Our delegate rules are simple: get your name on the ballot, get elected, go represent the candidate for which you are pledged. Pretty simple, and, um, both Democratic and democratic. In caucus states, the process is slightly different, but the delegates pledge to a candidate at the local level and that carries upstream. The Republicans, not so much. They have incredibly byzantine rules, and they're about to get much worse. And Texas is in an uproar.
“This is the hill to die for,” Texas delegate Tom Washington, the assistant treasurer of the state party, told Salon on the convention floor. It’s “disgusting and disturbing,” said at-large alternate delegate Mark Russo from Rockwall, Texas.
The change, approved last week by the Rules Committee, which convened here in Tampa before the convention began, would allow a presidential campaign in future elections to veto any delegates sent to the national convention to support its candidate. While we usually know who the party’s nominee will be long before the convention, it’s not official until delegates vote on selecting the ticket at the convention. Delegates are elected in local and state nominating conventions, and then sent to the national convention assigned to presidential candidates based on the proportion of the vote each candidate won in the state. Opponents of the rule change fear this would allow the winning candidate to disavow elected delegates and stack the convention with big donors and loyalists who could change rules, write the platform or otherwise take the party in a direction that grass-roots activists wouldn’t support.
Yes folks, you read that right. Want to be a delegate? Go through the process? Get your tickets in order? And then the powers that be say no. The Paulites plan a floor fight over this change, along with one that ups the number of states required to get a presidential candidates name into consideration from five to eight.
A handful of Paul delegates tried to provide a taste of what’s to come after Monday’s brief convention session. After the session, a handful of Paul’s supporters gathered near the rear of the convention hall and waved signs bearing Paul’s name.
They included delegates from Oregon, Nevada and other states where the Texas congressman had support. They said they were upset about the pending rule changes.
It's going to be tough going forward for the part of old white men. They need this rule change to protect the ever shrinking numbers of old white guys that make up their party (89% of registered Republicans are white). Here's the frame:
In June RealClearPolitics' David Paul Kuhn looked at the demographic break down in vote projections and concluded, "The white margin to watch: 61-39. That’s the rough break-even point. Obama likely needs more than 39 percent of whites to assure re-election." To put that into context, Kuhn notes, "Whites favored Reagan in 1984 by a 64-35 margin. They favored Bush in 1988 by a 59-40 margin. Four years ago, whites favored McCain by a 55-43 margin." When Kuhn was writing in late June, he noted in an average of four polls, Obama was a couple points below the 39 percent mark -- and Romney was far from his 61 percent target. The New Republic's Nate Cohn pointed out that averaging more polls, whites were splitting for Romney by 52 percent to 39 percent. With Romney making little headway with black or Hispanic voters — polls typically put his support among non-white voters in the high teens to low 20s — the best remaining option is to get to that 61 percent threshold with whites. And if the Republican primary taught us anything — think back to Donald Trump's birther bubble and Newt Gingrich's South Carolina victory after doubling down on his charge that Obama is the "food stamp president" — these racially tinged campaign barbs are sure crowd pleasers among white Republicans.
To review: this year in the primaries, the GOP establishment did everything it could to steal votes for the next old white guy in line, Romney. (In case you're starting your 2016 dance card, next cycle's candidate is Paul "Eddie Munster" Ryan.) They played with the rules in Maine, Minnesota, Washington, Louisiana and Iowa, to name a few, where Ron Paul did much better with the process than the Romneyites could stand. This is the last election where the current racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, wingnut teabag contingent can hold sway as the demographics are against them. To winin 2016 and afterwards, the party will need to change to be more inclusive and Karl Rove, the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and the rest who own and operate the corporation that is the GOP are grasping at the last straw - their ability to pick a candidate.
It's shameful and un-American. But is it what they are: cheaters.