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Thursday, April 14, 2016

If You Are Going to Join the Race, Learn the Rules Before You Begin

I've steered clear of commenting on the GOP primary to this point because the focus of gun owners should be defeating Hillary Clinton in the general election and whomever the GOP nominates will be far better on our issue than Clinton.  However, if beating Hillary Clinton is our goal, gun owners should be concerned that one GOP candidate appears to not understand winning an election requires a ground game, and currently, he is getting beaten very badly at this part of the campaign.  I'm referring to Donald Trump and his persistent whining that convention delegates are being stolen from him.  For most, this is probably a bit too "inside baseball" but it does in a round about way pertain to our issue and it bears pointing out that Trump either doesn't understand or care what he has to do to win an election, as pointed out very well by the Wall Street Journal:
The Trump campaign’s delegate-counting blunders show the downside of running a one-man show from a Boeing 757. Mr. Trump famously disdained the trappings of conventional campaigns, banking on mass rallies and free media. That has worked well in primaries, especially open primaries when Democrats and independents can vote for GOP candidates.

But Mr. Trump hasn’t taken the time to understand how the GOP’s state parties work, and he’s now paying the price as delegates are chosen. The New Yorker has admitted his mistake by hiring Paul Manafort, a GOP Beltway fixer, to focus on delegate selection and maybe manage the campaign. It’s hard to know who’s doing what in the Trump Circus with all the leaks about in-fighting since his loss in Wisconsin.
The fact is, whether it is a primary or caucus state, actual delegates to the nominating convention are elected at local and congressional district conventions (one was held last weekend in Virginia with more to follow).  Seventeen (out of a total of 42) of the delegates elected are bound to Mr. Trump on the first ballot in Cleveland but if he fails to get the required majority of 1237 delegates on the first ballot, delegates are free to vote for the candidate of their choice.  That is why Senator Ted Cruz has people in Virginia and every other state working to get people elected to the national convention that will vote for him on later ballots (it's possible that those 17 bound to Trump will be people who actually support Senator Cruz).  That has always been the way the process has worked and if Trump had done his homework, he would have known this.

For gun owners, we should be very concerned that this one man free media circus Mr. Trump has run will not work so well in a general election when Clinton will have people on the ground to help turn our her voters.  The NRA has already deployed campaign field representatives in areas of Virginia.  But to win the election, the nominee will have to be someone who can reach out to people and turn out his voters.  So far, Mr. Trump has not shown he is capable or willing to do that.

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