2016 delegate process ignites controversy

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 11, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What they're trying to do is subvert the movement with crooked shenanigans.

And I say this to the RNC and I say it to the Republican Party, you're going to have a big problem, folks, because there are people that don't like what's going on.

SEN. TED CRUZ, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They elected a total of 34 delegates. Out of those 34 we won 34.

Now, in response Donald has been yelling and screaming.

GOV. JOHN KASICH, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, you got to go out and hunt delegates. That's part of what this is about. Everybody has been talking about what wins what thing. I keep telling people, it's about accumulating delegates.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The candidates on the Republican side talking there about Colorado over the weekend. As you look at the delegate breakdown right now, Donald Trump has 743, Ted Cruz 545. And there you see Rubio with his 171 and Kasich behind. But they're talking about Colorado, 34 delegates for Cruz over the weekend. Trump tweeting, "How is it possible that the people of the great state of Colorado never got to vote in the Republican primary? Great anger, totally unfair. This is happening all over the country, great people being disenfranchised by politicians. Republican Party is in trouble," referring to this gentleman in Colorado.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm back home, still fuming over what happened this morning down in Colorado Springs with the GOP. This is the copy of my Republican Party registration. Good-bye GOP. I will not be forced to vote for somebody that I don't want to. I'm voting for Trump, and the hell with the Republican Party.


BAIER: And we'll start there with the panel. Let's bring in our panel, editor in chief of Lifezette, Laura Ingraham, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of The Hill, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

Laura, obviously there are a lot of people like that gentlemen upset about the process, but it is the process.

LAURA INGRAHAM, LIFEZETTE.COM: It is the process, and I think you can hold two thoughts in your mind at the same time. Number one, we should have known if we wanted to take on the establishment that they decided to change and tweak their process back in August of last year. A lot of people at that time thought they saw Trump coming and they didn't want the delegates bound to have to vote for Trump. They got rid of their presidential primary voting and they moved to this new process. But you do have to understand the process in order to win.

At the same time, there are a lot of people like that gentleman, who do feel kind of, what's the point here. I mean, they -- if people -- I think Cruz could have won the majority of the voters anyway, in Colorado. But it's a smell test. The rules are the rules. Yes, of course, that's right, but it's a smell test for people. And I think you're seeing this in more and more places, so Trump's going to try to exploit that as he was outmaneuvered in Colorado undoubtedly.

BAIER: This is a powerful line of attack against the establishment for Trump, obviously, and he's singing it from the rafters now at these campaign stops. But the bottom line, A.B., is that he organizationally is being outmaneuvered on the ground.

A.B. STODDARD, THE HILL: Yes, this is just another example after North Dakota of a campaign that didn't plan for the future and didn't put the groundwork and the footwork in on the ground and take the long view.

You can call him an evil genius, but Ted Cruz really got to work on this stuff obviously a long time ago and was completely prepared for a system that he could milk and exploit in a crafty way, and he's done that very successfully. It's just going to take more than tweeting and rallying and going on calling into TV shows, to -- if you're not going to get to the majority.

And again, Colorado might have decided that in August. But the RNC changed the rules after Mitt Romney's loss to help the frontrunner. It's helped him. And as you pointed out earlier, he has 45 percent of the delegates, has only won 37 percent of the popular, because of the way the RNC set up the rules. He's actually being helped by this process in another way. So for the part where he needs some people on the ground and he needs some foot soldiers and some organization, he better get to work.

BAIER: The new hired gun by the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort, is now running the delegate process. He was on "Meet the Press" this weekend.


PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CONVENTION MANAGER: You go to these county conventions and you see the Gestapo tactics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gestapo tactics? That's a strong word.

MANAFORT: Well, you look at it. We're going to be filing several protests because the reality is they're not playing by the rules.


BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, I think the assumption that Trump is making, his supporters are making is that the only really fair way to do this would be something like a national primary, to have a direct correlation between the number of votes you get and number of delegates. But you know, in Florida, Trump wins 47 percent of the vote, he gets 100 percent of the delegates, I didn't hear anybody complaining about the unfairness.

The fact is that, we have a very complicated legacy system. And 100 years ago, it was all the bosses and they chose the delegates. Since 1968 they de democratized it, and each state has done it in a different way.
Colorado has a very odd way to do it. In the past, it's had the caucuses for example. But they were called beauty contests. And this actually occurred in other states. There's less of it now. You would actually have a vote or even a primary, and it wouldn't count to the allocation of delegates. That would be done separately.

And the fact is everybody's had the rules for about a year and everybody had a chance to go after the delegates. Trump says in negotiations with the nefarious Chinese and Mexicans and Japanese, he's going to win.
They've been killing us, they're so smart. But how is he going to win?
He's going to have the best people. If you can't handle the Colorado delegate selection process, how is he going to handle the nefarious Chinese?

BAIER: It is simple to understand, though, one vote, and people kind of say, what happened to my vote in Colorado?

KRAUTHAMMER: What happened to the 53 percent of the votes in Florida of those who do not support Trump? I don't think they have any complaint that Trump has all the delegates because those were the rules going in, everybody understood them.

MANAFORT: There's not one guy named never Trump.

INGRAHAM: The tweet that was sent out after this thing went down, the "never Trump" tweet from the GOP in Colorado.

BAIER: And they quickly deleted it --

INGRAHAM: Everybody -- yes, that's fine. They deleted the tweet. But the former GOP chairman in Colorado came on my radio show today. And he's not a fan of Trump. But he said this doesn't look good. These were the rules, but it doesn't look good to the people of Colorado. A lot of them like Cruz. They want to go vote for Cruz. The people who were at that convention who were calling and saying, this is just a very arcane process.
Yes, they have the separate meetings to elect the delegates and all of that leading up to it, but when the former GOP chair is saying your vote doesn't count in Colorado, that -- that doesn't sit well for people either. So I think we have to talk about the long term effect on the GOP if millions of people who turned out for Trump think it basically doesn't matter how you vote.

BAIER: Just in the past few seconds, Ted Cruz tweeted out, he was talking about the Colorado results, he said, quote, "65,000 Coloradans voted, they just voted against Trump. That's 11 elections in a row we've won. Winning
-- whining isn't winning." That's the hash-tag, "whining isn't winning."
How does this play ahead of New York?

STODDARD: I think actually this is really going to help Trump. The Colorado situation is just too weird and it's going to help them in the contest going forward. People who are looking for an outsider and who have a grudge and a complaint with the establishment of the Republican Party, this is really -- he's playing it perfectly, and it will definitely help him in the contest to come.

BAIER: To Charles point on the delegate math, as you just put this up, delegates won 743, percent of delegates chosen thus far, 46 percent, votes for Trump, 8.25 million, percent of all primary, caucus votes, 37 percent.
So his delegate bonus of 24.3 percent is above his raw support. As you look at New York, though, Charles, he has support over 50 percent right now.

KRAUTHAMMER: Right, and he would deserve all the delegates he gets. All I want to say is we have a crazy sort of system which is federalized. And we have that in the House, in the Senate, and in presidential elections. The Senate of Wyoming has the same number of votes as New York. We do not have a straight democracy. The Electoral College distorts. We had in 2000, you will lose the popular and you win the election.

If we want to rationalize it, I'm all in favor of it. If you want to choose a nominee on the basis of a few primaries, national, regional, let's do it. But the system is the system, and I don't think it was designed to stop Donald Trump because it was designed before he came into the primaries.

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