Monday, April 11, 2016

Grand Theft Election: The Delegate Wars


If you have been kinda-sorta been paying attention to the election you may have heard about the unfairness of the delegate process--and how TED CRUZ IS STEALING DELEGATES! Trump is furious. People are saying they're disenfranchised. Everyone is freaking out. WHAT'S GOING ON??:

What's a Delegate?

A delegate, in this sense, is a person who goes to the Democratic or Republican National Conventions and casts a vote on behalf of either their state or their party for the nominee in the general election.

Okay . . . So . . . How Do You 'Steal' One?

Well, it's like this: when a candidate--let's say Trump--wins a state in the primary, that state is worth a certain number of delegates. Now, each state is somewhat different in how they assign delegates, but let's take the state of North WattaFuckistan.

North WattaFuckistan is a Winner-Take-All Primary State worth 10 delegates. This means they hold a state-wide vote like in the presidential election instead of goofy caucus nonsense and if you 51% of the vote you get all 10 delegates. If you get 49% of the vote and the other guy gets 51%, you get nothing.

What if There Are 3+ People Running?

In this ultra-simplified hypothetical example? They execute all but two in arena combat with armed dune-buggies.

That Sounds Coooool

Doesn't it though.

So in this case candidate (A) Solid Gold Dumpster Fire gets 51% of the vote and candidate (B) Punchable-Face gets 49%. That means, in the convention, SGDF will have 10 delegates that'll be his. Right?

Not so fast.

In North WattaFuckistan the delegates are selected five weeks after the primary by a general ballot in the state capital. In this process, which was documented in 1821 by Secretary of the State Eunice A. Retentive, the vote is done by a process in which each potential delegate arrives at the appointed place and all and sundry in the arena (anyone who shows up, so long as they are a registered Republicrat) vote on each one. Except for pig farmers, who are disallowed a vote--because Eunice was once sold a fake pig.

That process persists today--and in the last 40 years it hasn't been an issue.

Why Not? That's Stupid!

It's not as stupid as if there were a caucus. Trust me, that'd be way stupider.

Well, So You Say--But It's Still Stupid

It's the pageantry of electoral history, son. The proud heritage of Democracy in this great US of A. But, to be honest, the reason it hasn't been an issue is that not since 1976 was there a convention where it mattered for the Republicrats--and in that one, the nominee was still selected on the first ballot without a lot of drama. Basically, conventions way-back-when were horse-trading affairs for the party bosses but in recent times they have become media events to promote / create party unity. Things have been smooth sailing so no one cared if the process of selecting delegates was fucked.

Until now.

Wait--Wait--Go Back. What's This About 'The First Ballot?'

In a convention (for Republicans or Democrats) after a bunch of rules votes and other shenanigans there's a vote. On the first vote each delegate who came from one of the candidates winning a state must vote for the guy who won.

After the first ballot though, some of those guys "free up" and can vote for whoever they want to.

:: Scratches Head ::

 Okay, so--Solid Gold Dumpster Fire won your state and YOU--yes, you--an ordinary Republicrat, went to the state capital and brought a bunch of your friends for a road trip. You all got in and when it came time for the annual show-of-hands, you won a slot. You are going to Cleveland! It'll be a big-ass-party. It'll be awesome!

You don't really like Solid Gold Dumpster Fire--but who cares?

So on that first ballot, your vote is pledged. You are a pledged delegate and you MUST vote for Solid Gold Dumpster Fire because he won the state. Remember: in like 50 years, no convention for the Republicrats has gone past the first ballot. So after that? It's PAR-TAY.

Except this time.

This time, it IS gonna go past the first ballot and then--THEN YOU CAN VOTE FOR WHOEVER YOU WANT (well, let's say after the second. Not everyone who is pledged frees up on the first go-round). Such power. And no kidding--in this event it's actually a shit-load of power.

Good so far?


Okay--so, Solid Gold Dumpster Fire won the state--but Punchable Face is crafty. He lost the state but he sent nine of his BEST BUDDIES to the capital while Solid Gold Dumpster Fire was beating up a female reporter in Mar-A-Lago on Pay-Per-View and a bunch of their friends and now 9 of WattaFuckistan's pledged delegates are all Ted Cruz Punchable Face die-hards.

Sure, one or two of them will probably die, choking on their cyanide pills, before being able to cast that first pledged vote for Dumpster Fire--but those who survive? On the second or third ballot--when they are released--NO WAY are they voting for anyone but Punchable Face.

Hence: Stolen Delegates.

