Let’s remember when Pat Robertson won the Republican Caucus in Washington, on this day in 1988 (March 8)
Pat Robertson is a genuine crazy person. When natural disasters are called “Acts of God,” for insurance reasons, he believes that they are God’s way of punishing gay people. He’s the kind of loon and bigot you’re likely to find on the street corner calling random passersby sinners inches from their face, but instead he became a powerful figure in Evangelical Christian/Republican party circles.
In an amazing act of vanity, Robertson sought the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1988. How did he do? Pretty good, even outstanding for a genuine crazy person! He finished third overall, to then-vice president George H.W. Bush and Kansas Senator Bob Dole.
On March 8, 1988, Super Tuesday due to it having 17 state primaries or caucuses, Robertson won the GOP caucus for Washington state (his only win that day).
By 1989, Washingtonians were trying to put a stop to genuine crazy people from winning presidential delegates, and there was a demand for a primary. As KNKX reported in 2016:
“Robertson packed the Republican caucuses in Washington, and dominated it through organizing,” said David Ammons, spokesman for the state’s Elections Division. In 1988, he was a reporter for the Associated Press.
That year, Washington state Republicans sent an all-Robertson delegation to the national convention, in New Orleans. Ammons was there, too, as a reporter.
“New Orleans is a party town so there was a lot of drinking down on Bourbon Street and so forth by most of the delegation,” he said. “But the Robertson delegation would have morning prayer meetings, and they would have vigil circles regarding the abortion issue.”
Many of the GOP establishment in Washington state were “aghast,” Ammons said, that Robertson was being held up as what Washington Republicans believed in. In 1989, citizens put forward an initiative to the legislature asking for a state presidential primary.
“It didn’t even need to go to the ballot because the Legislature grabbed it when it was submitted to them for first reading, and they passed it into law,” he said.
Now, Washington has both a caucus and primary for both Democrats and Republicans, and 2016 was the first election where the GOP used only the primary results to award delegates. It was seven election-cycles after awarding all of their delegates to a genuine crazy person. Progress!
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