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The Case for A Contested Convention

Trump or Cruz? Soon the dust will settle and we, the Republicans will have our nominee. A contested convention is looking more and more likely. The last time that happened was 1976. That’s before many of us were born. Some would say that is a bad thing, that we need to settle it before the convention. They would say, “Donald Trump is the clear front-runner and the party needs to finally fall in line and unite behind him.”

I would say just the opposite is true. Donald Trump is the weakest front-runner since 1976, the weakest front-runner in my lifetime. This is the whole reason we are where we are. If he truly was in such a powerful position, why has he not performed as well as Romney in 2012, or McCain in 2008? Up to this point, he’s gotten fewer delegates than George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. He’s gotten fewer than Bob Dole in 1996. That hardly seems like the mandate Trump supporters would have us believe.

Would a contested convention in which Trump was not given the nomination be ignoring the will of the people? I would submit that the reason there is no winner until someone reaches 1237 delegates is precisely to listen to the will of the people. To simply give the nomination to the candidate with a plurality of votes doesn’t take in to account the people in early states who’ve voted for a candidate that has dropped out. Let’s look at an example. Ted Cruz IS going to end up with the 2nd highest amount of delegates at the Republican Convention. Cruz won his home state of Texas with roughly 44% of the vote. Donald Trump got 2nd with 27%. Marco Rubio received about 18%. The way Texas allots delegates is proportional, unless one candidate receives over 50%. If the 50% threshold is reached, that candidate receives the entire haul of 155 delegates. With Marco Rubio now out, where is the voice of that 18% who voted for him? No one knows exactly who those people would’ve voted for if Rubio was out, but it’s more than safe to assume that a third of them would have gone to Cruz. That would’ve put him over the 50% mark and given him another 51 delegates. Trump would’ve lost 48 delegates and the race would have an entirely different complexion now. Similar outcomes came from other states such as Minnesota, Arkansas, Virginia, Iowa, and South Carolina.

If Trump reaches the 1237 needed to win the nomination, Cruz people will have to admit defeat and the work begins to unite the party. If he falls short of that mark, the people have the chance to speak again – at the convention – through their delegates until one candidate ends up with the predetermined number of delegates needed to secure the nomination.

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