Wait--Is That--Legal?



Did you complain about it last election? The one before? Like, the rules haven't changed for a hundred years or more, son. Where were you then??

Sleeping Through Civics, I Guess . . .

So Say We All.

But Isn't It Unconstitutional?

Nope. Parties are private entities. They can do what they want. You're free to vote with your feet. If you don't like it, go to the Green Party where they don't have that delegate stuff nonsense.

The Green Party Doesn't Have Nonsense?

No. They save it all for their platform.

But let's keep going. The fact is that (a) it's legal, (b) it's not even exactly unethical in that the rules are well known enough that really savvy campaigns keep an eye on their delegate operations if it becomes important which, remember, it hasn't been for, like, forever. There's also (c) the conditions under which it's important are when there's no solid front-runner. It has to kind of be a perfect storm before this stuff even comes up. But . . . is it fair?


EDITED TO ADD: Let's be clear--it's perfectly fair to Donald Trump. Although he says otherwise, he decided to play in the big-leagues and if he's not up to it? Well, he's not up to it. No one said this was gonna be easy.

No--who it's not "fair to" is the primary voters.Why? Well, a couple of reasons--firstly, this is like those End User License Agreements that come with all your software that you click-through without reading. Yes: there is crazy delegate rules in the party--but no one has ever gone out of their way to explain it to you. In fact, they present the opposite--that the will of the voters will be paramount. That's the message. Secondly, Cruz may win the nomination (or someone else) while losing the popular vote. That's how America is set up (happened in Bush/Gore) but that's based on the Constitution. By contrast, the party rules will be finalized a week before the convention--not 200 years ago by geniuses.

Still, those are the rules and Donald Trump, a very rich guy who, by his own lights is also a very, very smart guy--who will hire the best guys ought to have had someone on this way, way before now. At this point, for The Donald? Rules are rules. Yeah?

No? Rules are Rules, Buddy.

Glad you think so. What if Romney won the election in 2012 and the Electoral College picked Chesla Clinton instead?

That's TOTALLY Different


Look, The Omnivore has mailers from the RNC in his Inbox calling the DNC's Superdelegates undemocratic:

If they are going to do that--to raise money off it--does that mean it's "democratic" to decide on a nominee by a method is strongly impacted by how many of your friends you can get in your mini-van to go to the state capital with? Excepting Pig-Farmers? If the RNC recognizes super-delegates as undemocratic what do they make of faithless pledged delegates? Purely democratic? Or is this the Hey, we're a Republic(an)! dodge? 

The fact is that what's going on sure as hell looks and feels unfair to the masses--because it is.


Superdelegates are the Democrat's term for delegates to the convention who can vote anyway they want from the start. Unlike the WattaFuckistan 10 pledged delegates, these guys are party operators who can give their delegate vote as they see fit. They're not beholden to the vote of the people.

Isn't THAT Unfair?

Unfair? Maybe. But unlike delegate theft, it's all out in the open. Everyone knows who the super-delegates are (they're called Unpledged Delegates in the Republican party) and, in the Democrat Party, each candidate gets to wine-and-dine them and try to convince them to side with them. In the Dem-party, these guys are former elected officials (like Bill Clinton--remember him), state governors, and other people. These are people who have a real vested interest in the top-of-the-ticket not being Solid Gold Dumpster Fire or anyone else who will suck the whole party down like MegaShark eating the Titanic.

Anyway, in the Republican party only 7% of the total delegates are these asshole super-delegates so it isn't a big deal there.

What About For The Democrats?

For the Democrats it's a big deal. It's around 30%. After they got burned on George McGovern they made sure that their wacky idealistic base couldn't elect a loser again just by grass-roots activism.

Is It Working?



In every way.

That Doesn't Sound Fair To Sanders

If you believe that Superdelegates are not backing Bernie Sanders because they are paid off by the big banks or because they fear the wrath of Hillary--or whatever--The Omnivore can't help you. On the other hand, last go-round, they also started out in the tank for Hillary (superdelegates can switch around all they want, right up to the vote) and they moved to Barack Obama because he was clearly a stronger candidate. A lot of these guys are elected state officials: if Bernie wins the state in a landslide they have to have a really good reason not to back him.

That reason is: because he'll lose the general election.

How Do YOU Know?


So They Are Undemocratic!

Well, about the same way that Democratic Socialism is Socialist. Right?


  1. Sorry to grammar flame, but in one place, you called him "Dumpster Fire" without prefacing it with "Solid Gold"

    1. I was only using his last name there.

      -The Omnivore