By Patriot Journal Editorial Staff
Here at the Patriot Journal, we are lucky to have the most informed, most engaged voters imaginable. Therefore we feel we have an obligation to provide you with knowledge and information that you won’t get anywhere else.
The media and the talking heads get it wrong A LOT when talking about the Republican primary process, the delegate selections and how the GOP actually chooses its nominee. Each week we will attempt to cut through the misinformation and give you a clearer understanding of this process and how it affects you as a voter and, more importantly, as a well-informed American.
The first thing to know is that despite everything you have heard your entire life, the Republican Party is a private club. The members of that club have traditionally picked the representative to stand as the candidate for president.
None of these caucuses and primaries are required by law or by tradition. They were started as a way for the parties to get a sense of where the voters were in terms of their own preference, but the party is under no obligation to adopt the recommendation. This has led to a lot of confusion.
The media has done a terrible job explaining this and left many people feeling angry and disenfranchised because they have been under the impression that they are choosing the presidential candidate. In most places, they are simply registering their advisory preference or selecting the party representatives who will make that selection on their behalf.
Despite popular perception to the contrary, winning a state’s vote rarely has anything to do with how many delegates a candidate receives. The members of the private club called the Republican Party are free to set their own rules about the degree to which the vote weighs in the delegate selection process. These rules are set by the state parties and are completely up to the party members to adopt and follow.
In some cases a party’s rules DO require that the delegates be bound to the popular vote winner. In most cases, delegates are selected as part of a process of local, regional and state conventions when the attendees decide who will travel to the national convention in order to express the will of that state’s Republicans.
While this may seem inherently unfair, it is important to remember that this is part of a republican form of government, not a democracy as many wrongly believe. Democracy is simply defined as the will of the majority. The founders were very scared of democracy. They watched the bloody and terrifying French Revolution and wanted to assure that “mob rule” could never overtake the American system. It has been said that “a democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. A Republic is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”
It is this sentiment that led to the Bill of Rights to assure that a majority could never steal the rights of a minority with a vote. It is also why we have built into our system checks on pure democracy, including a party system of primaries that gives the most active voters and political actors the chance to prevent a majority of voters from taking their party over the cliff by nominating someone at odds with the fundamental principles that hold the party together.
It may not seem democratic, but that is because it was never supposed to be.