Election 2016 Category

Republican presidential electors have been deluged with pleas to vote for someone other than Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is still unfit to be President of the United States (as is Hillary Clinton, as is Gary Johnson, each in their own way). I wish that, when the Electoral College meets tomorrow in state capitols across the nation, enough Republican electors would vote for a stable, principled conservative candidate to deprive Trump of an electoral college majority, and that the House would then choose said stable, principled conservative candidate to serve as president. But it is not going to happen.

It's true that Trump has announced some good choices for his cabinet. Scott Pruitt for EPA administrator is a particularly welcome choice; Pruitt will execute the EPA's responsibilities without going beyond the agency's authority in law. On the other hand, Trump's pick for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is a globalist who sees national borders as obstacles rather than protections and who pressured the Boy Scouts of America to back down its principled stand against the Sexual Revolution. Trump's choice of a Goldman Sachs executive as Secretary of Treasury suggests that Trump's campaign rhetoric was just him saying whatever he thought he needed to say to win.

I like some of Trump's announced policies, but many of the policies I like are contradicted by other announced policies. It did not bother me a bit for him to take a congratulatory call from the president of the Republic of China, a nation attempting to hold on to what little territory it has left after the Communist revolution drove them off the mainland. It bothers me that he seems to accept or ignore Russia's aggression-by-proxy against Ukraine.

Trump is impulsive, too lazy or impressed by his own instincts to consider implications before speaking or tweeting, too easily distracted by insults to his pride to be entrusted with the power of the American presidency. Republican electors would be acting as patriots if they voted to deny him the office.

I wish I could depend upon Republican majorities in the House and Senate or the leadership of the Republican Party to act as a check on his most dangerous impulses, but I see nothing in their actions since Trump clinched the nomination to persuade me that they're willing to resist him. They see his apparent popularity as a bandwagon to jump aboard or at least as a steamroller to get out of the way of.

Is there a legitimate reason for electors to deny the presidency to Trump? It was the intention of the Framers of the Constitution that the selection of a president should be insulated from popular passions. They intended that the people would only select trustworthy men who would in turn choose a Chief Executive. But the framers didn't reckon on the rise of political parties and the idea of electors already pledged to support a specific candidate. They certainly didn't foresee a future in which a major political party was reduced to a hollow shell, a mere mechanism devoid of principle or platform, taken over by a pop-culture celebrity.

The expectation for over a century has been that voters in each state are really voting for president and vice president and only incidentally for a slate of electors who are pledged to vote for the preferred presidential candidate. Despite this expectation, and despite the laws and oaths that seek to turn this expectation into a legally binding commitment, electors have the freedom to vote as they see fit.

It's been claimed that voters chose these electors because they wanted Donald Trump to be president. I'm sure that's true for many voters, particularly in the once-reliably Democrat Rust Belt states that voted Republican this year and who saw Trump as the first champion for their concerns (even though Rick Santorum ran on the same approach to trade in 2012). On the other hand, many voters voted Republican only because they didn't want Hillary Clinton to be president, and they would be relieved if a conservative wound up as president instead of Trump.

In any event, the Republicans who were nominated to be electors were elected knowing that they would be expected to vote for the party's nominee. In Oklahoma, five electors were nominated by congressional district conventions when the nomination was still in doubt, and the other two were nominated by the state executive committee and ratified by the state convention after Trump's rivals dropped out of the race. These people were chosen because they were known by their fellow activists as committed to the party and its principles. These electors signed notarized pledges to vote for the nominee, and many of them have cited those pledges as reason enough to vote for Trump, no matter their personal view of Trump's character or instability. They aren't going to vote for another Republican, much less a left-wing Democrat.

Democrat calls for electors to vote for Hillary Clinton because she "won" the popular vote are either naive or disingenuous. Does anyone believe that Democrats would be calling for elector independence if Hillary Clinton had won Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania?

The popular vote is an irrelevant metric. The rules, as set out by the Constitution and the state laws that govern the election of presidential electors, make the presidential election into 56 separate contests -- 50 statewide contests, one in the District of Columbia, plus separate contests in the three congressional districts of Nebraska and the two districts of Maine -- each of which awards a varying number of "points." If the game was scored differently, the strategy would be different. If the Big 12 football title was awarded based strictly on point differential instead of won-loss record, you'd keep the first string in against a weak team and run up the score rather than resting your starters once the game was well in hand. If the World Series title was awarded based on total runs, you'd burn up your bullpen to stop more runs being scored, even if you're already down by 10 in that game. If the presidential contest were a national popular vote, candidates would allocate their resources differently. Voter behavior would change as well. A conservative who felt free to vote third-party or not at all because either Trump or Hillary led by a wide margin in his state might have cast an anti-Hillary vote for Trump in a national popularity contest.

And don't trot out the argument that the electoral college gives too much power to small states. Any inequality in the number of citizens per electoral vote is just a reflection of the inequality in the number of citizens per seat in Congress, a product of Congress's unwillingness, under Democrat and Republican majorities alike, to expand its numbers with the population for the last 100 years. (UPDATE: But see below: While a larger House would even out population per electoral vote, it wouldn't have changed the outcome of this election, because California was entirely responsible for Hillary Clinton's popular-vote lead.)

If you want #HamiltonElectors -- electors who fulfill the role envisioned by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 68 -- you have to have a system for electing them. As long as electors are nominated by political parties and as long as political parties select presidential nominees before the electors go before the voters, the status quo will prevail. Make it easier in your state for citizens to run as independent, unpledged electors, and then vote for them, if you want things to change. Abolish the state party rules and state laws that require elector nominees to bind themselves to a presidential candidate. I'll believe that Democrats want #HamiltonElectors and indirect democracy when they start calling for the repeal of the 17th Amendment and a return to indirect election of senators.

Even in its present desiccated state, the Electoral College still serves a couple of important purposes -- it acts as a firewall, restricting the effects of voter fraud in one state to that state's outcome, and it ensures that no one can be elected president without support from the breadth of the nation. Out-of-step, shrinking, but still-populous California cannot dictate to the rest of the nation who will be president.

But I still wish that Republican electors would vote for someone else -- perhaps Mike Pence -- instead of Donald Trump. (The choice of Pence would have some legitimacy, as he was nominated by the Republican Party, was on the ballot as the vice presidential nominee, and was not one of Trump's defeated rivals for the nomination.) I reject the argument that because a safety mechanism hasn't been used before, we can't use it now -- the same argument that was used against a delegate revolt at the Republican National Convention.

The electoral principles outlined by Hamilton in Federalist No. 68 are sound, but the system no longer produces the result Hamilton expected. The culture and its influencers will first have to regain respect for the value of indirect election, and states and parties will have to eliminate those practices which work against indirect election.

UPDATE: The electoral vote tally, according to reports from all 50 states and the District of Columbia: Trump 304, Clinton 227, Colin Powell 3 (Democrat electors in Washington state), Faith Spotted Eagle 1 (Democrat elector in Washington), Bernie Sanders 1 (Democrat elector in Hawaii), Ron Paul 1 (Republican elector in Texas), John Kasich 1 (Republican elector in Texas.) So a total of 2 Republican electors and 5 Democrat electors voted for a candidate other than the party nominee.

Four Texas Republican electors were no-shows, possibly because they did not want to vote for Trump, but felt bound by their pledges. The four vacancies were filled by a vote of the remaining 34 Texas electors. One Texas elector resigned following the November election rather than vote for Trump and was replaced by someone who would.

Three other Democrat electors tried to vote for someone else but were prevented: A Maine elector voted for Sanders but was forced to change vote to Clinton. A Minnesota elector submitted a blank ballot but was replaced by an alternate who voted for Clinton. A Colorado Democrat elector tried to vote for Kasich and was dismissed in favor of an alternate who voted for Clinton. A Fox 31 Denver news report has more on the intent behind the Colorado elector lawsuit.

MORE: Would a bigger House of Representatives have changed the outcome by reducing the small-state advantage in population per electoral vote? With 435 House members and 538 electoral votes, there are 3.6 times more people per electoral vote in California (677,345) than in Wyoming (187,875). If the House had 10,000 members -- getting us very close to the Article I minimum of 30,000 people per apportioned House seat -- there would be 10,103 members of the Electoral College, and the residents-to-electoral-vote ratio would be a maximum of 30,763 in California to a minimum of 28,025 in North Dakota, a difference of only 9.8%. Still, the result would be 5,699 votes for Trump to 4,404 for Clinton. That's assuming that all of Maine's 45 electoral votes went to Clinton and all of Nebraska's 63 electoral votes went to Trump, when voting by congressional district would likely have split off some of each state's vote for the other candidate.

Clinton's problem is that all of her national margin (2,864,974 more votes than Trump) came from her blowout win in California (4,269,978 more votes than Trump). Even if the entire nation chose electors by congressional district, Clinton likely would have lost, because her popular vote was highly concentrated. Her margins in Los Angeles County (1,694,621) and the five boroughs of New York City (1,670,027) are enough to account for her entire national lead. (If you're curious, the margin in Cook County, Illinois, was 1,158,659. Trump won Illinois minus Cook County. The three counties of Florida's Gold Coast -- Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach -- gave Clinton a 684,787 vote margin.)

IMAG0490.jpgA series of encounters led to an opportunity to appear on 612 ABC Brisbane (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's locally focused station) to talk about the aftermath of the U. S. presidential election.

In late October, I was walking in the Spring Hill neighborhood north of the Brisbane CBD, looking for an affordable alternative to the hotel's unaffordable laundry service. I came across two young men standing on a street corner with a small metal easel sign identifying one of them as Trevor Evans, the Member of Federal Parliament for Brisbane, who was holding a "mobile office" -- making himself available to any of his constituents who might want to bend his ear. I stopped and introduced myself, and we talked about the recent Australian elections, the looming US election, and the excitement I'd witnessed at Prime Minister's Question Time in Canberra the previous week. As the conversation wound down, I asked Mr. Evans if he knew where Brisbanites interested in American politics might gather to watch the returns. He had heard something about a gathering at the Norman Hotel -- thought it was being sponsored by AmCham, the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia -- but he'd be in Canberra on the day.

It wasn't AmCham -- I called, and they knew nothing about it -- but it took me until the day of the event to find out that the sponsor was the Australian American Association. The deadline had passed a week earlier. A phone call went to voice mail, but someone responded to a Facebook message and said come ahead.

As the results started to roll in, a 612 ABC reporter doing a live report from the party wanted comments from a Republican and a Democrat, so I volunteered. The Democrat was a woman who had moved to Australia 20 years or so previously but still voted back in the US. The reporter asked if Trump's apparent win was the last gasp of the white conservative Christian male.

A couple of days later, one of the AAA leaders phoned to say 612 ABC had contacted him in search of a Republican to participate in a studio discussion about the election. I was interested, so he connected me with Sunday morning host Rebecca Levingston, who filled me in on the topics she wanted to discuss. Rebecca told me that her go-to Republican had moved to Perth, and she likes to have guests in studio for these discussions.

Sunday morning I strolled across the Victoria Bridge to the 612 ABC studios in South Bank. Rebecca was at her desk in the bullpen, prepping for the show, and she showed me to the green room, where I was joined a few minutes later by my Democrat counterpart, Peter Axelrod, an aviation attorney originally from New York by way of San Francisco, who had settled in Brisbane about 15 years ago, and his wife, a native Aussie. We had a nice chat, and I was surprised to learn how small the general aviation sector is in Australia, given the vast distances that have to be covered. (This is a country where your doctor may make house calls by plane, and you might talk to your school teacher over the radio.) Regulation holds back the industry.

(Somewhat related: I met some Americans at the hotel who were private pilots and would be touring Australia by air -- this sort of thing. They had to do a checkride on their first day in country to qualify for the trip.)

We were led into the studio by the producer. Peter had come prepared with an article from NPR and some other material, which he had sent to Rebecca ahead of time, and which he let me look over. (It reminded me of the way I used to show up to my weekly slot on KFAQ with pages of background material.) Here's Peter and Rebecca in the studio:


Rebecca was a very gracious host, who asked intelligent questions and was fair and balanced. If she had a political leaning, it wasn't apparent.

The conversation began with Rebecca asking for our reaction to the results. I said that I was relieved that Hillary Clinton would not be president, but apprehensive that Trump will be president. We also discussed prospective appointments (Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani were still possibilities in that first week after the election), presidential power and checks and balances on those powers, filibusters, Obamacare, the electoral college, election turnout, the National Popular Vote proposal, and the need for reform of the nominating process. The final section of the conversation was about the prospects for Trump's promises.

My favorite moment was using a cricket analogy to explain the electoral college and getting a laugh and a complement from Rebecca. The context: South Africa had beaten Australia in the first match of a three-match test series by 177 runs, the latest failure in a long string of Australian losses in international cricket. But if Australia would win the remaining two matches by one run each, they'd win the series, even though their run total would still be 175 less than South Africa's. That's because the series is won by winning a majority of matches, not by getting the highest run total. If the winning criteria were different, you'd use different strategy. (As it happened, Australia lost the second match, too, failing to score as many runs in two innings as South Africa managed in one. After a massive overhaul of the lineup, Australia won the third test handily by seven wickets.)

Here's the whole segment, which runs about 20 minutes.

612 ABC Brisbane was my preferred listening when driving around town or on excursions around southeast Queensland. I appreciated the conversational approach -- where guests had time to develop ideas -- and the variety of serious and silly topics. As I find them online, I hope to share some of the segments that I found particularly interesting.

You can listen to 612 ABC Brisbane on their website or via various apps. ABC Radio has an archive of interviews and conversations on Soundcloud, as does 612 ABC Brisbane.

My other favorite radio station was 1296 4RPH -- Reading for the Print Handicapped. Most of the station's schedule consists of volunteers reading articles from the local and national newspapers and a variety of magazines and books. The articles are often long-form essays, including political analysis, book reviews, and arts criticism. It was real food for thought while driving or taking care of routine tasks. They also carry BBC World Service during the overnight hours and daily broadcasts from two American evangelical broadcasters -- John MacArthur ("Grace to You") and Chuck Swindoll ("Insight for Living"). You can listen to 4RPH via the TuneIn radio app.

If you'd like to see where everything settled out after all the votes were counted, The Green Papers is the most meticulous online resource for detailed, nitty-gritty election information. There you will be able to see a comprehensive popular vote total, including every write-in vote tabulated across the nation. (David Limbaugh, a columnist and author, younger brother of the radio talk show host, received 6 write-in votes. Bernie Sanders received 1, in California.)

The proprietor of the site, Richard E. Berg-Andersson, wrote an analysis back in 2001 about possible approaches to reform or abolish the Electoral College.

Happy election day! Enjoy your freedom to vote now, before Hillary ships you to a concentration camp or Donald abolishes elections and renames himself Caligula II.


Polls in Oklahoma are open until 7:00 p.m. If you need help finding your polling place, if you'd like to study a sample ballot before you go, the Oklahoma State Election Board has a one-stop-shop online voter tool. Put in your name and date of birth, and they'll look you up in the database, find your polling place and show you a photo of it and a map, will let you see a printable sample ballot, and, if you're voting absentee, it will show you when your ballot arrived at your county election board.

OSEB will have live results available after 7 p.m. Keep in mind that absentee ballots are counted first at the county election board, and then individual precincts bring their scanning ballot boxes to the county election board for processing. Candidates and news outlets who send runners to the precincts to read results posted on the door will have results more quickly than OSEB.

