Ahh, the fresh smell of election season is in the air. It’s that time of year where political opinions differ and tempers begin to fly. “My candidate is better than your candidate because…” and that’s what makes America great. We have the right to voice our opinions and decide via elections who we choose to be our elected officials such as President…or do we?
With election season beginning to bloom ever so boldly, it not only invites the conversations of political differences, but it also gives birth to new language. Words we don’t hear every day such as; delegates, superdelegates, the establishment, and others are loosely tossed around by the mainstream media and political pundits but are rarely, if not ever explained. What is a delegate? What is a Superdelegate? Who is the establishment? The average person doesn’t know what any of this means other than if his/her candidate has the most delegates they win! For something so influential in our election process for sustaining a free nation, you’d think this would be taught in our schools to breed well informed voters after graduation and enter into the workforce. However, the contrary is our reality. None of the political jargon is ever mentioned in our public school system. The media never fully explains it. The pundits won’t define it. Why not? Conspiracy? Well, I’ll have another article on that later. For now we’ll stick with the basics of the election cycle in an effort to cut through the political talking points, and explain what all of this means in layman’s terms. However longwinded, I’m confident that if you take the time and read this article to the end, you’ll have the full understanding of these terms and rules, and will have the political knowledge to engage in educated discussions. Please feel free to post questions or comments below.
What is a Delegate?
I know you have all wondered this. Is it a person, or a number, or what? Well it turns out that a delegate is a person. Each state has a fixed amount of delegates decided by the party’s National Convention (RNC/DNC). According to the ‘Republican Party of Louisiana’s’ website http://www.lagop.com/delegate/ even you can become a delegate. Here are the three ways in which you can become a delegate straight from their website, as follows:
The 3 ways you can become a delegate from Louisiana
Louisiana has been allotted 46 delegates and 43 alternates to the 2016 Republican National Convention. Louisiana’s 3 RNC members serve as automatic delegates. The remaining 43 delegates and 43 alternates are elected. Here are the 3 ways you can become a delegate.
1 – Run for delegate at the March 1st Congressional District Caucus. (36 positions are available – 18 delegates and 18 alternates.)
2 – Be nominated by a presidential contender. (Up to 46 positions are available — 23 delegates and 23 alternates.)
3 – Be nominated from the floor of the March 12th State Convention. (At least 4 positions are available — 2 delegates and 2 alternates.)
Option 1: Run at a Congressional District Caucus
File a notice of candidacy online by filling out the online form below between January 25th and February 12th. No fee is required, but you must declare which presidential contender you support when you file.
At the March 1st caucus, from 4pm – 8pm, voters in each congressional district will be divided by presidential contender and will vote for up to 6 delegate candidates who support the same presidential contender as they do. The top 6 delegate candidates for each presidential contender will become his/her slate in that congressional district, ranked in order of the number of votes received. If two delegate candidates are tied, the one who filed earliest will be ranked highest.
On March 5th, Louisiana will conduct the Presidential Preference Primary Election. Presidential contenders will be awarded up to 3 delegates and 3 alternates in each congressional district in proportion to the percentage of the vote they receive on the March 5th ballot. If a presidential contender earns one delegate, the top finisher on his/her slate in that district will become a delegate, and the second place finisher will become an alternate. If the presidential contender earns 2 delegates in the district, the top 2 finishers will be delegates, and the third and fourth place finishers will be alternates, and so on.
Option 2: Be Nominated by a Presidential Contender
Contact the campaign of your favorite Republican presidential contender and ask to be included on his/her official statewide delegate slate. These slates are due to be filed by February 1st, so act quickly. Presidential contenders who receive at least 20% of the statewide vote will be awarded a percentage of the 23 statewide delegates and alternates in proportion to the percentage of the statewide vote they receive in the March 5th Presidential Primary.
The March 12th State Convention will fill these delegate slots with individuals from the slate of the presidential contenders who earn them. Delegates on statewide slates are not ranked in any order. The State Convention may choose anyone on a slate to fill a spot as long as it is for the appropriate presidential contender.
Option 3: Be Nominated from the Floor at the State Convention
On March 12th, the State Convention will fill any remaining positions. Two positions will be nominated by the LAGOP Executive Committee and the remainder will be uncommitted delegates and alternates nominated from the floor as a result of some presidential contenders not receiving 20% of the statewide vote in the Primary. Anyone who is a registered Republican voter in Louisiana is eligible to be nominated. The State Convention is composed of 35 individuals to be chosen by the current State Central Committee.
