The Preamble to the Rules of the Republican Party state, “Be it resolved, that the Republican Party is the party of the Open door. Ours is the party of liberty, the party of equality, of opportunity for all, and favoritism for none. It is the intent and purpose of these rules to encourage and allow the broadest possible participation of all voters in Republican Party activities at all levels and to assure that the Republican Party is open and accessible to all Americans.”
As the committee was ready to adjourn yesterday, Florence Sebern, delegate from Colorado, bravely moved to strike the Preamble, as, “It’s inconsistent with what we did today.”
Her succinct comment was appropriate, and reflected in Jeremy Blosser’s comments today. Blosser, a delegate from Texas, has been attending all the GOP committee meetings coordinating, and encouraging liberty delegate members, in their efforts to bring fairness to the RNC. He writes:
“Manipulating concerns of many in the party mainstream over the success Ron Paul’s supporters had becoming delegates this cycle, the DC insiders led by the Romney campaign are staging a complete takeover of the national Republican Party from the conservative wing and ensuring they will never lose power again.”
Romney campaign attorneys and other operatives ran a large set of changes through the convention rules committee on Friday. The vast majority of which were not discussed prior in the RNC Standing Rules committee. Two changes stand out far beyond the rest and must be defeated on the floor of the convention if we do not want to see the grassroots shut out of the party for decades to come.
First, the committee voted to allow the RNC to make rule changes between conventions, with little to no checks or balances. The original threshold proposed was 2/3 of the entire RNC. Melinda Fredericks of Texas got this changed to 3/4, but as Morton Blackwell of Virginia noted, in his many years on the RNC he has never seen a situation where the chairman did not get what he wanted on a vote, regardless of threshold.
Second, the committee voted to dramatically restrict who can be elected a delegate to the national convention. All states now are required to pledge all delegates, and all national delegates must be approved by the candidate they are pledged to. As originally proposed, the candidate had to pre-approve people before they could run, but this was changed to instead give candidates veto power over elections. Attempts to carve out exceptions for caucus states that have party rule requiring they not pledge some delegates failed.
I’m pleased to say our representatives on the committee opposed this one as strongly as anyone did, with Butch Davis saying that stopping it was “a hill to die on”. David Barton ran for the Platform Committee so that he could make sure the Romney campaign would not successfully gut the platform–that kind of speech or position will never be tolerated in the future if this stands.
Morton Blackwell and others are leading efforts to defeat this via minority reports on the floor. We NEED to make sure either those pass or the entire report is voted down so we stay with the 2008 rules. PLEASE help us inform the delegates and put pressure where needed to stop this. This is not a “Ron Paul vs mainstream GOP” thing, this is a complete party takeover by the DC insiders we may not be able to reverse if it succeeds.
The last form of the adopted language I have available is below–we don’t have access to the official report yet but unless I missed something this is it.
New rule inserted as number 12:
“The Republican National Committee may, by three fourths (3/4) vote of its entire membership, amend Rules 1-11 and 13-24. Any such amendment shall be considered by the Republican National Committee only if it was passed by by a majority vote of the Standing Committee on Rules after having been submitted in writing at least ten (10) days in advance of its consideration by the Republican National Committee and shall take effect thirty (30) days after adoption. No such amendment shall be adopted after September 30, 2014.”
New rule inserted as number 15(a):
15(a)(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, caucus, or 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 delegates and alternate delegates who appear on a ballot in a statewide election and are elected directly by primary voters.
15(a)(2) For any manner of binding or allocating delegates permitted by these Rules, no delegate or alternate 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.
15(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 a waiver is in the best interests of the Republican Party.
If these rules pass as the committee passed them, the Republican Party will be completely closed to the grassroots. The only way to fix it will be to take over the RNC, because we won’t likely be able to get into the national convention as delegates again. We’ll certainly do that if it’s the only option they leave us, but we have to defeat these rule changes if we want to fulfill our mandate to affect the national party in this cycle.
This article discusses that change, and is accurate to what I observed in the committee meeting: http://www.buzzfeed.com/zekejmiller/romney-executes-republican-party-power-grab
For this change to take effect it has to be approved by a vote of the entire convention on Monday (now Tuesday, as the convention opening has been postponed to early Tuesday afternoon because of the hurricane).
Pat Kerby, delegate from Nevada, had this to say, “With their change to the rules giving them “flexibility,” can’t they just change it to whatever suits them? The days of the grassroots having input in the GOP are over until the grassroots are the majority.”
*Image courtesy of James Clar