Democracy, Dissent, and Dissolution

Colorado's phony primary wasn't cheating, but it wasn't healthy or wise either.

Once again, Donald Trump is making political hay by saying things that politicians aren't allowed to say.  This time, though, it's at the direct expense of the Republican Party, at least that portion of it residing in Colorado:

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump erupted on “Fox & Friends” Monday morning after a weekend that saw Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas sweep all of Colorado’s 34 delegates without any votes being cast by citizens in a traditional primary process.

“I’ve gotten millions … of more votes than [Sen. Ted] Cruz, and I’ve gotten hundreds of delegates more, and we keep fighting, fighting, fighting, and then you have a Colorado where they just get all of these delegates, and it’s not [even] a system,” Trump said, during the Fox News broadcast. “There was no voting. I didn’t go out there to make a speech or anything. There’s no voting.”

It certainly sounds pretty damning.  Whoever heard of an American election where nobody actually voted, just party insiders decreed who the favored son would be?  We're used to seeing that done in tinpot dictatorships, Communist tyrannies, and with Democrat superdelegates, but not right here at home in what used to be our party.

The American Dream may be on its deathbed but some parts of the way America is supposed to be are still pretty will understood, and "we pick our leaders by voting for them" is right up there.  It's no surprise that even laid-back Coloradans are protesting.


The fact is, this non-voting election wasn't dreamed up in the dark of the night last weekend to rob Trump of his rightful victory.  It was duly voted into the Colorado rule book by authorized officials of the Republican Party last year.  This was over the objections of the national Republican party, which punished Colorado by shoving them down the primary schedule to a point where normally they'd be irrelevant.

The move makes Colorado the only state so far to forfeit a role in the early nomination process, according to political experts, but other caucus states are still considering how to adapt to the new rule.

"It takes Colorado completely off the map" in the primary season, said Ryan Call, a former state GOP chairman.

Yeah, in a normal election, maybe, but this time... not so much.

Mr. Trump's failure to win in Colorado has a flip side: Ted Cruz' overwhelming victory.

Ted Cruz had been playing this inside game for a while now. A prime example was his loss to Trump in Louisiana, which nonetheless gave him an equal number of delegates, and an opportunity to collect even more.

And Donald Trump is now screeching about Ted Cruz cleaning Mr. Trump’s clock in Colorado, where Cruz took all 34 delegates in a Republican convention held on Saturday.

The reality is that Mr. Trump and his campaign have been asleep at the switch and their drowsy approach to the Republican delegate game has allowed Mr. Cruz to sneak in and grab delegates Mr. Trump should have or could have snagged for himself.

It's Not Whether You Win Or Lose, But How You Play The Game..?

Amidst the furore, we can clearly discern the shapes of two wildly different approaches to life and the law.

Like the lawyer he is, Ted Cruz knows the rules inside and out.  He knows every loophole, every gap, every stratagem, and he applies them all to good effect.  If there's a scheme to be schemed, within the boundaries of the game, or even right up to the very edge, he's all over it.

But when it comes to truly thinking outside the box, Sen. Cruz needs to follow the example of someone else.  We've seen this over the past year in the debates.  Ted Cruz has been hated by the media for as long as he's been in politics, but only when Mr. Trump showed how to beat the corrupt media at their own game by relentless bombastic attack did Sen. Cruz start doing the same.

He's still nowhere near as effective as Mr. Trump, but he's immeasurably better than he was even six months ago.  He was shown a chapter in the rulebook he had not previously known existed, and he's committed himself to squeezing the last drop of knowledge, advantage, and gain out of this new discovery.

In contrast, Donald Trump doesn't much care about the way things are, how other people think they ought to be, or what the generally assumed rules of the game are.  Instead, he channels George Bernard Shaw:

There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?

Like the entrepreneurial businessman he is, Donald Trump first decides where he wants to go and in what direction it lies, then sets out on the straightest line connecting the two regardless of what's in his way.  No "tiptoe through the tulips" for Mr. Trump!

