My undergrad work was done at the University of Kentucky and, it goes without saying, I am part of the Big Blue Nation. As such, I am also a fan of the fun and entertaining radio show (and blog) Kentucky Sports Radio with Matt Jones. Matt is an interesting cookie. First, he is a Kentucky fan who blogs and has the most popular radio show in the state of Kentucky (as well as a very well-done podcast). On one day he may be having a best fast food tournament while poking fun at the University of Louisville, the next day having a feud with the state’s Governor on Twitter. Add to that that Matt went to law school at rival Duke University, showed some interest in running for a senate seat, and has an infatuation with being cordial to hunters.
In many ways, he is the face of males 30 and under that traditional political realms fail to understand and also flunk at wooing. How many Karl Rove types can cite a Drake song, name the starting 5 for Warriors, but also point out that the president’s cabinet isn’t where he keeps his liquor? We live in a time where the perception is that you have to be one or the other; interested in modern culture or politically astute. Matt has some interest in politics, is smart, and successful; but shows his hand from time to time on his political ignorance (not a fault, just an observance). He’s a macro guy who, if he’s serious about future political goals, needs to understand the way things work on local, state, and federal levels. This isn’t only true for Matt, but also most of those who fall into the category I have conveniently created for this piece. **note-Matt is obviously more knowledgeable about the political process than most his age Here is an example.
Today on Matt’s radio show he brought up that Indiana would be the state that would likely determine the GOP nominee for President. A friend of mine later called in and had a small disagreement stating that California would be the true clincher. The conversation was brief and cordial. Afterward Matt had a discussion with his co-hosts (Ryan Lemond & Shannon “the Dude”) about the fairness of Trump getting the plurality of votes (I believe he said 1150) and then having the delegates pick a different candidate on the second ballot. He agreed with his cohosts that this wasn’t fair and that we have a voting process so that the will of the people can be heard. Further, he pointed out that Colorado didn’t even vote and yet all of the delegates went to Cruz.
First, Colorado did vote. It wasn’t a primary and it wasn’t a typical caucus style (Colorado has been different for years), but because people didn’t see the votes comes across their CNN ticker, people feel that there weren’t any votes cast and that a bunch of people in a smoke filled room just picked their nominee. It doesn’t help that the Trump campaign has been perpetuating that untruth. The fact remains, Colorado did vote according to their rules process…which brings me to the main point.
What was misunderstood here and is a microcosm of what is misunderstood elsewhere – the party nomination process isn’t government run. The process to be elected as the party nominee (GOP or Democrat) is left to the parties as private entities. The GOP could make a rule that whoever has more boogers on their lip in debates is the nominee and then Cruz would win. Both parties have created rules that are federalist in nature, that is, they want the states to make their own rules as they see best for their state within the framework of a simple guideline that the party creates. Further, rules can be changed by elected delegates from each state as well. There is nothing in the Constitution about how the parties pick their nominees. You’re literally running for a nomination (not for president) just to have either an R or a D next to your name. If Matt wanted to create his own BBN party, he could make any rules he wished and the winner could then have that party symbol next to their name. In fact, there are other parties with different rules and even the republican and democrat rules differ greatly. There was no mention of the popular vote verses super delegate count on the democratic side which is handing Hillary an election that would otherwise be neck to neck.
The point is that these people aren’t running for President yet; they’re running for party nomination. The GOP designed its system (long before Trump) on a majority winner only. They want to nominate someone that more than half of the people can support. It isn’t like sports where the person with the most points when the time expires is declared the winner. They want someone that can get the backing of the majority within their party structure with the intent of having a better candidate for the general election. If nobody reaches that number in the first ballot (a ballot that was typically split many ways like it was this year), then the delegates reconvene and the delegates have what amounts to a caucus within the convention with the intent of getting someone over that 50% mark. In theory, the candidate who can garner the most support from the elected delegates will be the best person to send into the general.
If Trump doesn’t win in the first ballot and then loses to someone else in the second ballot, it won’t be because he was robbed but because he didn’t do what was necessary to secure the nomination. Does it help that he threatened the party leader Reince “and repeat” Priebus? Does it help that he hasn’t ruled out running as a third party candidate – a certain death blow to the GOP? Does it help that he has made empty threats to bring lawsuits against the “unfair” system created by the party? Why would republican delegates want to nominate someone who threatens their party in so many ways? It begs the question; why does he want an R next to his name?
The will of the people will be heard by Constitutional electoral law in the general election. Party delegates, at this present time, are hearing more anti-GOP rhetoric from Trump than they would like. It is important for people to understand this because, no doubt, Trump will scream foul if he isn’t nominated in Cleveland. It is equally assured that millions will assume that his position has merit – it does not. A plurality doesn’t win you the nomination, a majority does. That is the rule and it shouldn’t change just because he and many Americans feel that is “unfair”. Further, we do not live in a democracy where majority rules; we live in a republic where representation rules. As Benjamin Franklin quipped, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote”.
Matt may be on the liberal and opposite side of politics as I, but he has a lot of potential and I wish him the best. That said, I hope that he takes a serious look at the true nature and micro-level of politics before throwing his hat in (should he chose to do so in the future). Not only would it serve him better as a candidate and a policy maker, but as an example for those around him who would prefer to retweet a “sounds good” bit of ignorance rather than take part in knowledgeable discourse.
You can find Matt Jones’ blog at www.kentuckysportsradio.com and see hear his radio show on iHeartradio on the WLAP 890 channel from 10-12 EST.
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