What are Superdelegates?
Superdelegates are generally mentioned in the democratic process. These delegates are required, or pledged, to vote for the winning candidate of that state based on the popular vote. The Superdelegates, or unpledged delegates, can vote for which ever candidate they so choose. Each state has a fixed number of delegates and superdelegates
Primary Voting Rules:
The rules for primary voting differ state by state, in terms of the GOP (Grand Old Party). Some states are winner take all, meaning which ever candidate acquires the most votes (you and me, or the popular vote), is awarded all of the delegates. This means that all of the delegates for that state is required to vote for that candidate.
Some states award delegate votes in accordance to the percentage of the popular vote. This means that one candidate might have lost the primary with only 10% of the vote, but is still awarded 10% of the delegates. Other states have different rules for delegation but these are the most common. Some states don’t have primary voting. They have caucuses in which they have meetings in various municipalities and people vote by a show of hands, for the most part.
Now, here’s where it gets tricky in the GOP. For a candidate to win the primary and be selected as the party nominee he must acquire 50% of the delegates + 1. Nationwide there is a total of 2472. So, half of that + 1 = 1237. If no candidate reaches 1237, then this is where it goes into a contested Brokered Convention. The Brokered Convention, as it is called, has been described as smoky barroom hand shake deals. It isn’t an official committee meeting. Back room deals are made and money tossed around. Once this process gets underway, you can scrap your vote, and potentially your candidate, because none of it matters, not even the delegates anymore. It is in the hands of the establishment to choose whoever they want to be the nominee. In fact just recently the RNC leader, Reince Priebus, has publically stated that the voters don’t pick the president, “we do.” That’s right, anyone they want! Who is the establishment?
Who is the Establishment?
The establishment, as some call it, consists of top political party leaders, past and present. Everyone ranging from the House and Senate Majority leaders, presidents and past presidents, and many other influential party leaders. People like: John McCain, Jon Cornyn, Lisa Murkowski, Orrin Hatch, Richard Lugar, Mitch McConnell, Karl Rove, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Paul Ryan, John Boehner, just to name a few. However prominent in political influence, these really are not the big time hard hitters. They have very little influence on the nominee outcome compared to the real elitist. That’s right, there are people way above them. This is openly admitted by their own leaders. It is people like the Koch Brothers and other big time financial backers, lobbyist, and anyone with deep pockets who contribute financially to the party. As I’m sure you’re surprised, money is behind the political establishment. They control both sides and spread their influence on both sides of the isle. They choose the candidates and fund largely their campaigns so they can have the inside edge on American politics and continue their dominance of wealth. There isn’t a list of the real establishment leaders because they work behind the scenes. In theory they don’t exists, but in reality they do by their own admission. They portray the freedom of voter selection to the American people but in actuality they are steering it in one direction or other. They control the media which helps to sway political thought on the masses. This is why there has been millions upon millions of dollars donated to candidates such as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and now Ted Cruz as their last resort, to attack Donald Trump and stop him, or anyone, from getting the 1237 magic number of delegates. This is why John Kasich, as dilapidated as his campaign is, has not dropped out of the race. Remember, some states are not winner take all. So, if he pulls off 10% of the votes, he gets 10% of the delegates, leaving Trump or Cruz for that matter, from stepping closer to the 1237. If they can stop Trump and Cruz from reaching that number, then the contested Brokered Convention begins and they, the establishment, get to pick their nominee regardless of how weak he may be. They gave us candidates like John McCain and Mitt Romney, in which both elections should have been a land slide victory for the GOP against a weak opposing candidate, Barack Obama.
In a Nutshell
In a nutshell, now is the time for our voices to be heard. If the establishment gets their way our country will surely be lost, if not so already. Millions upon millions of dollars are being spent to attack the GOP front runner in an attempt to derail him and send it into a Brokered Convention in which they will decide who they want. This article was not written as a pro Trump endorsement, it is only stating the facts. Trump, although used to be part of the establishment admittedly, is surely not part of them, or at least has been rejected from the club, otherwise they would not have spent close to $100 million in smear ads, organized riots, and so on. The purpose of this article is to keep you informed and shine a light on what is really going on in our political system. No one has time to research it for themselves with the everyday struggles of life, so hopefully this will aid in your understanding of the way it works. Remember, knowledge is power and only the truth can set us free!
Questions and comments below.