There are ways in which this is potentially beneficial.  One of the prevailing fictions of international law is that all countries are equal and there are only fairly narrowly defined areas in which it's OK to push smaller countries around.  Russian President Putin doesn't play by these rules and, sure enough, he does seem to be a lot more effective in bending other countries to his will than we are.

Mr. Trump looks at the reality of the massive disparity between the United States and Mexico and thinks, "How could I not be able to force them to shape up?"  There are so many, many, many pressure points the world's wealthiest nation can use on an irritating Third World country, but the international leftist elites have ruled most of them out of bounds.  Mr. Trump has moved outside that box, which gives us hope we might actually get somewhere with the Wall.

But there are other areas where the rules are there for a good reason.  It's one thing to be mean to suspected terrorists and not care much about collateral damage, but is it really a good idea to consciously target the presumably-innocent minor children of terrorists as Mr. Trump suggested?  Yes, it's quite likely they'll grow up to be terrorists in their own right - but so will an awful lot of ghetto kids in American cities, and we all agree it would be utterly evil to just do away with them all right now.

Likewise, we've all wanted to punch a hippie at one time or another, and goodness knows that violence is no stranger to American politics, but is encouraging assaults on irritating protesters really wise?  We'd far rather return to the days of the civilized, though intense, Lincoln-Douglas three- hour debates that were slugfests only verbally.

The Enemy Of My Enemy Is - My Enemy?

Which brings us to a fascinating illustration of a similar problem on the opposite side of the aisle:

Is there room in the labor movement for racist, Trump-supporting cops?

The single most loathsome figure associated with the NYPD is the head of its police union, who staunchly defends bad cops and fights reforms with inflammatory rhetoric. As the nationwide drumbeat of police killings and subsequent protests have grown in the past year or two, so too have calls—both formal and informal—for labor organizations to divorce themselves from unions of police and other law enforcement officers. The AFL-CIO has been asked to kick out the International Union of Police Associations. Last week, an immigrant activist group asked the AFL-CIO to kick out the National Border Patrol Council, a union of U.S. Border Patrol agents, after the union endorsed Donald Trump for president.

This is actually a profound and relevant issue.  If the purpose of labor unions is as advertised - that is, to secure better wages and working conditions for their members - then the political preferences of various sorts of unions should be irrelevant to how they get along.  Prison guards, cops, Teamsters, and teachers all work hourly for wages under strict sets of rules and regulations, and are mostly interchangeable cogs that can be swapped out by their employers at will.  Nobody likes to be an insignificant replaceable minion, so it's only natural that such workers will join together to increase their clout.

If, however, the purpose of the labor union has nothing to do with labor per se, but merely with pushing leftist politics, then the conservative law-enforcement unions have nothing in common with the liberal teachers and Teamsters.  There's no sense in them belonging to the same clubs, they'll just get in a fight and trash the place.

However, as the article pointed out:

By standing together as a labor movement, we make the working class stronger. That in turn makes the world a fairer place. That is what class consciousness means. It doesn’t mean you have to like the people you stand with.

That's just as true on the conservative side.  There are plenty of people you can like, but how many people will help defend you against your enemies?  Are Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and their supporters truly enemies?  Or should they be allies against the real enemy Hillary Clinton?  Or should true conservatives side against Mr. Trump on principle, which may mean, in effect, a vote for Hillary?

In a democracy, there's only one way to resolve these questions: through open debate and democratic voting.  Which is why, for all that we respect and admire Ted Cruz for his sterling illustration of the power of a detail-freak attorney and for reminding us that one lawyer with a briefcase can steal more money than 100 men with guns, the Colorado shenanigans were still the wrong way to go.

