Saturday, June 04, 2016


We hear a lot of accusations from some of our current presidential candidates and others about our “rigged” political party presidential nominating system.   Are the systems rigged?

Those of you in other states might want to examine how effectively your state political party nominating system works.      

Here’s a look at how California’s system works with links to sources:

(Note:  forms and most time deadline information that must be submitted I have omitted in this abbreviated recap.  Only the two major political party systems are shown here in alphabetical listing.)

In order to be a California delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention  you must be a registered Democrat and be selected as one of three types of delegates:  
District-Level, At-Large or PLEO.

July 25-28 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania California’s Delegation to the 2016 Democratic National Convention 

Delegates:   317    Alternates:     30
At-Large Delegates:  105      Alternates    10
PLEO Delegates:         53      Unpledged Delegates:  71
Total Number of Delegates: 546    Alternates:  40                   

District-Level: Each of California’s 53 congressional districts (CDs) are allocated a number of district level delegates and alternates, based upon population and presidential voting from the 2008 & 2012 elections. Potential candidates for district level delegates must pledge their support during the filing period to a presidential candidate, Caucuses will be held in each CD where Democrats registered in the CD will be able to vote to slate delegates. Presidential vote levels per CD in the primary will determine which district level delegates are selected, based on the caucus rankings. 

At-Large: At-large delegates are selected from a statewide pool and offer another way for Democrats to participate in the national convention. Potential candidates for at-large delegate must pledge their support to a presidential candidate, within the filing period. Selection of at-large delegates will be confirmed at the Statewide Delegation Meeting. 

PLEO:  Party Leaders and Elected Official (PLEO) are Democrats from one of the following categories: big-city mayors and statewide elected officials; state legislative leaders and state legislators; other state county and local elected officials; California Democratic Party leaders. PLEO candidates must pledge their support to a presidential candidate, during the filing period.  Selection of PLEO delegates will be confirmed at the Statewide Delegation Meeting.

Here’s a link to the Democratic delegate selection plan for more detail.  

The Democratic presidential candidate must win a majority of votes from the estimated 4765 delegates which would be one more than half -- 2383.  

* * * * * 
July 18-21, 2016 Republican Party Delegates to 2016 Presidential Convention

National California Delegation      Total: 341
172 delegates
-- 159 (3 delegates per Congressional District)
--   10 delegates at large
--     3 pre-determined (State Chair, National Committeewoman, National     Committeeman)

169 alternates
--159 (3 delegates per Congressional District)
--  10 delegates at large 

Who chooses the delegates?   Delegates are chosen by the Presidential candidates, NOT by the CRP or the RNC.
Do I need to select a candidate to support when I apply? Yes. By selecting the candidate you support we are able to provide those same candidates with a comprehensive list of delegate candidates
How does the winner-take-all primary work?  California’s primary is a winner-take-all system by Congressional District. The Presidential candidate who wins any given Congressional District will receive all 3 delegate appointments for that district. In addition, 10 at large delegates are awarded to the presidential candidate receiving the largest number of votes statewide.
I’m a delegate to the California Republican Party does that mean I’m part of the California Delegation?  No. The delegates to the Republican National Convention are chosen by the Presidential candidates and are not in any way related to your status as a member or delegate to the California Republican Party.
What are the requirements for being a delegate?  You must be a registered Republican and a resident of the Congressional District you are representing. You must attend the Delegation Meeting. You must commit to vote for the presidential candidate by whom you are selected.
If I am a delegate to the California Republican Party can I be a delegate to the Republican National Convention?  No. The delegates to the Republican National Convention are chosen by the Presidential candidates and are not in any way related to your status as a member or delegate to the California Republican Party.

Essentially, to win the Republican nomination, a candidate must secure the support of 1,237 (half plus one) of the 2,472 expected delegates that will be present at the Republican National Convention (RNC).  

The allocation of delegates for each state and territory has been determined in advance according to Rule 14 of the rules for the election and government of the Republican National Committee. The major points of the rules are as follows:
(i)Each state is allocated ten delegates at large
(ii) The chairman, national committeeman and national committeewoman of every state and territory’s Republican Party is a delegate at large
(iii) The total number of U.S. House of Representatives seat in each state x 3 district delegates
(iv) States that voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 are awarded 4.5 delegates at large plus additional delegates amounting to 60% of the number of electoral votes of each respective state. For D.C., an additional 30% instead of 60%, if qualified (all rounded up higher)
(v) Fixed number of additional delegates at large for each territory and D.C. (6 x American Samoa, 16 x District of Columbia, 6 x Guam, 6 x Northern Mariana Islands,20 x Puerto Rico, and 6 x Virgin Islands)
(vi) One delegate at large each for states with a Republican governor and for states which has a majority in its respective state legislature and Senate.
(vii) One delegate at large for states with an elected Senator for the U.S. Senate state within six years prior to January 1, 2016
* * *
Here's a link at This to a site providing their summary of the processes described above.
* * *

Should your state political party consider a change in this presidential primary voting process for future elections?   If you think so, I suggest you start working now beginning at your local level to make any changes for future elections as it's too late for this 2016 presidential primary election.  

