If you’ve ever played checkers, the card game Old Maid, baseball, or watched a sporting event, there is one basic fact that applies to all these games. In order to win, you must know the rules. If you don’t and your opponent does, you will certainly lose.
If you’re playing checkers, a loss generally means very little. But if you’re a coach in the finals of the AFC Championship, you’d better study the rules and know them well, or it could cost you a trip to the Super Bowl.
Since we were toddlers, we’ve learned that our world turns on rules. Some fair. Others not. But they are rules that must be followed.
April 15 is a day that involves rules that all Americans follow. The IRS, the agency that most Americans love to hate, has a rule book exceeding 70,000 pages long, many that reward the wealthy, special interests and lobbyists. Yet we all abide by the rules. It doesn’t matter that we don’t like them. We play by the IRS’ rules or else…
Of course, if we don’t like our nation’s tax rules, there is a process in place to change them, but complaining about them will accomplish little or nothing.
This 2016 Presidential election cycle is like everything else in life, there are rules that apply. Many of those rules have been in place for years, some even 150+ years. One such rule is the requirement that the Republican nominee must garner a majority of the states’ delegates, or 1,237 delegates.
Like many election cycles, 2016 has been contentious, to say the least. But unlike other cycles, Donald Trump, in tandem with the media, has not only hurled jabs at his opponents but he has, in the midst of the contest, begun to complain about the rules, citing that the system is rigged.
Trump has constantly complained and whined about the Republican party rules, demanding that they be ignored or revised to his benefit. But when was the last time you heard a NFL coach demanding that the rules be changed, in the middle of the Super Bowl, while the game is actually being played?
As I’ve thought about Trump’s droning on and on about the rules, how unfair they are, and his demand that they immediately be ignored or changed for his benefit, I’ve realized that Trump is displaying all of these four classic signs of a whiner:
A person often loses because he fails to prepare or develop a strategy to win. Winning consistently doesn’t just happen by accident. Rather winning is a planned event. No doubt you’ve heard that when someone fails to plan, they plan to fail. Strategy requires many components including brilliance and hard work. A team cannot simply waltz onto the gridiron, proclaim they are the champions, and then expect the trophy. Yet, apparently Trump believes that he can come up with a fancy slogan, sell baseball caps, fill stadiums, tweet 24/7, and then be crowned the Republican nominee. Sorry Donald, if you desire the most powerful position in the world, it requires more than just a glitzy PR campaign and some worn out cliches.
Even if someone were to hand a person a winning strategy, a person or team’s incompetence will lead to failure. We see people fail frequently because they simply don’t know what they are doing. There is no question that Donald Trump is a public relations expert. His ability to whip up a crowd, and play the media like a fiddle, is extraordinary. But his incompetence when it comes to understanding the rules of the game has been extraordinary. Time and time again Donald and his team have dropped the ball or have been beaten in the process of gaining delegates at conventions and caucuses. He’s like a football team who plays their heart out during the first half, runs up a lead, but then fails to show up to play in the second half. Donald’s incompetence has been shocking and reveals some insights into what a Trump Presidency would look like, and it’s not pretty.
“Pride goes before a fall.” This truth is seen over and over in life, sometimes even in our own personal experience. Sadly, arrogance is a trait that is oftentimes exhibited by individuals who have had some degree of success. And there’s no doubt that Donald Trump has experienced extraordinary success by some standards. But achieving success at one point does not automatically guarantee the next win. In fact, when arrogance enters into the equation, failure is soon to follow. And Trump’s attitude regarding the rules is pure arrogance.
Have you ever noticed that many of our nation’s elite assume that the rules don’t apply to them? Whether it’s Congress exempting themselves from laws that the rest of us have to live with or it’s Donald Trump demanding that rules that have applied to dozens of Presidential candidates over the decades be changed or ignored for him, elites believe they are exempt from rules that others must follow. While this borders with arrogance, it is worse because the elitist not only believes he is special, he believes you and I are inferior to him.
One final thought about Trump and the rules. It has been ironic that Trump has never complained about those rules that seem to benefit him such as the scenario where he only garnered 32% of the vote in South Carolina but won 100% of the delegates because of the state’s winner take all rules. Despite this reality, I have yet to hear one of the other Presidential candidates cry “foul” because Trump received three times as many delegates from a percentage standpoint as he did in the popular vote.
So at the end of the day, we see Trump whining about the rules only when his strategy fails or his incompetence shows. And it’s then that his arrogance and elitist disposition surfaces, which should be a huge sign that this man is not ready for prime time or worthy of the Oval Office.
Credit: Trump caricature courtesy of DonkeyHokey https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/22868475614/
As the race for the 2016 Republican nomination for President continues to heat up, we have passed the midpoint of the campaign. What started out as a field of nearly two dozen individuals, has now effectively been narrowed to only two viable candidates, Cruz and Trump, and a third who fancies himself a contender. (That “would be contender” is John Kasich, a guy who has lost 35 contests and won only 1!)
