For better or worse, our nation has fairly minimal voting eligibility requirements. Essentially one need only be a living, breathing, citizen over the age of 18 who has not committed a felony (and even that latter bar might be eradicated in certain jurisdictions). Not only this, but in most places you don’t even need to show identification to vote. All you need to do is show up to your local polling place, stand in line (for not very long if you plan your voting time correctly), verbally provide an address, and voila! You have the privilege of casting a ballot that is of equal weight to anyone else’s.
Even with these fairly minimal eligibility requirements, approximately one-third of eligible voters can’t be bothered to so much as register. Of those who do register, a sizable chunk hardly ever cast a ballot, particularly in non-presidential election years.
So, in a sense, anybody who has taken the time to actually vote in a presidential election contest – be it a primary or general election – should be commended. They have exercised the bare minimum of their civic duty.
All of this brings us to the presidential nomination process. Here I will state up front my long-established disdain for the entire primary process. Between the excessive weight placed on a pair of fairy low-population states, the ridiculousness of voters not even registered with a party being eligible to vote in either party’s primary in many states, and the mix of delegate selection standards in the various states, it’s perhaps not the best system of choosing a party nominee. Moreover, as someone who appreciates the distinction between a republic and a democracy, I have never felt primaries are the best method of choosing nominees.
Some states have eschewed primaries. A fair number have maintained a caucus system, which is like a primary in some respects but entails more wheeling and dealing as well as longer time commitments. Other states still have forgone any type of open electoral process, preferring instead to choose delegates through a convention system.
And so now we hear the bellyaching from Trump and his minions about this secretive and corrupt process, one which is neither secretive nor corrupt. The delegate selection process – either for bound first ballot delegates or for unbound second ballot or later delegates – is one which favors grassroots party members who choose to engage in their civic duty for more than a few minutes every few years.
Some might suggest that this is a rigged system which favors the so-called establishment. It allows nominees to be selected behind closed doors, thus making it easier for “establishment” types to get the nod. Considering that the current process has produced nominees such as Gerald Ford, George HW Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney, one wonders how the process could be even more favorable to the establishment. Sure a Reagan and George W Bush (the latter of whom is the son of a former president) made it through, but primaries have not led to very many grassroots favorites getting the nod.
Moreover, those who do man these conventions are the very types of people who seek to steer the Republican convention in a more conservative direction. These are the people whose passion and patriotism motivates them to be more than just wallflowers to the political process. They take hours out of their busy lives – usually on their own dime and without compensation – to become precinct captains, county chairmen, and potentially even convention delegates. Are these people “insiders?” In the strictest sense of the word, perhaps, but these are not insiders looking to thwart conservative reform efforts.
Therefore the attempts to smear these individuals is thoroughly repugnant. These individuals have taken the time to remain active beyond the ballot box. And their reward for their effort is a stream of threats and harassment from a camp whose supporters largely haven’t bothered to move beyond the ballot box.
A friend of mine was at one of the Georgia conventions. He informed me that, all things considered, all sides conducted themselves respectfully. Only he was greeted, when he arrived home, with a torrent of angry emails accusing him of being a corrupt, establishment stooge. Having grown up with this gentlemen, he is most assuredly not anything of the type.
He shared with me one of the emails he received. This was evidently one of the gentler ones.
I saw what happened in Gwinnett today and I have very bad feelings about the republican party! if you guys are stacking the deck against TRUMP you are making a big mistake! I will not be supporting some niotiwt you guys come up with and I have been a republican for 40 years! now you can say what you want but its the so called conservatives and liberals that have gotten our country in th eposition its in and I get the feeling the republican estabishment would rather have Hillary than TRUMP or Cruz which is very sad.
My friend calmly replied that the convention was conducted in an open and fair manner, and each side had an opportunity to gain delegates. To which he received this reply:
definition of establishment “the existing power structure in society; the dominant groups in society and their customs or institutions” institutional authorityI’m not part of the establishment its not how long I have voted Republican because thier agenda or platform usually fit my views! even though the party nominated the existing power structure in society; the dominant groups in society and their customs or institutions; institutional authorityRomney a devout morman who wears special underwear! and believes in a religion that was created by a con artist even that I stikll supported the party against Barrack Obama but it really seemed Mitt just didnt want to win he could not stand up to Candy Crowley or Obama on the debate stage! now the party wanted to push Marco Rubio and or KJeb Bush on the people so you have to ask yourself why Jeb come on out of 300 million people we can only find a bush or a clinton to be president? really and then old marco rubio who no doubt is a smooth talker just like Obama but he was selling out the country with his gang of 8 immigration bill and then he says Oh I knew the house would have fixed it! really now why would teh party want him so bad? especially if thier values and platform is what it is? now you can say whatever you want but conservatism is not what it use to be! we are 20 trillion in debt, we are being over run by illegals and once here they are sucking the life out of our country, we spend billion every year on the millitary and somehow its decimated! simply by cutting 10 percent of future growth! the whole government is a mess! they just gave Obama a blank check with the omnibus bill they passed so if you want me to believe that they aAre fighting Obama and as loudermilk tries to tell us in his speech about how conservative he is then why is Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Obama still running their game? here let me help you they are all in on the stupidity the platform is just a mirage for your republican party they have no intention of paying down the debt! heck they cannot cut 10 percent of future growth without pretending we cannot fly an airplane any longer its all a big bunch of lies we should immediately cut 20 peercent of spending across the board! we should have to run the government at 80 percent of revenue, pay down the debt with the other 20 percent and once thats done save 20 percent for a rainy day fund. Now I have went along with the governments stupidity voted Republican for 40 years voted for Reagan which was another guy the establishment did not want and tried the same stupidity on! funny how now all of the republican politicians pretend to be Reagan but just saying it does not make it true. You guys just couldnt elect new people who supported TRUMP you had to have old Bob Barr who couldnt win as senator in the last election cycle! and I really believe the republican party is over if they mess this up which all indictions are they will they will lose at least half of tehir base and will never recover! the people will take back our country with or without the republican party! we have given you a chance but all the party has done is say one thing and do another. I have a 6 uear old son and his future is what I’m most concerned about.
Please note every word above was transcribed as written to my friend.
Credit where it’s due, this is actually one of the more coherent things I’ve seen a Trump supporter write, so at least there’s that.
In this email you see the anger at, well, everything. But the ending is critical, because this person has clearly articulated a desire to blow up the Republican party. Is this the sort of maddening incoherence we’re supposed to just let take control of the institution we have given so much of our time to?
I’m sure the person who wrote this email is a fine, upstanding citizen who cares very deeply about this country. Apparently he at least bothered to show up to the local convention, so he attempted to be something other than a wallflower. That being said, this diatribe is a nice representation of what we’re up against. So call me a snob or a shill, but frankly I’m okay with a nominating system that gives more weight to individuals who have devoted time and energy to advancing the conservative movement, and who are not seeking to simply blow up everything because they’re so very angry.