The Trump Cheat Sheet – Losing Heads or Tails

Heads I win, tails you lose.

It would be a neat trick in any enterprise. If you only have to count income and not expenses, your balance sheets will look pretty good.

You want to get a loan? You tell the bank about all the income generated. Doesn’t much matter what the level is. The income/expense ratio will be out of this world.

“Income looks okay,” says the smiling bank analyst. “What is the level of expense?”

“No expenses,” you say.

“No expenses?”

“None.”

If you can do the reverse, your taxes will be easy to pay. Report all your expenses, and tell them there was no income.

“No income?”

“None.”

So no taxes. Wow.

Just try it.

If the bank is run by insane people, they might believe what you say and give you a loan. The government tax agent might laugh for a second or two before the friendly authorities put on the cuffs. There might be a brief tussle with the bank when they want their money back. But the government will win that one, they always do.

Counting only one side of the spreadsheet? Doesn’t quite work that way in the real world. But they’re about to try just that in the strange Schrödinger world of conservative bookkeeping.

Globalization is an uncontrollable force, in many respects. Your cell phone, your flat screen television, probably your computer would all be impossible without international trade. Even your automobile runs on trade. It may be proudly assembled in America, but important parts are made elsewhere.

Most of that is okay with the Trump administration. Has to be. For all the talk about jobs being exported, they won’t worry about trade with Canada, Europe, Russia, and much of Asia. Why other countries are targeted is open for discussion.

Costing us as much as $60 billion dollars a year with Mexico alone in trade deficits.

President Donald Trump, January 26, 2017

Mr. Trump and his top advisors do have a fixation on Mexico, Mexicans, and those Americans who have any Mexican ancestry. The alt right is a euphemism for something on the dark side of the force.

Countries whose citizens have been responsible for death from terrorism in the United States have many things in common. One important thing is that none, none at all, zero, are on Mr. Trump’s list of immigrants to be banned from entry.

The exactitude with which Trump business interests seem to overlay new definitions of national interest includes, but extends beyond, immigration.

Fact is, a substantial part of trade flowing in and out of the United States is layover and service work. “Value added,” they call it. Kind of like the storage facilities you see along the highway, except with a service department in the back. Trade everywhere has always involved safe harbors, even in ancient times. That’s why stopovers on trade routes were the parts of geography where wealth accumulated.

So, much of the American economy involves trade between other countries, with the United States as middleman. The US provides established pathways, infrastructure for travel and storage, and the technology to add value.

Still, a disproportionate amount of that value-added, in-and-out, sort of trade originates in countries toward which Trump and company have a transparent hostility.

They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.

Donald Trump, June 16, 2015

It is not simply undocumented workers who are to be hated. Illegal immigration doesn’t happen because of those fleeing violence or those obeying the eternal desire for a better life of economic opportunity. It is because those who remain in those countries have chosen their worst to send, actually send, to us.

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us.

June 16, 2015

So the ongoing Trump campaign to eliminate commerce with select countries is justified by the two types of trade: the criminals Mr. Trump informs us are being sent to us by those countries, and the goods and services they are transporting to us in exchange for jobs that rightfully belong here.

But ethnic justification goes only so far. Something has to be done about the economic argument. A lot of trade creates jobs in the United States. The data that measures that is produced by the very government the Trump administration has taken over.

So a new way of calculating trade balance is being considered.

The way it would work is simple. When Mexico produces goods to send to Canada or Europe or pretty much anywhere, and sends it through the United States, the new slight of hand would apply. The imports into the United States would be counted. When they are then exported out of the United States, to their final destination, they would not be counted.

Coming in, they count. Going out, they don’t count.

So the trade deficit with Mexico would suddenly look like it doubled overnight. If it looks scary enough, the administration can tax, inhibit, or prohibit the re-exports, and also other sorts of trade.

It all might actually cost jobs, but jobs don’t seem to be the real aim, except for presentation to the base. The motivation seems to be to hurt countries Trump and his alt right advisors don’t like for ideological and ethnic reasons.

