, the traditional day for elections and for our pause-and-consider newsletter on politics and policy. We think of it as a mini-magazine in your inbox.
By Lisa Desjardins, political director
Speech. Attack. Counterattack. Repeat. The 2016 campaign has been a scattershot of short-term plot points. We’d like to now sketch more broadly and bring a handy comparison of the remaining candidates. Note: On policy issues, we list the first or most prominent elements named in each candidate’s plan.
HOW TO WIN DELEGATES AND INFLUENCE THE GOP
By Lisa Desjardins
Donald Trump was surprised
, but many political nerds were not, when he learned that winning a state does not mean necessarily winning its — now critical — delegates. Here is our guide to how individual people become Republican National Convention delegates, the group who this year may elect the Republican presidential candidate.
STEP 1: How many? The national Republican party decides how many delegates each state gets. (Each state gets 10 plus one for each Congressional district, then gets additional delegates if it has voted Republican in recent elections.)
STEP 2: What kind? State Republican parties decide how to divide their delegates — at-large, Congressional district, winner-take-all, whatever they like.
STEP 3: Hold a primary or caucus. You can almost ignore this step. While primaries and caucuses can dictate how delegates must vote, they seldom have anything to do with choosing those individual delegates.
STEP 4: Elect the delegates. Each state decides a precise method but generally delegates are elected in two places — at state or local party conventions. Picture a large arena (state convention) or a high school auditorium (local Congressional district convention).
The delegate fight is like any other election, candidates make hundreds of phone calls, pass out stickers, shake hands and work to win over as many fellow Republicans they can. It is a process well worth seeing.
And at the local level you can see it, because often the district conventions are open to the public. AND, you might also be able to vote on who becomes the delegate.
This is because many local conventions often just require you fill out a form and pay a registration fee. (In states with closed primaries you may also need a GOP voting record.) It is meant to attract those interested in the party and can be people with little experience. State conventions, on the other hand, are made up of Republicans elected from local conventions, so these are more likely to be longtime party faithful.
STEP 5: Delegates are elected, and they go to the national convention. Usually they must vote according to the state outcome on the first ballot, but sometime after that they can vote however they like.
To find out if your state or local convention is coming up soon, go to your state Republican party website. If that is no help, send me a tweet
and I’ll look around with you. It truly is a worthy part of the process to observe.
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED
By Quinn Bowman, Capitol Hill Producer
The Senate is back from a spring recess this week, and there continues to be a subtle fissure in the GOP ranks over Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged not to meet with Garland or vote on any Supreme Court nominee until a new president is sworn in next year.
But Sen. Susan Collins of Maine met with Garland today, becoming the second Senate Republican to do so. She had nothing but good things to say about the judge “The meeting left me more convinced than ever that the process should proceed. The next step in my view should be public hearings before the judiciary committee,” Collins said afterward.
Still, Collins is just one moderate Republican in a conference filled with conservatives. Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas also met with Garland this afternoon — but no cameras or reporters were allowed to witness the start of the meeting, as is customary. So of Garland’s three meetings with Senate Republicans so far, one has been conducted in behind closed doors.
Without McConnell’s approval, Garland can’t get a vote. And while Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa has agreed to a breakfast meeting with the judge, most Republicans don’t have plans to see him, let alone force McConnell to change his mind. Here’s the short list of GOP senators who have met with Garland, or announced plans — or expressed interest — in doing so: