by Justin Nafziger
Politics is a convoluted process. It’s like taking “reality TV,” tossing it into a blender with a legal encyclopedia set, and filtering it all through flashy media sound bites. Messy doesn’t even begin to do it justice.
That being the case, I debated greatly when writing this article about how much detail to go into when explaining the current state of the race (I can tell you right now that it isn’t what the TV tells you). In the end, I’ve decided to give an overview; this will provide the best reading of the state of the race as a whole, but will fail to explain the intricacies of any particular state individually.
I will also be referencing the work of some other analysts and providing links to their write-ups, because I spend too much time as a grassroots activist for Dr. Paul to re-invent the wheel here.
Let’s head into the main event.
First, a quick lesson in how to make a nominee: Nominees are chosen based on the votes of national delegates to the RNC in Tampa—these are the people who actually vote to decide who the next GOP contender for POTUS will be, so who fills these delegate slots defines the ultimate outcome of the race.
In case you missed my earlier article on the subject, I will quote briefly to define the math of the delegate process:
Needed to clinch the nomination: 1,144
Pre-Super Tuesday: 354
Super Tuesday: 437
Post-Super Tuesday: 396
Total Pre-April: 1187
Total Post-April: 1099
Note: Totals listed are time coded to the general primary/caucus vote in each respective state. Many states, especially caucus states like Iowa, will not actually assign delegates until weeks after general statewide voting concludes (Iowa for example holds its caucus on January 3, and its state convention does not conclude until June 16).
So, looking at the above, we see that—heading into April—over half of the delegates have been assigned, and we should have a reasonable idea of where this race is headed, right?
Well, the AP News and top flight political analysts like Nate Silver certainly tend to think so: http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/09/how-daunting-is-santorums-delegate-math/
For those who don’t want to read the whole blog, in essence what Mr. Sliver is saying is that IF the AP News projections are accurate regarding delegates, and IF the current trends in voting continue, then Willard Romney will secure the nomination after the final state (Utah) votes on June 26, 2012. But, until that time, the race will not be over.
Here’s where things get interesting. At present, fifty-seven percent of the delegates have not been assigned, and Mr. Romney—who is often referred to as the “presumptive nominee” in the press—has only secured around thirty-eight percent of what he needs to be nominated. (For a detailed break down of this check out RPF: http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?364940-RPF-s-Official-Delegate-Count-Thread&s=9124c9f189a0447ddac93243ea46a9f4)
Now, let’s take a quick look at the AP projections in Iowa. Their figures have Romney gaining twelve delegates from Iowa, and Ron Paul with zero. However, the current process (which won’t officially assign its national delegates until June) has a strong contest going between Paul and Santorum, which may result in Romney being completely shut out of the delegate process; in fact some members of the Iowa GOP see the possibility that Paul takes the majority of delegates from Iowa. (More on that: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/15/rick-santorum-ron-paul-iowa-delegates_n_1347743.html )
A word about state conventions and bound vs. unbound delegates: Delegates go to the convention and vote for the nominee and, in many states, who these delegates actually are will be determined at their state conventions in the weeks to come. Some of the states have bound delegates—those are delegates who are required to cast their first vote at the convention for a specific candidate based on the results of the popular vote (the one you see on TV) in that state.
Other states have delegates which are unbound, meaning that the individual person who holds that delegate office will vote however they so choose when it comes time to cast their ballot.
Bound delegates can also become unbound in several different cases. Jon Huntsman, for example, earned two bound delegates; due to his withdrawal from the race, they are now unbound and free to vote for whoever they wish. Some states may also vote to make their delegates unbound during their state convention, or in earlier conventions at the district and county levels.
There’s one other case I’d like to draw your attention to. Delegates become unbound in the case of a brokered convention (usually after the first ballot). A brokered convention occurs when no single candidate gains the needed 1,144 bound delegates prior to the RNC in Tampa. This has not happened in more than 60 years, but is becoming increasingly likely in 2012.
Now that I’ve given some context, I’ll try to draw it all together without delving too deeply into the murky waters of electoral law (and political gamesmanship) that make up this process.
So, what about Ron Paul?
Even as the Corporate Media continues to pay increasingly less attention to Paul, and as the debate turns to who will triumph—Romney or Santorum—Ron Paul and his grassroots supporters are seeing their efforts begin to bear fruit. It’s not over till it’s over, and in this case that means the national convention in Tampa. Meantime, Paul-favoring delegates have been quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) getting themselves elected to delegate positions throughout many states in preparation for their state conventions (where local delegates will select who fills the national delegate slots in their state). Word from the ground in Washington (a “Romney” state) and Minnesota (a “Santorum” state) shows that Dr. Paul may gain a plurality of the delegates from both, and these states are closer to a standard than an anomaly.
I’ve covered a lot of ground here and some of it very quickly, so I want to close by telling you what I take away from all this and what I’d like you to consider, as well.
Ron Paul is currently in a fierce fight for the nomination, and might even pull ahead of Mitt Romney in the coming months before the final convention in Florida. However, although the success we’ve earned so far has given us a real shot at victory, it hasn’t secured Paul the nomination.
To turn our gains into something lasting, we need each liberty-minded individual to be involved right now. There are many ways you can act to make a positive impact on this race, regardless of where you are located, how much money you have, or how much free time. If you don’t know how to get involved locally (or if your state has already voted) contact the Official Campaign or write me at email@example.com and I’ll get you the information you need to join the fight for liberty.
Justin Nafziger has resided in many states on both sides of the Rockies, and his travels have taken him from coast to coast of the United States as well as overseas. He has been a follower of politics since the age of 4, being involved in a wide range of activism from then till his present association with CVRP and the Ron Paul grassroots. He currently resides in Utah, where he balances his time between family, furthering his education, and reminding people that support for the troops goes beyond the yellow ribbon.
Email Justin at firstname.lastname@example.org