OSEB also has this very handy list of every candidate and every proposition on the 2016 Oklahoma ballot, arranged by county.

Here's my printable cheat sheet for the election.


My thoughts on specific races and questions:

Here's an archive of all of my articles about Election 2016.

Many thanks to the sponsors and supporters of BatesLine who made this year's election coverage possible.

All right, Bob, how 'bout a little music to keep the people happy! Take it away, Leon!

"There'll be cheerin' and hootin' and some friendly shootin' just to keep the spirit of this big occasion."

Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys perform "Election Day" by Cindy Walker in the movie Wyoming Hurricane, starring Russell Hayden. Leon McAuliffe on vocals; Cotton Thompson, Bob Wills, and Jesse Ashlock on fiddle, Junior Barnard on guitar, Luke Wills on bass. And from the same movie, here's Cotton Thompson to deliver Cindy Walker's message for many of our candidates:

I hear you talkin', yes, I do,
But your talk-talk-talkin' don't ring true,
I'm listenin' politely, too,
But I don't b'lieve a word you say.

I hear you talkin', tellin' lies,
I can see it in those great big eyes.
I hear you talkin' wise,
But I don't b'lieve a word you say.

You say that I'm your honey-love,
That I'm all you're thinkin' of,
I hear you talkin', dove,
But you ain't been foolin' me.

I almost left the top line of my ballot blank.

When I was filling out my absentee ballot, I left the presidential race until the last. Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton nor Gary Johnson -- our only three choices in Oklahoma -- are fit to serve as president of the United States. Trump says some things that are pleasing to conservative ears, but his livelihood was built on saying one thing to close a deal and then doing another, leaving him sitting pretty and his business partners in the lurch. Clinton is utterly venal and corrupt, selling American foreign policy to the highest bidder, with the money laundered through the family's "foundation," and setting up a private email server, putting American secrets at risk, in order to hide her corruption from the reach of open-records laws. Johnson is a buffoon, a fake libertarian who sees no problem with the State punishing small-business owners who wish to run their businesses in accordance with the understanding of marriage that was near-universal just a decade ago. I'm frightened by how triumphant Trump or victorious Clinton might use their new power to punish their adversaries; both are vengeful and egotistical. I'm disturbed by the willingness of many conservatives to shift their positions and lower their standards in order to justify their support for Trump -- not merely holding their noses and voting for him, which is understandable, but enthusiastically embracing him.

I had pondered voting for Johnson anyway, as a protest vote, but Josh Lewis, writing at SavingElephantsBlog.com, talked me out of it, pointing out that giving the Libertarian Party, particularly in its current state, a permanent foothold in Oklahoma will only cause more problems for electing conservatives:

Suffice it to say for now, I am a conservative and recognize libertarianism as a competing ideology. A vote for Gary Johnson is a vote that will ultimately strengthen the libertarian brand. If you're an ideological libertarian this makes sense. But if you're only casting a "protest vote" it may have dangerous unintended consequences.

So I was going to leave the ballot bank, but as I stared at the space on the ballot, I looked at the three lists of seven names under the names of the presidential and vice presidential nominees:

  • Republican: David Oldham, Teresa Turner, Mark Thomas, Bobby Cleveland, Lauree Elizabeth Marshall, Charles W. Potts, George W. Wiland, Jr.
  • Libertarian: Erin Adams, Mikel Dillon, Joel Britt Dixon, Rex L Lawhorn, Ephriam Zachary Knight, Craig A. Dawkins, Mark C. DeShazo.
  • Democrat: Marq Lewis, Bill John Baker, Mark Hammons, Betty McElderry, W. A. Drew Edmondson, Jeannie McDaniel, Rhonda Walters.

These are the people we're voting for today: One set of seven who will meet in Oklahoma City in December and cast the only votes any Oklahoman will cast for President and Vice President of the United States.

I'm under no illusions: Each of these people were selected by district and state conventions because of their loyalty to their party. Barring some unforeseen catastrophe, they will be voting for the names above theirs on the ballot, which will lead either to a Trump-flavored catastrophe or a Clinton-flavored catastrophe.

ayatollah_edmondson_small.jpgBut what if no candidate appears to have won a majority of electoral votes? What if Utah goes for Evan McMillan, enough to hold Clinton and Trump short of 270? What if there finally emerges a scandal serious enough to chase Donald or Hillary into exile in Irian Jaya? What if (heaven forbid) one or both of the aged main-party candidates suffers a debilitating accident or health emergency? Would it still make no difference which set of seven electors are chosen by Oklahoma voters?

Under those unlikely circumstances, it would make a great deal of difference. I know many of the people running for elector, and I would trust David Oldham, Bobby Cleveland, and George Wiland to make a decision in the best interest of the nation. I would not trust Craig Dawkins, or Jeannie McDaniel, or Drew Edmondson, the former Ayatollah General.

It's taken me more time to describe my thought process than it took me to come to that conclusion. I had to decide to leave the race blank or mark it, seal up the ballot, get the affidavit notarized, mail it, and get on with trip preparations. I voted for George, David, Bobby, Mark, Teresa, Lauree, and Charles.

As is usual about three weeks before an election, I've received several requests for a voters' guide. Already voters who plan to be out of town are getting ready to cast an absentee ballot. If the presidential race weren't perplexing enough, we also have to decide seven state questions and whether or not to retain State Supreme Court justices and criminal and civil appeals court judges.

Even before I had a blog, it was common for friends to ask my opinion in the run-up to election day. One of the reasons I started a blog was to be able to "refer the honorable gentleman [or lady] to the answer I gave some moments ago."

I'm happy to be of service, and I'm honored by the trust BatesLine readers place in my judgment. But it takes time to do the research and to turn that research into writing. Although I'd be doing some of that research anyway, for my own use in voting, it takes much less time to read and study enough to decide my own vote than it does to gather and organize and present an article capable of providing the BatesLine readership with not only my opinion but my reasons and research, too.

My family and my employer have dibs on my time, and it seems my free time is quickly eaten up with yard work and laundry, and I'm behind on both. There's money invested, too, in hosting and domain fees -- the basics to keep BatesLine online -- and there's often some expense in doing research.

So before I invest that time in gathering and presenting this information to you, let me ask you, dear reader. What's it worth to you?

If the information you get here on BatesLine, particularly during election season, is valuable to you, there are some tangible ways to show your support:

The first way is to hit the PayPal tip jar over on the right sidebar. You can use your PayPal account or a major credit card to make a contribution to BatesLine. I don't have any totebags to send you in return, but I'll publish your name and donation amount on a list of contributors which will be prominently linked through election season (unless you ask me to withhold either name or amount).

The second way is to buy an ad on BatesLine. BatesLine readership is always at its highest in the run-up to an election, so it's a great time for a candidate (or any business that wants the attention of politically active Oklahomans) to run an ad. Even if you're not a candidate, you could still run an ad in support of your favorite candidate. (You're responsible for reporting it as an in-kind donation to the campaign.) Ads start as low as $30 a week for a text-only spot, $50 a week for a small ad with text and an image. There are discounts for multiple weeks.

Finally, if you need a good webhosting company, click the ad for bluehost. I get a small commission for new clients who sign up via my link. I've used bluehost for years, and I highly recommend their service.

That's the soft sell. Here's the hard sell, in the spirit of the late, great Gene Scott: I'm not going to blog about the Oklahoma 2016 election until you people GIT ONNA PHONES PAYPAL and demonstrate the value of the teaching.

Play "I Wanna Know"!

To put it more plainly, I'll start posting stories about the state questions and judicial races once there's been a response that indicates genuine interest.

While donations are welcome, a BatesLine ad is a smart move, giving you, your company, or your visibility with the thousands of Oklahoma voters who'll be dropping by over the next few weeks.

(NOTE: I reserve the right to reject ads or contributions. Reasons for rejection may be arbitrary or capricious but more likely will be so I can avoid posting something on my blog that advocates for a cause or a candidate that's anathema to me.)

Brett Farley resigned his post Saturday as Director of Communications for the Oklahoma Republican Party after the party chairman refused to issue a statement calling on Donald Trump to withdraw from the presidential race.

Writing on his blog, Farley said that he sent a message Saturday morning urging OKGOP chairman Pam Pollard to release a statement along the following lines:

"The Republican Party was founded to promote certain principles, rights and values that befit a free and moral people and to advance candidates for office who will defend them. It has been demonstrated finally and without question by this most recent revelation of what Donald Trump has said and what he said he does that he is wholly unfit to continue as the Republican nominee for President of the United States. We, the Republican Party of Oklahoma, join the growing chorus of party leaders and elected officials around the country in demanding that Mr. Trump withdraw as a candidate for president in order that the Republican National Committee may begin the necessary process to select an alternate nominee who will more appropriately represent our party and its members."

Farley explains his strong objections to Trump's conduct in the context of his role as a father of daughters:

I am the father of three daughters with a fourth daughter due in February. One of my greatest joys of late has been teaching my oldest daughter of twelve years about the sort of character and Christian ethic that befits a man worthy to call himself one day her husband and my son-in-law. I cannot and I will not, then, through some twisted logic attempt in the same breath to justify a vote for a man who is the quintessential opposite of everything I am teaching her to expect in a man. To put a finer point on it, I cannot bring myself to place a mark next to the name of a man whom I cannot trust to be alone in a room with my daughters.

Once upon a time the word 'party' meant more than simply a letter after a candidate's name. Not so long ago, membership in a political party meant necessarily that one ascribed to a set of principles and policies that he or she believed along with fellow members would aid our republic in creating a brighter future for our posterity. That word now clearly rings hollow.

If many of my Republican colleagues are to be believed, we have some sort of unholy imperative to cast a vote for a man simply for the fact that the letter 'R' follows his name, despite that that man has publicly professed values and positions in recent years -- and in many cases within recent months -- that are diametrically opposed to the very platform passed by the same delegates who gave him our party's nomination.

Farley dismissed the "Trump because SCOTUS" argument:

Never before has our party so willingly turned a deaf ear to history and practical political reality until now. Even in our best days, Presidents Reagan and Bush, solidly conservative Republicans, managed to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who gave the deciding votes in some of the most egregious decisions in the Court's history. Yet these same colleagues argue that we can trust a man who has broken promises to customers, business partners, wives and God himself to uphold his tentative pledge to nominate conservative justices.

Farley contrasted the GOP's rejection of Bill Clinton's sleazy behavior with the party's embrace of the same sort of sleaziness with an (R) after it.

December 17, 1998, my 22nd birthday, is a date I will never forget. It was the date originally scheduled for the impeachment vote by the House of Representatives for President William Jefferson Clinton. I recall vividly watching the television two days later at a Pizza Hut just off the campus of the University of Oklahoma as Republican members of the House voted finally to impeach. They did so after having concluded that the unbecoming behavior and subsequent obstruction and perjury by Clinton met the threshold for 'high crimes and misdemeanors."

Not even 20 years hence a majority of the members of that same party have nominated a man who publicly brags about that same felonious behavior. Not only has he refused to repent of his transgressions, Donald Trump celebrates them in the worst instance and, at best, offers a token apology that "some may have been offended." Is this what our party stands for today? Is this the man we want our children and grandchildren to look to as the exemplar of that "shining city on a hill"? I pray not.

In a Monday Facebook update, Farley stated that he "declined numerous on-camera and in-studio interviews because the story isn't about me; it's about the future of our party, our state and our country."

I respect Farley's willingness to take a stand at the cost of his livelihood.

I am disappointed in many of my Oklahoma Republican friends -- specifically our state party leaders -- who did not use the power at their disposal to stop Trump from becoming the nominee. The Oklahoma GOP executive committee could have nominated a slate of delegates to fight against Trump's nomination at the National Convention. Instead, Oklahoma GOP leadership decided to pretend that this was a normal year. They cooperated with rule changes that make it harder, if not impossible, for future conventions to block unfit candidates from receiving the nomination, that put our party's future at the whim of primary voters swayed by mass media.

We didn't have to face this disgusting dilemma between two major-party candidates who are both morally and ethically unfit to serve as George Washington's successor as our nation's Chief Executive.

RELATED: Evangelical theologian Wayne Grudem has walked back his earlier statement that voting for Trump was a moral choice and is now calling on Trump to step aside.

There is no morally good presidential candidate in this election. I previously called Donald Trump a "good candidate with flaws" and a "flawed candidate" but I now regret that I did not more strongly condemn his moral character. I cannot commend Trump's moral character, and I strongly urge him to withdraw from the election.

His vulgar comments in 2005 about his sexual aggression and assaults against women were morally evil and revealed pride in conduct that violates God's command, "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). I have now read transcripts of some of his obscene interviews with Howard Stern, and they turned my stomach. His conduct was hateful in God's eyes and I urge him to repent and call out to God for forgiveness, and to seek forgiveness from those he harmed. God intends that men honor and respect women, not abuse them as sexual objects.

Some may criticize me for not discovering this material earlier, and I think they are right. I did not take the time to investigate earlier allegations in detail, and I now wish I had done so. If I had read or heard some of these materials earlier, I would not have written as positively as I did about Donald Trump. I am grateful that Townhall.com has agreed to remove my earlier statement.

Grudem goes on to explain his dilemma: He is "deeply reluctant to simply walk away from the process in disgust, or vote for a write-in candidate," he is sympathetic to the concern that "voting for either candidate will destroy our Christian witness for the future," and he is concerned about the implications of a Clinton victory:

What if we fail to vote against the liberal support for abortion rights, government imposition of gender confusion on our children, hate speech laws used to silence Christians, and government-sanctioned exclusion of thousands of Christians from their lifelong occupations because they won't bow to the homosexual agenda -- will our failure to oppose these evils also destroy our Christian witness for the future? Will our grandchildren ask us why we failed to stop the imminent triumph of anti-Christian liberal tyranny when we had the ability to do so?

As to how I will vote, I honestly don't know at this point. The election is still a month away. I have friends on both sides who are surprised that I do not find this an easy question to decide. But I do not find it an easy question. I continue to pray and seek God's wisdom, and ask that God will yet provide a better solution.

Grudem concludes by calling on Christians to turn their eyes to God's sovereignty:

Though we may be tempted to become fearful or despondent, this turmoil in our nation provides a wonderful opportunity to renew our faith in God each day, "for kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations" (Psalm 22:28). We should continue to pray, mindful of what Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon long ago: "The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will" (Daniel 4:17).

Bureaucrats in the tank for Hillary, Trump's policy wonks quitting, why Ron Paul isn't backing the Libertarian ticket -- after the jump.

This has been out for a few weeks, but I thought it deserved to be noted here. Retired U. S. Sen. Tom Coburn, renowned for his adherence to principle and his often-lonely fight for fiscal sanity in Washington, has endorsed Jarrin Jackson, who is challenging incumbent Markwayne Mullin in Coburn's old 2nd Congressional District, and Jim Bridenstine, who is seeking re-election in the 1st Congressional District.

Here is the press release about Coburn's endorsement of Jarrin Jackson:

May 31, 2016 (Oologah, OK) - Today, former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn announced his endorsement of combat veteran Jarrin Jackson who is challenging Congressman Markwayne Mullin in Oklahoma's second district.

