“Any corrupt system can make rules. That doesn’t make it just or moral. When the people have no vote, but rules were followed, the rules become useless.” —Shari Goodman
“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” —The Golden Rule
Cruz & the Golden Rule
Texas Senator Ted Cruz has championed the US Constitution. Since the Constitution is the greatest elaboration of the Golden Rule written, the fact that it is the law of the land makes the Golden Rule the basis of all American jurisprudence. Thus, when Senator Cruz recently championed a delegate selection system that granted him every single Colorado delegate, his support for Golden-Rule-style equal protection for all was naturally called into question. But why? Were the rules not the same for everyone?
The Sad Tale of Larry Wayne Lindsey
When Mr. Larry Wayne Lindsey tried to show up in support of Donald Trump to the Colorado Republican Convention, he found his credentials canceled. Mr. Lindsey claims this was owing to the fact he was a Trump supporter.
A YouTube posting from April 9, 2016, which contains three separate videos, carried the following captions: 1) “1st video from Larry Wayne Lindsey: Just a little of the BS I went through this morning with the Douglas County, Colorado, GOP,” 2) “2nd video from Larry Wayne Lindsey: Well, the Douglas County GOP made good on its threat to remove my name from the roster and replaced me with someone of their choosing. I have been a lifelong Republican, but I am ashamed to call myself a Republican, and after this election, I never will be again. From henceforth, I am a Constitutional Conservative, and my mission in life is the demise of the corrupt Republican Party!” 3) “3rd video from Larry Wayne Lindsey: To hell with the GOP!” See the videos for yourself:
Was the Process Really Unfair?
Mollie Hemingway, of The Federalist, however, writes, “‘Since Mr. Lindsey did not attend the County District Assembly he was not elected to be a delegate to the State Assembly, nor could he have been, so there is no way that he would have been listed as a delegate to the State Convention when he tried to check in on Saturday morning,’ Tanne Blackburn, chairman of the Douglas County Republican Party, explained in a press release.” So, Blackburn’s explanation would seem to delegitimize Mr. Lindsey’s claim of having been treated unfairly. It also appears that Lindsey may not have signed in properly at a Republican meeting he was supposed to attend. However, the vast majority of voters, in this Year of Preferring an Outsider, still seem to be outraged, having judged the process itself to be too unfair, too difficult to comply with. In the past, the the parties used to help people fix their mistakes, so they could continue to participate. (I know this from personal experience, having co-chaired caucuses and fixed voters’ problems myself, in order to allow access.) But this year, it did not appear that the Party was quite as willing to help Trump supporters. At least this is the feeling people are expressing, across the country and on social media. While Mr. Lindsey may well be technically wrong, the feeling of many is that he is morally right. And feelings seem to be riding especially high this election cycle.
Party Insiders Change Rules to Hinder Anti-Establishment Outsiders
Back on August 25, 2015, the Denver Post’s John Frank reported, “The Colorado system [of traditional caucuses] often favors anti-establishment candidates who draw a dedicated following among activists—as evidenced by Rick Santorum’s victory in the 2012 caucus. So the party’s move [to cancel traditional caucuses in 2016] may hurt GOP contenders such as Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Rand Paul, who would have received a boost if they won the state.” Since many devoted Republican caucus participants from prior years would have found themselves suddenly subjected to new rules, it is more than likely that many might have found themselves at a disadvantage, in unfamiliar territory that many of them probably did not learn about in time—whereas Establishment insiders would have all been alerted to these new rules the minute the changes were made.
John Frank seemed to be questioning the integrity of late changes to a familiar process. Keep in mind that, at the time Mr. Frank reported the Republican rules changes, Donald Trump had been a frontrunner in the Republican field for over a month, so the notion that Republicans altered the rules to disable an insurgency on Trump’s part is not far-fetched, especially given the fact that renowned pollster Nate Silver had been predicting that a brokered convention might be a possibility, before the definitive rules changes were put through by Establishment bosses. While it is true that the Colorado Republican Establishment began to consider altering the rules back in February of 2015 already, the final decision on how those rules should look were not adopted in final form until late August, after it had become apparent that Trump represented a genuine challenge to the Establishment.
Cruz Justifies Colorado
Cruz, in the aftermath of the Colorado delegate selections, found himself in defense mode, since Trump began to issue claims that Colorado’s one-sided process had become, in essence, a “rigged system.” Said Cruz, “Donald has . . . been on TV all day long, saying Colorado was terrible, they stole the election. Donald, 65,000 people voted in the state of Colorado, they just didn’t vote for you, they voted for our campaign. To put it more simply Donald—it ain’t stealing when the voters vote against you. It is the voters reclaiming this country and reclaiming sanity.” But the voting that Cruz spoke of was in reference to a delegate selection process, absent traditional voters. And the truth is this: The more one has to explain why a process is fair, the less likely it is that that process really is fair.
A Rigged System
Although Trump’s claims of a “rigged system” might seem disingenuous to his opponents, it is hard to fault the frontrunner for having such feelings about a process that was changed only recently, and to his disadvantage. “We thought we were having an election,” Trump said, “and a number of months ago they decided to do it by delegate. . . . They took away their votes. . . . They gave it to these delegates. People are not going to take it anymore. It’s a totally corrupt, rigged system.”
Trump actually does not complain often about how these contests are set up. Trump first complained when the Cruz people asked Carson supporters for their votes, saying to those supporters—mistakenly—that Carson had dropped out of the race. The second time was when Cruz ended up with a majority of delegates from Louisiana, despite Trump’s win in that state. Recognizing that this may have actually cost Trump a win in Iowa, Cruz apologized about Iowa, much to his credit. But the unfair process in Louisiana has resulted in ten fewer delegates for Trump, and, while Cruz may be entitled to those delegates, according to some technical rules he was able to exploit, it still does not look good—for Cruz or for the Establishment—that there seems to be an unfair benefit at work for elected officials that makes it hard for citizen candidates to break into the system. The perception of Cruz as a Washington outsider began to diminish somewhat with the situation in Louisiana, but the damage to his image has worsened with the Colorado debacle. In Colorado, it would appear that any Trump or Kasich supporters were weeded out at the county-convention level and, therefore, not in attendance at the state convention.
Alan Rappeport, of the New York Times, writes that Steve House, the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party “has been hearing from angry voters from across the state and country who say they think the will of the people was ignored because Colorado’s system of caucuses . . . left the selection of the state’s presidential nominating delegates to party activists.” Mr. House’s response? “It was done exactly according to the rules,” Mr. House countered, denying that anything untoward had happened. But Shari Goodman spoke for many Americans when she recently made the following comment: “Any corrupt system can make rules. That doesn’t make it just or moral. When the people have no vote, but rules were followed, the rules become useless. You ask what Trump would do if he were President. He would end the corruption and bring back power to the people, where it belongs.” This powerful statement accurately sums up the feelings and beliefs of many.
To be for the Constitution, but not support the Golden Rule it is based upon, is questionable. Cruz’s Colorado win, per se, is not the problem. Embracing an unfair process, and claiming “it ain’t stealing when the voters vote against you,” is the problem. Remember, there were no “voters” in the traditional sense, only Establishment delegates. As a result, Cruz’s statement has done much to tarnish his image. As a result, look for an upswing in Trump’s popular support and bumpier road ahead for Senator Cruz.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com