Last week, I asked whether the Republican Party is bound by the outcomes of various primaries and caucuses to run Donald Trump as its 2016 presidential nominee, in accordance with the preference expressed by its voters; or whether the RNC rules committee, which meets this week in Cleveland, can legitimately free its delegates to vote their consciences when next week’s national convention convenes.
In this item, I’ll present the analysis and arguments of readers who believe that the Republican Party should dump Trump from its ticket. A separate item features arguments from readers who believe that the GOP ought to nominate Trump.
* * *
Correspondents who felt certain that the popular vote should determine the nominee, or inclined in that direction, were contradicted by others who felt that political parties are within their rights or even obligated to look after their interests, even if that means overriding primary voters.
As Elliot Svensson put it, “if the Republican party wishes to use its pre-established rules to avoid a predictable failure in November, this isn't disenfranchising primary voters. Quite the opposite! This is what political parties are built for: winning elections.”
Christian Germain agrees:
If there is a plausible scenario to deny him in favor of a candidate with a better chance to defeat Hillary Clinton, than that is what a responsible political party is obligated to do (within the bounds of their rules, of course).
And Brian O’Neill fleshes out this rationale:
Thinking of the best interest of the party isn’t cynical; parties exist,or they should, because they represent the interests of the most people. They are unwieldy, cobbled-together nightmares, and they should be. That can cause problems, like the hideous moral compromises inherent in the Democratic Coalition before the Civil Rights bill — but at its heart it is about trying to do what’s best for the most people.
Even though I believe that a lot of GOP office-holders are true believers, they balk at a ravening white nationalist taking over the party by empowering a minority of voters, even if they have benefited from the passionate intensity of the worst. That’s why I think “Stop Trump” is okay. Convention laws aren’t written from on high; they are chosen by the party in a way that benefits them. That’s good. They have a right to alter them to stop Trump.
Trump says the system is rigged. It might be. But it is rigged by the parties to try to win elections, which you can’t do if you are rightfully hated by women, Latinos, gays, youth, blacks, the educated, etc, and which you shouldn’t do if you are only loved by tyrants and by terrorists for recruiting purposes. The system is rigged to try to pick a winner, and you pick a winner by choosing someone who can appeal to the most voters. That person isn’t always the best choice, and is frequently a rotten one. But delegates blocking a sure loser isn’t anti-democratic. In a system where votes are the final currency, it is the bulwark of democracy.
Kalen Petersen is unapologetically undemocratic:
I left the Republican Party, my lifelong political home, over Trump.
The damage he's already done to our country's political norms and collective conscience, and still more what he may do in the future, is incalculable.
The GOP is a party, not a plebiscite. Delegates exist for the same reason the Electoral College originally did: to be a buffer against demagoguery and a filter for ideological consistency. I wish the party had the guts to overturn the popular vote and nominate someone like John Kasich.
Alexander D'Agostino believes that political parties are useful insofar as they telegraph a candidate´s ideological positions to voters. “What to do then when the candidate for a political party decides to completely break with almost every single element of his or her party's platform?” he asks. “Kick that candidate out of the party.”