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Where The GOP Cheats Republican Voters Out Full Representation In The 2016 Presidential Nomination

Why are the candidates in the 2016 Republican presidential nomination so extreme?

To some extent, the unfortunate answer is that the candidates are extreme because Republican voters have become extreme. That’s not a complete explanation, however. In addition to the run-of-the-mill right wing extremism of GOP voters, there’s a further process for radicalization built into the Republican Party’s presidential nomination process.

The common misconception of the Republican presidential nomination process is that Republican voters in each state choose delegates to vote for particular presidential candidates, with the number of delegates in each state representing the population of each state (or territory – they have a say too, and how, as you’ll see below). That’s actually not quite how it works – and the not quite means that Republican voters in certain states have more influence over the selection of GOP presidential candidates than Republican voters in other states.

For one thing, not all delegates to the Republican National Convention, the meeting at which the Republican presidential candidate will be nominated, have their votes determined by the primaries or caucuses from the states they come from. They can vote to nominate whatever presidential candidate they want, for whatever reason they want.

More fundamental than that is the way that each state is awarded the number of delegates it sends to vote at the GOP National Convention. It isn’t a simple representation of population. First of all, all states and territories have a certain minimum number of delegates, regardless of how tiny their populations are. So, states and territories with small populations are overrepresented in the GOP presidential nomination process.

Even more importantly, states are awarded bonus delegates for the number of Republican politicians they have elected to high positions in state and federal government. That means that more conservative states, those that tend to elect Republican leaders, have more delegates per person than more liberal states do. Republican voters in these more radical right wing states therefore have more influence over the GOP presidential nomination than Republican voters in less extremist states. That’s one reason that candidates for the Republican presidential nomination tend to lean so far to the right during the primary contest. The most extreme right wing states have a disproportional influence over the nomination.

The chart below, which you can click on to expand, shows which states and territories are disenfranchised by the Republican Party presidential nomination process, and which states and territories have influence out of proportion with their actual population. The red line in the chart shows the level of fair voter enfranchisement. That’s where a state’s or territory’s percentage of national population is equal to the percentage of delegates it will have at the Republican National Convention this year. Only one state has this fair status: Connecticut.

states unequal delegates for the republican presidential nomination


 New York
 New Jersey
 Puerto Rico
 North Carolina


 South Carolina
 New Mexico
 New Hampshire
 Rhode Island
 West Virginia
 District of Columbia
 South Dakota
 North Dakota
 American Samoa
 Northern Mariana Islands
 U.S. Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands has over 40 times the number of delegates to the GOP presidential nominating convention than would be fairly given to it according to its population. California and New York have little more than half as many delegates to the Republican National Convention as their population merits.

Through this imbalance, Republican extremism gains an upper hand.

21 thoughts on “Where The GOP Cheats Republican Voters Out Full Representation In The 2016 Presidential Nomination”

  1. Korky Day says:

    Thanks, Peregrin Wood, for some excellent points.

    Also, some states apportion their elected delegates proportionally (which is fair) and some states are ‘winner-take-all’ (which is not).

    Of course, the Democratic Party is similarly pseudo-democratic. And not just the parties. Also pseudo-democratic are all the governments themselves, with the exception of the city council of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    The above still doesn’t fully explain the tendencies of the presidential candidates, however. You must also understand the effects of the Duopoly, which must be abolished.

  2. Frank says:

    If GOP had cheated …then how come Dems won the White House twice? Just left propaganda. I guess “extreme” has different meanings, depends on the point of view. From my perspective the Democrats have become a monolithic Soviet Union style Party, never questions the decision of the Supreme Leader and votes in block, goosestep like. It’s enough for the readers to look at the miserable pool of Presidential candidates that the Dems have put on the ground: one communist, one corrupt fake socialist..and the idiot of the village. The debate is like an article from the Pravda. AND they have the balls to accuse the GOP lack of diversity and opinions.. Really? You know..what, my sycophant friend..get used to “diversity”, a new President and a “different” party. You guys fucked it up for the past 8 yrs now it’s our turn to unfuck it.

