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Tuesday, June 28, 2016


You are the winner.  You have vanquished all others in what had been a large field of candidates.  You've received by far the most votes.  Indeed, your nearest competitor, Ted Cruz, was beaten badly, losing by more than ten percentage points.  Hands down voters preferred you, the man who'd proven his business acumen, a man of vast personal wealth.  Yessiree, they chose you, not Ted Cruz, a man without your private sector experience.  You bested Ted Cruz and all the others who'd pitched their hats into the ring.

So it would be totally illegitimate to give the nomination to Ted Cruz, the one who came in a distant second, right?  The voters wanted the businessman, NOT Ted Cruz!!!  Cruz got walloped.  He lost by more than ten points, for heaven’s sake!  It would be unacceptable to give the nomination to the guy beaten the way a meringue recipe calls for an egg to be beaten.  It simply can't be done.  It would scream unfairness.  Cruz would be seen as the usurper who had stolen the nomination from the legitimate winner.

And yet, it all came to pass.  Cruz did snatch the nomination away, and he went on to win the general election in a landslide.  You read that right.  Ted Cruz won the general election in a landslide!

Confused?  Oh, I'm sorry, you must have thought I was talking about Donald Trump vs Ted Cruz.  No, the race I was referring to was David Dewhurst vs Ted Cruz, the 2012 fight for the Republican nomination to be US Senator from the great state of Texas.  But that's okay, I can certainly understand your confusion.  The similarities are, after all, rather striking when you compare the two races.

In each campaign Cruz finished second in what had been a large field of candidates.  The winner in each instance was a wealthy businessman who had far and away the highest name ID of the candidates running.  It hardly needs pointing out the name 'Trump' was widely known by the voting public.  Similarly, the name 'Dewhurst', while not known nationally, was a very familiar name to voters in Texas where David Dewhurst had been elected statewide a number of times.

In both matchups, Tump vs Cruz and Dewhurst vs Cruz, (to express it in boxing terms Trump’s pal Mike Tyson would understand) conservative Senator Mike Lee was in Cruz's corner, while liberal Governor Mike Huckabee was in the opposite corner, sponging off Cruz's wealthy opponent.

As he had throughout his 2016 campaign, Ted Cruz in 2012 advocated greater border security including, but not limited to, the building of a wall.  (Yep, just as Al Gore did not really invent the Internet, despite what he claims, neither was Donald Trump the first candidate ever to propose a wall be built on our southern border, despite what he claims.)

A great deal of value was meant to be attached to that aforementioned private sector experience of the businessmen.  Ted Cruz's lack of such experience had been used as a cudgel against him in both campaigns.

Throughout the duration of each campaign Ted Cruz was eager, indeed itching, to debate any and all opponents, while the attendance of the two wealthy businessmen for scheduled debates was spotty.

I could go on but suffice to say, my fellow Texans and I have seen this movie play out before.

So now, what should the delegates congregating in Cleveland make of this deja vu moment?

I suggest it's worth the effort to zero in on the issue of the legitimacy of conferring the nomination on the man who placed second in a large field of candidates.  At first blush the notion does seem unfair.  But let's look at why and how this happened in the Texas race -- it is a look that will reveal a final, stunning, nearly identical circumstance mirrored in the two campaigns.

David Dewhurst placed first with 44.6% of the vote.  Ted Cruz came in a distant second, but ahead of the rest of the field, with 34.2%.  Dewhurst had won with a plurality of the votes cast but not a majority of votes cast.

Texans understood that a plurality of votes cast for one candidate in a large field of candidates was insufficient to determine the will of the voters.  This can plainly be understood when you imagine a candidate in a field of thirty bubbles to the surface with a plurality of 12%.  Obviously, giving the nomination to that candidate does not necessarily reflect the will of the people.  Texas wisely provided for a circumstance such as this by requiring a runoff between the top two vote-getters, thereby seeing to it that a majority agree, at the very least, on which of the top two should be put forward as the Party's nominee for the fall election.

As things turned out Texas had been right to provide for a runoff election.  For, while a plurality had preferred candidate Y, Dewhurst, the majority preferred candidate X, Cruz.  The contest wasn't even close.  Cruz beat Dewhurst 56.8% to 43.2%.

It's just simple logic that the preference of a majority, as opposed to the preference of a plurality, is the more accurate reflection of the will of the voters.  Needless to say, none of this precludes the possibility that the preference of a plurality and the preference of the majority could turn out to be one and the same.  A runoff tests this proposition.

Now we come to that promised stunning similarity of the two campaigns, the cherry on top of our Sundae.

In each of the two elections the wealthy businessman with high name ID garnered nearly the exact same plurality of votes -- David Dewhurst with 44.6% of the vote in his race, Donald Trump with 44.8% in his race. (Trump had racked up only 40.2% of the vote when his last opponent dropped out of the race, so he was actually able to pad his numbers a bit to the tune of an additional 4.6%.)

So, if Texas considers a plurality of 44.6% of the vote to be insufficient in determining the will of the voters as to which candidate should be put forward to hold the office of U.S. Senator, how can it be that a plurality of “44.8%” could possibly be considered sufficient in determining which candidate should be put forward for the Office of President of the United States?

For all intents and purposes, the votes of the delegates elected by the people to be their representatives at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland will, in effect, determine the will of the majority.

I would like to end this call for the delegates to perform their duty at this juncture, but it would be wrong to leave the impression that David Dewhurst has anything more than a superficial resemblance to Donald Trump.

Whereas Donald Trump is a boorish braggart, David Dewhurst conducts himself in a genteel, even courtly, manner.  Donald Trump was, to borrow an expression from former Governor Ma Richards, "born with a silver foot in his mouth."  David Dewhurst, on the other hand, is a well-spoken self-made man who acquired his wealth through dint of his own hard work.  And while Donald Trump nursed bone spurs in his feet, David Dewhurst served as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Air Force.*  Oh, and one other thing, unlike Trump, David Dewhurst never donated a dime to one of his Democrat opponents, though he did give to the campaign of a former Republican opponent when he maxed out to TED CRUZ FOR PRESIDENT.

*This should be flagged as perhaps the first time the words Donald Trump and “intelligence” have ever appeared in the same sentence.

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