Whatever the reasons for the hostility, changing the calculation is a hidden way of cooking the books. They propose to take a large amount of the import and re-export trade with Mexico and only count one side of the ledger.

If you and I cook the books that way, we’ll get into some serious trouble.

But, the new administration is bringing in new methods of accountability.

It’s heads they win, tails everyone else loses.


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The Mean Streets of a
More Hostile America

I was in high school, I think, when I first heard of the Newburgh Conspiracy.

By 1783, the American Revolution had pretty much been victorious. Cornwallis had surrendered at Yorktown two years before.

But official peace negotiations had only just begun. The government of Britain had not surrendered the colonies. New York was still occupied by the British. And soldiers fighting in the American army had not been paid, in some cases for months: in many cases for as long as six years. Some officers were digging into their own finances to pay troops just enough to survive.

Congress had promised to pay soldiers back wages plus a pension. But now, the prevailing attitude in Congress was to do nothing. The war was about to end formally. Victory was already in hand. Why keep expensive promises when independence had already been won?

Besides, there was no way to raise the money to keep old promises to retiring soldiers. The Articles of Confederation were little more than a trade agreement that dealt with former colonies as independent, sovereign nations. Taxing and finance were state matters. And some states had already passed laws that told soldiers to kiss off. No pensions for you.

Efforts to give the national government the ability to impose tariffs had been defeated. Opposition to a stronger government was decisive. There was nothing in the national treasury to pay out, and no way to get it.

Pay soldiers what had been promised? Couldn’t be done.

In Newburgh, New York, letters were written by officers to each other forming a plot. There would be a sort of coup.

There is some controversy about whether the coup was a ruse. At least some officers and enlisted men believed it and supported the move. Stories circulated that the objective would be to install George Washington as a King. A king would have the power to pay a standing army what was owed.

Installing a monarchy would not have been an outlandish goal. Royalty was an almost universally accepted form of government throughout the world. And George Washington was the logical King.

A democratic republic was almost unheard of. A system of Cantons in Switzerland was reputed to be democratic. But only the very wealthy had any part in that system. Real democracy in Switzerland was still a few years away. A primitive sort of proto-Republic had been tried in England under Oliver Cromwell in the mid-1600s. It had not gone well and King Charles II had been installed by popular demand.

Washington wanted promises to be kept. He wanted his soldiers to be paid. So he allowed news of the Newburgh conspiracy to reach Congress. And Congress got scared. They formed a committee to figure out how to amend the Articles of Confederation in order to pay soldiers. The committee became a convention. The Convention went off in a different direction. They hatched an unauthorized proposal for an entirely new, strong central government in order to form a more perfect union.

Yay, American Constitution!

Before all that happened, Washington only knew that he wanted an untried democratic republic to be given a run in America. He did not want a monarchy. He did not want a king. He most emphatically did not want to be a king.

While Congress was tied up in fear and committees, he held a meeting with the most rebellious of his officers. They were angry, in no mood to be talked out of simple justice. Once they realized General Washington would not support a move against Congress, a sort of respectful hostility was turned on him.

Washington talked briefly about his efforts to get payment. The legend is that he tried to read to the group a letter of support from a member of Congress. He stared at the paper for a time, then fumbled for a new pair of eyeglasses. None of the group had ever seen him with reading glasses. He apologized, “Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country.” The flagrant appeal to emotion worked. He won most of them over.

The Newburgh conspiracy, if it was an actual conspiracy, collapsed. And America went on without a king.

I thought a little about American royalty a few years ago on the one hundredth anniversary of the Presidential pitch in baseball. Barack Obama threw the opening ball. It was his second year as a major league pitcher.

High and outside. Not really great, but better than his first year, where the ball barely bounced to the catcher. I remarked at that first effort that, as a baseball player, Barack Obama would be better off seeking a career in politics. He must have practiced through the following year.