  3. Al Hopfmann says:

    In “Marxachusetts”, the Democratic Party cheats its voters even worse than what you are describing being done by the Republicans. To be a delegate to the State Convention, a registered Democrat must attend the local caucus and get elected as a delegate to the convention. Fair enough. But that is not the end of the story. If you don’t get elected, you can fill out and file Appendix E of the delegates information package. You can then be a delegate, but ONLY IF you can check off one of the approved racial designations! This is institutional racism at its worst. No amount of excuses can justify this racism. Nobody has a choice of skin color or ethnicity when born. The Democratic Party is a racist organization whose institutional racism is only exceeded by the governmental racism that is evidenced by such things as: 1. Racial questions on the US Census questionnaires. 2. Race listings on forms such as federal firearms purchase forms. 3. “Affirmative Action” laws where a person’s “rights” and opportunities are subject to what race he/she/it is or isn’t.
    Individual racism is bad. Institutional racism is worse. Governmental racism is the worst of all.
    The two “major” political parties in our country continue to dodge the real issue of racism They continue to allow our racial situation to be no better than that of South Africa. This is one of many good reasons to abandon them and join the Libertarian Party.

    1. Korky Day says:

      Al Hopfmann, I don’t know about the Massachusetts system. However, I’m pretty sure you are confusing racism with efforts to counter-balance our heritage of White racism. There might be better ways to counter-balance racism, but that method is better than nothing.

  4. Korky Day says:

    Frank, socialism is good. If you oppose it, you oppose nearly everything good for the middle and lower classes. You’re either rich or a dupe of the rich.

    Examples of socialism: the old post office, public fire departments, national defence, police protection for those who can’t afford private guards, public schools, public libraries, government pensions, public roads, public parks, support of orphans, food safety inspection, public hospitals, etc.

    You can complain about the details and about how those are not provided efficiently enough, but if you don’t concede them on principle, then you are inhumane, like a libertarian.

    How much socialism should we have? Let democracy decide. Make the USA into a democracy, which it isn’t yet.

  5. Al Hopfmann says:

    Korky Day. I don’t know about other people, but my grandmother taught me that two wrongs don’t make a right. Dr. Phil and Dear Abby have always agreed with this. Racists don’t agree, so they invent euphemisms to cover their hypocrisy.

    Now as I read your next response to Frank, I understand a little bit better. Some people don’t understand individual rights. Those rights are not subject to disappearing because two coyotes and one sheep vote on what to have for dinner. Also, even if socialism was not immoral and criminal, it only works (poorly) until you run out of other peoples’ money.

    1. Korky Day says:

      Socialist Scandinavia hasn’t run out of money yet, Al Hopfmann.
      I’m part Swedish.
      The rest of that comment of yours was unintelligible.

      1. Dave says:

        Korky, I gotta say the U.S. is not Scandinavia and never can be, and long before Karl Marx, societies had post offices, fire departments, highways, national defense, etc. Also, if you could see the sprawling government housing projects in the U.S. filled with hopeless third and fourth generation fatherless welfare recipients whose personal safety and future prospects depend on how wise they are in deciding whether to join the Crips or the Bloods, you might think socialism a little inhumane as well.

        There is no greater feeling in the world than earning a living and enjoying one’s earnings, but in many ways socialism and the good intentions of government, with the goal of “spreading the wealth” and giving a hand up, have deprived generations of recipients in the U.S. of this dignity and satisfaction.

        1. Korky Day says:

          Thanks for your attempts to refute my points, Dave.

          You wrote, ‘the U.S. is not Scandinavia [socialist] and never can be’.
          Why not? You give no reason. At one time, we had no government pensions. Now we do. So the USA can have any socialism it wants.

          You next wrote, ‘long before Karl Marx, societies had post offices, fire departments, highways, national defense, etc.’
          That’s right, there was much socialism before Marx. Everyone knows that. In fact, before capitalism and feudalism, most societies were socialist.

          Then you mention housing projects. Of course, you don’t mention that housing projects in Scandinavia are much better. Because they aren’t run by a pseudo-democracy like the USA.

          Sure, work is great. It builds character. So why doesn’t the USA ensure that no one is forced into unemployment? Because the 1% who control everything do better (or think they do) when there is a starving class and a ghetto criminal class.