Dr. Coburn, who had endorsed Mullin in 2012, said, "I am proud to endorse Jarrin Jackson, a combat veteran who understands and has fought for our Constitution. He will stand up for us in Washington and not go along to get along. He also will honor a six year self imposed term limit."

Coburn's endorsement comes on the heel of recent comments Rep. Mullin made about a similar term limit pledge he made in 2012. Then, when running as a first-time candidate, Mullin pledged to serve no more than three two year terms in Congress. However, when asked recently if this would be the last time he ran for the office, Mullin said he is seeking the Lord's guidance and will instead do what he thinks is best for his family and District.

"Dr. Coburn's endorsement is important," Jackson said, "because it reinforces his reputation for integrity and courage. He not only served us with honor when he held office, but he continues to serve by insisting that other public officials do the same. It takes courage to speak truth to power, no matter the truth, no matter the power. I welcome his support, his example, and the opportunity to build upon his work."

Here is Coburn's endorsement of Bridenstine:

Jim Bridenstine is a man of his word. He faces unrelenting pressure from the political elite in Washington, yet he has never wavered in his commitment to the First District or our country. His courageous voting record is proof that he cares more about the long term health of our nation than his own political career. That kind of moral courage is rare in Washington today. I am proud of the work he does on our behalf and thankful for the sacrifices that he and his family make to serve. I wholeheartedly endorse Jim Bridenstine.

I agree with Tom Coburn. While I was very skeptical of Jim Bridenstine and his motives when he ran in 2012, he has proven to be as principled as he said he would be, working to remove unprincipled and cowardly leadership, fighting to defund Obamacare, Obama's executive amnesty, and Planned Parenthood, and at the same time building a relationship with his colleagues that has allowed him to advance our interests in the 1st District.

Mullin, elected the same year, has followed the opposite path, refusing to buck leadership, refusing to oppose funding for unconstitutional purposes, and now laying the groundwork to revoke his term-limits promise.

After 13 sessions representing south Tulsa's House District 67 and advancing the cause of the unborn, State Rep. Pam Peterson has reached her term limit. Several candidates are in the running for the strongly Republican seat. I'm proud to join former U. S. Sen. Tom Coburn, a resident of the district, in endorsing Scott McEachin for House District 67.

TULSA, OK - Former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn endorsed local small businessman Scott McEachin in the south Tulsa Republican primary for State House District 67 to be held on Tuesday, June 28th. The seat was formerly held by Rep. Pam Peterson (R) and is open this year due to term limits. Tulsa-HD67 spans from 111th street to the south to 81st street to the north and from Yale to Garnett.

"It takes a strong statesman to stop the encroaching federal government and address the major challenges facing our state. Scott McEachin has the knowledge of the Founders' intent and will always look to our founding documents as the final word on the limits of government authority" stated Coburn.

McEachin started a small business and has practiced oil and gas law in Oklahoma since the 80's. Scott and his wife Debbie have been active participants in the South Tulsa community for decades; their three boys attended Jenks public schools.

"Scott McEachin's experience in oil and gas has given him a critical understanding of the industry that is at the heart of our Oklahoma economy. Scott is uniquely qualified because he has a deep understanding of the issues and will prioritize our government operations to make Oklahoma a state that can lead the nation. I'm proud to say that I will cast my vote for Scott McEachin in the primary election on June 28 for our local state representative, and I encourage my friends and neighbors in House District 67 to do the same." - Dr. Tom A. Coburn, M.D.

Dr. Tom A. Coburn, M.D. represented Oklahoma's 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995-2001 and represented Oklahoma in the United States Senate from 2005-2015. Coburn is a fiscal and social conservative, known for his opposition to deficit spending and for his opposition to abortion.

A general comment about legislative races: Much has been written about the embarrassment of the recently ended legislative session and the last-minute resolution of the budget crisis. The State Chamber of Commerce, Tulsa Regional Chamber, and Oklahoma City Chamber will try to convince you that it's the fault of social and fiscal conservatives for trying to advance their principles. In fact, the budget crisis is largely the fault of legislative leaders in thrall to the Chamberpots -- clinging to their corporate welfare tax credits, afraid to challenge administrative bloat and duplication in common and higher education. Had the Chamber encouraged their legislators to accept the end of ineffective corporate tax credits and to embrace the detailed savings ideas recommended by groups like Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA), we could have resolved the budget crisis early in the session.

Moral of the story: On June 28, look for the Chamber label and vote for the other guy.

I've known Scott McEachin for a few years now and have always known him to be on the knowledgeable about public policy, principled, friendly, easy to work with, and I believe that District 67 and Oklahoma would be blessed to have him as a member of the legislature.

You can see and hear Scott McEachin speaking about the issues and his reasons for running on the videos page of his website, McEachinForHouse.com.

A subdued mood prevailed Saturday as 857 delegates convened at FirstMoore Baptist Church for the 2016 Oklahoma Republican Convention. (The 2012 convention drew approximately 1,400 delegates.)

The state convention in a presidential year has a national focus, electing two members of the Republican National Committee, electing 25 at-large delegates and alternates to the Republican National Convention, nominating two electors (and alternates), considering amendments to permanent state party rules, and voting on a state platform, which will be forwarded to the national convention platform committee for their consideration. Once the state convention adjourns, the newly elected national convention delegates caucus to select a delegation chairman and two members each for the national convention platform, rules, credentials, and permanent organization committees.

The presumptive (and presumptuous) Republican presidential nominee scarcely rated a mention. Donald Trump might as well be called Lord Voldemort -- he who must not be named. In her farewell at the conclusion of the convention, State Chairman Pam Pollard urged the delegates to get involved to help defeat Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Bernie Sanders, but wisely omitted any mention of the candidate who presumably will be the victor if they are defeated.

Trump signs and stickers were not much in evidence. Those displaying support for the egotistical oompa-loompa were few and far between.

My report will necessarily be incomplete. I was part of the check-in team, which processed about 600 delegates in a two-hour period, and then stayed to help with wrap-up as a handful of credentials problems were cleaned up. Tulsa-area software developer David Byte put together a solid, almost fool-proof, credentialing front-end and back-end system. Delegates were never kept waiting for more than 5-10 minutes during rare rush periods. A handful of counties had delegates who were issued badges but hadn't been recorded as checked-in, evidently a user error that could easily be guarded against next time. Because I was working at check-in, I missed all of the political speeches, so I couldn't tell you who spoke or what was said. To be honest, when the check-in system was packed up and loaded, I was tempted to call it a day, hop in my car, and head home. But there was important business to be done. Here's a summary of what happened.

Republican National Committee:

Incumbent Carolyn McLarty was re-elected to a third term as National Committeewoman, defeating Linda Huggard by a 75%-25% vote. McLarty is a leader among conservatives on the RNC, a founding member of the Republican National Conservative Caucus, and serves as chairman of the RNC's Permanent Committee on Resolutions. She was an early and enthusiastic endorser of Ted Cruz.

Steve Curry was elected to succeed retiring National Committeeman Steve Fair, defeating Richard Engle by a 60%-40% vote. Curry is chairman of the Oklahoma State Election Board and a former chairman of the Oklahoma County Republican Party. While Curry could be regarded as more of an establishment type, at least in temperament, than his opponent, many grassroots delegates (including myself) regarded Curry as a more trustworthy guardian of party values during a possible Trumpist dark age. Curry was willing to oppose a Trump nomination for RNC chairman; Engle dismissed the idea. Engle's credibility with party regulars was damaged by his eager participation in the 2012 "parking lot convention" -- an attempt by Ron Paul supporters to delegitimize the state convention that had just adjourned, at which the Paulestinians were defeated by a 60-40 supermajority.

Delegates and alternates:

The slate of 25 at-large delegates and at-large alternates was approved by an overwhelming roll call vote. (Attempts to suspend the rules to approve the slate by acclamation were rebuffed by convention chairman Greg Treat. A roll call vote was not taken in 2012, which Ron Paul supporters used as a pretext to challenge the convention's validity.) For the first time since 2004, no alternative slate was put forward. At the 2008 and 2012 conventions, Ron Paul supporters attempted to defeat the executive committee slate in hopes of electing fellow Paulestinians to the National Convention.

The rules have changed to make alternative slates more difficult to accomplish. The slate must be complete, filled out with people who had submitted paperwork to the state party, and with people who gave their consent to be included. By contrast, North Dakota voted on individual delegates, and the Cruz campaign was able to circulate a slate that included some who were on the executive committee slate and some who were not.

Had the Indiana primary turned out differently, we likely would have seen a concerted effort by the Cruz campaign to nominate a slate of loyalists and to turn out their supporters to defeat the executive committee slate and elect their own. With an open convention no longer seen as a realistic possibility and with the Cruz campaign in shutdown mode, that didn't happen.

The executive committee slate was an assortment of party activists and donors, typical of years past, going to Cleveland to be the studio audience for a week-long infomercial -- except that there did seem to be the sense that the delegates need to be prepared to defend against attempts by the Trump insurgency to water down the platform and the grassroots role in the party. The slate included a few vocal Trump supporters and a few committed Cruz supporters, but many in the delegation had endorsed other candidates in the March 1 primary or were silent.

Party rules:

A number of substantial amendments to the permanent state party rules were considered and were defeated. (A few housekeeping amendments were approved.) Party rule amendments must be proposed by a county convention and then approved by the state committee before going to the state convention for approval. The general sense was that the problems the rules intended to solve were better handled by the judgment of party leaders than additional rules and regulations. (Here are the current Oklahoma Republican Party Rules.)

A couple of the proposed amendments addressed the problems created by Republican popularity. Contested primaries are becoming more frequent, with challengers seeking to unseat incumbent Republicans over policy differences. Should party resources, such as voter databases, be equally available to all candidates seeking the GOP nomination or to none at all until the primary is settled? Former Democrats are changing parties to run for office -- how to distinguish between genuine conversions and conversions for political convenience? Should party officials vet candidates based on their views on the issues, such as commitment to pro-life principles? Here are each of the proposals. Only the housekeeping amendments were approved.

From Cleveland County: Clarifying that state committee meetings may be called for a location other than Oklahoma City.
From Cleveland County: Cleaning up sex-specific language about filling vacancies in party offices. Sex-specific quotas in state party offices were removed several years ago.
From Cleveland County: More cleanup of moot sex-specific language.
From Cleveland County: Removal of sex-specific language regarding executive committee appointments.
From Cleveland County: Clarifying budget committee appointments.
From Cleveland County: Clarifying that the highest-ranking Republican in each house is a member of the executive committee, aligning the rule with actual practice. (The rule previously specified the "floor leader" in each house, which is not the highest-ranking member when the party is in the majority.)
From Muskogee County: Cleaning up sex-specific language in several rules, largely duplicating several of the Cleveland County proposals.
From Tulsa County: Cleaning up sex-specific language in several rules, largely duplicating several of the Cleveland County proposals.
From Wagoner County: Adding several causes for removal specific to the state chairman and vice chairman, relating to involvement in a Republican primary. (Defeated.)
From Cimarron and Kay Counties: Forbidding Oklahoma GOP conventions and meetings from being held in a gun-free zone. (Defeated.)
From Cimarron and Kay Counties: Creating a pro-life committee, made up of one member from each county, to vet candidates for pro-life views prior to providing them with funding or support from the party. (Defeated.)
From Cimarron County: Prohibiting political lobbyists from participating in the Oklahoma Republican Party State Convention Process. (Defeated. It was pointed out that Tony Lauinger, head of Oklahomans for Life and a tireless lobbyist on his own dime for pro-life legislation, would be banned from the convention under the rule.)


This year's platform committee was dominated by delegates from Oklahoma County, and it proposed a one-page statement of principles, followed by a handful of specific resolutions. The platform approved in 2015 was 25 pages long, and while many delegates agreed that the platform needs to be cleaned up and pared down, the two-page proposal was a Procrustean solution. A clear statement of principles is a good thing, but grassroots Republicans want to speak as a body on specific issues, as evidenced by the many individual platform planks proposed by precinct caucuses. The 2016 state platform committee seemed to discard all of that passion and hard work. A majority of delegates voted viva voce to postpone the 2016 platform indefinitely, killing the proposal and leaving the 2015 platform in place. The 2015 platform will be forwarded for consideration by the national platform committee.

Delegation meeting:

The at-large and district delegates elected Cruz supporters to both slots on the national platform committee (a job that requires an additional week's stay in Cleveland before the convention), to both slots on the permanent organization committee (which selects the convention chairman, parliamentarian, and secretary and sets the order of business -- normally non-controversial but possibly contentious this year), and to one of the two slots on the rules committee.

After a rally in Indiana yesterday, Ted Cruz crossed the street to talk to some Trump protestors. As the Trumpkins threw insults, Cruz responded with patience, logic, facts, and calm.

This is one reason among many that I am proud to support Ted Cruz for President. You may not like his political views, but you have to respect his willingness to speak respectfully and respond point-by-point to someone on the other side.

William Jacobsen comments on the event at Legal Insurrection:

The Trump supporter is rude and verbally abusive -- spewing the one-liners and insults he hears from Trump. Listen to the guy. Is there anything he or the crowd says that you couldn't image Trump saying himself and in the same manner?

This guy is the pro-Trump equivalent of Code Pink - full of insults but lacking in understanding or the willingness to understand. A sucker who thinks he is part of a great movement, but is simply being played by a master player. And unfortunately, he embodies everything that has gone wrong this electoral season.

Cruz doesn't get angry at the insults, though. Instead, he confronts the Trump supporter with facts that show that much of what Trump supporters use to attack Cruz actually more accurately reflects Trump.

It's another Ted Cruz moment for me.

Jacobson quotes a tweet by Tom Nichols that sums up the encounter:

Cruz: Trump said this. Trumper: No he didn't. Cruz: It was on national television. Go Google the clip. Trumper: Trump Trump Trump

Jacobson reminds us of a similar encounter last summer, when Code Pink protesters disrupted Ted Cruz's rally against the Iran nuclear deal:

Cruz could have reacted many ways. He could have shouted down the people shouting him down. He could have insulted them. He could have had security push them away.

But instead, he engaged. That's what was important to me. The confidence to engage rather than avoid. Standing face to face with hostile protesters was very Andrew Breitbart-like.

When you watch this video, forget who won the argument, but focus on Cruz's willingness to debate the leader of Code Pink, someone used to grabbing the spotlight. Cruz reduced Benjamin to a sideshow rather than center stage. It's almost as if she was not there.

Just before the Wisconsin primary, Tom Chantry, a Reformed Baptist pastor, wrote a thorough and fun-to-read account of Wisconsin political history and culture, aimed at his mostly non-Wisconsin readership. Reading it again, three weeks after the primary, and reading his follow-up pieces, I see that it isn't just solid political journalism, but some useful insights into the conservative path forward, drawing lessons from the success of Gov. Scott Walker and his allies in the Legislature at getting elected and reforming government in a conservative mold in a state with a history of far-left progressivism.

In the first article, Chantry explains how Wisconsin's liberals and conservatives are different from their national counterparts, and he provides a good summary of the rise of Scott Walker and the battles of the last six years. Especially interesting: What makes Wisconsin talk radio different from everywhere else.

In the 1980s a media revolution was touched off with the establishment of the Rush Limbaugh program, which was picked up in Milwaukee within a few months of its inception. Conservatism having been driven completely out of television and print news, radio became its home. Conservatives found that they were given a voice by Limbaugh and others who followed.

