One of the biggest stories of the last couple weeks was Ted Cruz’s complete shutout of Donald Trump in the Colorado delegate selection at the Colorado state Republican convention. The story, pushed hard by Trump and his zombie followers, is that the election was “stolen” by Cruz in an “unfair process.”
Okay, fine, sour grapes and all. But on Sunday I watched Media Buzz with Howard Kurtz, and realized that real story is this: the media has not, and apparently will not, do the tiniest bit of research in order to get the grossest, most basic facts about this correct.
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” — Mark Twain
There are a bunch of myths that everyone on the show repeated as fact. It started with Kurtz himself talking about the “convoluted process” Colorado uses. Ahem:
Myth #1: “The process is convoluted”
Well, here’s the process: there is a caucus, in which any registered Republican may participate, to vote on delegates or to run as a delegate. These delegates go to the county and district caucuses, where some of them are selected by vote to go on as state delegates at the Colorado state convention, where delegates to the national convention are selected. By vote.
Here’s where Heidi Przybyla on Media Buzz confidently asserted …
Myth #2: “The process is ‘voteless'”
Colorado’s process is hardly “voteless.” We’ve got votes coming out of our ears. Tens of thousands of people voted — I’ve seen 65,000 reported, I’ve seen 70,000. No, they’re not “party insiders.” I mean, 70,000 “party insiders” in one state? Come on.
In fact, the process is as exclusive as a thunderstorm — as evidenced by the fact I was elected a state delegate in 1976. Here’s the deal: if you want to have your vote count in the delegate selection process, you have to go to the freaking election. In Colorado this year, the election was on March 1.
These two articles helped pushed the nonsense “voterless” narrative that Colorado had neither primaries nor caucuses, providing the opposite service to readers than one might expect by making this easy stuff hard to understand.
Myth #3: “The process is hard to understand”
Kurtz pushed this one, too.
Folks: I just laid the process out without using any big words beyond “convention” and “delegate.” What I wrote above is simply a paraphrase of the way it was explained to me by the Republican county chairman in Pueblo County when I was elected to be a delegate to the state convention.
Forty years ago.
At age 19.
I really don’t know what to make of this. It wasn’t hard to understand then. And since then, nothing remotely significant about the process was changed.
Myth #4: “The process was changed to damage Trump”
Heidi Przybyla hit on this one a little later in the discussion. Again, it’s what you know that ain’t so that hurts.
The last time the delegate-selection process was changed was in 2002, when we went back to the process we’d used since 1912 after a short experiment with primaries. What changed in 2015 was that we decided to no longer have our traditional non-binding straw poll.
Why? Because the Republican National Committee said if we had a straw poll, it had to be binding.
So we had a non-binding straw poll in the past. Now we don’t. Otherwise, the process is essentially identical to what it was when I was elected a delegate to the state convention. Forty years ago.
In fact, the process was established in 1912.
The foresight of the state GOP to establish a process to cheat Trump 104 years before this caucus was amazing.
Myth #5: “A Trump delegate was removed”
On Saturday, April 9, 2016, a man named Larry from Douglas County, CO slandered Douglas County (CO) Republicans on Facebook. In that Facebook post, Larry claimed that he went to his neighborhood caucus meeting on March 1st, at which a precinct captain named Jan Morgan had threatened him about being a Trump supporter, with the implication that Trump supporters would not be allowed to be delegates to the April 9th State Republican Assembly.
The problem? It apparently didn’t happen.
Larry didn’t show up for the district convention where he would have been eligible to be elected to be a delegate to the state convention — or at least he didn’t check in and didn’t sit with the other delegates.
“Jan Morgan” doesn’t exist, at least as a precinct captain in Douglas County (of course there is a Jan Morgan who is a fairly popular political personality, but she’s not from Colorado).
Five myths isn’t a bad score when you realize that it was only part of a four-minute segment. If you want more details, I’ll recommend to you Ari Armstrong’s account. Ari was a delegate to the state convention this year. Follow that link and then follow some of Ari’s links, and you’ll be able to get up to date on the facts of the matter.
Which is exactly what almost no one in the media bothers to do. Instead, they repeat the prevarications, misleading assertions, and outright lies (viz., Drudge’s “no primaries or caucuses” headline) coming out of the Trump campaign. Kurtz had a chance there to have the Fox “brain room” spend ten minutes Googling the facts, and didn’t.
That’s the real story.