          Ironically, any plan to guarantee jobs for all those willing to work would be attacked by capitalists as a socialist hell.
          I don’t mean slavery, as in WorkFare, I mean real jobs done by free people. The capitalists would hate that because they don’t really believe in the dignity of work. They just want to divert blame away from themselves.

          See ‘The job guarantee’ in Wikipedia.

          1. Dave says:

            “Attacked by capitalists as a socialist hell” is pretty strong. I won’t therefore refer to articles on Cato and the Mises Institute, as what they offer as facts on “full employment” may be construed by some here to be “attacks.”

            The job guarantee model as explained on Wikipedia is simply the Keynesian economics on steroids model. In times of lower private employment and higher government employment the creation of too many dollars chasing too few goods means inflation which means even lower private employment and even higher public employment which means inflation which means … let’s just call it Keynesianism. Massive government outlay destroys business, innovation, savings; let me refer you to a Youtube video called Keynesian Theory in 5 Minutes.

            The job guarantee promoters call themselves post-Keynesian, and try to differentiate themselves from Keynes in small ways but the result is the same. I believe your heart is in the right place concerning greater employment opportunities, but economic growth is the better way to achieve this. This may explain part of your interest in Donald Trump, as he probably knows more about how dollars are created (and destroyed) than all the other candidates put together.

            The day of reckoning for government borrowing throughout the world is fast approaching. The vast sums that have been borrowed by most countries will have to be worked off, and the work will have to be genuinely productive and not make-work type stuff to achieve job guarantees. Leftists think that the Right and many Libertarians have no heart, but I think most people whatever their stripes agree to certain things every person should have and most everyone wants the best outcome, it’s just that the difference is in how these things should be obtained. The one percent take a lot of flak on this site, but they are actually rather irrelevant, and certainly not to blame for the job-destroying inflationary cycle created by government and the Fed that keeps low wage people always bargaining for higher wages and guaranteed employment.

            I am old enough to remember when employers used better wages to compete with one another for suitable employees on even the lowest levels. No, job guarantees will not destroy a strong economy, as Keynesianism (from which the job guarantee movement was birthed) has already destroyed the vitality of the economy in the U.S. and most of the world.

          2. Korky Day says:

            You sound quite smart about economics, Dave.
            I don’t know enough economics to know for sure which is better, Cato-Mises or Keynes.
            But if the former faction says we can’t always afford full employment, I guess I’ll have to go with Keynes or Marx or some other economic strategy.

            Does Cato-Mises also say that a country can’t afford free health care? I’m in Canada and everyone has excellent health care here, so you can’t fool me on that with your Nobel-prize-winning economist.

            Even Donald Trump promises good health insurance. (We’ll see!)

            Since the USA and Canada can afford universal health insurance, it seems to me they can afford Guaranteed Jobs (my version of the job guarantee: see www . korky . ca ). Just a matter of priorities.
            Yes, both programmes cost, but they both also have great benefits, including ECONOMIC benefits, eh?

            Inflation? We have to ruin millions of people lives with forced idleness to prevent inflation? Well, I am old and have lived through some pretty inflationary times. It wasn’t so bad.

          3. Dave says:

            Korky, just because Keynesian economics creates more problems than it solves does not mean I don’t want people to work or have healthcare. Wanting something does not justify bad economic solutions. It just doesn’t.

            Wanting something does justify looking for good solutions to problems, something free markets do all the time, allowing good solutions to work and bad ones to fail.

            Your healthcare in Canada is not free. Dogs and cats under the free market solution in Canada can get next day surgery, but humans often have to wait weeks or months under the “free” system. Where are your priorities?

          4. J Clifford says:

            Dave, can you concede that free markets often find economically efficient, but ethically terrible, solutions to problems?

  6. Leroy says:

    Apparently the highly undemocratic policies of the Republican party gives the fringe far right wingnuts an advantage in getting a more extremist candidate being able to grab the nomination (and I’m sure that it was intentionally set up that way).

    But then what good does it do them when it comes to the general election and not only Democrats, but Independents shy strongly away from an extremist candidate (or even a mildly rightwing candidate who is forced to play the extremist rightwing game in order to have a shot at the nomination)?

