The big story in politics these days is Trump’s whining about the GOP’s “rigged” delegate system. To be honest, certain aspects of the nomination process make me a bit queasy, too. For instance, voters in Colorado, Wyoming and North Dakota have no direct say in choosing the Republican nominee. But Trump knew the rules going in. Or should have known. If he didn’t, then that’s on him. If he can’t be bothered to learn what it takes to win the Republican nomination, how can he be bothered to learn what it takes to run the United States of America?
Here’s the thing. The system is actually “rigged” in Trumps favor. He’s won 39% of the popular vote so far, but has been awarded 46% of the delegates. Kasich has won 14% of the popular vote, but has only been awarded 9% of the delegates. One contributing factor is that in some states, delegates are awarded on a “winner take all” basis. Is that “fair”? Does it really reflect the will of the voters?
Florida, for example, is a “winner take all” state. Trump was awarded 100% of the 99 delegates, but he only won 47% of the vote. Trump was awarded 52 more delegates than he would have if the delegates were awarded on a proportional basis. Is that “fair”? I don’t know. That’s a debate Florida Republicans need to have. Fair or not, that is the rule in force right now. And Trump certainly didn’t object to it.
If delegates were awarded based on the share of the popular vote, Trump would have roughly 640 delegates by now, rather than 755. The “rigged” system actually seems to be working out quite well for him. Not well enough for his taste, I guess.
Let’s say Trump fails to gain the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination. That leads to a contested convention. In the first round, all delegates bound to Trump are obligated to cast their votes for him. Let’s not forget there are some unbound delegates. Some were pledged to candidates that have dropped out. Rubio has 171 delegates.
If Trump still can’t garner 1,237 delegates after the first round, there’s a second round where some of the delegates become unbound. That means they can vote for whoever they want. Those are the rules. Just like “winner take all” is the rule in some places.
That’s my quick pass analysis. I got my numbers from tables available at RealClearPolitics.com. Here’s the “popular vote” table, and here’s the “delegate” table. And here’s a table I put together based on those numbers.
It’s hard to tell with all the tantrums, but things aren’t so bad for the Trumpster. They’re actually pretty good. As the front runner, GOP rules benefit Trump in numerous ways. But we’ll never hear him talk about that.