That 100th anniversary marked a tradition begun in 1910. The umpire at Washington’s Griffith Stadium, Billy Evans, had a sudden thought. He asked the President if he would like to open the game by throwing the ball over the plate. William Howard Taft threw that first pitch and started an unbroken streak. President Obama threw the 100th, and a few more in the years following.

Mr. Taft is often credited with another baseball tradition.

Late in a game one April day in 1910, President Taft, a truly massive man (my kind of guy), got really uncomfortable in his small stadium chair. So he stood and stretched. The respectful crowd stood as well. That began the tradition we see in every game of major league baseball, the seventh inning stretch.

George Washington ended the Newburgh conspiracy. American monarchy did not get as far as being stillborn. It was not even really conceived. But Americans have developed, in place of royalty, a reflexive reverence for the Presidency.

Presidents in our country establish a cultural tone.

This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.

John F. Kennedy, June 11, 1963

John F. Kennedy moved racism in American consciousness from individually eccentric to reprehensibly evil.

We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the Scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution.

George Bush promoted a sort of every-man plain style, that many of us take for a deliberate embrace of willful ignorance. For a while, “nuculer” became part of the lexicon.

What cultural impact are we to expect as Donald Trump becomes President Trump?

We might find family gatherings, workplace discussions, even conversations in whatever equivalents of Fellowship Hall are found in Houses of Worship becoming more lively each year. Will expressions of white supremacy become more common and less self-conscious, as a decent regard for the opinions of others is dismissed as mere “political correctness?” Will politics follow suit as national discourse is cheapened?

Repressive policies may descend, as has been promised. The vulnerable will likely suffer from a new official harshness. Governmental discrimination by religion and ethnicity may not be the end. We may also find ourselves further separated as familiar vows are reversed in application as wealth, and even health become borders in a divided land.

We have to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Donald Trump, October 19, 2016

On which side of the wide divide do you live? Are you richer or poorer? Do you find yourself in sickness or in health?

Even if policy does not become all that has been promised, will brown skinned immigrants be targeted on the street?

They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

Donald Trump, June 16, 2015

Will those wearing the clothing of different religions be targets? Will houses of worship be attacked? Will inhabitants as well, even as they worship?

Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.

Read by Donald Trump, December 7, 2015

Hate crimes have already spiked, with only the most tepid, milquetoast denial of support for the hatred.

Intervention from passersby, people of good will, has sometimes countered the new popularity of hatred. We must resolve to help wherever we can. But the kindness of strangers is not a dependable resource.

Leadership matters.

Official action from new, hostile authority will come. But coherent policy takes time to formulate, then to apply. The more immediate impact generated by a new President is not likely to come through government. The first fear does not flow directly from white buildings that will soon house unfriendly power.

Our brothers and sisters, children of God, are already taking care, walking the mean streets of a new America.


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Donald Caught in the Rigging

My grandmother used to tend a little garden that gradually grew to occupy most of a fairly large backyard. I never knew how she managed to care it for so long. She loved to go weeding, separating the beautiful from plants that just got in the way.

It was a magical place for me. Memories of that magic sometimes provide respite. They have been an occasional sanctuary during this election season, as conspiracy stories grow like those unwanted weeds.

Conspiracies do happen. Most of us of sufficient age to possess vivid memories of the Nixon administration can take a cue from Watergate.

People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook.

Richard Nixon, President of the United States,    November 18, 1973

Over the years, as documents are declassified, evidence has been accumulating of other Nixon conspiracies. A possible negotiated settlement of the Vietnam War in 1968 was exploded as Presidential candidate Nixon, secretly and illegally, sent promises of a better deal down the road if South Vietnam would ensure his election by refusing to make peace.

So we cannot look with complete cynicism on every claim of rigged outcome.

But some theories have deteriorated into tin-hat humor.

No one is prouder to put this birth-certificate matter to rest than The Donald. And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter — like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?

