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HORIST: Did Trump write the Democrats’ rules?

HORIST: Did Trump write the Democrats’ rules?

The headline question may be rhetorical, but whoever created the Democrat rules for the 2020 presidential election could not have done a better job for President Trump if that was their purpose.  Hmmmmm.  Maybe it was the Russians.

To fully appreciate just how badly Democrat National Chairman Tom Perez and his folks have screwed up, you only have to realize that if the Republicans had the same rules in 2016, it would have been virtually impossible for Trump to win the GOP nomination.  And if the Democrats had copied the Republican rules from 2016, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders may have already dropped out instead of being the early frontrunner.  In both cases, the party establishments created rules designed to protect the establishment but backfired.

In both cases – Republicans in 2016 and Democrats in 2020 – there was an unusually large number of contenders at the onset.  The Republican rules, however, resulted in a lot of dropouts early on.  As we see today, there are still a significant number of serious contenders dividing up the vote – enabling Sanders to win a relatively large number of delegates with his solid base.

The BIG difference, however, is how the delegates are apportioned.

In the Republican primaries, the winner in any given state is generally awarded ALL the convention delegates from that state.  That meant that in 2016 — when Trump won a state with a plurality of, say, 35 percent — he got all the delegates.  That enabled him to build up a delegate count that put him over the top well before the convention even though he did not win a majority in many states.

Democrats have a proportionate allotment of delegates – meaning that if you get a percentage of the vote in a state – of at least 15 percent – you get a share of the delegates.  This has tended to keep more candidates in the running for a longer period.  As long as Sanders holds the majority of the progressive vote – and the others divide up the moderate vote – Sanders keeps winning.

Two other problems with the Democratic rules were seen in the fiasco that was the Iowa primary, which could not produce an accurate count for days – if ever – and awarded more delegates to Mayor Pete Buttigieg who came in second in the popular caucus vote.

The other problem has been the rules covering the debates.  There have been too many, in the first place.  And the rules that had candidates popping up and down on the stage like Whack-A-Moles prevented a decisive leader to emerge.  Though there were lots of debates, candidates were given very little time to respond with more than a talking point or quick claim.

This culminated in a debate in which the entire cadre of candidates looked like fools.  They descended into contestants in a mud wrestling contest.  The rules – as bad as they were – were ignored in favor of a yelling contest.  The debaters did not debate – and the news media moderators did not moderate.

If Sanders just keeps pace with his percentages through Super Tuesday, he will go into the convention as the frontrunner – or even the eventual nominee.  If he does not have enough to win on the first ballot – which means he has to have at least close to the 1991 requisite votes to win – his chances diminish as the 750 Super Delegates get to vote and the moderate contenders holding delegates will begin to consolidate under one of the moderates.  Bloomberg is betting more than a billion dollars to make sure that he is the lone-standing alternative.

Anything can happen in politics, but it is hard to see how the Democratic Party can avoid disaster in November with or without Sanders as the candidate – and the rules more than voter sentiment is the reason.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Dan the man

    The only democrat debate I watched was this last one and it got very tiring very quickly. I ended up shutting it off about midway through the entire pig squalor. It was absolutely uninformative except to inform potential voters they don’t really want to vote for any of those clowns. If I was a democrat and couldn’t vote for Trump, I just wouldn’t vote at all. What a joke.

  2. TurtleShroom

    True delegates are bound in the second round. Superdelegates must select from the people’s slate. This is entirely why I believe that the DNC will not go to the third round, at which the convention breaks and everyone can vote for anyone, producing a brokered candidate.

    The Superdelegacy will immediately back Biden in the second round, or Bloomberg if Biden quits.

    • Joe Gilbertson

      Perhaps Hillary in the third round?