Donald Trump keeps throwing temper tantrums like a spoiled school boy, complaining the system is rigged and crooked and he is being robbed of votes.
“You’re going to have a very, very angry and upset group of people at the convention,” Trump said at an event in Staten Island, N.Y., after Ted Cruz swept the Republican caucuses in Colorado and Wyoming by having the audacity to actually campaign there, unlike Trump. “I hope it doesn’t involve violence, and I’m not suggesting that. I hope it doesn’t involve violence and I don’t think it will. But I will say this: it’s a rigged system, it’s a crooked system, it’s 100 percent crooked.”
After the Colorado outcome was announced a petulant 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!”
Want to know what’s rigged? It is the winner-take-all primaries and caucuses.
As of the beginning of this week, Trump had won about 40 percent of the GOP votes cast, but had collected 49 percent of the delegates committed to the top four Republican presidential candidates — Trump, Cruz, John Katich and Marco Rubio.
In New York, Trump got 60 percent of the votes cast, but 94 percent of the delegates.
In Missouri, Trump beat Cruz by just 0.2 percentage points — 40.9 percent to 40.7, — but Trump gets 37 of the delegates to Cruz’s 15.
One person, one vote? But them’s the rules and no one else is mewling like Trump.
After New York, Cruz was mathematically eliminated from having any chance of reaching the 1,237 delegates needed to win on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July. Trump has a chance to reach that number but the odds are long.
As if all his other whining weren’t unseemly enough, Trump is taking umbrage with the party rules that set that magic number of 1,237. He told CNN several weeks ago, “I think we’ll win before getting to the convention, but if we didn’t and we’re 20 votes short, or we’re, you know, a hundred short, and we’re at 1,100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400, ’cause we’re way ahead of everybody, I don’t think you can say we don’t get it automatically. I think you’d have riots.”
Scottie Nell Hughes, a part of Trump’s campaign, told CNN: “The majority, the plurality, the people, the majority of the population have voted for Mr. Trump. … So you know, riots aren’t necessarily a bad thing if it means we’re fighting the fact that our establishment Republican party has gone corrupt and decided to ignore the voice of the people and ignore the process.”
Oh? If you can’t do the math, can you read the history?
Return with us now to the thrilling days of the second Republican National Convention in Chicago in 1860.
Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” sets the scene: “The convention finally settled down and the balloting began. Two hundred thirty-three votes would decide the Republican presidential nomination. The roll call opened with the New England states, which had been considered solidly for (William) Seward. In fact, a surprising number of votes went for (Abraham) Lincoln, as well as a scattering for (Salmon) Chase.”
At the end of the first ballot, the delegate vote tally stood at Seward 173 1/2; Lincoln 102; Chase 49; Edwin Bates 48.
That meant Seward had almost 47 percent of the delegates to Lincoln’s mere 27 percent and Chase and Bates stood at 13 points each.
As it stood at the beginning of the week for just the four top candidates, Trump has 49 percent of delegates chosen so far to Cruz’s 32 percent, while Rubio has 10 percent and Kasich 9 percent. Cruz had more backers than Lincoln did.
In Chicago in 1860 on the second ballot a number of Chase and Bates supporters switched to Lincoln, but Seward still led by three-and-a-half votes, but still shy of 233. Only on the third ballot did Lincoln muster a majority.
That, according to history, is how a convention works. No riots.
As for the inevitability of Trump, thus far only 6 percent of all the registered voters in the United States have cast a ballot for Trump — hardly a mandate.
Thomas Mitchell is a longtime Nevada newspaper columnist. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also blogs at http://4thst8.wordpress.com/.