Barack Obama, President of the United States,    April 30, 2011

So how are we to tell the difference between Watergate and stories of a fake moon landing?

The most obvious answer is to look at the evidence. Gut feeling might guide us on where to look for that evidence, but a feeling that something is so won’t make it so. Neither will simply wanting it to be so, yearning with all our hearts that it might be true. Regarding a lack of evidence as evidence itself of a conspiracy will usually lead us into a hall or mirrors.

We might also want to take some level of plausibility into account.

Donald Trump began his trek toward political destiny with that birther story, the theory that President Obama was born in another country. Those who felt that it was just wrong for this particular President to take office very much wanted birtherism to be true. They seemed to want it with all their hearts. If Barack Obama was born in another country, then the American people had no right to choose him for their President. And he had no right to take office.

The fact that they felt that his election was wrong, wrong, wrong had a certain backdoor logic to it, an element of reverse engineering:

If his election was wrong, it must not be legal. If it was not legal, there must be some sort of constitutional prohibition. He was over 35 years old, so age was not it. Race might seem compelling, but the Constitution had been amended since slavery days. That pretty much left the requirement that a President had to be a natural born citizen.

One problem was a lack of evidence. Some elderly relative in Africa did admit, through an interpreter, that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. Desperate advocates seized on that scrap, perhaps forgetting that the President’s estranged father, the one who had abandoned him and and his mom, had indeed been born in Kenya, and that his name was Barack Obama.

Plausibility was another problem. A conspiracy to make baby Barack a future President had to involve two newspapers, a hospital in Hawaii, and at least some officials within the Hawaiian state government. If the birth had occurred in an actual hospital in Kenya, records there had to be destroyed and witnesses silenced.

Babies are precious, but that story takes love to an amazing level. Life would have been easier for the future President if those fortunate, farsighted, completely maniacal parents had thought to choose a different middle name.

Since those birther days, Donald has graduated into an avalanche of new conspiracies. In a single speech in October, Mr. Trump managed to list several of those participating in a grand scheme to undermine him.

The FBI

Likewise, they have essentially corrupted the Director of the FBI.

– Donald Trump October 13, 2016

A small handful of global special interests

This election will determine whether we are a free nation or whether we have only the illusion of democracy, but are in fact controlled by a small handful of global special interests rigging the system.

– Donald Trump October 13, 2016

The International Banking System

Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors.

– Donald Trump October 13, 2016

A small platoon of women, recruited by his enemies to make false accusations.

Over time, a gold star parents, whose son was killed in Iraq fighting for the United States, had become part of the conspiracy because they are Muslim.

A Federal judge, back when he was the head of the US Drug Enforcement Agency, had put himself into harms way, going in and out of hiding, dodging assassination squads, leading the battle that brought down a Mexican drug cartel. But now he was part of the anti-Trump conspiracy because his parents had come from Mexico 70 years ago, before he was born. So he is not really an American.

A former Miss Universe was part of it.

A Mexican billionaire joined in.

So have national Republican leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Large media news outlets have taken a break from their ruthless competition against each other. They now come together in a fraternal effort to plot against Mr. Trump.

Even the US Bureau of Labor Statistics now participates, faking rosy employment trends that will trick workers into thinking they have jobs.

A rigged election is in the offing. Mexican immigrants, here illegally, will come out of hiding, march down to official voting stations, present false documents, and vote against him.

Other voters, legal voters, will each illegally vote against him dozens of times by pretending to be someone else. They will risk prison time and huge fines to do so.

It won’t be smart or easy to steal a national election this way. Elections in the past were stolen in backrooms, out of sight, where voting totals could be manipulated. But, as Mr. Trump points out, Mexico doesn’t send us their best, and presumably not their brightest.

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you.

– June 16, 2015

Although some, we assume, are good people.

It is not plausible, and there is no evidence. But Mr. Trump and his supporters have strong feelings that it will happen. That is enough.

My grandmother has been gone for many years. Her magical garden exists only in my mind and in my heart.

