Home » Uncategorized » The political conventions must represent the voters’ wishes

The political conventions must represent the voters’ wishes

Caricature of SteveI usually enjoy reading the prose of conservative columnist George F. Will. He is among a small handful of commentators who prove that Republican-leaning political pundits can be smart.

However, I disagree with today’s column in which Mr. Will demonstrates his disdain for American voters and reveals his willingness to circumvent democratic principals to deny the Republican Party nomination of a candidate he abhors—Donald Trump.

Let me be clear. I think that either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz would be a disaster for America. I actually fear Senator Cruz more than Trump but I won’t vote for either as the GOP presidential nominee.

I also think that Hillary Clinton would be a poor president for reasons that are not the focus of my thoughts here.

To put it succinctly,  in a nation populated by more than 323 million persons, it is pathetic that we face the prospect that the next occupant of the White House will be either Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

Where George F. Will errs

Mr. Will rejects the will of American voters when he writes, “A convention’s sovereign duty is to choose a plausible nominee who has a reasonable chance to win, not to passively affirm the will of a mere plurality of voters recorded episodically in a protracted process.”

He is wrong. The obligation of the delegates to both the Democrat and Republican national conventions is to cast their ballots according to the wishes of the voters they represent. The primaries elected delegates to vote for specific candidates. But Mr. Will urges GOP delegates to betray that obligation.

To follow his reasoning, we would permit the Electoral College to elect as president someone other than the candidate chosen by American voters in November.   The Electoral College operates as do the party conventions. The 538 electors are supposed to vote according to their state and voters’ wishes.

They don’t have to. But it would be immoral and unethical for any elector to betray the popular vote. And historically the electors in the college have voted according to popular wishes nearly 100 percent of the time. Yet that possibility exists.

And it is precisely such a betrayal that Mr. Will advocates.   He also laments that only a “plurality” of voters has repeatedly and consistently voted for Mr. Trump since February.

Of course, these voters are a plurality because the very nature of the caucus and primary system generally is limited to registered Republicans or Democrats. Only Republicans vote for their party candidates and likewise among the Democrats. Even so, if Donald Trump were not the favorite among GOP voters, someone else would have earned their favor by now. That hasn’t happened.

Let the process work

I am equally dismayed as George F. Will by the probability that Donald Trump will be the presidential nominee of the Republican Party. But he should receive on the first ballot every vote he has earned from the delegates he has won during the caucus and primary process. Delegates have the moral and ethical duty to represent the electorate of their respective states.

Should The Donald not prevail on the first round of voting, then the delegates should be free in subsequent rounds to vote for an alternate candidate. In fact, they must in order for a nominee to be selected.

However, Mr. Will is wrong to suggest that the GOP convention deny Mr. Trump—if he has the requisite delegates on the first ballot—the nomination by betraying the voters who have expressed their choice.


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