Tampa Tempest in a Convention Hall
Briefly, there are items that have passed the powerful Rules committee that freedom loving Texans and activists of other states are attempting to roll back. In a nutshell, the most egregious of the Rules changes would give a presumptive presidential candidate veto power over duly elected States’ delegates, without even having to justify why. Grassroots are rightly outraged over this. Another one would consolidate huge amounts of additional Party power in the national Republican National Committee, which is frankly, dominated by smaller and more moderate states. Its membership operates, in essence, like a Senate but without a counterbalancing House.
While Texas delegates are unified against these measures, not all states are on board yet. Especially if you have activist contacts in other states (whether or not actually at the Convention in Tampa), please help spread the word that they should actively support a minority report that would roll back these rogue rule changes.
Below is a verified account from an Indiana delegate that describes the situation in more detail.
On Tues., the Convention Rules Committee will report the revised RNC Rules for adoption. A minority report will be presented to delete an amendment which has the effect of allowing Presidential candidates to select his bound delegates in all of the states he carried by allowing him to "disavow" any of them. They are then not certified as a delegate.
Here is the amendment to be deleted by the minority report with the disavowal language:
Add a new section 15(a) and replace as follows and renumber accordingly:
“(1) Any statewide presidential preference vote that permits a choice among candidates for the Republican nomination for president of the United states in a primary, caucuses, or a state convention must be used to allocate and bind the state’s delegation to the National Convention in either a proportional or winner-take-all manner, except for the delegates and alternate delegates who appear on a ballot in a statewide election and are elected directly by primary voters.”
(2) For any manner of binding or allocating delegates permitted by these Rules, no delegate or alternate delegate who is bound or allocated to a particular presidential candidate may be certified under Rule 19 if the presidential candidate to whom the delegate or alternate delegate is bound or allocated has, in consultation with the State Party, disavowed the delegate or alternate delegate.”
Add anew 15(e)(3) as follows:
“(e)(3) The Republican National Committee may grant a waiver to a state Republican Party from the provisions of 15(a) and (b) where compliance is impossible, and the Republican National Committee determines that granting such waiver is in the best interests of the Republican Party.”
This puts the candidate, not the state party, in control of who is a delegate from your state. By disavowing a delegate he is out, even though already legally elected. As a practical matter, no state party wants its delegates to be disavowed so they will make sure that all the delegates are agreed to by the winning candidate and the candidate will have the hammer to make sure that happens. As a result, the winning candidate controls the selection of delegates, not the state party. This is the biggest power grab in the history of the Republican Party because it shifts the power to select delegates from the state party to the candidate. And it would make the Republican Party a top down, not bottom up party.
It would also hurt state parties because they use delegate selection as a way to honor party volunteers and party contributors. A Presidential candidate will have his own agenda for delegate selection. As a result, this always is a threat to party regulars who make up most of our delegates. But it is also a threat to both moderates and conservative who could be purged, depending on who is the Republican Presidential nominee.
This proposal is an overreaction to the problems in a few states where Ron Paul delegates threaten to not support the winning Presidential candidate. I agree that they should honor that pledge, but that can be fix by a few tweaks in a few state laws. Massachusetts handled this successfully by requiring an affidavit promising to vote for the candidate, Mitt Romney, who carried the state. But the Rules change here is overkill -- killing a fly with a sledgehammer. I urge you to support the minority report.
James Bopp Jr.
Co-Chairman of the Subcommittee on Restoring Constitutional Government
Convention Committee on Resolutions
National Committeeman, Indiana
Vice Chairman, Republican National Committee