Pounding out the same drum beat he's done for the past two nights MSNBC's Chris Matthews railed against the supposedly un-democratic maneuver that Trump detractors in the GOP hold out as an option in Cleveland: denying him a victory in Cleveland by holding out a unity candidate who can command a majority on a second ballot for the nomination.
Now that the "cloth-coat" Republicans have "made the decision" for Trump in several primaries, here comes along the establishment seeking to deny the will of the voters, Matthews complained to American Conservative Union
president chairman Matt Schlapp, who appeared via satellite from CPAC.
"I actually have some sympathy for Trump because all of a sudden I realize democracy for whatever is is at least democracy. It's not this thing they're talking about," Matthews groused.
But "what they're talking about" is in fact a democratic process written in the rules of the GOP nominating convention. If Trump rolls into Cleveland with a plurality, but not a majority, of the delegates, he will assuredly fail nomination on the first ballot as delegates are pledged to vote on the first ballot, and the first ballot alone, for their pledged candidate. Subsequent to that, ballots for the nomination are open.
So suppose, for example, that Trump rolls into Cleveland with only 40 percent of the convention's delegates. Trump, the consummate dealmaker, could likely wheel and deal his way into garnering the additional delegates to put him over the top on a second ballot. He's perfectly within his rights to do so and it should be expected that he and his team would do so.
Alternatively, however, a coalition of non-Trump delegates uniting behind an agreeable alternative could nominate someone else other than Trump and seek to secure a majority for that man or woman.
Simply put, primaries and caucuses do NOT decide the winner of the nomination. It is and long has been the person who garners a majority of delegates on the convention floor, and Matthews surely knows this. That said, complaining about the supposed illegitimacy of the maneuver does serve to boost Trump's narrative and to encourage distrust and disdain for the GOP among potential Republican voters.
And whom does that benefit? Well, MSNBC's preferred 45th president of the United States: Hillary Clinton.
Here's the relevant transcript:
March 3, 2016; 7:09 p.m. Eastern
Graphic: The GOP Civil War Over Trump
MITT ROMNEY from March 3 speech to Hinckley Institute: If the other candidates can find some common ground, I believe we can nominate a person who can win the general election, and who will represent the values and policies of conservatism.
Given the current delegate selection process, that means that I’d vote for Marco Rubio in Florida, and for John Kasich in Ohio, and for Ted Cruz, or whichever one of the other two contenders has the best chance of beating Mr. Trump in a given state.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, host: There he is. It doesn't sound like democracy. I don’t know what it sounds like. It sounds like the mullahs in Iran.
Graphic: Trump: Romney “Begged” for my ’12 Endorsement
MATTHEWS to MATT SCHLAPP: Let me tell you, Matt, why I'm enjoying this. Because, for years, the Republican Party, the wealthy people in the Republican party, and the ideologues have enjoyed picking up and recruiting – there is nothing wrong with it this – the working class white people, the regular people out there, that don’t have money, the cloth-coat Republicans, they’ve gone after them and said, you know, we can use your help, our alliance, you know, our whatever, and we’ll take your votes. But don’t tell us who to pick as presidential nominee! Oh no, you can’t do that! You can’t pick somebody like Trump because your job is to go along with the Romneys of the world and the Doles of the world and the Dubyas of this world.
MATT SCHLAPP, ACU chairman: That's right.
MATTHEWS: Your job is to provide us with our little extra white vote, if you will, for a victory. You're not supposed to make a decision. Well, now they've made a decision, and to me, I actually have some sympathy for Trump, now, because all of a sudden I realize democracy, for whatever it is, is at least democracy. It’s not this thing they’re talking about.
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