That’s the magic number. The number of votes needed for a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination to actually become the nominee. We’re seeing the idea that 1,237 bound delegates means that Donald Trump, or anyone else, wins on the first ballot but that really isn’t the case.
Curly Haugland, a longstanding RNC official and an unbound delegate from North Dakota who will be on the convention rules committee in July, told CNBC that attaining 1,237 during the primaries does not secure the nomination.
“Even if Trump reaches the magic number of 1,237 the media and RNC are touting, that does not mean Trump is automatically the nominee,” Haugland said. “The votes earned during the primary process are only estimates and are not legal convention votes. The only official votes to nominate a candidate are those that are cast from the convention floor.”
Haugland explained the primary number is really an estimate. That’s because the eligibility of some delegates in how they are voted in could be questioned and their status may not be considered valid, Haugland said.
“Remember every state has a different delegate allocation process,” he said. “Delegates are picked up in state contests that can be winner take all, open primaries, and remember there are seven states that allow the candidates to pick their own delegates. Until those delegate challenges are settled, there is no 1,237.”
Haugland said he expects the delegates won in winner-take-all states to be most likely challenged.
I won’t even hazard a guess as to the grounds for a challenge but let’s do a thought experiment. Suppose winner-take-all allocations are challenged and the delegates vote on the challenge. Suppose non-Trump delegates and a large number of bound Trump delegates who loathe Mister Baby Hands agree that winner-take-all is wrong and the delegates must vote as proportional candidates. All of a sudden, we are off to the races.
Farfetched, you say? Well the Trump campaign is planning on contesting Louisiana and Colorado delegate allocation at the convention, or they are according to alleged Russian mob fixer Paul Manfort who will be running Trump’s convention operation. If they can challenge Colorado’s allocation, there is no reason why Trump’s winner-take-all spoils should not likewise be up for grabs.
Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
I’m of mixed feelings on this. I’m increasingly of the view that primary elections are not the best way for any political party to select its candidate. This is doubly true in an era where some states allow Democrats and Independents to vote in the GOP primary and where registration can be accomplished on the day of the election. It has created a pool of people who are no connected to a party ideologically being given the ability to select a candidate for that party. If such a delegate strategy was carried out in Cleveland and it deprived Trump of the nomination it would set off a discussion that is needed in the GOP about the wisdom of allowing someone like Trump or like Ross Perot, who has no attachment whatsoever to the party or its beliefs, use free media to hijack the nominating process rather than being forced to run under their own party banner.
On the other hand, it would be worth it just to watch Trump and his followers drop dead of an aneurysm.