The Republican campaign to nominate a candidate for President is nearly over. But only nearly. The finish may not occur until the National Convention is called to order on July 18th. Until then, we are in a time of watching and waiting.
As we pace the floor, anxious about the outcome, I will keep you informed of the events that are happening within the Republican Party.
Let’s begin with a look at the primaries. The Wisconsin primary of April 5 was a game-changer. In past primaries, Donald Trump usually won the open primaries, while Ted Cruz won the closed primaries. Because Wisconsin was an open primary, Trump was expected to prevail.
Instead, the State-wide election results gave Cruz 48 percent of the vote, while Trump received 34 percent. Almost all of Wisconsin’s 42 first ballot convention votes will go to Cruz.
The next major primary will be held in New York on April 19. New York is a closed primary State and although the electorate is liberal, most of those voters are registered Democrats. Upstate Republicans tend to be center-right in their leanings. That means the primary may be decided in places like Kingston, Syracuse, Albany and Buffalo, and not in New York City.
Although Trump is expected to win well over 50 percent in his home State, the outcome of the New York primary may surprise us all.
The professionals who count the delegates believe that the eventual candidate will only win a majority of the votes on the second or third ballot. That is what sometimes happens in a contested convention. For instance, Abraham Lincoln only became the Republican nominee in 1860 on the third ballot.
Presently, there is growing concern among actively engaged Republicans that should Trump not win the nomination, he may run as an independent candidate or ask his supporters to not vote for the nominee in the General Election.
In 1912, the Republican National Convention was hotly contested. The two leading candidates were incumbent President William Howard Taft and former President Theodore Roosevelt. Taft won the nomination and Roosevelt ran as a third party candidate.
Roosevelt’s independent candidacy split the Republican vote and caused the election of Democrat Woodrow Wilson. History remembers Woodrow Wilson and his tenure as the beginning of the modern progressive movement. Many grassroots Republicans fear that a third party candidate in 2016 may elect Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, both of whom are radicals.
On the subject of the Republican National Committee, most grassroots leaders think that the Establishment will not manipulate the convention process. They have come to that conclusion because of three technological issues: the video-taking capability of cell phones, the Internet and YouTube.
The days of backroom deals are over. There are now no secrets in politics. One person with a cell phone who has access to the Internet and YouTube can have the same reach as a reporter for NBC or Fox News. Insiders are no longer anonymous and their words are no longer confidential.
And so, we watch and wait. During the weeks ahead, I ask you to consider volunteering to work with the Waynesboro Republicans to elect the next President.
In 2012, Waynesboro voters cast 54 percent of their ballots for Mitt Romney. Good, but not good enough. Arlington County voters cast 69 percent of their ballots for Barak Obama. If Virginia is going to elect a Republican, Waynesboro and the other election districts in the Shenandoah Valley will have to substantially increase the Republican vote.
The Waynesboro Republicans are looking for friends and neighbors who will help them win the General Election. Is that you?
Ken Adams is the Chairman of the Waynesboro Virginia Republican Committee.