Ronny Chieng on the Beauty of Contested Conventions

May 2, 2016 - Nikolaj Coster-Waldau 05/02/2016 Views: 4,221

Ronny Chieng learns about the mechanics of contested political conventions as Donald Trump's opponents make a last-ditch effort to deny him the presidential nomination. (5:26)

Watch Full Episode

with Indiana'selections tomorrow,

anti-Trump forces may facetheir last chance

to deny Trumpthe delegates he needs

to secure the nomination.

That's right-- evenwith all his wins and votes,

we could still seea contested convention.

And it's hard for an outsiderto understand all of this,

as Ronny Chieng reports.

Malaysia. Where I'm from,democracy can be

a fluid concept.

Political elitesare often accused

of ignoringthe will of the people.

But that's not the casein America,

because America is... the...

...greatest democracy...

...the greatestdemocracy...

...the greatest democracyon the face of the earth.

Here, people have real power to choose their leader.

And for GOP voters, that leader is Donald Trump.

Donald Trump will endthe primary season

with both the most votesand the most delegates.

To me, this is pretty awesome.American democracy

is so beautiful.

Well, uh, it is nota perfectly democratic process.

(sniffs, exhales)

Smell it.

I don't thinkyou're smelling it.

-I don't really smell anything.-Well, maybe you're too jaded.

Where I'm from,we've got a couple of elites

just making decisionsfor everybody else.

And this is clearlynothing like that.

For the most partit's not like that,

but we could be in a situation

where no one winsa delegate majority,

in which case you'd goto a contested convention.

-So what? -Well,you could have outright bribing

of delegates, the voice of thepeople in the nominating process

could essentially be discarded,uh, and replaced

with the viewof the party leadership.

I just havethe Constitution here,

and I'm not seeing anythingyou just told me.

A contested convention happens

when nobody reaches the delegate majority of 1,237.

And the candidate with the most votes doesn't necessarily win.

It's the Stop Trump movement's wet dream.

I just have a question.

I've been following this thingfor, like, nine months now,

every day on the news,arguing over hand size,

whose wife is hotter,Donald Trump's dick,

and you're telling me afternine months of this (bleep)

none of that stuff matters.

It is possible thatnone of it will matter.

So what the (bleep) did we justsit through all of that for?

Good question.

CHIENG: But once he started explaining the mechanics

of a contested convention I began to understand

the genius of American democracy.

One of the other candidatescould overtake Trump

on a second ballotor third ballot,

or it is possible that,uh, the Republican rules

could be rewrittento allow someone

who did not competein the primaries or caucuses

to potentiallywin the nomination.

So Kanye West doesn'thave to wait until 2020.


CHIENG: What a country.

Trump comes up short and literally anyone

could be the Republican nominee.

Kanye, Paul Ryan, my personal trainer Pat.

All thanks to GOP leaders who simply don't like the guy

most people are voting for.

This is high-concept democracy.

I sat down with Trump delegates to help them come to terms

with their candidate's possible defeat.

Donald Trump--he's amassed the most votes,

he has the delegate lead,

which means at the conventionhe's going to...?

Be the nominee.

Yeah, see...

that's not howit's supposed to work.

Your democracy is so advanced

that you've removedthe people part from it.

And that's a huge problem.

You've disenfranchisedall those voters out there.

-Millions of people. It's wrong.-And what...

What are we teaching to kidsabout our democracy?

We're teaching themthat you can have your say,

but when you get it wrong

an adult will come inand fix your mess.

It's how allgreat democracies work.

No, not our democracy.

CHIENG: Well, you're wrong.

And to show them how the greatest democracy

in the world works,

I rented a driver's ed car and took the instructor's seat.

I'm the GOP establishment.

Let's drive this carto the White House.

Tell me why Trumpshould be president.

He's not politically correct.

(tires screech)

Yeah, exactly--he's a loose canon.

He's an independent thinker.

He's appealingto the common guy.

JOHNSON: Time for theseestablishment leaders to go.

I'm not gonna let you guysdestroy this country.

JOHNSON: Give me backthis wheel! We're...

GARGIULO:Give her the wheel.

Give me back my party!

Come on, guys, the beauty of a contested convention

is that you never know who's gonna win

until every last vote has been discounted.

What if there's a surprise?

Like, "Hey, welcometo the stage our new nominee,

it's Paul Ryan!"

Then we're gonnahave to work that much harder

speaking to other delegateson the floor of the convention.

We're gonna be talking to them

about why Mr. Trumpis the better candidate.

Let me ask you this:

what's your favorite ice cream?


No, it's Paul Ryan.

It's coconut ice cream.

-It's gonna be Paul Ryan.-Will not be.

-Say Paul Ryan.-No.

-Say Ryan. -No.

-Say "Ry".-No.

-"Pa". -No.

Pa... Say "PP".

No. Coconut ice cream.

You will have Paul Ryanand will you like it.

No, I won't.

I'll put him underthe hot water and melt him.

We're there for a purposeand that purpose

is to get Mr. Trump elected.

CHIENG: These delegates sound primed for a fight.

This convention's gonna be off the hook!

There's a lot of reasonswhy America is not ready

for a contested convention.

You could see riots,you could see a lot of violence.

Not ready?

Uh, have you seen America?

WorldStar, MMA.

ANNOUNCER:Oh! He is down!

Well, we might be seeing thaton the floor

-of the convention hall.-Yeah, it's gonna be awesome.

If they're smart they'dput this thing on pay-per-view.

In other countries,

bribery-filled violent conventions are a bad thing.

Not in America. Now it's up to Indiana primary voters

to keep the dream of a skull-cracking bloodbath

in Cleveland alive.