Newspaper column: A little GOP schooling: Do the math, read the history

Trump and Cruz (Getty Images)

Donald Trump keeps throwing temper tantrums like a spoiled school boy, complaining the system is rigged and crooked and he is being robbed of votes.

“You’re going to have a very, very angry and upset group of people at the convention,” Trump said at an event in Staten Island, N.Y., after Ted Cruz swept the Republican caucuses in Colorado and Wyoming by having the audacity to actually campaign there, unlike Trump. “I hope it doesn’t involve violence, and I’m not suggesting that. I hope it doesn’t involve violence and I don’t think it will. But I will say this: it’s a rigged system, it’s a crooked system, it’s 100 percent crooked.”

After the Colorado outcome was announced a petulant Trump tweeted, “The people of Colorado had their vote taken away from them by the phony politicians. Biggest story in politics. This will not be allowed!”

Want to know what’s rigged? It is the winner-take-all primaries and caucuses.

As of the beginning of this week, Trump had won about 40 percent of the GOP votes cast, but had collected 49 percent of the delegates committed to the top four Republican presidential candidates — Trump, Cruz, John Katich and Marco Rubio.

In New York, Trump got 60 percent of the votes cast, but 94 percent of the delegates.

In Missouri, Trump beat Cruz by just 0.2 percentage points — 40.9 percent to 40.7, — but Trump gets 37 of the delegates to Cruz’s 15.

One person, one vote? But them’s the rules and no one else is mewling like Trump.

After New York, Cruz was mathematically eliminated from having any chance of reaching the 1,237 delegates needed to win on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July. Trump has a chance to reach that number but the odds are long.

As if all his other whining weren’t unseemly enough, Trump is taking umbrage with the party rules that set that magic number of 1,237. He told CNN several weeks ago, “I think we’ll win before getting to the convention, but if we didn’t and we’re 20 votes short, or we’re, you know, a hundred short, and we’re at 1,100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400, ’cause we’re way ahead of everybody, I don’t think you can say we don’t get it automatically. I think you’d have riots.”

 Scottie Nell Hughes, a part of Trump’s campaign, told CNN: “The majority, the plurality, the people, the majority of the population have voted for Mr. Trump. … So you know, riots aren’t necessarily a bad thing if it means we’re fighting the fact that our establishment Republican party has gone corrupt and decided to ignore the voice of the people and ignore the process.”

Oh? If you can’t do the math, can you read the history?

Return with us now to the thrilling days of the second Republican National Convention in Chicago in 1860.

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” sets the scene: “The convention finally settled down and the balloting began. Two hundred thirty-three votes would decide the Republican presidential nomination. The roll call opened with the New England states, which had been considered solidly for (William) Seward. In fact, a surprising number of votes went for (Abraham) Lincoln, as well as a scattering for (Salmon) Chase.”

At the end of the first ballot, the delegate vote tally stood at Seward 173 1/2; Lincoln 102; Chase 49; Edwin Bates 48.

That meant Seward had almost 47 percent of the delegates to Lincoln’s mere 27 percent and Chase and Bates stood at 13 points each.

As it stood at the beginning of the week for just the four top candidates, Trump has 49 percent of delegates chosen so far to Cruz’s 32 percent, while Rubio has 10 percent and Kasich 9 percent. Cruz had more backers than Lincoln did.

In Chicago in 1860 on the second ballot a number of Chase and Bates supporters switched to Lincoln, but Seward still led by three-and-a-half votes, but still shy of 233. Only on the third ballot did Lincoln muster a majority.

That, according to history, is how a convention works. No riots.

As for the inevitability of Trump, thus far only 6 percent of all the registered voters in the United States have cast a ballot for Trump — hardly a mandate.

A version of this column appears this week many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Update: After five states voting Tuesday Donald Trump has 954 delegates, while everyone else has 959.

13 comments on “Newspaper column: A little GOP schooling: Do the math, read the history

  1. Steve says:

    Yup, the Republican party has been Trump’d into supporting Clinton!

  2. nyp says:

    Sounds like you are putting your money on Lucifer.

  3. Just trying to correct some assumptions and misinformation.

  4. nyp says:

    I understand that the Church of Satan has formally protested John Boehner’s attempt to smear Satan by linking him to Ted Cruz:

  5. Steve says:

    Sexist, nyp.
    Lucifer is a female!

  6. Barbara says:

    All very accurate and true which is why we haven’t seen this in any of the mainstream media reports. I’ve completely stopped watching Fox. CNN actually has a modicum of balanced reporting, or maybe it just seems this way compared to the Trump train Fox is on. Supposedly conservative radio hosts Rush and Savage can never present themselves as conservatives or libertarians again. Ditto for Hannity. Andrew Breitbart RIP as your site has been hijacked as well and forget about Drudge. I thought women were suppose to be the emotional sex with men more analytical. Trump’s negatives with women are about 70 percent last I heard. What else is going to turn upside down?

  7. Bill says:

    Few reporters or commentators these days have the background or knowledge about the matters that they are reporting or commenting about. Your historical reminder of the convention whereat Lincoln, the decided underdog received the nomination was informative but will be lost on most. Regrettably, in this “information age” there is little information but a whole lot of noise. Trump is a product of our times. I am not sure if that is a sad commentary on him or on us.

  8. I couldn’t agree more Barbara (except for Rush…he’s for Cruz, but walking a tight rope trying to explain the finer points of Trump’s strategy). I use three sites instead of Drudge who’s totally in the tank for Trump…Social News Watch (Redstate), Hot Air, and Bad Blue. As Mark Levin opines…Fox News is now little more than a Trump Infomercial. I’ve been impressed with Anderson Cooper on CNN and yes…they have been more informative and balanced than Fox…go figure! And yes, Andrew Breitbart is rolling over…he would not be pleased with his namesake website’s antics. And no matter what the media is regurgitating…it’s not over yet. Today’s FiveThiryEight…Ted Cruz has a 65% chance of winning Indiana (up 12 points from yesterday)…Trump has a 35% chance (down 10 points from yesterday!)

  9. Barbara says:

    To whom much is given, much will be required.

    Rush has a very large audience. I’m sure Rush developed a friendship with Trump when he broadcast from NY, but Rush has an obligation to put the country first given his huge following. I do not feel he has been forthcoming in exposing Trump as the insider he truly is. A Trump nomination will very likely mean a Hillary presidency. Andy McCarthy has a very good article in NR.

    Trump’s agenda is in direct conflict with our constitutional republic. This is no time to thread the needle.

    The polls are all over the place in IN. Rush with his huge audience should be endorsing Cruz and advocating for a contested convention. The majority of Republican voters are about to be disenfranchised.

  10. Rincon says:

    You want Rush to do the responsible thing? Why would he start now?

  11. Patrick says:

    No Rincon, no one is suggesting the druggie do the “responsible” thing (if they were, they’d suggest he resign and do used car commercials) the voices here at least, are suggesting that he do, what they want him to do; i.e. Support their candidate. And, it sounds like an “or else” sort of thing.

    And I have to laugh out loud at the suggestion, from supporters of a guy that wants to send patrols into “Muslim neighborhoods” to “secure” them, that their candidate supports the Constitution. I mean, where is that part again about Muslim neighborhoods?


  12. Steve says:

    Patrick again tries to sham his way into choosing what other people decide is their candidate.

    feelin’ the bern eh? Sham Plea King?

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