Days of Change

Fair to Whom? | April 4, 2016

The issue that the Trump and Cruz campaigns have danced around for the last couple of weeks is delegate counts at the end of the contest. Trump supporters and surrogates are arguing that if Trump has a plurality but not a majority of delegates, he should be considered the legitimate nominee. For Ted Cruz, the argument is that since Trump can’t get to 1237 before June 7, why get out of the race if he can’t reach 1237 with the delegates left?

In the first scenario, I happen to think that Donald Trump has already accumulated delegates disproportionately to his actual vote in many states. Of the 31 state contests awarding delegates, Trump has gotten a higher percentage of delegates than the percentage of votes in 23, or about 3/4 of the time. His average haul of delegates is 46% per state with an average vote of only 35% per state. Trump has benefited greatly by having more than one competitor since he has yet to win a single contest with 50% or more of the vote.

For Ted Cruz, his new popularity as the only Trump alternative, other than a convention fight, has been a benefit. Cruz won Wyoming and Utah with more than 60% of the vote. They are small states, but Trump has yet to win a popular majority anywhere so far. Since Marco Rubio has been out of the picture, Cruz has been getting better delegate wins. Right now, Cruz needs about 82% of the remaining contest delegates to win. However, Trump needs 54% and may not reach that if Cruz (and Kasich) take them instead.

So, the fairness question comes in. If Cruz reaches a point where he can’t get to 1237 with his current delegates plus the outstanding delegates, should he drop out? I’m starting to say no. In the month or so left after that possibility, the Republicans in those remaining states still have the chance to make their delegates count. If Trump needs 50-60% of delegates to get the majority, why should he have access to 100% of them when Cruz could potentially have nearly as many delegates as Trump and neither have the majority? We don’t need to be fair to Trump if we can be more fair to the voters in those last state contests.

Look at it this way. If Cruz and Trump split Wisconsin delegates 24/18 tomorrow and Donald Trump wins every other delegate until May 24, he will still not reach 1237 delegates until June 7, the last round of contests. Cruz would technically be out of the running by the end of April, if he lost every single delegate after Wisconsin. The reality is that Cruz will continue to gain delegates, he has a better chance of getting previously unpledged delegates and other candidates could make a deal for their zombie delegates if Cruz can keep Trump below 1237. I think that’s fair enough.


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  1. the fairness question

    Fairness to Trump and his anti
    –obama supporters, tor to the scheming RNC?

    Comment by Mary — April 5, 2016 @ 2:09 am

    • Donald Trump made a tactical decision to run for the Republican nomination. He could have run as an independent instead. From all these votes so far, more people are voting for anyone but Trump than are voting for him. I don’t support the RNC straight out robbing delegates from him like the DNC with Clinton in 2008. I do, however, think it is legitimate to make Trump fight for every one of those 1237 delegates all the way to the convention.

      Comment by 1539days — April 5, 2016 @ 6:09 pm

      • it is legitimate to make Trump fight for every one of those 1237 delegates

        Agreed, so long as the RNC et al engages in no skullduggery.

        Comment by Mary — April 6, 2016 @ 2:33 am

      • If Trump becomes the nominee, I hope he can beat Hillary. At this point, I’m more worried about that than the possibility Trump gets the delegates.

        Comment by 1539days — April 6, 2016 @ 11:01 pm

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