Trump, the Popular Vote, Delegates, and the Possibility of Violence the Convention

Donald Trump is warning that there may – maybe even will – be violence at the Republican National Convention if he is denied the nomination after winning so many primaries and accumulating the most delegates. In conveying this warning he conveniently overlooks that he hasn’t won enough delegates to definitively prevent the people he believes are conspiring against from, well, conspiring against him.

But really, what has Trump won?

First of all, to be clear and to be fair, he’s won most of the primaries: 20 out of 33, to be precise (although The Curmudgeon thought it was more). That’s nothing to sneeze at, without question.

Second of all, he has the most delegates. At the current pace, however, it appears Trump will arrive at the convention without enough delegates committed to him – won by him, fair and square – to gain the nomination on the first ballot.

Why not? Because the Republican Party, like the Democrats, wants its nominee to win the support of the majority of its delegates. Not the most delegates but the majority of delegates.

Majority as in one more than half.

And as of right now, it appears Trump will have fewer than half of the delegates by convention time.

And if delegates vote the way their states’ primaries instruct them to vote and there’s no winner, convention rules permit them at some point to make their own choices rather than be bound by the voters who sent them to the convention.

trump hot airThese rules were put into effect long ago and were in effect when Trump was a reality television show star, the equivalent of the Kardashians, the Big Brother and Survivor and Real World people, Simon Cowell, the cast of Bret Michaels’ STD Tour, and the Unreal Housewives. So any time Trump even hints that someone has stacked the deck against him it’s just further proof that Trump is able to blow hot, putrid air out of more than one orifice.

As always, any excuse to mention Bill Murray will do.

As always, any excuse to mention Bill Murray will do.

How could it be any other way? If no candidate has enough votes to win the nomination outright, the only way to break the stalemate is to permit delegates to change their vote. Without the ability to do so the convention would just keep taking roll calls and the vote totals would remain the same, sort of like the movie Groundhog Day.

And for all of his amazing success – and it really has been amazing – Trump has failed to win over Republicans as a whole.

What, you ask? Hasn’t he won 20 of 33 primaries and the most delegates?

Yes, he has.

But let’s take a closer look at Trump’s performance in the 33 primaries and caucuses so far.

Below are his results in the 33 primaries and caucuses held to date.

  • February 1 – Iowa – 24.3% (2nd)
  • February 9 – New Hampshire – 35.3% (1st)
  • February 20 – Nevada – 45.9% (1st)
  • February 20 – South Carolina – 32.5% (1st)
  • March 1- Alabama – 43.4% (1st)
  • March 1 – Alaska – 33.5% (2nd)
  • March 1 – Arkansas – 32.8% (1st)
  • March 1 – Georgia – 38.8% (1st)
  • March 1 – Massachusetts – 49.3% (1st)
  • March 1 – -Minnesota – 21.3% (3rd)
  • March 1 – Oklahoma – 28.3% (2nd)
  • March 1 – Tennessee – 38.9% ((1st)
  • March 1 – Texas – 26.7% (2nd)
  • March 1 – Vermont – 32.7% (1st)
  • March 1 – Virginia – 34.7% (1st)
  • March 5 – Kansas – 23.3% (2nd)
  • March 5 – Kentucky – 35.9% (1st)
  • March 5 – Louisiana – 41.4% (1st)
  • March 5 – Maine – 32.6% (2nd)
  • March 8 – Hawaii – 43.4% (1st)
  • March 8 – Indiana – 28.1% (2nd)
  • March 8 – Michigan (1st)
  • March 8 – Mississippi – 47.3% (1st)
  • March 12 – Washington, D.C. – 13.8% (3rd)
  • March 12 – Wyoming – 7.2% (3rd)
  • March 15 – Florida – 45.7% (1st)
  • March 15 – Illinois – 38.8% (1st)
  • March 15 – Missouri – 40.9% (1st)
  • March 15 – Ohio – 35.6% (2nd)
  • March 15 – North Carolina – 40.2% (1st)
  • March 22 – Arizona – 47.1% ((1st)
  • March 22 – Utah – 14% (3rd)
  • April 4 – Wisconsin – 35.1% (2nd)

Now, a few observations.