Donald Trump, the figurative elephant in the room, leads with 739 delegates while Ted Cruz trails Donald by 274 delegates, with a total of 465 delegates. To earn the Republican nomination a candidate must accumulate a simple majority of the 2,472 delegates available, or 1,237 delegates. The rule of requiring a majority (versus a plurality) has been in place for 160 years.
As I’ve discussed and debated the current status of the Republican campaign with many friends, and as we face the prospects that no candidate will garner the simple majority of 1,237 delegates required, the reality that the Republican nominee will be selected via a contested or brokered convention is becoming more and more likely. However, I am hearing a growing sentiment from many who are suggesting that if neither viable candidate has garnered 1,237 delegates, then Trump should simply be handed the nomination, if he has the most delegates. What this attitude does, though, is it actually disenfranchises the majority of voters who did not vote for Trump. Consider that as of today, approximately 21 million voters have cast ballots in the Republican nomination for POTUS. However, less than 8 million have selected Donald Trump, or only 37% of voters.
In addition to disenfranchising 63% of the voters to date, the other major issue that “handing” the nomination to Trump would do, is it would totally ignore rules that have been in place for 160 years. For a candidate to win the nomination, it’s incumbent that he put together a strategy to win based on the rules of the game. It would not only be unfair, but it would be arrogant and presumptuous for a candidate to enter the race for the nomination and then, when his candidacy does not succeed, he begins to grumble about the rules, rather than look in the mirror and realize that he is the problem, not the rules.
According to an article at The Federalist, since the Republican Party held its first convention in 1856, there have been a total of ten presidential elections where the candidates arrived at the convention without a majority of the delegates. The Party’s process to select a nominee consists of two steps: 1) voting for one’s preferred nominee and, 2) voting for delegates to represent the voters at the party’s convention. The first step results in the awarding of the delegates to the candidates based on differing rules by state, and the second step selects the delegates who will actually choose the nominee at the party’s convention.
When a candidate is able to make the case to the voters that he is the individual most suited to be their nominee, then he will arrive at the convention with his victory already sealed, as has been the case in 75% of the Republican nominations over its 160 year history. However, in those other 25% of presidential elections, for various reasons the leading candidate was unable to persuade a majority of the voters and/or delegates that he was their pick to represent them in the general election. In these instances a contested or brokered convention ensues, with one or more ballots taking place until the delegates are able to coalesce behind the eventual nominee.
Trump boasts often of his skills as a negotiator. So if he truly trusts those superior skills, then he should have no problem in convincing the additional delegates he would need to rally behind him and cast their vote for him on the first ballot. As a side note, its pathetic to hear Trump threatening that if he does not reach the 1,237 delegate and the nomination is not handed to him, there will be riots by his supporters.
So now we come to the question, if Trump does not secure a majority of the delegates by the convention or following the first ballot, what is the path to victory for Ted Cruz?
One of Ted Cruz’s strengths is that of planning, organizing and strategy. No one gave the freshman Senator a ghost of a chance to even be competitive during the 2016 cycle, much less be one of the last two viable candidates competing for the nomination. Yet here he is. And much of it can be attributed to: 1) the fact that Ted’s record affirms he is a consistent, constitutional conservative, and 2) Ted’s understanding of the rules of the game, and his ability to develop a team and strategy to win based on those rules.
So should Trump fail to secure the nomination on the first ballot, there’s a strong indication that many of Donald’s delegates will desert him on the second ballot. When you consider that a number of Trump’s delegates were awarded to him from “winner take all” states, it only stands to reason that some of those delegates will not support him on a subsequent ballot. For instance, in South Carolina, Trump received the plurality of votes and thus he received all 50 delegates in that “winner take all” state. However, Trump only garnered 32% of the vote. So it’s easy to see how that once those delegates are free to vote for another candidate, it’s highly likely many of the delegates will move to Ted Cruz. This is just one example of a number of ways in which Trump will likely lose delegates should he fail to win the nomination either outright prior to the convention or on the first ballot at the convention.
Finally, we should consider that not only is this process following rules that have been in place for 160 years, but one of our nation’s greatest Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, prevailed on the third ballot at the 1860 Republican Convention to win the nomination and ultimately the Presidency. And there have been other instances throughout the history of the GOP where second or third place candidates became the nominee on multiple ballots as reported in this article at The Federalist.
So, if you’re a Ted Cruz supporter, continue to encourage others to support him, remember Ted and his team in your prayers, and share this article with others so they understand how Cruz can absolutely win the nomination if Trump does not reach 1,237 delegates before the convention. And if you are a Trump supporter, I encourage you to remember the rules of the game, hold your candidate accountable to them, and please don’t riot should Trump fail to win according to the rules.