Thursday, July 14, 2016

GOP Delegate Revolt Schemes: A Bridge Too Far?

As I have pointed out (very briefly and not that worthy of lookup here at KN@PPSTER, and at more length/greater detail over at The Garrison Center), yes, a GOP delegate revolt to stop Donald Trump from becoming the Republican Party's 2016 presidential nominee is possible. And there's a group planning to do it just the way I outline it getting done. Whether or not it's likely to succeed is another question entirely.

But suppose it does succeed -- enough delegates abstain to deny Trump a first-ballot majority, after which the delegates are no longer bound to particular candidates. What then?

According to the convention rules, in order to be placed in contention for the nomination, a candidate must have carried eight states in the primaries/caucuses. Only one candidate other than Trump makes the cut: Ted Cruz.

Does a majority exist for Cruz?

If not, does a 2/3 majority exist to suspend the rules so that other candidates can be considered? That's obviously what John Kasich's fans (and probably Kasich himself) are hoping for.

Erick Erickson wants Cruz on the ticket, but as veep beneath Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.

I'm trying to figure out why Erickson -- or anyone else -- would expect that to fly in the real world.

Walker ran for president and fared so poorly in the debates, in the polls, and in fundraising, that he dropped out of the race more than four months before the first real test, the Iowa caucus.

Erickson writes off Walker's abysmal performance as a presidential candidate to a single mistake:

Walker's major mistake headed into his race was to put all his good people in his Super PAC then hire wildcards to run his campaign. He then could not communicate with the very people who had helped him win so many elections. It was a mistake not reversible once made and I don't think he should be penalized.

But it wasn't campaign organization mechanics that kept Walker in the cellar. At the time he dropped out, the main metric was debate performance. As a political careerist (he's been in one public office or another since 1993) he either knows how to convincingly win a public argument in a way that registers in the polls as presidential timbre or he isn't ever going to know how to do that. Coming off as more presidential than the other 15 people on the stage doesn't automatically create a fundraising juggernaut, effective ground games in Iowa and New Hampshire, etc. But not managing that is evidence that a candidate is trying to stop being a sow's ear and become a silk purse.

It seems to me that almost any GOP ticket, other than possibly Trump/?, is going to have trouble whipping Hillary Clinton in November, if for no other reason than that the fundraising game is well under way based on a nominee apparent. But Walker/Cruz seems purpose-built to lose.

If the will is there to suspend the rules and pick a ticket out of the blue, why not go all the way and draft the existing Republican ticket back into the party it really belongs to?

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