First and foremost, note that in not one primary – not one – did Trump persuade a majority of a state’s Republican voters to support him. Not only is he on course to arrive at the convention without a majority of the delegates, but he also will not have won a majority of the votes in even one single primary state.

That’s majority as in more than 50 percent, not plurality, as in more votes than every other candidate.

Not even in one primary.

Second, let’s look at where his vote totals rest.

  • 0-10% of the votes – 1 election
  • 11-20% of the votes – 2 elections
  • 21-30% of the votes – 6 elections
  • 31-40% of the votes – 14 elections
  • More than 40 percent of the votes – 10 elections

And of course, more than 50 percent of the votes: never.

Third, let’s take a look at the average percentage of votes Trump has won in the 33 primaries so far.

Add them all up, divide by 33 (The Curmudgeon is using his fingers now) and you get…

34.1 percent.

In other words, the guy who’s warning that there will be violence if he is denied the Republican nomination because denying him the nomination would undermine the democratic process has gotten just a hair more than one of out every three votes cast in the elections he’s contested in his party’s primaries.

Now that there are only two-and-a-half candidates still in the race – it’s hard to take Kasich’s candidacy seriously – that percentage is undoubtedly going to rise in the remaining primaries.

But the fact remains: nearly two out of every three voters in the Republican primaries so far have seen Trump’s name on their ballot and rejected it.

And this guy thinks democracy would be subverted if he’s denied the nomination?

He’s misguided and he’s wrong. The primary reason the nomination might be denied to him is that by the time the primary campaign is over it will be clear that Republican voters don’t want him to be their candidate and prefer to look elsewhere in search of someone who can prevent their party from getting steam-rolled in November. This is the way the process has worked for a long time, no one changed it to deny Trump anything, and it’s only one person’s fault that the Trump campaign didn’t understand the process and didn’t pay enough attention to the selection of delegates and ensure that his own people were on the delegate ballots in state elections.

That person, of course, is Trump himself.

You see, a major part of the reason, ironically, is that Trump has been cheap: while he brags about how he’s entirely funding his own campaign – a claim we previously noted is not entirely true – he’s relied heavily on all the free media attention he naturally attracts, the same way you have to look when you drive past the scene of a serious auto accident, and hasn’t spent nearly as much as comparable candidates. As of the end of February, Hillary Clinton had spent $129 million, Bernie Sanders $122 million, Ted Cruz $59 million, Jeb Bush $34 million, Marco Rubio $42 million, and Ben Carson $60 million. Trump, on the other hand, has spent “only” $33 million. If he had spent more, he might’ve used at least some that money to hire some professional campaign consultants who understood the importance of delegate selection and would have invested the time, effort, and resources needed to ensure that his delegates were people actually loyal to Trump as opposed to what he apparently has now: a lot of delegates who are rule-bound to vote for him on the first ballot only and are on their own after that. He finally broke down and hired such professional campaign consultants only last week – the only one he employed prior to that was the moron who got arrested for assaulting an unfriendly reporter – but considering that 33 primaries have already been held, it could very well be a matter of too little, too late.

It was a rookie mistake, a neophyte’s mistake, the kind of mistake made by someone who doesn’t know how the process really works, doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, refuses to acknowledge that he doesn’t know everything, and hasn’t given the kind of serious thought to running for president that most people undertake before they decide to run. We need look no further than the failure of two of his own children to change their party registration to vote for daddy in the New York primary to see a great example of what happens when you jump into something as complex as running for president impulsively and without doing your homework. He ran practically on a whim, really, in part for the ego boost and in part in response to all those people who were making fun of him for threatening to run (“I’ll show them, that’s what I’ll do”), as he has in the past, and now, it appears, he may have ruined his chances of winning with his amateurish mistakes.

And it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy.

But by threatening violence without directly threatening violence, Trump once again is acting like a demagogue and demonstrating that he doesn’t understand our form of government and is unfit to be president.

But most of us already knew that.



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