media know that this is not something we will tolerate!

Shira Newman
Shira Newman

why? the parties choose the candidate. They have chosen to do it this way, and that is how they do it. Why are people outraged at this moment? they have been doing this for years. The libertarians all get together and the delegates vote until someone has enough votes. That is how they choose to do it (without using taxpayer money, ahem).

Randy Adams
Randy Adams

Actually we live in a Democratic Republic by definition a Republican believes in a republic and a Democrat believes in democracy which can only lead ordinary ppl to believe that there is too much hypocrisy, too much power and too little common sense in government . politicians use the word democracy when they want something from the people and use the word Republic when they don't

Ted Brackney
Ted Brackney

People are right to be angry, our election machinations are terrible regardless of this additional party primary hooplah. When will America wise up and ditch "First Past the Post?" Proportional Representation is the way to go.

Rahnay Stuard
Rahnay Stuard

Why was no one angry when Al Gore won the popular vote but bush was named president? When Bush flat out stole his second election where was this outcry then?

Lowell Dearsman
Lowell Dearsman

Hey Rachel, Trump should have know the rules before he ever ran. He has nobody to blame but himself. He's only benefited from 17 people being in the race and has never won, 50% in a primary or caucus. He only is getting 37% of the vote. He does not represent me. The 63% that vote against him do.

Tim Scharfstein
Tim Scharfstein

Rahnay google electoral college it may teach you something. Different states depending on size and a couple other factors decide how many electoral votes each state gets. They do this instead of literacy tests to weed out the ppl who vote who have no clue what the hell they are doing

Patrick Rampey
Patrick Rampey

THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DEMOCRACY; THIS IS ABOUT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

Diana Schwartz
Diana Schwartz

Well we are a democratic republic . a representative democracy

Cathie Geisking Phillips
Cathie Geisking Phillips

Actually the Republican Party is a private concern that can make it's own rules. Is it fair that that someone that's gotten less than 50% of the votes has over 50% of the delegates? I'm sick of all the complaining. Rules were known for almost a year. No one should be faulted for knowing the rules and taking advantage of them.