April 14, 2016 — An op-ed by Pepperdine Law professor Derek Muller entitled “GOP Nomination Process 101: Candidate’s Remedial Edition” has been published by Reuters. The article considers the steps that the Republican National Lawyers Association and the Republican National Committee have taken to explain primary election rules and each state’s system of selecting delegates to the Republican National Convention.
Donald Trump has complained that the Republican primary process is a “rigged, disgusting, dirty system” that deprives people of the chance to vote for their preferred presidential candidate. He accuses the Republican Party of stealing delegates from him.
If he thinks this system is complex, Trump should look to the GOP’s past primary elections. Now, those were complicated!
As recently as 2012, for example, some states used a three-step voting process that often yielded two opposing outcomes. But the Republican National Committee worked with state parties to streamline and standardize the 2016 election to minimize confusing results.
Some complexity remains because each of the 50 states can set its own rules. As the founding fathers devised, U.S. presidential elections are not national races. Rather, they occur state by state, which inevitably creates some complexity. But there are clear and now simpler rules. Candidates just need to read them.