The Remnant Process

Today in Wisconsin both parties conduct primaries for the office of President of the United States. For the Republicans, the number of delegates at stake is 42; for the Democrats it’s 86. Six months ago, no pundit predicted that either party’s primary process would continue this long without a perceived nominee. Don’t count on Wisconsin to clarify the situation today.

Only Donald Trump still has a chance to capture 1,237 delegates, the number needed to secure the nomination. Both Ted Cruz and John Kasich are still running to keep him from reaching that magic number. If they can’t win, why do they continue stay in the race? The answer lies in the party process of the conventions.

For the past forty years, both Republican and Democratic conventions have been five-day infomercials. Speakers were carefully selected in the proper sequence to build the case and the momentum that the party’s themes for President were most in line with the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the American public. This year’s conventions could actually perform a perfunctory purpose in the selection of the nominees.

Since the beginning of the founding of the United States, powers to be and special interests of which they are a member or represent have felt a need, and therefore a right, to manage the electoral process for the good of the people. We have progressed as a society from the premise that one had to be a land owner to vote, to the constitutional provision that every citizen must have equal access to the ballot box.

However, in reference to political parties and the selection of candidates as nominees, there is a remnant process reflective of the backroom bosses of the 20th century. There was a time when party bosses gathered in a backroom in secret and made the decision about who would stand for election. Their justification was that the public was not capable of understanding and considering all the complex issues and forces in play to make a rational decision for such selections. In other words, they were too inadequate in intellect and parochial in emotion to select candidates for the greater good.

They were terribly wrong.

There are of course several deficiencies in this proposition. They were no smarter than anyone else. Wealth and position did not automatically result in character and innovation. Their selfish interests were often paramount. Change and unseen progress were beyond their visual grasp when detached from the grassroots. This backroom is the system today of communistic and socialistic states. This is also why both these systems of government control, in 6,000 years of recorded history, have always failed.

The last Republican primaries are June 7th which includes California. What then if no one obtains 1,237 delegates?

Then the convention process begins, but possibly not in full force. Why? Donald Trump can only win on the first ballot. He peaks at that point. After the first ballot, delegates are released to vote their conscience. This means they can vote for whomever they personally like and who corresponds to their values. They are not only unbound by the dictates of the primary process in their state, they do not further have to consider their electorate’s desires. The sitting delegate is a party official, selected by the party, state-by-state. Most delegates are chosen at state conventions this month and next. In the past, these delegate positions have been filled by party regulars, primarily as a perk for their service. This year an earnest effort is being made by the remaining three candidates to have their supporters fill these delegate positions. Donald Trump will have delegates who will vote for him on the second ballot, but not as many who, bound by state law, will vote for him on the first ballot.

Neither Senator Ted Cruz nor Governor John Kasich can win on the first ballot. Therefore, their goal is to keep Donald Trump from winning on the first ballot. This is the answer to why they stay in the race. They still have a chance to be selected as the nominee on subsequent ballots.

The latest projections analyzing current polls place Donald Trump at about 1,100 delegates through California and the date of the last primaries. There is an effort to keep Governor Kasich from being nominated. Republican Party Rule 40b requires a candidate to control the delegations of eight states in order for their name to be placed in nomination. This rule was passed by the Romney delegates in 2012 to keep Ron Paul from being nominated from the floor. At the time he controlled five states. Some see it as ironic that an establishment candidate orchestrated a rule to keep a rebel from being nominated, and now an establishment candidate (Kasich) could be denied nomination by the same rule. Governor Kasich has 125 delegates. The people chosen to represent the party at the convention and cast their votes will also likely be Kasich supporters. If Governor Kasich cannot be nominated, there is a possibility that he could negotiate to deliver his delegates to vote for Donald Trump on the first ballot. He would then in turn be selected as Trump’s  his Vice President running mate. Kasich claims he would not make this deal, but stranger things have happened.

It is important to remember two things about this Republican convention. First, there are currently approximately 629 unbound delegates available to vote their will on the first ballot. This group is made up of super delegates (appointed, not elected), delegates unbound by their state, Rubio delegates, Kasich delegates, and miscellaneous Carson and Fiorina delegates.  And second, there are no laws governing negotiations for delegates’ votes. There are federal laws stating that no remuneration may be tendered for a vote for federal office. But delegates are inside party politics.

This could in fact be an open convention with the first ballot a negotiated vote.

The current party rules release all delegates from all restrictions on a third ballot. If unbound delegates held out for a yet undetermined candidate, that candidate could be placed in nomination on a third ballot.

The rules for this convention will be written the week prior to its convening. The Rules Committee can pass any set of strategic rules by a simple majority vote. Once adopted by the convention, these rules become the official nominating and governing process for that convention.

The Democratic convention will be much less legalistic as long as Hillary Clinton stays in the race. She will secure 2,383 delegates, the number needed for the nomination. If she is indicted, the Democrats too could have an open convention, but it would be much simpler to implement.

The Wisconsin primary today will be a step in the process, but not a confirming event. Two weeks later, New York’s primary will be much more defining for both parties.

Between June 7th and July 18th, the date the Republican Convention convenes, the remnant process of a national party will begin to sort out the chaos. This does not mean that each candidate affected will accept the conclusion of the deliberations, but the convention will complete its business.

The American people deserve, in the deliberative process of the parties’ conventions, that the people’s will, intentions, and yes, parochial emotions are considered for the collective good of society.

My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.

What do you believe?