Every once in a while I bring up a sweet little blog about adventures in organic gardening. It takes me back, for a few minutes at a time, to happier days of youth and life.

One passage strikes me as accidentally allegorical.

The sky is falling. The Little Red Hen told me that the other day. Ten days in a row, she was right: rain followed by showers with brief, periodic sprinkles leading to downpours. The elements are conspiring against me, around me, generally all over me, and possibly even within me. It’s wet.

The elements conspiring against Mr. Trump, around him, generally all over him, and possibly even within him are varied. The circle grows each rain soaked day.

Rigged elections, Mexican immigrants, people voting multiple times, billionaires, gold star parents, Federal judges, a dozen angry women, a former Miss Universe, international banks, a small handful of global special interests, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the FBI, local election officials.

The drama will end, sort of, on November 8. The arc will complete and circle will close.

We can hope the American people will cast their ballots wisely, united at long last in rejection of Donald Trump and all of that for which he stands:

Voters joining in a final national conspiracy against him.


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The Art of the Election – How Trump is Winning

From sometime in 1964:

Barry Goldwater is a patriot and he loves his country too much to allow himself to become President.

I was in high school when my friend read that to me. We laughed. It was funny because the premise was true. Barry Goldwater was indeed a patriot. And it was funny because the conclusion was absurd.

The logic seems less absurd today.

Something keeps Donald Trump from running an effective national post-primary campaign. It is possible that it has something to do with patriotism. After all, who can read the mind of another? I suspect it is something more obvious.

News reporters have counted heads. They say that the Trump organization employs 30 staffers to run a national campaign. With one widely publicized firing, and one subsequent resignation, that number may well be a couple less. I do not pretend any special knowledge about national campaigns. But I have come to trust the judgment of some political experts.

Those experts tell me that the country is, in fact, composed of 50 states.

So we have 30 staff people covering 1 states each, on average. The root of the staffing problem may be money. Even devout followers like to be paid.

The Trump campaign does have money problems. I confess 1.2 million dollars seems like a lot of money to me and that’s what the Trump campaign says is on hand. If some beloved relative died and left me that much, I’d like to think I would be overwhelmed by grief. Family, church acquaintances, and personal associates, those I believe be good judges of character, seem to have a different opinion of my likely reaction. It is truly a lot of money.

Imagine giving your spouse 1.2 million dollars with the understanding that exactly $1,000 a day had to be spent, no more and no less. And you would not see each other again until your spouse had spent every last dime. If you made that gift next January, January 20, 2017 – that date comes to mind for some reason – you would not see each other again for three years, sometime in May 2020.

That’s a long time, and that’s because 1.2 million dollars is a lot of money.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign reports 42 million dollars on hand. Scientists tell us that 42 million is more than 1.2 million. If you gave your spouse 42 million dollars on January 20 with the same agreement, one thousand a day, you wouldn’t be apart for only 3 years.

You would see each other again 115 years later, in January 2132. 3 years with Donald Trump, 115 with Hillary Clinton.

So….what’s going on with Trump and the money?

Some reports say donors are holding off because they see Donald Trump as a phenomenal loser. That could be true.

Donald Trump says the reason is actually that he has not yet begun to fight. So maybe it’s all part of a Trump master plan to make Democrats everywhere over‑confident – right down to our socks.

One report may strike a special note of insight. The word is that the Republican National Committee impressed on the Trump campaign the special need for a fund raising effort: a personal effort by the candidate. So they gave Donald Trump a list of 24 names of those most likely to give huge amounts that would keep your spouse away for many hundreds of years. Mr. Trump promised to call all 24 large donors.

He called 3 of them and stopped, leaving the other 21 without a call.

Why would he do that? I think there is a plausible reason why he gave up on them. He would have had to tell 24 successful people that he needs their money, that he needs them, that they and their efforts are valued. Donald Trump doesn’t sing the It’s‑All‑About‑You song. It’s always about Donald.

