More Drudge Dishonesty on Colorado Delegates

Photo by John Daly

Photo by John Daly

On Monday, I wrote a column that exposed and corrected several of the myths being put forth by Donald Trump and some in the media, regarding the Colorado GOP’s caucus and delegate-selection processes.

As several conservative-leaning websites have pointed out, one of the worst offenders of spreading misinformation on this topic has been the pro-Trump Drudge Report.

This morning, Matt Drudge was at it again, posting links at the top of his website (one comically named “VIDEO: COLORADO ‘ELECTION DAY’ REVEALED…”) to a video put together by CNN of the 10-second-long pitch-speeches that national delegate candidates presented on-stage at the state convention.

Instead of linking to the accompanying CNN article which placed the content of the video in its proper context, Drudge linked directly to the un-embedded video on YouTube, where the only context was its misleading title: “Colorado’s delegates were decided, 10 seconds at a time.”

The implication, of course, is that the only information that district delegates (those voting) had on the people they were voting for came from 10-second speeches — the speeches shouted out by each of hundreds of candidates over the abundant chatter of thousands of attendees.

The video is currently spreading like wildfire across social media, accompanied with angry sentiment directed at the Colorado GOP. People furious at the Republican “establishment” are offering the scene up as ‘further’ evidence of sleaziness and corruption.

Like before, however, this Drudge-fueled assertion is totally untrue.

As was touched on in the omitted CNN article (which itself came with an overly-sensational headline), candidates serious about wanting to make it to Cleveland as a national delegate had ample opportunity to present their case to district delegates.

Candidates were given access to their contact information well in advance, allowing them to set up email and call lists to introduce themselves to voters. They conveyed their backgrounds, political philosophies, and which presidential candidate they were supporting. And they were doing this for days prior to the convention.

In some cases, the candidates’ marketing efforts were so impressive that by the time I got to the state convention on Saturday, I felt like I personally knew them.

At the convention itself, there were many more introductions — in the walkways, in the stands, and on the floor. The doors at the arena opened up a little after 7am, and the voting for national delegates (and those 10-second-long speeches shown in the video) didn’t begin until close to 4pm. Over those nine hours in between, candidates were enthusiastically shaking hands, holding up signs, and handing out fliers and buttons — all in an effort to build support.

All of their campaign literature featured their names and their assignment numbers on the ballot, so voters could reference the information later, when it was time to make their selections.

The state party itself handed out a helpful pamphlet to each attendee at the beginning of the day, listing the candidates’ names, numbers, and which presidential candidate they were bound to (if any). It was as well organized as it reasonably could have been.

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The notion that Colorado’s delegates were decided “10 seconds at a time” is completely absurd. They were decided on by voters over hours at the arena, and in the days prior to the convention. The short speeches were simply an extended, traditional courtesy to the candidates, giving them each an equal voice in front of the entire audience, compliments of the state party.

As I wrote in my column on Monday, the Colorado GOP’s system for selecting national delegates is not an uncomplicated one. It’s complex, and I’m not a fan of it. But much of what has been reported about it since last Saturday is downright false.

It’s important to set the record straight, and I hope I’ve helped do that.