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.
The states that are DISENFRANCHISED BY THE GOP NOMINATION PROCESS are:
The states and territories that EXERCISE UNDUE INFLUENCE OVER THE GOP NOMINATION PROCESS ARE:
District of Columbia
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.