But after the last year it has become evident that the "conservative" radio hosts have only given conservatism a voice; they have not actually been that voice. Truth be told, they said so all along. Limbaugh gloats that he does not create conservatism, he merely reflects and amplifies it. That's another way of saying that national talk radio is not conservative at all, but populist. As long as populism involved patriotism, values, fiscal responsibility, and smaller government, the hosts appeared conservative, but with the emergence of the Donald, populism has pulled the so-called "conservative" media into the gutter....

Quite frankly, it would never have been possible to do in Wisconsin what Limbaugh did on the national stage. Most conservatives were hiding (politely) in their homes, trying not to offend their neighbors. There was little true conservatism to reflect or amplify. For conservative media to be established here, it took a determined, opinionated loudmouth. [Mark] Belling was that loudmouth.

It's hard not to listen to Belling if you live in Milwaukee. Other media is dying. The local newspaper is now printed on a postcard (or so it seems). If anything of substance happens in the state, Belling is often the guy who knows the whole background, the principle players, and the implications. His show is aggressive in a way that Limbaugh's never was. Belling doesn't care to give his listeners a voice. He wants them to become conservatives, now! Amazingly, it has worked. He has carved out a space for himself, and he's transformed Wisconsin media in the meantime.

Chantry lists a number of other conservative local talk show hosts in Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay and concludes:

What ties these voices together is their conscientious advance of conservatism over the last few decades in Wisconsin, a state which, remember, was very, very Blue. The conservatism they advance is principled and philosophically disciplined, not mere gut-reaction conservatism. With the exception of Belling (and sometimes McKenna) it is delivered in the voice of Midwestern courtesy, but it is serious, militant conservatism nonetheless. It has begun to make a mark.

Chantry provides a detailed but fast-paced overview of Scott Walker's rise and the Left's descent into gibbering madness in response. Regarding Walker:

There are four types of governor in America: conservative governors in conservative states, liberal governors in liberal states, moderate governors in various states, and Scott Walker. I cannot think of any analogy to his governorship: he has governed as a consistent (some would say far-right) conservative in the ancient home of American Progressivism, and he's won.

Corrupt and incompetent Democrat officials opened the door for Walker to win election, and he used the opportunity to govern effectively and efficiently, which allowed him to rise to the governor's mansion.

Here's part 2: The GOP race in the last week before the primary, in which he discusses the talk radio buzzsaw that Trump complacently strolled right into:

Two differences from the national scene are worthy of note. First, Wisconsin simply has no passive conservative media. Limbaugh and Hannity would have flopped if they had started on this stage, for reasons I described yesterday. Wisconsin's conservative media is another breed, and they are heavily invested in keeping Trump's non-conservative movement from invading the state's Republican party.

But second, and equally important, Trump didn't seem to know anything about this. It is no surprise to any of us; the hosts have been railing against Trump for weeks now. When I heard that Sykes would be interviewing Trump, I thought, "He really is mad!" He wasn't mad, though, just ignorant. His campaign isn't apparently doing much state-by-state research, and Trump walked into the Wisconsin talk radio buzz-saw unprepared.

And Chantry discusses Trump's ill-advised attack on Scott Walker in retaliation for Walker's endorsement of Cruz:

Now Walker remains exhibit A for Wisconsin courtesy. He did not say that Trump is a blow-hard, a clown, an aging lecher, a corrupt insider, and an entire fraud. When asked if his endorsement was intended as an anti-Trump statement, he continued to talk about Cruz. It didn't matter; everyone knows what Walker is likely to think of Trump.

Trump himself, who apparently has never discussed Walker with anyone but his New York elite liberal buddies, apparently doesn't think that matters. Apparently his genius campaign staff never told him that Walker has an 80% approval rating among the Republicans whose votes he is trying to win, because Trump immediately decided to attack him....

Then came the Wednesday morning rally in Janesville, where he convinced his minions to boo favorite son Paul Ryan. This was also the rally in which the young woman among the far-left Trump protesters was assaulted and pepper-sprayed by Trump supporters. If only she and others like her had realized that inside the event, Trump was repeating all their favored attacks on Walker!

That afternoon Mark Belling promptly cancelled a vacation, stormed into his studio, sent his guest-host home, and went to war against Trump. If you ever thought Belling is a crass jerk, you should have heard Wednesday's show! (He actually called Trump a "butthead" on the air.) Belling is, however, influential, and he has been hammering away on Trump, insisting that the insurgent candidacy threatens to undo all the conservative advances of the last few years in this state.

And part 3: The Wisconsin results.

Voters would do well to recall the maxim that all that glitters is not gold. Miners who get excited over the glitter of iron pyrite are identified by the mineral's common name: fools' gold. It is not what it first appears. Experts, though, whether gold miners or jewelers, are not fooled. The reason is their familiarity with the real thing. If you know what gold really looks like, pyrite isn't much of a substitute.

And honestly, that is the basic reason for Trump's collapse in Wisconsin. Wisconsin has its angry conservatives, but if they've been paying any attention at all, they've seen the real deal. It is easy to focus on Scott Walker; the truth is that the Wisconsin Republican party has been disciplined and conservative in the last six years. Assemblymen and senators passed Act 10; there have been many courageous acts along the way. Our conservatives have been pure, 24-carat gold.

In spite of serving in his second term as governor, Walker is a true outsider. He seems genuinely unconcerned with what his colleagues and the media think of him. Wisconsin conservative politicians are not play-acting; they have consistently articulated conservative principles. "Reform" is not an empty battle-cry in this state; we have watched one reform after another enacted. Next to serious conservatism, the Donald Trump dog-and-pony show is rather sad.

Donald Trump has come this far by reflecting and amplifying the anger of the electorate.... But anger itself is not a policy. Years ago Republicans laughed at Bill Clinton for "feeling our pain." We wanted to know what exactly he was going to do about our pain. But now, when Trump feels our anger, how do we respond?

One of the most striking elements of the Trump phenomenon is the utter absence of prescription. Trump supporters love to call talk radio and yell about their grievances. When they call Limbaugh or Hannity, the host responds, "Yes, I sense how angry you are." Gee, thanks, Dr. Phil! But when the same [sup]porters called the actual conservative hosts in Wisconsin, something else entirely happened. The callers were asked what they wanted to see done about the anger, or what they thought Trump would change. The exchanges that followed were embarrassing to hear.

The callers were quick to say repeatedly how bad politicians are, and how much they've taken advantage of the country, but they couldn't think of anything to do about it....They have no actual interest in Trump's alleged policies (I say "alleged" because I don't believe he is a complete idiot, either), but instead are drawn to his tone.

This appeal is, however, rather limited in a state where policy prescriptions have born real fruit. Walker and the Republican leadership in Wisconsin have never appeared angry. (All the anger has been on the left. I say again, Trump's fury and that of his supporters looks radical and leftist to us.) Instead, they have actually done things. They have addressed the root of conservative anger rather than stoking the flame. This is a conservatism that leads somewhere, not a populism that leaves us panting when our tantrum is over. Once you've had the one, you've little desire for the other.

American politics has been reduced to mere symbolism.... The right in our country complains incessantly that the left only cares about symbolism and feelings, not substance and results. But in the wake of the Trump phenomenon, we have to ask how much of the right is also dominated by its feelings.

(As an aside, I have been one observer unsurprised by Trump's success among "evangelicals." Evangelicalism is not a movement concerned with truth and righteousness, but with how one feels. Trump's candidacy is pretty much identical to an evangelical worship service: light on substance, playing fast and loose with truth, but very emotionally satisfying. How was anyone surprised by his early successes? Trump is an evangelical!)

What is needed - not only by conservatism but by the country - is principled but practical leadership. Emotive conservatism, whether it is the "compassionate conservatism" of Bush or the angry populism of Trump, leads nowhere. We need less emphasis on our angst and more on policy; less on style and more on substance.

And to that end, I would suggest the number one change needed in the conservative movement: we need a radical revolution in conservative media. The era of Limbaugh and Hannity needs to end. I, for one, will not listen to either any more - not even in passing. We've had decades of reflection and amplification of our feelings, and where has it gotten us? Our federal government is more leftist than ever, the conservative electorate is angrier than ever, and now the therapeutic hosts are holding our hand sympathetically while we go about trying to nominate a B-list celebrity clown for the most powerful office in the world.

I can tell you from inside Wisconsin, it doesn't have to be this way. Conservative politicians don't need to be symbols of our anger, and conservative media doesn't need to be an empty sounding board. We can change this.

Yesterday, I saw a Politico story with this headline:

GOP rivals humble themselves before the party's elite

Cruz, Kasich and Trump team makes pitches as delegates dangle their support.

Knowing the three people who represent Oklahoma on the RNC, I can't accept the term "party elite." Oklahoma GOP chairman Pam Pollard, national committeeman Steve Fair, and national committeewoman Carolyn McLarty are long-time conservative grassroots volunteers who won the trust of a lot of other grassroots volunteers in order to be elected to their positions. They aren't wealthy, they aren't funded by special interest groups.

By profession, they're an accountant, a marketing director at a company that makes jellies and jams, and a retired small-town veterinarian, respectively.

Pam Pollard held a variety of low-level positions in the Oklahoma County Republican Party and the Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women, rising to higher levels of leadership on the strength of her faithful service. She was a unifying consensus choice to step in when Randy Brogdon resigned the chairmanship last year. She is known as a stickler for fairness and following the rules. She's also a dynamite networker. Here she is at the 2004 Republican National Convention, with a blazer full of pins that she traded with delegates from other states.

Pam Pollard at the 2004 Republican National Convention

Steve Fair served many years as a lonely advocate for conservatism and the Republican Party in southwestern Oklahoma, a rural region that stubborn in clinging to their long-time Democrat voting patterns. Fair slowly built up a strong Republican infrastructure, nurturing qualified candidates who could run for office, first as a leader in the Stephens County party, then as chairman of the 4th Congressional District organization. For years, Fair has written a weekly newspaper column called "Fair and Biased," making the case for conservative ideas to southwestern Oklahoma voters. Fair is not running for reelection as national committeeman, which disappoints me greatly. (I have qualms about the two candidates seeking to replace him.)

Carolyn McLarty is a long-time leader in our state's Eagle Forum chapter. She is a founding member of the Republican National Conservative Caucus, is Chairman of the RNC Resolutions Committee, and has served as the Chairman of the Conservative Steering Committee -- working to organize conservatives on the RNC to resist moves toward the mushy middle.

These three Oklahomans aren't elite in any way except for the hard work they've exerted on behalf of conservative principles in the Republican Party.

UPDATE 2016/04/30: This blog entry received an approving mention and an extended quote in today's editorial roundup in the Oklahoman:

This election cycle has been dominated by claims that the Republican "elite" are at war with the "grass roots" of the party. In a recent post, conservative Tulsa blogger Michael Bates highlights how ludicrous that characterization is....

Indeed, the "elite" label has been applied so broadly one wonders who isn't among that group's alleged members.

Also, I've added links to Steve Fair's blog, and to the profiles of Fair and McLarty on gop.com.

CORRECTION: BatesLine incorrectly identified Robert Ford as Creek County Republican Chairman. He is in fact Creek County 1st District Committeeman.

Supporters of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz swept today's Oklahoma 1st Congressional District Republican Convention, winning all three delegate seats and all three alternate slots by wide margins.

Tulsa 9/12 Project leader Ronda Vuillemont-Smith, State Rep. David Brumbaugh, and Wagoner County Assessor Sandy Hodges were elected as delegates, and State Sen. Nathan Dahm, Creek County District Committeeman Robert Ford, and Oklahomans for Life president Tony Lauinger were elected as alternates.

While there was a visible Trump contingent present, led by Paul Nosak, the vote totals indicate it amounted to only about a quarter of the convention. Cruz campaign staffer Hudson Talley had come up from Houston for the convention and was handing out delegate slates to Cruz supporters. There wasn't really a whip operation at work -- no signals or signs -- which shows in the fact that only one of the six positions was filled without a runoff, and that one was only by a slim margin. Cruz (or at least no-Trump) supporters scattered their votes on each initial ballot, but coalesced in each runoff. Nosak, wearing a large Trump button on his lapel, was the distant runner-up in five of the six elections, but lost handily in each runoff. His best result was 31% in the final vote for the 3rd alternate position, after about a third of the delegates had gone home.

Oklahoma Republican State Chairman Pam Pollard spoke at length about the upcoming state convention, the process of electing the 25 at-large delegates, and the matter of binding delegates at the national convention. Pollard emphasized that OK GOP party rules and state law are in alignment and that delegates are bound until their assigned candidate is no longer an officially nominated candidate, alluding to often-discussed rule 40(B), which requires that a candidate have support of a majority of delegates from at least eight states to have his name entered into nomination at the National Convention. Pollard said that if all three candidates who won delegates in the March 1 primary -- Cruz, Trump, and Rubio -- were officially nominated for the 1st ballot, she would simply announce the result from the primary, without polling the delegates. Only if one or more of those three candidates ceased to have the support for nomination would she poll the delegation.

During the morning session, while the credentials committee was tallying registrations, U. S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and U. S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine addressed the convention. Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr led the convention in the Pledge of Allegiance but did not deliver a speech.

All Republican candidates who were present were given an opportunity to speak. While votes were being counted, delegates heard from incumbent Republican National Commiteewoman Carolyn McLarty and her challenger, National Committeeman candidates Steve Curry and Richard Engle (incumbent Steve Fair is not seeking re-election), Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado, recently elected to fill the remaining months of Stanley Glanz's unexpired term, and Luke Sherman, who is competing for the nomination for the next full four-year-term, Amanda Teegarden (Senate 39), Scott McEachin (House 67), Richard Grabel (Tulsa County Commission District 2), Michael Willis (Tulsa County Clerk), Allen Branch (City Council District 6).

Term-limited State Sen. Brian Crain and parliamentarian John Wright (former state representative) did a fine job of running the meeting efficiently and without controversy. The convention convened a little after 9 a.m. and adjourned shortly after 3 p.m.

By the numbers:

235 delegates registered at Tulsa's Renaissance Hotel for today's convention out of 419 allocated votes. Allocations are based on number of votes cast for the top-of-ticket Republican nominee in the last general election. Tulsa County had 181 delegates out of 320 votes allocated, Wagoner County had 34 delegates out of 46 votes allocated, Washington County had 18 delegates out of 38 votes allocated, and the portion of Creek County in CD 1 had 2 delegates out of 4 votes allocated. No one was present to represent the portion of Rogers County in CD 1, which had 11 allocated votes.

Fourteen candidates filed for the three delegate slots, which were filled in separate votes. Ballots were counted by county, reported in a roll call, then weighted based on the ratio of allocated votes to delegates voting for each county and summed. (Weighting is in accordance with long-standing state party rules. For example, each Tulsa County delegate's vote was worth 320 allocated / 181 actual or approximately 1.77 votes. Each Creek County delegate's vote was worth 4 allocated / 2 actual or 2 votes.) If no candidate had a majority of the vote, a runoff was held between the top two candidates, based on the weighted vote.

David Oldham was nominated to the Oklahoma Republican presidential elector slate, winning 48% on the first ballot over George Wiland and Peggy Dau. Wiland withdrew from the runoff because of the margin on the first ballot and in the interest of time. Dau was named Elector Alternate, who would replace Oldham on the ballot in the event of his death or ineligibility.

