Last night, after a fantastically chaotic and fun state assembly, Matt Drudge posted a headline that read: “Fury as Colorado Has No Primary or Caucus: Cruz Celebrates Voterless Victory”. As expected, those supporting Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s opponent, Donald Trump, took to Twitter to scream about the inequity of it all. Even Trump tweeted:
The people of Colorado had their vote taken away from them by the phony politicians. Biggest story in politics. This will not be allowed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2016
We are not advocates for any one presidential candidate, but it does seem that there is misinformation out there. First, the idea that there were no votes cast in order to send these 34 elected delegates is just plain wrong. On March 1, all registered Republicans were invited to attend neighborhood caucuses to elect delegates to county assemblies, which then elected delegates to state assemblies. Delegates to the congressional assemblies also were elected on March 1. Delegates to the national convention are elected – that means by vote – through the state and the Congressional assemblies. This process has been in place for some time.
It’s worth noting that two other states elect delegates in a similar fashion – Wyoming and North Dakota. These two states elected delegates over the past two weeks, and yet, we heard no charges of a “stolen” election in either instance.
What is different this year in Colorado is that the national Republican Party changed a rule. The new rule stated that any official presidential preference poll, or straw poll, taken must be binding. As a result, the Colorado GOP opted to not conduct a straw poll this year.
Last year, both parties tried to change to a presidential primary process, but it failed in the State Senate. While the process is overly complex and certainly favors party regulars, it is not corrupt.
Or, at least, it didn’t seem that way until the Colorado GOP tweet that launched a thousand wagging tongues. The night after Cruz swept the delegates, the official Colorado GOP Twitter account stupidly tweeted, “We did it. #nevertrump”. It’s likely just a simple mistake, but what idiotic incompetence. Also, who is “we” in the “we did it”? Is there someone who works at State Party that also works with a presidential primary candidate or PAC? That would seem to be a big conflict and one that should have been disclosed to the Colorado GOP.
Unfortunately, this tweet opened the door to allegations of cheating by State Party, and State Party must do more than simply investigate to avoid further accusations of rigging the system.
The tweet combined with misunderstandings about an overly-complex process clearly are causing some Colorado Republicans, especially Trump supporters, to feel disenfranchised. The time to complain about the system was either last May when a bill to move to a primary system was scrapped, or in August when the Colorado GOP decided to do away with a straw poll. It’s not today.
The process has been set for months, if not years, in some aspects. It’s no secret that Team Trump did not have a robust (read: any) operation here. Cruz did. It was aggressive and organized. Team Cruz plowed enormous manpower and other resources into the ground game and it paid off. He won through a process that may be flawed, but it is the process.
Instead of getting wrapped up in anger, those who feel disenfranchised would do well to change the system. Become advocates for a primary system, push for a binding straw poll, do something constructive with your frustration. Make things better.