There is an old adage that goes: “You can’t play the game unless you know the rules.”
This is true and applies not only to baseball, football, basketball, golf, soccer or any other game in the sporting world as well as business, politics or international diplomacy.
Well, it seems that some of the candidates have not taken the effort and time to learn the differences in nominating procedures in the various states and possessions of the United States. As a result, we are continuously assailed with one or more of the candidates loudly proclaiming that “the system is rigged” and “they are crooked.” More specifically, Donald Trump is continuing to loudly proclaim that the Colorado GOP “changed the rules after the fact” in the process of selecting delegates in the caucus/convention’ system.
Speaking as one personally familiar with the system that has been used since statehood in 1876, I can testify that the system was not changed. My first direct involvement occurred in 1968 when those attending the precinct caucus (then by state law occurring for both parties on the first Monday in May). The caucus elected, by vote, the allocated numbers of delegates an alternates to the various conventions: county, judicial district, congressional district and one delegate and one alternate to the state convention. National convention delegates and alternates were also elected at the congressional district and state conventions.
At those conventions, individuals wishing to become candidates would make their pitches to those attending and a vote was held. If one person had 50 percent plus one vote, he/she became the party candidate for that seat in the general election. If no one reached that minimum number, all who received at least 20 percent of the vote went on to be candidates in a primary. Thus those sufficiently interested in becoming involved in the party activities, and usually more informed, bore the responsibility for the quality, or lack thereof, of the candidates of the party
Since the state convention was to be held in Aspen, the majority of the 125 attendees would not able to make the trip for Friday to Sunday. Being self-employed and thus free to decide to take off, it fell to me to be the precinct alternate delegate. The retiring precinct committeeman wished to be the delegate, so that was fine with me since the procedures were totally foreign to me. He was only seen while checking into the hotel, so it fell to me to do all the floor voting at the convention. Thus was my initiation into political party operations.
Actually, the caucus/convention system was the one most used from the founding of the nation until the Roosevelt Administration beginning in 1933. Having complete massive majority control of both houses of Congress and the White House, those of the more socialist movements became able to gradually begin the switch to the primary/run-off/general elections now used in the majority of states.
That being the case, in Colorado at least, Mr. Trump is totally at odds with the truth when he rails that he was cheated in Colorado and that we are a democracy. Quite frankly, it is highly offensive to me the way that he falsely maintains that is the case in that state.
He probably has a point in accusing the Washington insider group of having it in for him. They also appear to not want Senator Ted Cruz as well, so he shouldn’t feel alone. His conduct strikes me as being no better than childish ranting because of not getting his way just as he wanted it.
Personally, my feelings are strongly in favor of the former system since then complaints against the candidates put forth by a party are justified, as are praises for good candidates. We would be far better served by a return to the caucus/convention system.