The 2016 Republican Nomination has been rigged. It was rigged years ago by the GOP establishment, and it was rigged specifically to help Jeb. The calendar of the nomination, and the rules of the individual states, were specifically designed to allow Jeb to cruise to victory with approximately 25% of the vote.
You can read the full explanation of how this was done on The Last Refuge. But if you want to see it for yourself, check out this wonderful delegate simulator from Real Clear Politics (h/t Stephen Green).
From the creators of the simulator:
The order in which candidates drop out matters. A lot. It didn’t surprise us that the order and rate of dropouts mattered. What surprised us was just how much it mattered.
Emphasis is in the original text, not added by me. Yes, yes it does. This is by design, and the guys at The Last Refuge figured this out eons ago.
The catch? This rigged nomination process has been hijacked – by Donald Trump. To see how it works, consider this “baseline” scenario that I put together and ran through the simulator.
This scenario uses today’s poll numbers (the RCP state averages for Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina; the RCP national average everywhere else, since there are no other state polls yet). I’ve chosen to divvy up “district delegates” (those assigned to the winner of each congressional district) proportionately amongst the front runners. In actuality, they’re more likely to skew heavily toward the front runner. Also, realize that polls will change before January and that at least one more candidate will probably drop out before then. It also assumes that no candidates drop out during the election, although we can be certain that several will. It’s a baseline scenario, nothing more.
- Trump: 1202 delegates
- Carson: 592 delegates
- Rubio: 212
- Cruz: 189
- Bush: 82
- Kasich: 43
- Fiorina: 40
- Paul: 39
- Huckabee: 38
- Christie: 33
In this baseline scenario, Trump doesn’t quite cinch the nomination (he needs 1237 delegates to do it). But he’s clearly in the lead.
As noted, though, this is a baseline. Let’s take a look at a more likely scenario.
Again, this uses today’s poll numbers. These will change. But run with it. This model also makes the following assumptions:
- Rand Paul drops out before the votes even start. Watch his campaign – he’s already figured out that the system is rigged against him and has no idea how to fight it. Despite the fact that it’s his logo in the upper right hand corner of the blog, and he’s clearly my favorite… he’s done. His votes split pretty evenly between Trump, Carson and Cruz (the outsiders; his fans are not establishment fans).
- Santorum and Huckabee drop out after South Carolina when they learn that they can’t repeat their magic in any of the states they’ve done well in previously. Their votes mostly go to Carson and Cruz. Huckabee’s in it to keep his name in the news and keep getting “talking head” deals. He’ll get out once he can’t get headlines anymore. Santorum’s deluded himself into thinking he has a real chance, just like he did after winning Iowa in 2012. He’ll get out when the funding dies completely – which may actually be before Iowa.
- Bush hangs on until Florida no matter how poorly he’s doing because his entire campaign is built around winning Florida. He’ll lose it anyway because he’s a terrible candidate that nobody wants right now, so he drops out after the 3/15 primaries. His votes go mostly to Rubio, the rest split between the other front runners (Trump, Carson, Cruz)
- Kasich, Fiorna, Christie and Graham all drop out as well. They already know they can’t win. They’re in it because their superpacs are all funded by Jeb donors who are keeping them in the race to split everyone else’s votes. In other words, they’re there to help Jeb. But it backfires and helps Trump instead. Anyway, they’re out – and their votes split as follows: Fiorna half to Trump (people looking for a businessman) and half to Rubio (the Jeb backup plan). Christie mostly to Rubio (the Jeb backup plan and only establishment candidate left). Kasich’s all go to Rubio, if he has any. Graham’s family and friends are the only ones voting for him anyway, so they’re irrelevant.
- Cruz throws his support behind Trump when he finally concedes that he can’t win – probably in exchange for a VP or cabinet spot. My best guess is that this happens after Utah. Most of his voters go for Trump, some go for Carson. His actual delegates… not sure what party rules allow on that, so I’ve still listed them as Cruz delegates.
- Trump: 1266
- Carson: 651
- Rubio: 310
- Cruz: 145 (most voting for Trump)
- Bush: 41
- Kasich: 18
- Fiorina: 18
- Huckabee: 14
- Christie: 11
- Santorum: 1
This is not an endorsement of Trump – it’s just how I think things are going to play out. Except that I think the end result is going to favor Trump even more heavily. Carson’s already slipping in the polls, Trump keeps on rising despite the cries of impending doom.
Why Trump? 1) The GOP establishment rigged this map so that Jeb could win with ~20-25% of the vote. Trump picked up on that ages ago and co-opted the strategy. 2) He brought a gun to a knife fight. He’s just playing a different game than everyone else, plain and simple. Changing the rules to suit his own strengths.
Why not Carson? Smart as he might be, he hasn’t figured out this map yet – although I think is people may be starting to. He’s also, frankly, too nice to play this game for long. It’s already hurting him. Finally… I think he’s honestly in this for a talking head deal, and he’s surprised himself by doing so well.
My personal suspicion is that his poll numbers continue to drop (with his support mostly going to Trump and Cruz), and that he drops out relatively early in the race. If that happens, look for Trumps marginal delegate victory above to become a landslide.
The GOP establishment strategy was specifically designed to pick off Rand Paul , Ted Cruz, and Scott Walker. Indeed, parts of the strategy were put into place as far back as the 2012 convention in specific retaliation to Ron Paul. It’s already worked on one out of the three (Walker), and the second (Paul) is probably not far off.They didn’t count on Trump.
- Trump Can Win With 30%
- South Carolina 2016
- Super Tuesday Post Mortem
- Cruz Eliminated
- Wargaming the GOP Primary Through Super Tuesday