Former Colorado state Republican party chairman Ryan Call talked to Laura Ingraham today to explain the delegation-selection process works and how it “cuts out any semblance of democracy or the popular will.” Call said the statewide convention that chooses the delegates reinforces all the worst stereotypes of the party.
“The very time we should be opening up our doors and being more open and transparent, and welcoming people into our Party, we’ve essentially made the decision to close it off and make it more cumbersome and more difficult. And, to prevent the ability of people to have their voice heard in this process. You’re reinforcing all of the very worst stereotypes about the Party and I, frankly, am very concerned about the way voters are going to feel,” Call told Ingraham.
Transcript, via Laura Ingraham Show:
Ingraham: The August 25th announcement that they would no longer do the presidential preference poll at their caucus, my spidey-senses went up when that happened. Was I correct to, at the time, note that this was a sign that they were not going to be bound by the people of Colorado selecting Trump. If that was a risk, they wanted to cut that off at the pass in August. Am I correct in stating that?
Call: That’s exactly right. While the caucus votes we’ve held in previous elections in 2008 and 2012 were always straw polls, they didn’t bind or allocate the delegations. They at least were a snapshot into where voter sentiment is in the state of Colorado, and the decision by the state Republican Party to cancel that vote taken in connection with the caucus really did cut out any semblance of democracy or the popular will in connection with the delegate election event. It became an entire party insiders game with getting delegates to go to county assemblies in the state convention. While Colorado has over a million registered Republican voters, the only votes that really counted were that of the 3,900 delegates that gathered down in Colorado Springs.
Ingraham: How do you become a delegate in Colorado? Does it tend to be more people who are activists within the Party? Is there a Tea Party element? How does that play out?
Call: So, Colorado has a lot of different elements. Tea Party elements, strong second amendment and pro-life supporters, it’s a very diverse coalition. And, lots of factions are involved in the Party. But, the process to become a delegate, to be able to have your voice heard in the process, is admittedly cumbersome, convoluted, complicated, and not friendly to folks that are political novices or are new at this process. You would have had to show up at your local neighborhood caucuses back in March, March 1st, and sit through two or three hour meetings, get elected from among your neighbors at the local neighborhood precinct caucus to go attend a county assembly. Then, from the county assembly, you had to convince the few hundred or a thousand of delegates at the county assembly to move you on to attend the congressional district, or state convention process. Then, you had to show up at the state convention and, as has been widely reported, you had ten seconds to make your pitch to the 3,900 delegates at the state assembly of why they should elect you to go to Cleveland.
Ingraham: At a time where the Republicans are so fractured, and it really is for the most part an anti-Establishment mood within the Party, that’s why Rubio went down in flames, that’s why Jeb couldn’t get any traction, that’s why Kasich is still lower in delegate count than Rubio. These outsiders as they’re called are still managing to capture the imagination and the spirit of the people, but if at the end of all this people just have an overall sense that, if you’re a Republican voter and you vote it doesn’t matter that much, how much damage do you think that will do to the Republican brand or reputation going forward?
Call: That is a great observation, and it’s a concern I feel overwhelmingly as well. The very time we should be opening up our doors and being more open and transparent, and welcoming people into our Party, we’ve essentially made the decision to close it off and make it more cumbersome and more difficult. And, to prevent the ability of people to have their voice heard in this process. You’re reinforcing all of the very worst stereotypes about the Party and I, frankly, am very concerned about the way voters are going to feel. In a swing state like Colorado, for example, even if Ted Cruz or Donald Trump ultimately become the nominee for President, while we’ve been able to make our pitch to the 3,900 delegates at the state convention, there’s million registered Republicans that haven’t been talked to and there’s almost a million and a half unaffiliated voters, independent voters, that are key to deciding the contest in the battleground state and we haven’t done any work in a state like Colorado to build the campaign infrastructure to engage them or allow their voices to be heard. So, the message we’re sending to voters broadly the way this process is going is that your vote doesn’t matter and your voice doesn’t count.