Delegate results:

1st Delegate: Cruz supporter Ronda Vuillemont-Smith finished first with 44% to 11% for Paul Nosak, who supports Donald Trump for president, with remaining votes scattered among the candidates. In the runoff, Vuillemont-Smith won with 76% to 24% of the weighted vote, 162-47 in the raw total.

2nd Delegate: Brumbaugh, state chairman for the Cruz campaign, received 43% on the first ballot to 17% for Nosak. In the runoff, Brumbaugh prevailed by 73% to 27% weighted, with a raw vote of 147-54.

3rd Delegate: Hodges finished first on the initial ballot with 42% to 20% for Nosak. In the runoff, Hodges won by 74% to 26% or a raw total of 153-50.

Alternate results:

1st Alternate: 1st ballot, Dahm 50.35%, Nosak 15.10%, Lauinger 14.99%. No runoff required. Dahm received 98 raw votes to 28 for Nosak and 28 for Lauinger with 36 scattered among other candidates.

2nd Alternate: 1st ballot, Lauinger 32.5%, Ford 26%, Nosak 22%. Raw vote was Lauinger 62, Ford 49, Nosak 41, other candidates 22. Runoff, Ford 50.22%, Lauinger 49.78%, 89-88 raw vote.

3rd Alternate: 1st ballot, Lauinger 48.3%, Nosak 18.8%, Debra Cook, state committeewoman for Washington County, 17.7%. Runoff, Lauinger 68.61%, Nosak 31.39%, 110-50 raw vote.

Donald J. Trump

How is it possible that the people of the great State of Colorado never got to vote in the Republican Primary? Great anger - totally unfair!

7:28 PM - 10 Apr 2016

Michael Bates ‏

@realDonaldTrump Is it unfair to good kicking teams that field goals are only worth three points?

8:19 PM - 10 Apr 2016

Michael Bates ‏

@realDonaldTrump Grassroots conventions like Colorado's were how a majority of delegates were selected when Reagan won.

8:18 PM - 10 Apr 2016
John Hawkins

What does the fact that Trump's official campaign apparatus is an unorganized, embarrassing train wreck tell you about how he'd govern?

11:13 PM - 7 Apr 2016

Ted Cruz swept the field in Colorado this last week, as Republican grassroots delegates at congressional district caucuses and state conventions elected delegates to the National Convention who are officially unbound, but who have all declared their intention to vote for Cruz.

Jim Geraghty has an accurate and detailed explanation of Colorado's process:

Colorado had primaries until 2003, when Gov. Bill Owens and bipartisan majority in the state legislature eliminated them in presidential contests, contending it was a waste of money and that state parties should pay for them, not taxpayers....

On March 1, Colorado Republicans gathered at 2,917 precinct caucuses to select delegates to the County Assemblies and District Conventions. If you're a Coloradan with a view on the Republican primary, this is when you got to vote. At the County Assemblies, those delegates elect delegates to the Congressional District and State Conventions. (Colorado Republicans pick three delegates and three alternates from each of the seven congressional districts, and then another 13 to represent statewide.)

This is the way representative democracy is supposed to work: Voters choose representatives whom they know and trust to exercise good judgment as they face circumstances that could not have been foreseen.

Geraghty explains that in years past, Colorado conducted a non-binding straw poll on precinct caucus night, but when the 2012 Republican National Convention voted that, for the 2016 race, any such poll would have to bind delegates in some way, Colorado Republicans opted out, voting last August that no presidential preference poll would be conducted at this year's caucuses:

Republican National Committee bylaws do not allow states to hold non-binding preference polls. Any straw poll conducted at the caucus in 2016 would bind delegates to the poll's results, even if a candidate ultimately decides to suspend or withdraw their campaign.

"Eliminating the straw poll means the delegates we send to the national convention in Cleveland will be free to choose the candidate they feel can best put America back on a path to prosperity and security," Chairman Steve House said. "No one wants to see their vote cast for an empty chair, especially not on a stage as big as the national convention's."

(It should be noted that Iowa's caucus-night straw poll was also non-binding in years past. This year it had binding effect, because of the rule change approved at the 2012 national convention. Likewise, Minnesota, DC, Maine, and other states that held caucuses. Most opted to continue the presidential preference vote this year and to allow the vote to bind their delegates. Colorado, North Dakota, and Wyoming are among the few exceptions.)

I suspect Colorado's decision was influenced by the large field of credible candidates. Colorado wanted to have maximum flexibility to respond to changes in the field over time. They didn't want to send delegates to Cleveland bound to a candidate who had dropped out but was refusing to release his delegates. They may also have considered that a state with uncommitted delegates would have more leverage at the convention.

The Republican Party (unlike the Democrats) operates on a federal model, with the national rules providing a broad framework within which state parties have great discretion for choosing their delegates.

The Colorado process is the same one that was used in many more states back when Ronald Reagan was running for the White House. In 1976 and in 1980, Reagan supporters were in the majority at the state's six congressional district conventions and the state convention, While the national delegates were not bound to vote for Reagan in any way, they were elected by their state and district delegate peers precisely because they were declared and credible Reagan fans.

In those days, many primaries were non-binding "beauty contests" -- tests of a candidate's popularity that might influence the choice of the delegates.

This weekend Donald Trump also claimed that Cruz was "stealing" his delegates in states where he won primaries but failed to manage the process of electing loyalists as national delegates. That happened this weekend in Missouri, as Cruz supporters were elected to attend the national convention, although many will be obliged to vote for Trump on the first ballot.

I win a state in votes and then get non-representative delegates because they are offered all sorts of goodies by Cruz campaign. Bad system!

8:47 AM - 10 Apr 2016

In most states, grassroots delegates to congressional district and state conventions pick the live human beings who will attend the National Convention, even if a primary binds those delegates to vote for a particular candidate on the first ballot. (Every state has different rules as to how long a delegate will be bound -- through one ballot, multiple ballots, until the candidate releases his delegates.) Even if a delegate is bound to vote for a particular presidential candidate, he is free in every other vote taken at the convention, including the adoption of rules and the selection of a vice presidential nominee.

No one is getting offered goodies by the Cruz campaign. Most of the people who showed up at the precinct caucuses, got elected to county, district, and state conventions are Cruz supporters, so they elected national convention delegates who also support Cruz.

These delegates to the district and state conventions are mostly long-time grassroots Republicans. Some got involved back when Reagan challenged Gerald Ford in '76. Some became involved in the late '80s at the urging of the Christian Coalition, because they were concerned about abortion and other social issues. Some were energized by listening to Rush and by the 1994 takeover of the House and Senate. Some were stirred to action in response to 9/11. Some were inspired by Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012. The Tea Party brought some into the party. They all got involved to fight for conservative values, individual liberty, and a strong America at home and abroad. They stayed involved, volunteering to knock doors, make phone calls, or man the party booth at the state fair.

These district and state delegates are not big donors. They give of their time and their energy to elect good candidates. They have an investment of time and love. They study the issues and the candidates and draw their own conclusions. They aren't swayed by expensive TV ad campaigns. The fact that this sort of person tends to support Ted Cruz over Donald Trump should tell you something.

Most of these grassroots Republicans who serve as district and state delegates are just as disgusted with Republican leadership in Washington as Trump supporters are. They see Trump as someone who has been part of the problem. They see Cruz as someone who has challenged the establishment, who understands the issues, and who has a practical plan to address them.

Trump supporters can get involved, too, but it requires some commitment.

The anger and confusion about Colorado's process is a consequence of lazy, sloppy reporting about the nominating process. In most years, the idea that delegates are mere points on a scoreboard is a reasonable approximation to reality. In most years, at some point a bandwagon effect kicks in, causing candidates to drop out and later states to back the front-runner by ever-widening margins. That simplified model broke down this year, because Republicans aren't jumping on the bandwagon, because a credible and crafty challenger remains in the race, because it's increasingly likely that no one will have the nomination sewn up before the convention,

When we learn that a process is more complicated than we were led to believe, our response ought to be one of wonder and humility. But in Trumpistan, finding out that your uninformed understanding is incorrect leads to childish rage and blame-shifting.

I like the caucus and convention system of choosing unbound delegates. It means that the nominating process is in the hands of Republicans who were paying attention to politics before yesterday. Primaries put the power of nomination into the hands of voters (many of them not even Republicans) who are swayed by massive TV ad buys and whose perception of the candidates is entirely shaped by mass media.


Melanie Sturm, a conservative columnist who was elected as a national convention delegate at the Colorado Third District caucus, gives her perspective.

Back on February 27, 2016, before the precinct caucuses on March 1, Colorado Republican Chairman Steve House explained the reasons state party leaders opted against a binding presidential preference vote the previous August:

At no time prior to this year has a straw poll bound delegates to specific candidates. Many thought that the 2012 straw poll bound delegates to winner Rick Santorum. In fact it did not....

This year the Republican National Committee requires that if a party conducts a straw poll it must bind delegates to the results.

Some ask why the Colorado GOP doesn't just comply and bind all of our delegates proportionally to the result of a straw poll. There are a number of reasons the executive committee decided against the poll this year and I won't go into all of them.

However, I want to share my most pressing concern with doing a binding preference poll. There is no such thing as a binding preference poll because when you actually award delegates via a poll it's not a poll - it's an election. The results could affect the outcome of the presidential race because this year the race is likely to be very close if not unsettled at the national convention.

So what's wrong with an election? Nothing if you are actually going to run it with all the precautions and security measures of an actual election. In our case we have over 2000 precincts in 64 counties where there is no uniformity of ballots, no uniform credentialing training process, no clarity on who actually counts ballots, no clear answer to who controls the tally sheets, and no uniform transparent process with integrity in the event there needs to be a recount. The prospect of awarding delegates through a straw poll with so many systemic loopholes and fraud risks is an unacceptable gamble given the stakes of this presidential election.

Picking our delegates through a controlled and secure four step process that is open to all registered Republicans is far preferable than an opaque straw poll. Something needs to change going forward but election integrity is still more important to me than any other factor....

Ari Armstrong, a newly registered Republican voter, writes about his experience

A completely fair headline of what happened this year would have been, "Colorado Republicans Select Presidential Delegates the Same Way They Did Last Time." But the reality of the situation is so much more boring that the trumped up version of it.

To return to my experiences with the caucuses: The woman elected in my precinct as a delegate to the state convention ran on an explicitly anti-Trump platform. She made this very clear, and she was elected by the rest of us with this understanding. Claims that the rest of us were somehow "disenfranchised" are ridiculous; we all got to vote for delegates, and everyone in the room had a chance to run to become a delegate (most didn't want to). It truly was a grass-roots process. I was elected as the alternate delegate to the state convention, also on an explicitly anti-Trump platform.

The simple fact is that the Republicans at my precinct caucus mostly disfavored Trump, and evidently that is true of most other precincts as well. Trump lost in Colorado because he's just not very popular here....

Should Colorado give up the caucuses in the future? As noted, I'm not totally sure, but I'd like to rebut one reason for saying we should. The claim basically is that, because people have to attend a meeting and then select delegates to conventions, who then select national delegates, the caucuses are not sufficiently democratic.

It is true that, to participate in the caucuses, you have to do more than mark an "x" on a piece of paper. You actually have to (gasp!) go to a meeting. If you want to become a delegate to a congressional or state convention, where national delegates are picked, you actually have to stand up and make your case to your fellow Republican voters (and pay a convention fee). I'm not convinced this is a problem. Arguably, it is a feature, not a bug.

Here's a story from 2012 about the national rule change that required any caucus straw poll to be binding, which in turn prompted Colorado's decision to cancel their straw poll.

MORE: Here's a good explainer from Jay Cost about the delegate election process and Trump's whinging.

Party conventions are open processes. Delegates to these gatherings are not handpicked by party bosses. They are regular Republicans who participate because they have the time and interest to do so. The Cruz team put in the effort to organize regulars loyal to its candidate; the Trump campaign failed to do so. Consider, for instance, the Colorado convention held earlier this month. Delegates to that convention were chosen at precinct caucuses held on Super Tuesday--and any registered Republican was invited to attend. That the Trump campaign failed to get its supporters to those caucuses is not the fault of the Cruz campaign, the Colorado Republican party, or anybody else except the Trump campaign.

The Republican party does not belong to its presidential candidates in the way that Trump presumes. In important respects, it still belongs to the party regulars who attend these conventions. Starting in the 1970s, the party organization began sharing authority with voters to select the presidential nominee, but sovereignty was never handed over to the electorate lock, stock, and barrel. The delegates to the national convention, chosen mostly by these state and district conventions, have always retained a role--not only to act when the voters fail to reach a consensus, but to conduct regular party business.

This is hardly antidemocratic, by the way. Party organizations such as these are a vital, albeit overlooked part of our nation's democratic machinery. The party regulars at the district, state, and national conventions do the quotidian work of holding the party together between elections: They establish its rules, arbitrate disputes, formulate platforms to present to the voters, and so on. It would be impossible to have a party without these sorts of people doing work the average voter doesn't care about.

And these people are hardly the "establishment" in any meaningful sense of the word. Consider the process in Colorado.... But the process was open to any registered Republican, and more than a thousand people served as delegates at the state convention. There were some big political players involved, naturally, but by and large they were just average people. The same goes for the state conventions in places like Wyoming and North Dakota. These meetings in Cheyenne and Bismarck are in no way beholden to, or the equivalent of, the power players working on K Street.

MORE: Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli responded assertively to accusations that the Cruz campaign was bribing delegates or twisting arms:

"You know what the goodies we're promising people are?" Cuccinelli asked. Then almost whispering like it was a big secret while partially covering his mouth, Ken Cuccinelli answered his own question.

"They can have their Constitution back. And they can have economic growth and a plan to actually execute it. And a candidate who can go head-to-head and defend it. Donald Trump won't even debate this issues because he can't debate them.

Ted Cruz has a plan to expand freedom, to create opportunity across America with a tax plan that wipes out special interest power. He has a plan to return security to this country. And we have a president where that's desperately needed to be improved."

UPDATED: Added a new tab to the spreadsheet to game out an alternative scenario: Cruz 45, Trump 40, Kasich 15 in remaining contests.

Despite the near-sweep last night for Donald Trump, Ted Cruz still has a plausible path to arriving at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland with enough pledged delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot.


I've seen many hasty, sloppy delegate-count projections that make faulty assumptions. They often assume that future delegate allocations will be roughly proportional to future popular vote totals. That's easier than analyzing the rules of the states yet to vote.

Twenty-one states and American Samoa have yet to vote. I've looked at each state's rules (thanks to the venerable and detail-obsessed website The Green Papers) and applied one assumption, as a starting point for discussion: That the anti-Trump forces coalesce behind Ted Cruz, who manages a 51% win in every remaining contest. That's 51% of the vote statewide, 51% in each congressional district (if delegates are allocated by CD), 51% in caucuses and conventions.

51% is not a tall order. Trump did not manage to win a majority of the vote in any jurisdiction on March 15, with the exception of the Northern Marianas. Florida -- Trump's second home -- is the only state that he plausibly could have won in a head-to-head match with Cruz.

Many states remaining are plurality-take-all. A few are proportional, except that a 50% winner gets the grand prize of all the delegates.

