By Jim Ellis
April 14, 2016 — Earlier in the week, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump charged that some GOP officials were “rigging” the nomination process against him. Now that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is beginning to reap the benefits of his campaign laying the groundwork in key places during the past several months, particularly in unbound delegation states such as Colorado and North Dakota, Trump is finding himself on the short end of the delegate selection process.
Because Colorado did not have a primary or caucus but went only to a state convention, Trump is saying such a move is out of bounds. The North Dakota Republicans did the exact same thing a week earlier, but he didn’t levy the same charges toward the Peace Garden State GOP leaders.
Simultaneously, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s campaign spokesman claimed that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) is trying to “rig” the Democratic system by attempting to convince Super Delegates who have already announced for Clinton to change their minds.
For Republicans, state party leaders in Colorado and North Dakota, as well those in Louisiana, South Carolina and Tennessee, have acted within the party rules. The latter three have apparently elected a large number of Cruz supporters as delegates in Trump-won states. This result displeases the Trump operation because it may result in those latter delegations voting differently past the first roll call than how their respective Republican electorates decided.
In fact, the Cruz campaign worked the system; the Trump organization did not. The result may be trending Cruz’s way through strategy, planning, and implementation, and not because a group of biased state party leaders “rigged” the system.
For the Democrats, about 60 percent of Super Delegates are unbound. Therefore, these individuals have the right to change their votes. Just because some may have announced for Clinton doesn’t mean they can’t change their minds. The Sanders campaign’s efforts in trying to get their votes is certainly well within the rules.
Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon, in a CNN interview as reported by the Politico newspaper, said he believes Sanders is the candidate who is trying to “rig” the system and deny Clinton the nomination even though the majority of Democrats (56 percent) in primaries and caucuses have voted for her and she has won more bound, or pledged, delegates.
While his statistics are correct, it’s is not to say that Sanders is somehow violating the party rules by nefariously trying to undercut the majority of party voters. His actions are well within the party rules, just as were those of the Clinton campaign ground workers when they originally committed these same Super Delegate votes. Many of these Party Leader/Elected Official delegates committed to the former secretary of state long before votes were cast in the 35 Democratic primaries or caucus held so far, therefore the argument that Sanders should not try to convert them because a majority has been established does not hold water.
Tension is thick, and nerves are becoming frayed. Such is the case when the campaigns can see the finish line in front of them, meaning the end is near for all but two candidates. To date, despite the complaints and foul cries, the nomination systems appear to be working properly.