AHI Resident Fellow David Frisk
In discussing the Republican presidential race, it argues that despite a widespread popular prejudice to the contrary, a candidate has no claim on a party’s nomination simply by winning the most votes or delegates during the primaries—that delegates are obligated to consider the best interests of the party, and that the allegedly undemocratic complexities of delegate selection are in keeping with the complexity of the American constitutional system as designed by our founders, which deliberately avoids pure democracy. It also maintains that the requirement to win an actual majority of delegates in order to capture the nomination is a crucial one.
“ … a political party is an organization with its own interests, and not merely a tool for individual candidates and those who vote for them,” Frisk and Jonathan Riehl write. “It must be able to safeguard its interests in order to remain an effective representative, over time, for the diverse coalition of voters whose own interests and beliefs it advances or protects. …
“Delegates deserve more than a rubber-stamp status for two reasons: Plurality or even majority support for a candidate among primary voters may coexist, and this year does, with intense rejection of that candidate among a large swath of its voters. … In addition, delegates may judge, and as people with a history of commitment to the GOP and of political involvement and knowledge have a right to judge, that a front-running candidate is simply an unsuitable nominee despite his popularity within the party.”
In 2015, Frisk co-authored a Washington Examiner piece warning that Donald Trump’s candidacy was a potentially fatal threat to American conservatism as a political force, and one at RealClearPolitics which cautioned that the extremely large size of the Republican candidate field was unhealthy for the political process.
In addition, he has been a guest on talk radio several times in the past year addressing current political affairs, especially with Steve Curtis’s morning drive-time program at Denver’s KLZ 560-AM. He appeared most recently on Curtis’s show on March 31, and is scheduled again on the internet radio program of New York talk radio pioneer Barry Farber ) by the end of this month.
Opinions expressed by AHI staff are their own and do not reflect the views of the AHI, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has no involvement in campaigns or elections.
A Resident Fellow of the AHI since 2013, Dr. Frisk teaches its popular adult education classes in political science, history, and political philosophy, also leading and assisting with reading groups at Hamilton College. The author of the widely acclaimed biography If Not Us, Who? William Rusher, National Review, and the Conservative Movement (ISI Books, 2012), he is continuing with research and writing involving the history and philosophical basis of American conservatism.