Tag Archives: Republican Party

Scott Adams, Trump Card

English: This photo depicts Donald Trump's sta...
Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I agree with Scott Adams, who’s probably perpetually peeved that most people know him only as the creator of Dilbert — his accomplishments range far beyond that — on one thing: Donald Trump will win the 2016 presidential election in a landslide.

Adams predicted that outcome more than a year ago, at a time when I was still having a good laugh over the silly idea of Trump getting within a thousand miles of the Republican nomination. My friend Thane Eichenauer kept urging me to pay more attention to what Adams had to say, but I kept ignoring both of them until, oh, right about now.

Scott Adams’s General Theory of the Inevitability of Trump differs substantially from my own simplistic hypothesis, so much so that the former deserves a grandiose title and the latter doesn’t. Adams believes that  Trump has masterfully scripted himself into the lead role in a presidential campaign produced as a three-act movie. I just think that Americans despise Hillary Clinton even more than they loathe Donald Trump.

But hey, why can’t it be both?

Here’s what pulls me, kicking and screaming, toward Adams’s way of thinking about the race:

In 1997, according to Wikipedia (which references a San Jose, California Mercury News piece accessible only via Archive.org’s Wayback Machine and consisting of video files that either aren’t there or that my computer doesn’t like), Adams conducted an unusual and telling experiment at the invitation of Logitech CEO Pierluigi Zappacosta.

Disguised as rock star management consultant “Ray Mebert,” Adams expertly guided an eager group of Logitech managers through the process of revising their group’s mission statement into something “so impossibly complicated that it has no real content whatsoever.”

That sounds remarkably like what Donald Trump has done to the Republican Party over the course of the last year or so, doesn’t it? I mean, c’mon … building a wall and making Mexico pay for it? Someone’s obviously been tapping directly into the mind of Dilbert‘s megalomaniac companion, Dogbert.

I have to wonder if, somewhere deep down in the Trump campaign’s FEC reports, an inquiring mind might find multiple records of disbursements to one Ray Mebert for campaign consulting? OK, no, I don’t really wonder about that. I checked. Adams must have picked a different pseudonym for this particular escapade. I bet he still has the wig and fake mustache from his Logitech outing, though.

Well played, Mr. Adams, well played.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

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Election 2016: Think Three’s a Crowd? Try 2,000

RGBStock.com Vote Pencil

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson is a “fringe candidate.” I’m not sure what definition of “fringe” Trump is using. Johnson is a former governor, elected twice as a Republican in a Democrat-leaning state. Trump’s main presidential qualification seems to be his legendary skill at trolling his opponents on Twitter.

Democratic presidential  nominee Hillary Clinton hasn’t deigned to notice likely Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Instead she’s dispatched proxies like runner-up Bernie Sanders (“We have got to defeat Donald Trump. And we have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. … this is the real world that we live in”) to heap scorn on the practicality of a post-Philadelphia campaign from Clinton’s left.

OK, I admit it: History and money say the odds are with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton — that one of them will be the next president of the United States. The last time a third party or independent candidate really threatened to win the White House was 1992, when Ross Perot knocked down nearly 20% of the popular vote, having at one time polled ahead of both Republican incumbent George HW Bush and the eventual winner, Democratic nominee Bill Clinton.

But it’s strange year. It feels like almost anything could happen. And while Clinton and Trump are the frontrunners, the field is, well, YUGE.

As of July 27, the Federal Elections Commission lists 1,814 candidates for president on its web site.

It’s true that some of them have dropped out, or have been eliminated in party nomination processes, or haven’t done anything EXCEPT file an FEC “statement of candidacy.” Most of them won’t appear on any state ballots, or even register themselves with election authorities as write-in options.

On the other hand, some candidates who haven’t submitted FEC statements may show up on your ballot this November. Candidates are only required to file an FEC  Form 2 once they’ve raised or spent $5,000. In some states, ballot access doesn’t cost that much.

If you’re an American voter, you have options. Republicans and Democrats will tell you that you’re “wasting your vote” if you don’t pick one of the two leading brands. I don’t think they’re right — what’s the point of voting if you’re not voting for who or what you actually support? — but even if they’re right, well, it’s your vote to waste, isn’t it?

For once I agree with Ted Cruz: If you vote, vote your conscience.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

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Yes, a GOP Delegate Revolt is Possible

English: Photo taken at the 1912 Republican Na...
English: Photo taken at the 1912 Republican National Convention held at the Chicago Coliseum, Chicago, Illinois, June 18-22. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee,  is heading toward July’s national party convention with a majority of delegates (as “bound” by state primaries and caucuses) in hand. But ever since it became clear that he would garner that majority, both he and the GOP leadership have spent a good deal of time trying to snuff out talk of a floor revolt by those delegates against his nomination and in favor of some other candidate’s.

“The Republican National Committee put out a statement ‘you can’t do it, it’s not legal, you can’t do it, you’re not allowed to do it,'” says Trump.

Is Trump right? Is it “illegal” for the delegates to do what they want instead of what Trump and the RNC claim the rules demand?

In a word, no.

Keep in mind that at a national convention, the delegates run the national committee, not the other way around. They make the rules. They can change the rules. They can suspend the rules. And even the rules as written leave room for a revolt.

In order to receive the nomination, Republican National Convention rule 40(d) requires a candidate to receive a majority of “the votes entitled to be cast.” In other words, the votes of a majority of the total number of registered delegates, not just of a majority of the delegates who happen to actually vote.

Rule 16, section 2, forbids the convention’s secretary to recognize the vote of a delegate bound to a particular candidate by a primary or caucus outcome if that vote is cast for another candidate … but no rule requires a delegate to vote at all.

If enough Trump-bound delegates with “votes entitled to be cast” decline to vote on the first ballot, Trump won’t get a majority on that ballot. And on subsequent ballots, delegates are no longer bound to candidates — they can vote for their nominee of choice.

100% possible, 100% legal … but how likely? Well, that depends on the party’s leadership.

Party officials enjoy quite a bit of power at conventions. At the recent Libertarian National Convention, there were times when a “quorum call” (a head count to ensure enough delegates are present to legally do business) would have resulted in adjournment. There were calls from the floor to make that happen … but the chair apparently just didn’t hear them (I’m sure you get my meaning). Supporters of Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 Republican presidential campaigns still complain about the party establishment’s dirty parliamentary tricks at caucuses and conventions.

The likelihood of a delegate revolt in Cleveland is really mostly a matter of whether or not Reince Priebus and Company WANT a delegate revolt in Cleveland. On that question, your guess is as good as mine.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

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