With Super Tuesday receding into the rear view mirror, it is prudent to turn our attention to the road ahead. This isn’t an ordinary election year – at least not in the fashion we have come to know in the post-WWII era – where primaries and caucuses easily winnow the field of candidates without upending the process itself.
This view however, is a relatively recent phenomenon. For a far longer period, the nominating convention was much more consequential than the state events that preceded it. Yes, primaries and caucuses were held, but the real decisions were made behind the scenes, at the convention where alliances were struck and deals were made to coalesce support behind the strongest (or best connected) candidate. Ever heard the phrase “smoky backroom deals?”
The states choose the candidate to whom their delegates (delegates to the nominating convention) will be pledged for the first floor vote. Typically, by the time of the convention, a candidate has amassed enough delegates to win the nomination on the first vote. However, if no single candidate has enough pledged delegates to claim the nomination on the first vote, ALL delegates are released from their obligations and can vote however they choose in each subsequent vote.
Here’s where the deals are made. Here’s where second and third place candidates jockey for position, (Cabinet posts, Ambassadorships, etc.) in return for urging their pledged delegates to support someone else.
It is this moment where the frontrunner is naked and exposed, vulnerable in the extreme; and it is this moment where a popular, but politically naïve, or poorly organized candidate can see his presumed nomination dissipate like so much smoke.
It is this moment where the “anyone but Trump” coalition intends to take him down.
The casual observers (otherwise known as the mainstream media) will tell you the race is over and Trump has won it. Indeed, the papers and news sites are full of just such pronouncements. They are wrong.
There is a threshold of 1237 delegates needed to secure the nomination vote at the convention. As of Super Tuesday, Trump has 316, Cruz has 226 and Rubio has 106. The remaining candidates (including those who have dropped out) have a combined 40. Even Common Core math will show that Trump hasn’t reached the 50% threshold yet.If that can be maintained, Trump cannot enter the convention with enough delegates to secure the nomination on the first vote, meaning all bets are off and the convention will choose the nominee, just as they have for the majority of our nation’s political history. The uninformed (also known as the mainstream media) will tell you this is unprecedented. Again, they are wrong.
Our junior Senator, Ben Sasse, a man who I did not support in the Primary, but who has earned my unqualified respect ever since, recently said he could not cast a vote for Trump in good conscience. His statement set off an argument that is long overdue; just how much loyalty is owed a party when that party has failed to reciprocate?
It is this disconnect between Republican as campaigners and Republican in office that has spawned the rise of a man like Trump. Virtually all Republicans since Reagan have run as conservatives, oft citing their devotion to constitutional principles as their guiding light.
We know all too well however, that once in office, these paragons of constitutional republicanism have proven to be less disappointment than turncoat.
The most egregious overreaches of the Left in general and the Obama administration in particular were all within the power of the Republican-held Congress to stop. They chose not to, and consequently our debt has ballooned as never before while our liberties (which are the true basis of our economy and way of life) have eroded to levels that would make Eugene Debs* blush.
Senator Sasse isn’t trying to divide the Republican party, he is trying to set the stage for the convention – to prepare the ground for the battle to come. Think of it as dropping leaflets from a plane warning civilians to leave the area before the fighting begins.
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the dull-witted automatons (again known as the mainstream media!) are correct, and Trump manages to seal the deal before the convention and becomes the Republican nominee. Are we destined to endure another term under a braggodocious usurper of power attempting to bypass checks and balances with a pen and a phone?
No, we are not. Whether the next President is Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or some other anti-constitutional candidate yet to emerge, our nation is only in real danger if the Republican led Congress continues their supine ways in the face of executive abuses of power.
The Congress is extremely powerful. They can defend the people from a would-be dictator in the Oval office in myriad ways; they merely need to exercise their Constitutional power – something the gelatinously-spined Republican leadership has been thus far loathe to do.
It isn’t a foregone conclusion that the Republic is lost if a Hillary or a Donald gets to add President to their names. It is however a certainty that our Republic will collapse if the Congress refuses to stand between an activist judiciary, a chief executive given to unconstitutional overreach and the people of the United States.
Don’t forget, the states themselves are not without power as well.
Our system isn’t impotent in the face of the left’s ghoulish cult of death and oppression of individual liberty. The Framers bequeathed us a multitude of weapons to fight precisely this battle. These weapons are simply lying on a shelf, unused and gathering dust, awaiting a committed group of patriots to wield them as intended.
The race for the Republican nomination is far from over, and the fate of the nation far from sealed. Stay tuned and remain engaged. That’s the handle by which we patriots might grasp the founder’s weapons to defend liberty from yet another assault.
*Eugene Debs was the last Socialist candidate to run openly for office as a Socialist.