News analysts speculate about what sort of campaign is needed this year to win. The overwhelming fact, the elephant everyone sees, is that both candidates are viewed negatively. The outcome may hinge on which candidate becomes less unpopular than the other.

Even Fox News analysts, who normally could be counted on to be more Republican than Republicans are, don’t pretend their guy is likable.

Look, we’ve never had a general election with two candidates that are as unliked, by as many American people. These contests are often a referendum on who would rather have a beer with on election night. There’s gonna be a lot of voters drinking alone.

Alex Conant, May 17, 2016

If that is true, and it stays true, the election will not depend on the issues, or even on personalities. It will depend on focus. If the election is about Donald Trump, 2017 will see the inauguration of a new President Clinton. If the election is about Hillary Clinton, it will be President Trump.

Political PACs are not allowed to coordinate with candidates. But that doesn’t mean they can’t read the papers or stare at an internet browser. I suspect those committees do take a few cues from news reports.

Those siding with Hillary Clinton have begun promoting her in more humane settings during quieter moments. She seems to be taking some some of Joe Biden’s strengths, speaking in conversational tones, leaving Donald Trump to scream at his crowds.

If I am right, her unpopularity, the cloud that hangs over her, comes from decades of endless smoke blown by the eternal conservative smear machine. So the soft breeze of the positive side will help immeasurably. But what do I know? I’m a knee-jerk liberal jerk. Just ask my conservative friends. Hip pie leftist to the bone, just short of a comm‑eye pre‑vert.

Even if Secretary Clinton goes positive, the negative will predominate. The consensus seems to be solidifying: in a negative climate, the candidate who becomes the focus will lose.

Both candidates have begun attacking the other. But it does not take a discerning ear to detect a difference.

Hillary quotes Donald Trump, offering critique along with evidence in the form of his own words. It is not a dispassionate analysis, this being a campaign. But it is analysis. Here’s the charge, here’s the evidence. These are his own words.

Donald is reduced to “crooked Hillary” for candidate Clinton, to “Pocahontas” for Elizabeth Warren. His attacks are direct and, to the untrained ear, unconvincing.

Hillary Clinton highlights Donald Trump, arguing that he lacks the temperament and motivation to serve the people well. Donald Trump attacks Hillary Clinton, and Elizabeth Warren and President Obama and other Republicans, often in spectacular and controversial fashion. Hillary puts the spotlight on Donald. Donald puts the spotlight on himself.

His motivation became explicit a few days ago as he basked in the glow of another public appearance. I think his words tell us exactly why he could not continue calling donors to explain his need for their help, making them the focus, even for the length of time a telephone conversation might take. I think it explains the overblown rhetoric that discourages Republicans and motivates Democrats.

He is having the time of his life. He glories in each precious moment. He lives for that moment.

I’ve been on the cover of ‘Time’ magazine so many times. And the cover of everything. I feel like a super model, except like times ten. Okay?

It’s true. I’m a supermodel. I’m on the cover of these magazines. I’m on the cover of the biggest magazines I don’t even know about and I can’t even read the story because if I did, I wouldn’t get any work done. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Donald Trump, June 18, 2016
   at a rally in Phoenix, AZ

The Republican nominee will not make the Democratic nominee the central figure for the same reason he can’t make each donor feel special.

It’s a classic convergence of interest, the win-win outcome everyone wants:

The Clinton campaign would like Donald Trump to be the center of public attention.

Donald Trump craves that attention even more.


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Conventional Fairness

I’ve brought people into this party by the millions. You understand that. They voted by the millions more. It’s one of the biggest stories in all of politics.

And what do I have? I have a guy going around trying to steal people’s delegates.

This is supposed to be America, a free America.

This is supposed to be a system of votes.

Donald Trump, March 27, 2016,    interviewed on ABC

It is a familiar argument. The candidate who has earned it in rallies and voting booths may lose the political nomination he is seeking. Backroom deals and shady maneuvers are taking a toll.

