Hated Winners, Lukewarm Losers

Will the real GOP nominee please stand up?

By the time you read this in print, the speculation about Mitt Romney taking over the GOP nomination may already have subsided. That doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we have very divisive candidates on both sides, and because U.S. political campaigns are made for polarization and showmanship, we probably will have this scenario in the future, too.

The Republican National Convention (RNC) is under heat this year, and some people are hoping for a brokered convention, where no nominee wins enough delegates to win. This means, at least to the casual schemers, that the GOP could oust Trump and nominate someone else. The search spotlights were on for someone else to step in through the backdoor. Say, Romney?Max Smith - RNC Convention

That won’t happen, though. They can’t do it. Rule 40 of the Republican Party states that for someone to be nominated during a brokered convention—a convention where no nominee has won the minimum number of delegates (50 percent plus one)—the person must have won eight states prior. RNC delegates must first vote for an eligible nominee in accordance to how their state voted, and if no one emerges victorious from that, then negotiations begin.

While this system in itself is not as divisive and explosive as some articles seem to hint at, what would be is if the GOP changed the rules to allow someone like Romney, who hasn’t been in the race, to run.

The other Republican candidates may not have been able to pull away all of the voters from Trump, and they may be splitting up the leftover vote, but they are legitimate by party standards. With all of the speculation about how Trump would be rejected, not only by a large portion of the U.S., the recognized rules of a party need to be upheld. Rule-by-law is the backbone of legitimacy in modern society, even when applied to something as seemingly superfluous as the multi-billion dollar money machine we call election season.

As of March 24, the Associated Press has tallied Trump’s delegates at 739, working his way toward the 1,237 requirement, which represents 50 percent plus one of the total Republican delegates. Ted Cruz is second with about 465 delegates, and John Kasich straggles in with 143. In the coming days, 944 delegates are still available, throwing Kasich out of the running and barely making a Hail Mary opening for Cruz to win them all.

The delegate nomination may present parallels to the electoral system that we use for the presidential election, but the electoral system was to prevent simple democracy becoming a mob vote. This, the Republican Party’s nomination system, is a bureaucratic and, granted, somewhat elitist step toward the ranking system, or “instant runoff voting” that Minneapolis has turned to in its mayoral elections.

By creating rounds two and up of the nomination system during a brokered convention, it allows for delegates to better rank their candidate preferences, giving a more accurate representation of their region’s desires. It’s similar to how in surveys, a ranking question is more data-worthy and more accurate than having a simple multiple choice question.

Even more accurate than survey ranking questions, of course, are constant sum questions that take in not only preference, but also the margin of that preference. States that already use proportional delegates as the outcome better reflect that in a way that sometimes the news headlines don’t (small comforts), but not all have to under Republican party rules.

The ethical question of allowing Romney to be the presidential nomination for the GOP is not a question at all; the rules don’t let him.

The GOP, already critiqued as falling apart and out of order, cannot afford to do anything but follow the rules to maintain a sense of order and standards, even when those standards allow for controversial candidates to be in the lead.

The ethical question of allowing Romney to be the presidential nomination for the GOP is not a question at all; the rules don’t let him.

The blurred areas surrounding rounds two and up of a brokered convention are questionable, although delegates persuading each other to switch their support is basically how Congress works. The concept of a brokered convention isn’t faulty. The issue lies more in the different ways that states are allowed to vote for their nominees, for there is no standard. Even if this is one of the ways that Republicans are allowing for state for autonomy, when it comes to finding a leader that is best for their party, they can’t measure it as accurately as they need to.