There are three remaining caucus-and-convention states: Wyoming has to elect its 14 statewide delegates. American Samoa will pledge 6 (its RNC members will remain unpledged). Colorado will elect 34 delegates at its state convention: 14 will be chosen by the convention as a whole, 3 by each congressional district caucusing separately, and the ballots will show the presidential candidate to whom each delegate candidate is pledging his or her support. (Colorado will also send its RNC members unpledged.)

What people who have never been involved in caucuses and conventions fail to understand is that a majority of the delegates to a CD or state convention pick ALL the national convention delegates. Back in 1976, a majority of delegates to the Oklahoma Republican convention were Reagan supporters, which meant that they elected a unanimous slate of 36 Reagan delegates to the Republican National Convention in Kansas City. Based on the Wyoming county convention results, it seems likely that Cruz supporters will control the state convention. I would expect the Colorado and American Samoa conventions will go the same way -- if anti-Trump has majority support, and if Trump opponents coalesce behind Cruz, Cruz would win all of those delegates.

I've uploaded a spreadsheet to Google Docs showing the math. If Cruz has a bare majority of support in the remaining contests, he enters Cleveland with 1289 bound delegates, enough to win the nomination on the first ballot. That doesn't depend on any of the unbound delegates voting for Cruz. Trump would enter Cleveland with 734 bound delegates.

Notice too that I haven't allocated the Pennsylvania congressional district delegates. According to The Green Papers:

Rule 8.4 of the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania's Rules states that all delegates elected by Congressional District "...shall run at large within the Districts and shall not be officially committed to any particular candidate on the ballot.".

Conceivably, the Cruz and Trump camps would endorse slates of delegates in each congressional district, which would allow us to apply the winner-take-all rule by CD, adding 54 more delegates to Cruz's total. (This table from the state election board will show you all the candidates who have filed to run for delegate in Pennsylvania.)

Varying the scenario a bit, suppose that Trump wins, say, 20 congressional districts, while still losing every statewide total. (I could imagine Trump winning heavily Democrat CDs in New York City with low GOP turnout, without making a dent in a Cruz win fueled by heavy upstate support.) Switch 20 CDs and the total going into Cleveland is Cruz 1239, Trump 794. Cruz would still have a majority of delegates bound to support him.

Even if Kasich stays in and pulls 15% of the vote, Cruz could win remaining contests with 45 to Trump's 40 and go into Cleveland with 1214 delegates to Trump's 800, just shy of what he needs for a first ballot win, but close enough to get over the top easily and to dispel any Trump claim to victory. That's because in most of the remaining contests, a plurality is enough to win all the delegates. If Cruz marshals his forces to get his delegates elected in the Pennsylvania CD contests, he could still enter Cleveland with a bound 1st ballot majority.

Trump can be stopped on the first ballot in Cleveland, if the majority of Republicans, who want to stop Trump, coalesce now behind Ted Cruz. Cruz can win the nomination outright, fair and square, based on the votes cast in primaries and caucuses, without changing the convention rules, without the appearance or reality of backroom deals, without risking a Trump-voter revolt over perceived unfairness. All that is necessary is for the #NeverTrump forces to coalesce today behind Ted Cruz.

AND ANOTHER THING: The first-ballot nomination scenario would have been even stronger for Cruz had Rubio and Kasich dropped out as late as last weekend. (It's evident now that the poll showing Rubio winning early voters in Florida was way, way off. The subsample size was 72, which has an MOE of 11.55%.) Cruz still might not have won Florida -- it's Trump's second homestate -- but he likely would have won the remaining Ides of March states. Claims by Rubio and Kasich supporters that a contested convention was the only way to stop Trump was self-serving and wishful thinking.

ONE MORE THING: By my count, there are 906 delegates that will be bound to one candidate or another by upcoming contests. In which of the remaining states can Kasich win a plurality? He's only done well in his home state and two very small New England states where he spent a lot of time. I could imagine Kasich winning a state like Delaware , Connecticut, or Rhode Island. Maybe Kasich takes a CD or two in New York; he only won six CD delegates in Illinois. So that's 70 delegates or so he might win. The remaining 836 are going to wind up either in Cruz's pile or Trump's, and in large blocks. Each contest will either put Cruz closer to a majority or Trump. Only a very precise and improbably result would produce a situation where Cruz and Trump are both short of a majority and close enough to each other that neither can claim a mandate. Choose ye this day....

WHAT ABOUT KASICH? There aren't enough delegates remaining to win for Kasich to win the nomination on the first ballot. He would have to sweep all remaining delegates and win some of those released by ex-candidates or otherwise unbound delegates to get the majority. He would have to prevent Trump and Cruz from winning a combined 1237 delegates; they already have 1114. A nomination that involves last-minute rules changes or other convention chicanery would be seen as illegitimate by a big chunk of the GOP electorate, dooming not only the GOP's presidential hopes, but likely ending congressional majorities as well. Also, Kasich's decision to skip the Utah debate after Trump punted it tells me that Kasich is playing a game, positioning himself for a job in a Trump administration and not serious about winning.


Ace links and explains one of the media's confusing oversimplifications:

One important thing to keep in mind is that a lot of times the media tells you this or that primary is "proportional."

In fact, they're usually not. Illinois and Missouri were supposedly "proportional." That was shorthand for "Winner take all in the statewide race, then winner take all per Congressional District."

In fact, these "proportional" races turn out to be Winner Take Most, because the statewide winner usually wins almost all -- or just all -- of the Congressional Districts too.

Thus such races can quickly become de facto Winner Take All races, despite the media calling the "proportional."

If someone wins statewide, they might have a massive margin in one CD and lose the rest, but it's more likely that support will be evenly distributed across CDs, barring some special local circumstances. If the race is close, like Oklahoma's 2008 primary, which was then winner-take-all by state and CD, it's more likely that the CD victories will be split. In '08, McCain narrowly won statewide, beating Huckabee by 36.6% to 33.4%, but Huckabee won the two congressional districts nearest Arkansas.

Listening to the Glenn Beck team do their back-of-the-envelope calculation on the March 16, 2016, show, I noticed (with much consternation) that they treated "Winner-Take-Most" (really Winner-Take-All by state and by congressional district) as if they were proportionally allocated.

Ace speculates that Cruz might have better odds of reaching a number shy of 1237, but high enough to be nearly tied. If Cruz and Trump split all 906 remaining delegates, they'd be tied at 1010. (Any Kasich wins of a state or CD would reduce that number accordingly.) 181 are currently bound to ex-candidates for at least the first ballot, unless released. 271 would be uncommitted and up for grabs. Exit question: What will the RNC do to stop Trump from buying delegates?

On Monday, I walked over 17,760 steps, delivering flyers in support of Ted Cruz to my precinct and a neighboring precinct. Tuesday after work, my daughter and I stood with other Cruz supporters at 101st and Memorial, waving signs to remind homeward-bound commuters to vote.

You're welcome, Ted. You're welcome, America.

Cruz won statewide in Oklahoma and won four of five congressional districts. (Rubio won the 5th congressional district.) Because of proportional delegate allocation, Cruz won 16 delegates, Trump won 14, and Rubio won 13, of Oklahoma's 43 delegates. In Texas, Cruz won every congressional district, taking home 104 delegates, to 48 for Trump, and 3 for Rubio. In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, we learned that Cruz also won Alaska. Arkansas was close enough -- a 2.3% margin -- that had Carson withdrawn earlier, Cruz probably would have won.

Trump's best results were in Massachusetts, where voters can pick a primary on the day of the election, and were in the heart of the old Confederacy -- Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. Trump topped 40% only in Massachusetts (49.3%) and Alabama (43.4%). Interestingly, Trump's best counties in Oklahoma were in the region once known as "Little Dixie."

Rubio got his first win of the campaign, with 36.5% of the vote in the Minnesota caucuses. (Cruz finished 2nd, Trump finished 3rd.)

The current delegate totals after Super Tuesday:

Trump 338
Cruz 236
Rubio 112
Kasich 27
Carson 8
Bush 4
Paul 1
Huckabee 1
Fiorina 1

(I rely on The Green Papers for accurate counts. The website has been paying scrupulous attention to delegate allocation rules since its inception in 1999, and I trust The Green Papers to stick to the facts.)

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in Oklahoma and Vermont and won caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota, came close in Massachusetts, but Hillary won everywhere else.

Vic Regalado won the GOP nomination for the unexpired term for sheriff. He will face Democrat Rex Berry on April 5. I am hearing that second place finisher Luke Sherman intends to file for the full four-year term regardless of the outcome of the special election.

MORE: On his Facebook page, Luke Sherman announced his intention to file and run for the full four-year term:

I am grateful for the overwhelming support so many of you have shown me last night and into this morning. Despite spending three times the amount of money that we did, our competitor still couldn't convince voters and win the majority.

Today is the first day of the next leg of my campaign. We are moving forward to the June 28th primary to fill the next full 4 year term. I still believe that with the right bold leadership, the TCSO can be one the best law enforcement agencies in the country. Thank you all for your prayers and support. Katie and I are committed to bringing Tulsa County together. ‪#‎ShermanForSheriff‬

Bumped to the top through Tuesday. Originally posted on February 27, 2016.


Oklahoma's presidential preference primary is this coming Tuesday, March 1, 2016, and I urge my fellow Oklahoma Republicans to join me in voting for Sen. Ted Cruz for President.

I've voted in every Oklahoma presidential primary -- the first one was held in 1988 -- and usually most of the good candidates are gone by the time it's our turn to vote. Only rarely have I been able to vote for the candidate I felt was the best choice. This is one of those rare, good years.

I want a president who understands what made our country a peaceful, prosperous, and powerful nation, what factors have undermined that peace and prosperity, and what the President can do to get us back on the right track. (It's also important to have a president who understands what is beyond his authority to affect.) I want a president with a clear understanding of the goal, a sense of urgency to take action, the strategic sense to plan the steps needed to reach the goal, the ability to persuade with clarity and conviction, and the mental agility to respond to attacks and adjust to changing circumstances, without compromising his principles.

Ted Cruz has demonstrated all of those qualities during the course of a distinguished public career. As the Director of Public Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission, Ted Cruz built bipartisan support for measures that removed regulatory barriers to e-commerce, expanding consumer choice and opening new global markets to American small businesses. (You like ordering contact lens refills and wine over the Internet? Thank Ted Cruz.)

As Solicitor General of Texas, Ted Cruz represented the rights of Texans and all Americans, arguing nine cases at the U. S. Supreme Court (8 as SG, 1 as a private attorney) and submitting amicus briefs in many others. In the Medellin v. Texas case, Cruz successfully defended Texas's right to put a brutal murderer to death, despite an attempt by the World Court, with the Bush administration's approval, to stay the execution because the murderer was a foreign national. Cruz's amicus brief in the D. C. v. Heller gun-rights case, filed on behalf of 31 states (including Oklahoma), helped to put the Supreme Court on record that the 2nd Amendment guarantees the individual's right to keep and bear arms.

As a U. S. Senator, Ted Cruz kept his promise to oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants. Working with allies in the Senate and the House, Cruz used the amendment process to expose the the Gang of 8's assurances as hollow. When he offered to write their assurances into the bill as amendments, the open-borders bunch in the Senate showed their true colors and voted them down, which gave opponents the ammunition they needed to stop the bill in the House.

Cruz's push to defund Obamacare, using Congress's power of the purse as an effective check on the President's power, helped propel Republicans to a majority in the Senate at the 2014 election, even though it panicked Senate GOP leadership, who waved the white flag before the battle had even been engaged.

Cruz has shown political courage and an ability to persuade voters to look at issues from another point of view. While campaigning in Iowa, he held firm in his opposition to subsidies for corn ethanol, while also calling for removing bureaucratic limits on ethanol blends, and yet he still finished first in that corn-fixated state.

Among Texans who know him well, Cruz has been endorsed by his former boss (Texas Gov. Greg Abbott), his adversary in the 2012 Senate race (David Dewhurst), and his former competitor for the presidency (former Gov. Rick Perry).

Prof. Thomas Sowell, one of the intellectual giants of the conservative movement, has endorsed Ted Cruz for president, particularly in light of the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia:

Senator Ted Cruz has been criticized in this column before, and will undoubtedly be criticized here again. But we can only make our choices among those actually available, and Senator Cruz is the one who comes to mind when depth and steadfastness come to mind.

As someone who once clerked for a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he will know how important choosing Justice Scalia's replacement will be. And he has the intellect to understand much more.

Cruz has received a couple of high-profile backhanded endorsements as well. The Left isn't afraid of Trump. The Left and the GOP establishment both know that Donald Trump can be shaped and moulded to serve their purposes. Former President Jimmy Carter said at a speech at Britain's House of Lords that he prefers Donald Trump to Ted Cruz, because Trump is "malleable" and Cruz is not.

"If I had a choice of Republican nominees -- let's just say, for instance, between Cruz and Trump -- I think I would choose Trump, which may surprise some of you. But the reason is that Trump has proven already that he's completely malleable. I don't think he has any fixed opinions that he would really go to the White House and fight for. On the other hand, Ted Cruz is not malleable. He has far-right-wing policies, in my opinion, that would be pursued aggressively if and when he might become president."

Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration, is another left-winger frightened by the thought of Cruz as President. Lefty Reich's knocks against Cruz only make me like Ted Cruz even more. (Emphasis added below.) The first item is practically a recitation of the GOP platform.

4 Reasons Ted Cruz is Even More Dangerous than Donald Trump.

1. Cruz is more fanatical. Sure, Trump is a bully and bigot, but he doesn't hew to any sharp ideological line. Cruz is a fierce ideologue: He denies the existence of man-made climate change, rejects same-sex marriage, wants to abolish the Internal Revenue Service, believes the 2nd amendment guarantees everyone a right to guns. He doesn't believe in a constitutional divide between church and state, favors the death penalty, rejects immigration reform, demands the repeal of Obamacare, and takes a strict "originalist" view of the meaning of the Constitution.

2. Cruz is a true believer. Trump has no firm principles except making money, getting attention, and gaining power. But Cruz has spent much of his life embracing radical right economic and political views.

3. Cruz is more disciplined and strategic. Trump is all over the place, often winging it, saying whatever pops into his mind. Cruz hews to a clear script and a carefully crafted strategy. He plays the long game (as he's shown in Iowa).

4. Cruz is a loner who's willing to destroy government institutions to get his way. Trump has spent his career using the federal government and making friends with big shots. Not Cruz. He has repeatedly led Republicans toward fiscal cliffs. In the Fall of 2013, his opposition to Obamacare led in a significant way to the shutdown of the federal government.

That all sounds pretty good to me. I especially like the fact that Cruz "plays the long game." Cruz has been the most successful fundraiser among the candidates, and he's done it with a massive number of relatively small donations. In the final quarter of 2015, Cruz received contributions from 300,000 donors, averaging $67 each.

Combine fundraising success with careful spending, and you have a campaign that can be there and be competitive all the way to the convention. One of my frustrations with Rick Santorum in 2012 was that he threw everything into winning Iowa, but didn't have the resources to continue momentum in other states. Ted Cruz is prepared to go the distance.

Here in Oklahoma, Ted Cruz has won the endorsement of the most consistently conservative of our elected officials, including Congressman Jim Bridenstine. I'm proud to add my name to that distinguished list, and I hope you'll join me at the polls on Tuesday to vote for Ted Cruz for President.