I think back to the famous political riots in Chicago in 1968, what George Will called God’s gift to conservatives. The protests against the Vietnam war focused on the candidate who was seen as supporting that war. Hubert Humphrey had not campaigned in even one primary. He had not won a single vote.

Divergence from the democratic ideal probably goes to the beginnings of representative government. The rise of Julius Caesar was due, at least in part, to popular reaction against the Roman oligarchy that called itself a republic.

In Democratic Party politics, 1972 was the offspring of 1968. Democracy would rule in the Democratic Party. Backroom deals would be diminished. Primaries would determine which candidates had delegates, and how many. George McGovern knew the rules. He and his staff worked to help make them fair. And that knowledge paid off. Senator McGovern and his growing band of true believers worked the streets and got the votes.

But the McGovern convention of 1972 was not without controversy. He had won the California primary without winning a majority. The opposition was divided among other candidates. The rules said California was winner-take-all, even if that winner did not win a majority. Other candidates said the rules were wrong. They tried to get the rules changed. The leader of the winning delegation, Willie Brown, was for McGovern.

Like Donald Trump decades later, he did not want to be cheated out of the delegates he deserved.

I deserve no less. Give me back my delegation!

Willie Brown, July 10, 1972

After George McGovern lost spectacularly to Richard Nixon that November, party officials spoke up. The McGovern process of primary victories and popular democracy had kept many loyalists out of the convention. Excluding those who had served the party for years was inherently unfair.

And the result had been horrific. George McGovern had won two places. It was a curious sort of bellwether. As Massachusetts goes, so goes the District of Columbia. He had lost everywhere else. Everywhere.

And so the path of history was paved with efforts to be fair, to win. Vietnam begat 1968. 1968 begat 1972. 1972 begat super delegates.

44 years later, we have controversy that spans party lines.

Bernie Sanders defended by, of all people, conservative Joe Scarborough:

Bernie Sanders wins 56 to 44 percent in Wyoming. The delegates rewarded – Hillary Clinton elevin, Bernie Sanders seven.

Why does the Democratic Party even have voting booths? This system is so rigged.

Joe Scarborough, April 11, 2016

Steve Griffin of Tulane University Law School discusses with New Orleans WDSU News the Republican delegate system that may watch as Donald Trump wins solidly in Louisiana and then award most of Louisiana’s delegates to Ted Cruz.

As a candidate, he’s got rights. And if for some reason, the Louisiana Republican Party hasn’t been conforming with its own rules, then he might — I stress the word might — he might have a basis for a lawsuit.

Louisiana GOP Secretary Louis S. Gurvich explains basic fairness to WDSU. Rules are rules.

Those are uncommitted delegates. Mr. Trump is as free to reach out to them as is anyone else.

Ted Cruz responds to the Trump outrage.

I’m always amused when Donald doesn’t know what to do and so threatens lawsuits.

Political pundits are not without opinions.

This is really pathetic. The guy who promised us he’d give us winning until we were tired of winning is, as I noted earlier in the week, being out hustled and out organized by Ted Cruz. The problem isn’t a broken system. The system was well known to everyone before the primary started.

streiff writing for Red State, March 27, 2016

By convention time, Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. She will have the delegates, and will have won the popular vote. It is likely that Donald Trump will have won the popular vote and will be the Republican nominee.

And so the arguments about electoral fairness will fade until the next election year.

Trying to steal people’s delegates

This system is so rigged

The tenuous tie between the primary votes and the results of the two conventions carries with it a deeper, more profound, injustice than that experienced by any candidate

As a candidate he has rights

or any delegate.

I deserve no less

The neglected issue is not what is fair to political parties or to those who would seek their nominations.

The issue is, and should always have been, what is fair to voters. The greatest number of votes will influence, but will not with certainty determine, who wins.

Those who showed up at the polls may have expected, reasonably expected, that their ballots would have an effect that would be more than coincidence.


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