  7. Leroy says:

    How about the Canadian system? How are delegates appropriated amongst the Provinces and by the various parties? Especially in that they have viable Third Parties.

    As Canada is a fairly close to being a democratic socialist nation and we have a likely specialist in that area available (and I imagine that it’s too cold for Wreck Beach so there should be time to research it and spell it out… rather than dictating to American voters what to do and how to do it).

    1. Korky Day says:

      Yes, Leroy, I’m fairly expert on USA and Canadian politics.

      Canada does not have ‘third parties’. That is an innumerate USA term. Canadians are too smart to use it. We have 5 parties in the House of Commons right now.

      Canadian political parties are private organisations and, as such, they each set their own rules, as they see fit. Each Canadian who wants to join a party picks one that impresses them with good internal organisation, among other reasons.
      Some parties are trying Internet voting. Most of the traits of the USA party system mentioned in this thread are absent in Canada, such as super-delegates. Also, the provincial parties have no say in federal elections. Each federal party is run from its central headquarters. If you don’t like any of them, start your own. It’s easy. You and a handful of friends can get enough signatures in a weekend. Then you can be on the ballot.

      In the USA, the government partially took over the parties and runs their primaries and caucuses, etc.

      ‘Canada is a fairly close to being a democratic socialist nation’, writes Leroy. Not at all. Just seems that way in comparison to the USA.

      Europe is much redder and much more democratic. (Red means socialist, not Republican, as the silly USA people say. They just mangle the language!)

  8. Korky Day says:

    J Clifford’s ethical objection to Dave’s free market is excellent.

    If we have socialistic solutions which work, Dave, such as universal health insurance or Guaranteed Jobs or public fire-fighting, why not?

    The only 2 reasons are
    (a) Faith in the infallibility of the pope, er, I mean, of ‘the market’.
    (b) Desire to rip off the non-rich.

    We Canadians always laugh when ignorant US Americans scream about line-ups at Canadian hospitals. Even most Conservative Party voters here know better. We correctly blame any such waits here on politicians (usually Conservative) who fail to properly fund health care, not on the system or the concept themselves.

    The Libertarian Party is the 3rd largest party in the USA. In Canada, they are more like 13th.
    Why? Because the Libertarians want to destroy our universal health insurance, which is ‘free’ in the sense that it’s paid for by taxes and (in some provinces) low premiums, not payment for service.

    ‘Market’ health insurance has failed for the poor and working classes in the USA for 2 centuries. You’ve had your chance, now stand aside and let socialism work.

    1. Dave says:

      Korky, please stick with facts. You said that market health insurance has failed in the USA for 2 centuries. Health insurance hasn’t even been around for two centuries.

      As an ignorant American screaming about line-ups at Canadian Hospitals, I wonder why you didn’t refute my claim that this is so. I meet many Canadians where I live and they often tell me they like their system but, hey, they have no choice but to like it now do they?

      In the U.S. hospitals are required to give medical service to the poorest among us. Sort of like the dogs and cats in Canada who can get treated right away because the government isn’t limiting their care. As I asked above, where are your priorities?

      1. Korky Day says:

        All right, Dave, I’ll correct that to:
        Market health insurance failed in the first part of those 2 centuries by not existing, even though insurance companies COULD have offered it.

        The ‘market’ failed, as it still is.

        Hospitals taking in everyone with an emergency is a socialistic thing by law. Corporate hospitals would let you die more often if they could.
        They won’t treat you free if you DON’T have an emergency.

        I did refute your claim about the line-ups: they happen in Canada only as a result of attacks on socialism (cut-back$). And wait-times are a minuscule problem in Canada compared to the hordes of people dying in the USA from bad or no insurance. Ask your Canadian friends about that and 90% of them will agree with me, unless they are blinkered libertarians, of course.

  9. Dave says:

    J. Clifford, can I concede that free markets often find economically efficient but ethically terrible solutions to problems? Yes, of course.

    Can you concede that governments throughout the world and throughout history have found economically efficient (and often inefficient) but ethically terrible solutions to problems?

    1. J Clifford says:

      Sure I can. So, given that both free markets and governments often lead to terrible results, how about we go with the system that has a democratic basis, and has embedded within it mechanisms for equality?

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