John Stossel's report on the Cruz campaign's big-data-driven campaign, led by Oklahoma's own Chris Wilson.

UPDATE for the primary for the full-four year term: Luke Sherman has been endorsed by four of the other candidates in the special election primary, and he continues to have my support.

The race to fill the unexpired term of former Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz has been a strange one for me. It's one of the few local races where I knew none of the candidates before the election, and I've only met two of them during the course of the campaign.

It's a strange election for everyone. The election is only for the term ending at the end of this year. Within a couple of weeks after the general election results are in, it will be time to file to run for a complete four-year term.

Today, Tulsa County Republicans will pick one of nine candidates to face the lone Democratic candidate, Rex Berry, in the April 5, 2016 special election. After listening to Pat Campbell's interviews with the candidates on KFAQ, reading the Tulsa 9/12 Project's candidate questionnaire, and listening to most of KRMG's debate, I've decided to vote for Luke Sherman to be our next Tulsa County Sheriff.

I've thought for quite a while that we needed an experienced lawman from outside the TCSO and the culture that had been so damaged by Glanz's failed leadership. That eliminated a few of the candidates.

Because this primary is first-past-the-post with no runoff, campaign strength had to be a tie-breaker among similarly qualified candidates.

I eliminated Vic Regalado almost immediately. The large number of high-dollar contributions from high rollers and the mysterious cluster of max or near-max contributions from executives and employees from one company is worrisome. Why so much interest in this candidate? What are they expecting from him? At the KRMG debate, when asked about his executive/administrative experience, important for a position that oversees dozens of deputies, jail officers, and other employees, Regalado talked vaguely around the issue. He could cite no concrete qualifications in this area.

John Fitzpatrick has an impressive resume outside of law enforcement, but his service in law enforcement has been limited to the TPD reserve officers' program. I'm also concerned about a developer and a developer's attorney among his prominent donors and endorsers: Joe Westervelt and Lou Reynolds. Do you suppose that foreclosures and the sheriff's power to appoint appraisers have anything to do with this?

A number of my friends are supporting Tom Helm. What crossed him off my list was an answer he gave Pat Campbell (about 10 minutes in) about why it took Eric Harris's death to bring problems in the TCSO to light. Helm said that people in the organization raised concerns. He said he was told that he would "have to deal with it." Evidently that's what he did. He left the sheriff's office, but opted to say nothing publicly that might have exposed the rot. He seemed to be rationalizing the decision to protect his paycheck by keeping his mouth shut. Hardly a profile in courage.

I've been most impressed by Luke Sherman. From his website, here's a summary of his experience as a Tulsa Police officer:

He has served in many roles during his 23-year decorated career with the Tulsa Police Department. He joined the department in September of 1992 and has been an officer, field training officer, supervisor, field training supervisor, academy instructor and firearms instructor.

Luke_Sherman-Sheriff-2016.pngIn 1995, Luke was selected to join the department's SWAT team, where he served as a tactical operator, assistant team leader and finally as the assistant team commander. During over a decade on the team, he took part in many successful high-risk missions.

As a corporal (1998) among other assignments, he led a successful city-wide task force targeting the rise in methamphetamine production, usage and sales. As a sergeant (1999), he has supervised field units and specialty squads throughout the city.

Since 2008, he has led the department's very active Fugitive Warrant's Unit and also is one of the leaders of the U.S. Marshal's Violent Crimes Task Force. Both of these units are responsible for the arrest of thousands of violent criminals related to on-going high profile investigations, as well as fugitives from the Tulsa area and from other parts of the U.S. He led a multi-divisional police operational group during the Good Friday shootings (2012), the Best Buy shooting (2012) and a "Stranger Abduction" of a 8-year-old girl in east Tulsa (2014). Luke's unit was successful in identifying, locating and arresting the suspects in these three high profile cases.

Luke is a nationally recognized figure to law enforcement communities across the United States and in several other countries. As a director for the National Tactical Officer's Association (NTOA), Luke has played a pivotal role in assisting and providing subject matter expertise to members of both the U.S. Senate and U.S. Congress in topics such as the Ferguson riot incidents and the topic of the militarization of police forces. As an instructor for the NTOA, he has provided nearly 5000 hours of instruction in topics such as active shooter, hostage rescue, high-risk warrants, civil disturbance, barricaded gunman, legal considerations in policing and SWAT, civil disturbance, team leader and command-level decision making.

Sherman's answers to questionnaires and his interview responses indicate intelligence and thoughtfulness. His responses to the Tulsa 9/12 Project showed an awareness of the non-law-enforcement aspects of the job. I was pleased to see this in one of his replies: "I am also looking into partnerships with other local agencies and redirecting some excess earmarked ad valorem funds that are not being used by Tulsa Technology Center and Tulsa Community College." While this will require considerable political capital, there is no doubt that the earmarked millage levies enjoyed by TTC and TCC provide them with more than enough money; elected county officials should give voters the opportunity to reduce the TTC and TCC levies and find a way to shift that revenue stream to more productive uses.

An honorable mention goes to Jason Jackson, who has an impressive record of service of nearly 20 years with the Jenks Police Department, degrees in criminology and religious studies from Liberty University, and experience as a pastor. Jackson also has given solid answers in interviews and questionnaires.

I've endorsed Sherman over Jackson because I think Sherman is better placed to beat well-financed but less-desirable candidates in this first-past-the-post primary, and because I think service in leadership roles in the police department of the state's second largest city is better training for sheriff of the second largest county than leadership in a small city's police force.

I encourage you to join me in voting later today for Luke Sherman for the Republican nomination for Tulsa County Sheriff.

Ted Cruz returns to Tulsa

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Ted Cruz speaks to Tulsa rally (SX021020)

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz returned to Tulsa today for his third visit of the 2016 presidential campaign. Despite the short notice and the early starting time -- 12:30pm, barely after most churches end their Sunday services -- Cruz drew a crowd of about 3,000 to Tulsa's Central Park Hall. The stop was the first of three events in the state today ahead of Tuesday's primary.

Crowd at Tulsa Ted Cruz rally (SX020958)

In his 30-minute speech, Cruz said that his campaign was about three things: jobs, freedom, and security. His discussion of jobs included extensive mention of immigration policy -- the job-killing aspects of illegal immigration and excessive use of foreign guest workers. The immigration problem was also mentioned in the security section, in which Cruz reaffirmed his opposition to citizenship for anyone here illegally.

Citing the verse from Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun, Cruz drew a parallel with the economic and foreign policy challenges faced by the nation in the 1970s -- "same failed economic policies, same feckless and naive foreign policies," and even the same countries involved -- then as now, Russia and Iran are mocking our leaders. But Cruz found hope in the comparison: "We remember how that story ended," with Ronald Reagan's election, a revolution that came from the American people and turned the country around.

In his concluding paragraphs, Cruz told the crowd that Oklahoma is a battleground -- he's running neck and neck here with Trump. While 65% of Republicans nationally say that Trump is the wrong candidate to face Hillary Clinton, supporters of other candidates have to pull together to beat him. Cruz said that his was the only campaign in a position to beat Trump on Super Tuesday. He urged supporters to devote these last 48 hours to the campaign, to use social media and to pick up the phone to call friends and neighbors and urge them to vote for Cruz on Tuesday.

For a full 20 minutes after the speech, Cruz worked the crowd, shaking hands and posing for photos. A veteran political observer on hand pointed out that no other candidate makes himself as available to the public as Ted Cruz does.

Ted Cruz listens to voter following rally (SX021038.JPG)

Most of the speech was devoted to a substantive discussion of policy, organized around the three themes of jobs, freedom, and security.

To put Americans back to work, Cruz said, we need to lift off the jackboot of government from the necks of small business. As a replacement for the burdensome Obamacare regulation, Cruz called for health insurance that is personal and portable and that keeps government from getting between us and our doctors. Cruz called for a simple flat tax and the abolition of the IRS.

Cruz pointed out that immigration is also a jobs issue. When Arizona passed a tough immigration enforcement law, many illegal immigrants left the state on their own. As a result, the state had to spent hundreds of millions of dollars less, because it was no longer paying to educate and provide emergency room care for as many illegal immigrants. Arizona's unemployment rate dropped, and workers in the construction trades saw their wages go up.

Cruz said that both parties had failed us on immigration. Democrats see illegal immigrants as a source of new voters. Too many Republicans, listening to Wall Street and the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, see illegal immigrants as a source of cheap labor.

2013 was the time for choosing, when the "Gang of 8" bill -- which Cruz called the "Rubio Schumer Amnesty Bill" -- came before Congress. Rubio was sent out to evangelize for the bill to conservative media. (Trump was busy firing Dennis Rodman on Celebrity Apprentice at the time.)

Cruz reminded the audience of Trump's financial support for five members of the Gang of 8, part of a 40-year track record of funding open-borders Democrats, of the million-dollar court judgment against Trump for using illegal immigrant workers on the Trump Tower project, and of Trump's claim that he can't find Americans who want to work as waiters and waitresses.

Regarding security, Cruz said, "America has always been reluctant to use military force. We are slow to anger. But if and when military force is required, we should use overwhelming force, defeat the enemy, and get the heck out!"

Preceding the senator on the platform were State Rep. David Brumbaugh (R-Broken Arrow), Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak, Congressman Jim Bridenstine, and national radio talk show host Glenn Beck.



Ted Cruz this morning on Face the Nation:


Donald Trump's habit of using government to hound people from their homes to make way for his schemes isn't limited to the US. Ian Tuttle has documented Trump's efforts to make life miserable for neighbors of his grand Scottish golf resort -- a resort that has failed to live up to the ambitious claims made for it.

The story is like a replay of Local Hero, which was filmed just 35 miles to the north, but without the happy ending. In the movie, an American tycoon with Scottish roots wants to buy out a village on the North Sea coast and replace it with an oil refinery. The tycoon (played by Burt Lancaster) visits the site to close the deal with the lone holdout, a hermit who lives in a shack on the beach, to which he holds title. The tycoon falls in love with the seaside village and instead builds a marine research laboratory.

In the Trump version of the story, the tycoon bulldozes the dunes and blockades the "local heroes" who refuse to yield to his demands. A documentary about the ordeal, You've Been Trumped, was released in 2012 and is available for free online viewing on Hulu. (The photo above is a still from the follow-on film, A Dangerous Game, about the environmental and social impact of the golf resort industry around the world.)

In 2006, Trump proposed to build a golf resort on the North Sea coast in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. When local government denied his application to wreck a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (a shifting dune-scape unique to Scotland) to build his course, he went over their heads to the Scottish Executive which overruled local government. Alex Salmond, the local member of the Scottish Parliament and later leader of the Scottish National Party, facilitated the deal, claiming the project would generate 6,000 jobs nationally, 1,400 locally, but those plans haven't materialized.

As local MSP, Mr Salmond personally rang Scotland's chief planning officer while he was with the Trump lawyer after the plan was rejected by the local infrastructure committee in his Aberdeenshire constituency.

The man leading Scotland's drive for independence has seen little political or economic reward for his efforts, however. Mr Trump's plans for the Menie estate should have created thousands of jobs by building two golf courses, a five-star 450-bed hotel, 500 homes and 950 short-term lets.

To date, Mr Trump's own representatives put the number at only 200 new jobs - and Panorama estimates on the basis of the latest accounts (to December 2011), that only £25m has been spent with just one golf course and a temporary clubhouse to show for it so far.


Once Trump had pushed local government out of the way, he tried to use government muscle to shove his neighbors out of the way, pushing the local government to get Compulsory Purchase Orders (equivalent of eminent domain) to buy out neighbors whose properties were not as grand and glorious as Trump thought they ought to be. When local government deferred, Trump began harassing his neighbors in various alleged ways: Cutting off water with construction "accidents," ignoring property boundaries, and building berms that blocked their view of the ocean:

ybt_online_ab_110811_pm_crop.jpgDuring a visit to his Scotland project on an episode of Donald J. Trump's Fabulous World of Golf, a short-lived reality show that aired on the Golf Channel in 2010-11, Trump announced that "there are some houses quite far away from the course" that "I don't want to see." The camera panned to David Milne's home, high on its perch. Announced Donald: "We are berming some of the areas so that you don't see the houses." And sure enough, construction crews spent a week piling earth in a "bund," a large ridge, around Milne's home, removing it from view -- and cutting off his view of the sea. (Similar bunds were piled up around Forbes's house, and around Munro's.) "Nobody has a problem with it!" said Trump, on Trump's Fabulous World of Golf. He then conceded, with a shrug: "I guess maybe the people who live in the houses have a problem with it."

The Aberdeen Voice published an update last month, ten years after Trump announced his plans for the area. Quoting local councilor Martin Ford:

"Mr Trump's grandiose and extravagant promises of jobs, money and enhanced reputation for the region - parroted by First Minister Alex Salmond's Scottish Government - have failed to materialise. "At Menie, little of the proposed resort has been built. None of the 950 timeshares. A 19-bedroom hotel in an existing country house instead of a 450-bedroom new build. One golf course, not two. A much smaller clubhouse than originally proposed. Under 100 jobs, not 6000. Around £30 million spent instead of the £1 billion investment pledged.

"Meanwhile, the unique dune system at Menie, a protected Site of Special Scientific Interest, has been sacrificed - the justification being the economic benefits Mr Trump and the Scottish Government said would come from the resort that hasn't been built.

"Mr Trump's neighbours on the Menie estate have had their lives disrupted by bullying and intimidation for most of the last decade.

Tuttle's story concludes:

It would be an extraordinary irony if Donald Trump secured the Republican nomination riding a groundswell of working-class anger toward "elites." In Scotland, Trump teamed up with "elites" in the local and national government in an attempt to railroad working-class residents out of their homes. In Scotland, Donald Trump was not against "special interests." He was special interests. As Susan Munro told Anthony Baxter: "I've been here a long time, near on three decades, that's a long time. Most of my adult life's been spent in this house, brought my family up here, my family was born here. And then this man, this foreigner, because he's got a few pounds American in his pocket, a bit of a name, and we're just cast aside, we're in the way."


Local opposition website Tripping Up Trump (archived). The site includes accounts of other problem-plagued Trump developments around the world.

Website for the Trump International Golf Links. There is a single 18-hole course, a small hotel, and a couple of restaurants.

London Review of Books review of You've Been Trumped

Carol Craig's review of You've Been Trumped:

What emerges is the story of ordinary basic humanity versus greed and hubris. The local people value their heritage, community and environment but are pitted against those who are enthralled to wealth, fame, and power. The locals act with integrity and decency; the best that can be said about Trump is that he is a man who cannot be trusted.

Watching this film, the ordinary people of Scotland (and some local artists) are a credit to the country. But institutional Scotland comes out of it very badly. It isn't simply Trump, and by extension, the politicians who supported him that are shown in a negative light: the local police, local university (who gave Trump an honorary degree), and Scottish arts organisations, who refused to fund or show the film, are also discredited. The mainstream Scottish media who failed to cover the story adequately are also shamed by this film.

Yesterday, on Twitter, Trump issued a veiled threat against the Ricketts family, which owns the Chicago Cubs, for donating to an anti-Trump super-PAC.

I hear the Rickets family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $'s against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide! 8:42 AM - 22 Feb 2016

News reports note that the donation was not secret at all but has been disclosed in accordance with federal election laws.