Because the more people agree with Mr. Trump that "the game is rigged", the more people will feel like tearing it all down around everybody's ears.  And that never ends in the way you think it should.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Politics.
Reader Comments

Trump should quit whining about the 34-0 beating he took in Colorado, his fault for not being better organized. All states should have primaries and not this easily manipulated caucus that is a left over from a century and a half ago. All states should be winner take all and not this garbage of getting a couple of delegates with just a few votes, it reeks of the trophy that is awarded for participation. This should be consistent with both parties and absolutely no super delegates. If a 3rd party wants to run and they get 34% of the vote and the other 2 parties get 33% each then the 3rd party wins all of the delegates. The way it is now it is rigged for the 2 major parties. All voters should be properly id'ed to vote. I'm not buying the insane argument that the liberal democrats use that it is racist. Bot parties should be at each place where ballots are cast and insure that everything is on the up and up. This garbage where democrats cast 150,000 votes where there are only 110,000 voters has got to stop. How they can say with a straight face that it is ok is insane, immoral, and criminal. It will take a Trump or a Cruz to get anything like this done, Hilary sure won't touch this as these illegal votes all got to her. We have to take our country back from the parasites but alas I feel as though that it is too late. One last thought, Kasick should be embarrassed for staying in the race. I used to like him but he is nothing more than a me, me, me politician now.

April 18, 2016 1:10 AM

I have been reading Scragged for a number of years and have found it usually enlightening. However, this editorial is incorrect in a number of ways.
First, the Colorado primary is a multi-tiered process that takes even longer than a traditional caucus and it is more than a traditional vote. It is a fair process that the national RNC approved.
Second, you have obviously not studied Ted Cruz the man, person and intellect. Mr. Cruz has been a genius of sorts with the ability to use his genius in a practical sense long before he became a lawyer. In other words, he knows how to apply his knowledge. So, his being a lawyer has nothing to do with his knowing the various procedures of the various systems.
Last, and most important, this country IS NOT A DEMOCRACY! It is a Republic. A democracy is where two wolves and one sheep vote to decide what is for dinner. A republic is where there are rules and policies in place to help insure the sheep that he is not the main course.
Mr. Trumps bombastic attitude toward the system clearly demonstrates that he has no idea how the Republic works. His knowledge, hardly genius, is solely dedicated to those ideals that are only good for Mr. Trump. Look closely to Mr. Trump's activities and attitudes and you will recognize that point as well.

April 18, 2016 7:11 AM

I agree with Chuck completely. Colorado's process IS the will of the people as it was decided locally by the local party, who were elected by local voters.

Furthermore, if Colorado is bucking the national RNC and DC establishment by what the local voters decided, Trump should be right at home, right? After all, he hates the national establishments.

Cruz has done exactly what every candidate on both sides has always done - set up state offices and follow state rules. Trump wants to sweep across the nation armed with his social media followers and steal the election without working the grassroots. This from a man who says, if elected, he'd make better decisions and hire better people?

At one time, a Scragged writer wrote a article about the importance of caucuses and grassroots local election rules. Cruz should be your man.

April 18, 2016 7:23 AM

Chuck, also look closely at what Trump campaign is ignoring re: delegate votes on first ballot. Notice they ignore where GA and LA delegate are bound on first ballot. No one has UN-bound the bound delegates. Trump supporters are as misinformed as he is.

April 18, 2016 8:21 AM

Pardon me, but a correction to your opening line - Donald Trump is making political hay by saying things that politicians aren't allowed to say. Not so. He's making hay by saying WRONG things in a loud and angry way. Politicians can say all the things Donald likes to say. They don't because what Donald says is typically wrong. He's made hay by being loud and angry, not by being right. I thought that needed to be clarified.

April 18, 2016 8:37 AM

@ gChang, Darling:

Blue-collar authoritarian nationalists have no time for rules, showing up at party conventions and arguing the merits of their case to GENTLY PERSUADE others to change their mind. Those things are really hard to do.

It's the same crowd that screams law-n-order at inner city black folks and has no problem with Stop & Frisk.

It's really easy to hold up signs and send out angry tweets. It's much more difficult to calmly debate the merits of your case with others that oppose you while keeping your cool and persuading them, in the end, to change their mind.

You can tell a lot about a person by whether they prefer calm debate or angry yelling when the heat turns up. Trump prefers the latter no matter what temperature it is.

April 18, 2016 9:19 AM

By "tell a lot about a person", I'm referring to how well-prepared and well-informed they are about the topic they're discussing.

April 18, 2016 9:20 AM
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