* * *
Tuesday, June 7, 2016 -- California Presidential Primary Election
Currently the top two Democratic party candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are reported to be tied in the latest primary polls.

Donald Trump is reported to be the presumptive Republican party nominee.


  1. Our Virginia election isn't rigged. We have two Democrat senators and a Democrat governor. If Trump doesn't win here it's because many people think he's a rude buffoon. Bernie doesn't have a prayer in this conservative state.

    1. It's good to know you perceive Virginia's election as not being rigged -- also the presidential primary nominating process in each of the two major political parties I guess.

      I see reports of Virginia's May primary results show Trump won for the Republicans but total votes of five other losing candidates far exceeded the percentage he garnered. Clinton's winning percentage was considerably greater than her two opponents including Sanders.

    2. Many people who voted for Trump's primary opponents will probably swing to Trump, however, voters showed in the last governor's election that they would not swing far right.

      NOVA , Southside, and the greater Norfolk area as well as Richmond, have many Liberal and "minority" voters. NOVA has a huge Muslim population. Although there are many military in NOVA and the SE, today, the military includes many "minorities" and women.

      Hillary is a Conservative Democrat and a Hawk if you believe Bernie. Her voting record reveals this and most military know this.

      VA had the first Black governor, Douglas Wilder, and he is still very outspoken, and not for Trump. VA is not considered a tossup by most pollsters, including Lary Sabato.

    3. Will be interesting to see how the voting finally shakes down in VA and other states in this particular election year.

  2. Wow, talk about confusing. I had had no idea until this year how any of this worked. The tough part is we vote for a candidate but the delegates we have no idea who they even support.

    The thing that's getting me down is how whether it's Hillary or Trump in the end, environmentally I don't like either. She will be continuing extreme regulations that I don't think help ranchers or even the environment as they are promoted by environmentalists who don't want anybody on government land or for that matter our own. AND he will get rid of regs we need as he buys into the right wing agenda that all regulations are detrimental to business. Argh!

    1. Figuring out these delegates and who they're voting for is no simple task it seems.

      As for our current candidates, I guess that's how it's supposed to be -- whatever side of issues we're on, no one is going to be pleased. That seems to be the point many in Congress would not accept -- compromise -- what to stand firm on and what not.

  3. All this makes my brain hurt a lot. I'm so wrapped up right now in my roll as caregiver I'm barely aware their is a world outside these walls. I know who I"m going to vote for and since we have mail in ballots I will definitely vote. I have to stop at that point and let people smarter than me figure all this out. It's above my pay grade.

    1. Caregiving is a full time occupation as I know from both personal and professional experience. Our time and energies often have to be relegated according to what else is going on in our lives which is as it must be -- often to keep our sanity.

      Rest your brain, I'm not suggesting these "rigged" accusations are legitimate, or even what, if any, changes are in order -- but delegate selection and candidate commitment does seem rather complicated. Are there possible manipulative opportunities for final candidate selection -- especially after some delegates are released from an initial voting obligation for a specified candidate? But I didn't get into that aspect.

      I just had never closely looked at the delegate selection specifics, thought maybe other voters hadn't either, and wanted to share some of the basics I read about -- especially in light of the charges being made by candidates about the system in place.

  4. My feeling is that many of those charging the selection processes are rigged seem to confuse the work of parties with general elections in which voters choose. The primary role of political parties is to present candidates. If they do that badly, their candidates will lose. I think a party should be free to select its candidates any way it chooses. Doing it badly consistently will result in its own destruction. Some think the Republican party has done just that.

    1. I think you summed up the role of the political parties well. The parties generally do try to dovetail their own agenda with that of candidates desired by voters. But, following their own party rules for making a final candidate selection may not always be smoothly done as some observers have speculated. Those are likely the situations when questioning of the process arises. That's probably when confusion about the parties role emerges.

      For informational purposes, this primary election the California Democratic Party has chosen to be "open" to other non-party member registered voters who will be able to cast their ballot for party candidates. The Republican Party chose to be "closed" so only party members can vote for that parties candidates. The final candidates will be selected by each respective party at their July conventions.

  5. I'm so impressed with your knowledge of politics. Wow!

    1. The bulk of the information I provided is from the internet sites to which I gave links, so you may be giving me credit for more knowledge than I actually possess. I'm impressed with what other bloggers comment -- clarifying, elaborating on, and adding new information -- hopefully, correcting any misstatements I might unintentionally make. Of course, I'm accountable for any of my opinionated views.

  6. That's so complex. Thanks for digging in and helping me make sense of it!

    1. Certainly not simple, I'd agree.

  7. Replies
    1. Your comment is an understatement to be sure!