HBO Real Sports has done a segment about Trump's broken promises in Scotland:

Hat tip: The Right Scoop.

Donald Trump in Tusla

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On Wednesday, I attended the Tulsa rally for presidential candidate Donald Trump with former Alaska Gov. and vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, held at ORU's Mabee Center. I was there as a member of the news media; I received an email at 7 pm the night before the event saying that I was credentialed to attend.

Obviously, this isn't a breaking news report (five days later). You've read the stories and seen the clips, but I hope to tell you about things you missed by not being there.

After waiting in line for over 30 minutes in a cold lobby (during which I got to visit with Matthew Vermillion of Forty-Six News), we received our misprinted media badges ("Tusla" instead of "Tulsa"), got wanded by the Secret Service, and were finally allowed inside the arena.

Trump later tweeted a claim that 15,000 were in attendance and another 5,000 turned away. As the official Mabee Center seating charts indicate, the arena holds 8,400 in the stands in the expanded end arena configuration that was in use. There were no seats on the floor -- the back 1/4th was devoted to media, the other end was occupied by the stage, leaving the middle half for standees. A wedge of seats behind the stage was blocked off with curtains.

I was standing on the front rail of the media area, just to the right of the camera stand. At noon, the official starting time of the event, the standing area was perhaps 2/3 full; the lower bowl of the arena was 90% full, and the upper seating was perhaps half full. People continued to trickle in over the next hour, while we waited for the event to begin, with more upper level seats filling in and more standees, but there was still a significant amount of empty space at the back of the standee area. Based on that, I would have guessed about 8,000 in attendance. The Tulsa Fire Department said that 8,937 people were allowed into the building.

According to Tulsa Fire Department, which assisted in crowd control, 8,937 people were allotted seating. Event doors were closed once the crowd reached that number.

A fire official says additional supporters were not allowed inside the event to ensure safety.

(Why is the fire department interested in the size of a crowd? A public gathering place has to have adequate exit routes to evacuate everyone in the building safely within a certain window of time. Even if there were the space to squeeze more people in, the fire marshal would shut the doors to new arrivals once the facility's maximum permitted occupancy had been reached.)

I was in the building from 10:00 on, so I can't speak to how many were turned away, but people kept coming in right up until Trump was introduced at 1:07, and there were still empty seats and space available in the standee area. People might have been turned away because they couldn't be screened quickly enough, or perhaps because some emergency exits had to be closed for security reasons, requiring a lower fire-safety limit than the normal capacity.

It's hard to generalize about the people in attendance. A wide range of ages were represented (although many of the younger people I noticed in the standee area turned out to be protesters, holding up a banner reading "Trump makes America hate again"). Most appeared to be normal Oklahomans, with only a handful seeming to be fanatics. One young bearded man, stationed in the back of the standees, frequently shouted things like, "We love you, Sarah," as he waved his rally signs. He seemed to determined to attract attention. One lady in the press area had a dress papered over with pictures of Trump. Another standee was sporting a "Putin/Nugent 2016" t-shirt. The people I saw certainly didn't fit political consultant Rick Wilson's lurid characterization of Trump supporters.

Two things stood out to me about the crowd: It was almost all Caucasian (maybe one person out of 200 was not), and very few were people were GOP activists. I spotted four folks in the crowd that I knew from 25 years of local Republican Party involvement -- two activists who were big supporters of former Congressman John Sullivan, a consultant from Jim Bridenstine's first congressional campaign, and Dan Keating, brother of the former governor and Trump's state chairman.

While people filed in, we listened to loud bluegrass covers of U2 hits like "Pride (In the Name of Love)" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." At 11:45 Keating kicked things off with a few remarks. Word-Faith televangelist Cathy Mink of Len Mink Ministries gave the invocation. Before she got around to praying, Mrs. Mink called Trump "a David raised up to defeat Goliath" (Vera Coking would have begged to differ) and a "friend of Israel and a defender of Christians." She exclaimed, "Just think -- we will be able to shout Merry Christmas everywhere once he gets to the Oval Office." (What's keeping her from doing that now?) She concluded by claiming the "Prayer of Jabez" on Trump's behalf. The brief prayer for expanded influence and blessing, recorded in the midst of genealogies in 1st Chronicles 4:10, was a publishing sensation around the turn of the Millennium.

A group of three men (unidentified) led the Pledge of Allegiance. A young blonde woman sang the National Anthem in the Whitney Houston standard melismatic fashion, with some in the crowd singing along quietly). And then, as Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" began to play, this voice came over the sound system:

"Ladies and gentlemen, we all know that as President of the United States, Mr. Trump will continue his lifelong defense of the right to free speech in America. As a matter of fact, he supports the First Amendment just as much as he supports the Second Amendment. [Wild cheers.] However some people have taken advantge of Mr. Trump's hospitality by choosing to disturb his rallies by using them as an opportunity to promote their own political messages. [Boos.] While they certainly have the right to free speech, this is a private event paid for by Mr. Trump. We have provided a safe protest area outside the venue for all protesters.

"If a protester starts demonstrating in the area around you, please do not touch or harm the protester. This is a peaceful rally. In order to notify the law enforcement officers of the location of the protester, please hold a rally sign above your head and start chanting "Trump! Trump! Trump!" [Chanting.] Ask the people around you to do likewise until officers remove the protestors. Thank you for helping us to make America great again! [Wild cheers.]"

It was now about 11:50. And then we waited for 77 minutes, listening to an eclectic playlist, blasted at high volume that began with Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," followed by "Music of the Night" from Phantom of the Opera, the aria "Nessun dorma" from Puccini's Turandot (sounded like the Harry Secombe version), Elton John's "Tiny Dancer," Adele's "Skyfall."

Did the campaign pick "Music of the Night," or was it an ORU student or staffer making subtle commentary?

Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams
Purge your thoughts of the life you knew before
Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar
And you'll live as you've never lived before

Softly, deftly, music shall surround you
feel it, hear it, closing in around you
Open up your mind, let your fantasies unwind
In this darkness which you know you cannot fight
The darkness of the music of the night

At about 12:15, an aide came out to the podium, adjusting the microphone and checking for water bottles, giving some hope that things would be underway soon. As if taunting the audience, the sound man played the Rolling Stones "You Can't Always Get What You Want." (More commentary?) That was followed by "Memory" (from Cats), "Hey Jude," "Rocket Man," and then back through the rotation again. As we passed an hour after the scheduled start, many on the north side (nearer the public entrance) were standing in anticipation while those on the south side stayed seated.

When the sound man cut short "Rocket Man," the crowd cheered in anticipation, "Eye of the Tiger" started up, and the PA announced, "The next President of the United States, Donald! J! Trump!" Trump spoke briefly, introduced Palin, who spoke for about 20 minutes, and then Trump returned to the stage, speaking for about 35 minutes.

About halfway through Trump's speech, people started leaving the arena, a few here and there, and then a steady stream -- maybe students who had a class at 2:00 pm, maybe audience members whose curiosity to see Trump in person was sated and who were ready to move on with their day after investing three or four hours in this event.

I won't recap everything that Trump and Palin said -- there are plenty of sources for that information -- but I'll hit a couple of highlights.

Palin repeatedly referred to Trump as a commander: "Are you ready for a commander who will allow us to make America great?"

The strangest thing that came out of Palin's mouth was her implication that her son's Track's wartime experience -- and the failure of the Obama administration to properly appreciate the troops -- was to blame for his recent arrest on domestic violence charges. That didn't get much reaction.

She got the crowd going again with talk of the "complicity of both sides of the aisle" -- pushed by the donor class -- in open borders, crony capitalist budgets, and lousy trade deals. In response to charges from "the GOP machine" that "we're not conservative enough," Palin asked, "Is it conservative to watch safety nets turn to hammocks?" She asked similar questions about open borders, trillion-dollar blank checks to Obama, and trillions in added debt. She encapsulated the GOP's Trump problem: A failure by congressional leadership to keep faith with the people who returned them to majority status opened the door for someone, as Palin put it, "ballsy enough to put issues on the table." (Which line got a huge cheer.)

It was striking that, with one exception, the two did not criticize any of Trump's rivals for the nomination. Trump's shots at Cruz earlier in the week had brought criticism from conservative talk radio. He may also have held back because of Cruz's popularity with Oklahoma conservatives.

The one shot Trump took at a rival was aimed at Jeb Bush. Trump trumpeted the latest poll numbers from Florida, which showed Trump at 48, Cruz at 16, Rubio at 11, and Bush "down in the toilet." Bush, he said, "is a stiff, no question about it." Referring to recent TV appearances of conservative pundits, Trump said Karl Rove looked "like a boiler waiting to explode." "You take the glasses away from George Will, and he's a stupid-looking guy."

Trump also took potshots at the camera crews at the back of the room, calling them "disgusting" because they only showed the crowd when a protest erupted. KOTV News on 6 anchor Terry Hood took offense, responding on Facebook:

Ok, so I'm watching the Trump video and this part was upsetting to me. The "disgusting" photographer he was talking about from Channel 6 is one of my best friends. His job was to keep the camera on Trump because we were live streaming his speech. We had another photog shooting the crowd and still another covering his arrival and departure from the airport. None of them deserve to be called names by this man.

About halfway into Trump's speech, around 1:45, I noticed that people began leaving in twos or threes. The stream of departures grew as time went on. (Trump continued to speak until 2:06.) I imagine many people had expected to be done early enough to make it back to work or to class by 2:00 p.m.; perhaps others had had their curiosity satisfied and were ready to get on with the day.

As the speech entered its second half, a few more protests erupted. It seemed as if the protesters figured that time was running out to get the attention they wanted.

Trump concluded by repeating like a mantra "We're going to win!"


Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip "Dilbert," is also a trained hypnotist and is a student of the art of persuasion. In his blog, Adams has been analyzing Trump's methods of persuasion, and he has come to the conclusion that Trump is unbeatable. In his latest post, Adams says that National Review's latest issue warning its readers that Trump is not a conservative is in reality a capitulation. "You'll see a lot of debate on whether Trump is a true conservative or not. That is argument by definition. It is the linguistic equivalent of throwing your gun at a monster because the magazine is empty." Earlier, Adams explained why Palin's endorsement is "probably a home run":

Trump's biggest obstacle is his perceived lack of empathy, along with voter suspicions about his motives. Palin's endorsement says, in effect, that she doesn't see anything dark in his soul. You can dislike Palin's politics, but she is ridiculously likable on a personal level. And that likability probably translates into some sort of irrational trust about her people-judging skills.

Kurt Schlichter: Trump is Going to Break Your Heart

As a young man, I learned that sometimes that hot chick you're dating is also completely crazy and, as much fun as it is to go out with her, it's going to end badly. That's Donald Trump, the super hottie of the "I Hate the GOP Establishment with a Burning Passion That Has Rendered Me Insusceptible to Reason" crew. He's sexy, he likes to party, and he certainly puts out - in the sense that he fulfills your fantasies about giving it to the RINOs good and hard.

That intensely troubling metaphor aside, the point is still valid. Donald Trump is not a keeper, not the one you want to marry. He's never going to make you happy. For now, he's going to say what makes you happy, and for now he's going to make a lot of the right people go nuts, but if you get hitched he'll cheat on you with the liberals. At the end of the day, you'll walk out of the courtroom wearing a barrel while Trump and the pool boy jet off to Tahiti on your dime....

He's using you, and he's going to toss you away when he's done and never look back. Break it off before it's too late - this is just a fling, and if it keeps up one day you're going to find your wallet missing and probably your car too. And you'll wake up with a political rash.

Donald Trump is out for one thing, Donald Trump's personal aggrandizement. He cares nothing about you. He cares nothing about your aspirations and dreams. Don't misunderstand him when he pays attention to you. He's just trying to get what he wants from you, an earthshattering ego stroke....

You can do better. The failures of the Republican donor and consultant class created Donald Trump. They made you furious, and you have every right to be furious. They have treated you like dirt and it's no surprise you picked up The Donald on the rebound. But the answer to being treated like a doormat by a bunch of buttoned-down twits is not to embrace somebody who believes in exactly nothing of what you believe in. You can totally do better. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and they aren't all named Jeb.

Trump doesn't want to make America great. He doesn't want to make you great. He wants to make you tell him that he's great. He doesn't love you, any more than the stripper in the Champagne Room loves you when you've still got money in your wallet....

Derek Hunter: Trump or Get Off the Pot:

Everyone wants America to be great again, but it's going to take more than embroidery on a baseball cap to make it happen. It's going to require a deep respect for the Constitution and the limits it places not only on government, but specifically on the office of the president. I see nothing that leads me to believe Donald Trump respects or even is aware of that concept.

In his daily life he doesn't have to work with anyone - his word is law. He says jump, and his children and the team of lawyers he pays ask how high. It may be great for business, but it's the antithesis of what our government is supposed to be.

That's why I want specifics. I'm not looking for a dictator I agree with. I'm looking for a leader who can restore what Obama, and Bush before him, and Clinton before him, eroded. I'd love it if it were done quickly, but I demand it be done legally. For that to happen I need some specifics.

The example of Obama must be rejected, and it must be rejected the right way. The next president must get things done by leading Congress, resisting the urge to bypass Congress when it won't go along and using the bully pulpit to rally the people to support his initiatives. Persuade the people, and you persuade their representatives.

Caleb Howe: Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio Need To Take a Class In Trump Politics. Howe examines the defensive, lawyerly arguments Cruz and Rubio used to deal with challenges to their votes on immigration reform and concludes that they should follow Donald Trump's approach -- own your position and don't apologize. For example, here's how Howe thinks Trump would have dealt with Bret Baier's interrogation of Cruz:

That's right. He would have shrugged it off. He would have made a face and said "come on Bret. Look it's very simple. I was trying to get what I wanted from a negotiation. I wanted to stop what they were doing and I got news for you, I did it." And if Bret pressed him again, he would have waved his hands and said "I make deals. OK? That's what I do. I know deals. And I worked this deal, and I won this deal, and that's what Americans care about."

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas): Washington Establishment: Merry Christmas, Trump!

What do you give a billionaire who has everything and is running for president?

The Omnibus spending bill in Congress is over 2,000 pages and spends another $1.1 trillion we don't have. A handful of members of Congress and their staffs, the White House and insider lobbyists wrote it over the past six weeks, and outside this small circle, no one had seen it until Wednesday.

In other words, business-as-usual in Washington again. Merry Christmas, Donald Trump....

In 2014, Americans entrusted Republicans with Senate and House majorities to stop the Obama agenda, but Republicans refused to get in the driver's seat of Congress. Instead, they offer this back-room, bloated bill to hike spending by another $50 Billion. It is strongly supported by Obama, Pelosi, and Reid - and strongly opposed by nearly every major segment of the Republican Party....

So whether you care about life and liberty, about national security and our borders, jobs and even stopping ObamaCare, Washington has a message for you: Donald Trump is right.

On issue after issue, this Omnibus spending bill proves Donald Trump's point - Washington is not working for the American people, especially conservatives in the heart of the Republican Party. This country needs a strong leader who is not afraid of fighting against the status quo, business-as-usual, America-be-damned attitude in the Capitol.

The Washington Establishment wishes you a Merry Christmas, Donald Trump. May you have a blessed, successful New Year.

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