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Mar 30, 201601:10 PMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

The party convention will decide the nominee

(page 1 of 2)

Did you miss me?

The Squire took a sabbatical to bond with #1 son but now I’m back in the saddle to ride out the bumpiest Wisconsin primary since Kennedy/Humphrey in 1960.

In my absence, I learned of the passing of two friends. The first was Don Heiliger of Stoughton, a true American hero who proved his mettle by bravely bearing 5½ years of maltreatment at the Hanoi Hilton. I subsequently served with Donald for 10 years on the Dane County Board. He used to describe communicating with his fellow captives, including John McCain, by tapping Morse code on the pipes that separated their cells. More than once, he was lined up and blindfolded before a firing squad to hear the click of their rifles.

The other loss was UW professor Jim Baughman, who I first met in the early 1990s. A scarce commodity: a conservative on campus. He represented true diversity, intellectual diversity. It is in short supply at Wisconsin’s flagship campus.

In a few days, we’ll run the punch cards through Old Smoky, our Eisenhower-era mainframe computer, to predict how Wisconsin will vote next Tuesday. But here is my prediction: Wisconsin will help produce a contested convention.

A plurality does not win the nomination; only a majority wins. A plurality doesn’t win the presidency, either. Yes, Bill Clinton was elected with a plurality of the popular vote but he won a majority of the Electoral College. That is what elects a president.

For their national convention, Wisconsin Republicans will choose three delegates in each of the eight congressional districts. They are bound by the winner of that congressional district; 18 more delegates are selected statewide. Those are pledged to the statewide winner. All the delegates must hold true until either their candidate releases them or until that candidate falls below 35% of a roll call vote. (Full disclosure: I am running to be a delegate in the Second Congressional District.)

But each state’s rules are different. Pennsylvania’s 54 congressional district delegates are elected directly on the primary ballot and are free agents even during the convention’s first ballot.

By the second ballot, more than half of the national convention delegates will be free. By the third, nearly 80% are free agents.

The Rules Committee will have a lot to say about who is nominated if Trump does not claim a majority of the delegates; it meets a week before the July 18–21 convention. At the 2012 convention, it adopted rules to freeze out Ron Paul. This year, it could well relax requirements like Wisconsin’s and many others binding delegates past the first ballot.

James Madison, in devising the Constitution, realized that a direct democracy was a recipe for mob rule. He devised a representative government that would “refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country.”

“Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as by the abuses of power,” either Madison or Hamilton argued in Federalist Paper #63. A mediating body (the author was talking specifically about the U.S. Senate):

“… may be sometimes necessary as a defense to the people against their own temporary errors and delusions … or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men. … In these critical moments, how salutary will be the interference of some temperate and respectable body of citizens … until reason, justice, and truth can regain their authority over the public mind?”

It is each political party’s choice as to who to nominate. That doesn’t prevent anyone from mounting his or her own campaign, either as an independent or the nominee of another political party. Bob La Follette did it. So did Ross Perot.

As I wrote for RightWisconsin, party “bosses” chose Harry Truman. Not too shabby. A key rules fight handed the 1952 nomination to the more electable Dwight Eisenhower — who had never been identified with the party — over “Mr. Republican,” Robert Taft.


Old to new | New to old
Mar 30, 2016 01:55 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I went to the Cruz thing at the Sheraton this morning. It was actually much different than I was expecting - it was Ted sitting in comfy chairs with his mother, Heidi, and Carly Fiorina with a female moderator asking questions that focused on the importance of women. Really, Ted didn't talk very much. I could never in the history of the universe imagine Donald Trump putting on something like this.
I didn't experience anything with security, journalists were everywhere - almost felt like they outnumbered the people there. Capacity of the room was 275, but I'm sure there were more.
I didn't feel like Ted was being preachy, all in all, a nice event.
I will gladly push my vote his way and hope for the best in a contested convention.

Mar 30, 2016 04:35 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous


It wasn't Morse Code.

I thought you computer was Old Sparky.

Kasich is the only adult left standing for the R's.

Mar 31, 2016 08:46 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

I'm sorry, a majority of the Electoral College elects a president? What about GWB? I think that was a majority of the Supreme Court that elected him.

Mar 31, 2016 09:00 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Full Secret Service security at Bernie rallies this week. Not quite Trump level with cement trucks lined up to prevent car bombs, but pretty tight.

Cruz and Trump are complete disasters. The convention may make for good theater, but it's time to look ahead to 2020 for the GOP.

Mar 31, 2016 09:09 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

If you want to get into the soul of John Kasich, view the YouTube video of his encounter with an Ohio police officer who stopped him for a traffic violation. He called the cop a "jerk" and other disparaging terms. The video shows the cop's dashcam video and Kasich's rendition of the encounter. Kasich is a miserable little man. If you are considering Kasich, I urge you to view the video.

Apr 1, 2016 11:31 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Anon 8:46 - Your ignorance is showing.

The Electors from the Electoral College do indeed elect the president. Here is a link for you to be educated:

The Supreme Court did not elect the President. They ruled on several issues in the election in Florida. Here is a good link to understand the case for "Dummies":

You can continue to live in your Fantasyland. Unfortunately, you don't know the Constitution nor is it likely you want it to be adhered to.

Apr 3, 2016 01:17 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Tactical obtuse-ity. the supreme stopped the recount at the moment when it served the boy chimp, Bush. Little lord bunny pasts then killed more than 4 thousand of our troops chasing oil service contracts for vice president Cheney...a man who when tasked with finding the chimp boy a running mate, picked himself.

What a sad horrible day it was when the supreme court made their ruling, one that the majority were afraid to stand behind by actually signing it . today little sycophants like 11:31 AM still carry water for those strangely forgotten fiends, the current crop of circus midgets, and god only know what wanton would be despots the future holds for a once proud country.

at long last, 11:31 AM (and Blaska), have you no shame?

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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