Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Sunday rejected charges by Donald Trump that the delegate race for the nomination is rigged to give party bosses the power and disenfranchise voters.
The New York real estate mogul last week kicked up the rhetoric as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas chipped away at Trump’s lead in the delegate count. Cruz picked up all 14 of Wyoming’s delegates at the state’s convention Saturday and 34 from Colorado. With 838 delegates yet to be chosen, Trump leads with 755 to 559 for Cruz and 144 for Kasich. A candidate needs 1,237 votes to secure the nomination.
“Better straighten out the system because the people want their vote,” Trump said last week. “The people want to vote, and they want to be represented properly.” He also has said the July convention in Cleveland could turn ugly if he is denied the nomination.
“It’s the way it works,” Kasich said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” comparing Trump’s complaint to getting an 83 on a math test and demanding an A. The Ohio governor said the party needs to nominate someone who can appeal to blue-collar independents and said he is the only candidate who can “go into the convention as the person standing who can beat [Democratic presidential hopeful] Hillary Clinton.” Clinton currently leads Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the Democratic delegate race, 1,758 to 1,076, including both pledged and superdelegates.
“Voter disenfranchisement is not merely part of the Cruz strategy — it is the Cruz strategy,” Trump said in a recent op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal.
Priebus, who appeared on both “State of the Union” and NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said convention rules are no secret and have been in place since October. While he called the Wyoming selection process “unusual,” he characterized Trump’s statements “rhetoric” and “hyperbole,” adding that nothing can be done to change the rules before delegates gather for the convention.
Though the RNC is meeting in Florida this week, Priebus said he has recommended those attending the session make no recommendations on the rules.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea for us next week before the convention to make serious rules changes,” Priebus said, adding the environment is just too “politically charged” at this point.
“Recommendations would just confuse people. It’s a bad idea. The environment is not conducive to that.”