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John Aron Trandem, Fargo, column: More to Cramer's decision than meets eye

By John Aron Trandem FARGO -- I consider U.S. House candidate Kevin Cramer a friend. I have known him since 1996 and have donated to his many campaigns, including his most recent bid for North Dakota public service commissioner. But here is the p...

By John Aron Trandem

FARGO -- I consider U.S. House candidate Kevin Cramer a friend. I have known him since 1996 and have donated to his many campaigns, including his most recent bid for North Dakota public service commissioner.

But here is the problem I have with Cramer's decision to bypass the Republican nominating convention.

Cramer says his decision was based on his desire to let more people participate in the selection of the Republican candidate. The election "is far too important to leave out even one voice, one vote," he states.

And "every Republican should have a wide-open opportunity to robustly debate and participate in this process."

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All Republicans share those concerns, but Cramer's skipping the convention will do nothing to improve the situation. I can't speak to what's in Cramer's heart, but his claim that he's opening up the debate is simply false.

The Republican endorsing convention is a time-honored method which begins by individual districts electing delegates to represent them. All citizens are eligible to enter this process and compete to participate.

Next, through sponsoring debates as well as disseminating information, the party encourages and enables delegates to look objectively at the participants in the many races, and ultimately vote for their favorites.

At that point, the winner becomes the Republican endorsed candidate and is qualified to appear on the primary ballot when the election is held a few months later. From there, the voters have the right to accept or reject the endorsed candidate.

In other words, skipping the Republican convention has no effect whatsoever on primary participation or people's eligibility to vote.

Clearly, when Cramer cites his desire for get more people involved as his reason for skipping the convention, that tells you that one of two things are true: Either he doesn't know how the convention and primary work, which is highly unlikely considering the number of them he has organized and participated in; or, he's making a disingenuous claim in order to win support from those who don't understand the nominating process but do pay attention to claims of voter disenfranchisement, even when those claims are false.

So, what is Cramer's real reason for skipping the primary?

Here's my guess: The first and foremost reason to bypass the Republican convention is an inability to win. I know that Cramer knows he doesn't have the delegate support to win; like most active Republicans, I've received a number of calls from phone banks, asking if I would support Kevin either financially or with my vote.

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Perhaps Cramer didn't like the results of those polls. If you add up the numbers and don't have enough to win, why participate?

Likeiwse, going to the primary after being defeated at the convention looks like sour grapes.

The second reason is money. Cramer has raised a lot of money, and if he preserves his funds until the primary, he'll have an advantage over the Republican nominee (who likely will have spent most of his money winning the endorsement).

That could make it easier to bury the endorsed candidate in the primary vote.

Don't get me wrong. These are valid reasons, but they're not the reasons Cramer announced as he did.

The facts show that this simply is a self-motivated maneuver to usurp the will of the dele

I don't dispute Cramer's right to make this call. I only want to shine the light of truth and reality upon the false notion that this move is borne of nobility and selfless advocacy for the rights of the voters, or that it in any way leads to the inclusion of more voters in the process. Politically savvy, maybe; noble, not by a mile.

Trandem is District 45 chairman for the North Dakota Republican Party and an organizer of Fargo's first tea party rally.

Related Topics: KEVIN CRAMER
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