8/28/12: Continued updates here.
See updates below.
Original 8/26/12: Mitt Romney’s legal advisor, Ben Ginsburg, has been attacking grassroots activism within the Republican Party during the Convention of the Rules Committee that met Friday prior to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL according to a source at the meeting. I was told late yesterday that one of the amendments that he offered and was passed by the committee changes the RNC rules so that
the presumptive nominee and the state party the presidential candidate to whom delegates are bound (see update below) can decide who the delegates are that can go to the national convention. The language of the rule states that the presidential nominee and state party can disavow any delegate.
These are essentially the people who write the platform. Think about the implications of this: If the nominee is anti-life, he or she, can essential disavow any pro-life delegate. If he is in favor of same-sex marriage, he can disavow those delegates. This gives the nominee too much influence over the party and it diminishes the grassroots who choose the delegates to send. It is a top-down approach which favors the establishment.
This isn’t the only assault. Buzzfeed reports that the Romney camp executed a power grab which was passed by the committee 63-38. It would give the Republican National Committee and Mitt Romney new powers to amend the governing document of the GOP.
The move came at the encouragement of Mitt Romney supporters on the committee, including Romney’s top lawyer Ben Ginsberg, who stressed that it would grant “flexibility” to Romney and the committee to adapt to changing political environments. The rule allows the RNC to amend the party’s rules without a vote by the full Republican National Convention. And it offers the Republican Establishment a new tool to keep at by (sic) Tea Party initiatives that threaten to embarrass or contradict party leadership and stray from a planned message.
Romney, as his party’s nominee, exerts significant influence over the RNC, which is made up of elected party officials from all 50 states, while the larger Convention Rules Committee is larger and has a more grassroots membership.
I was told that there are plans to battle these new rules passed by the committee on the convention floor.
Update: I have the correct language for the rule that I discussed before. In the voice mail left for me, I was told that the nominee had to approve the delegate, it is actually the presidential candidate to whom the delegates are bound. Before I can explain that particular rule change, I have to mention a rule change that impacts this one in which I am in agreement with.
Rule 15a was changed, here’s the new language:
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 bid 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.
I agree with this change. Ron Paul did not win the Iowa Caucus he was a distant third, but yet he won 23 of the 28 delegates. This rule change doesn’t apply to 2012, but does apply to 2016 which means that a candidate will have to actually run a campaign to win the nomination not attempt a coup in caucus states. Now they can still try to send delegates to the state and national conventions to influence issues, but their vote for the Presidential nomination will be bound.
They could do that, but then back to the rule change mentioned above…. 15b was also changed. Here’s the language for that.
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 unless the presidential candidate to whom the delegate or alternate delegate is bound or allocated has pre-certified or approved the delegate or alternate delegate.
This rule puts the candidate, not the state party, in control of who is a delegate from your state. By not approving or pre-certifying a delegate that delegate will be out, even though the delegate (or alternate) has been legally elected at convention. It was explained to me today that at a practical manner, no state party wants its delegates to be disavowed so they will make sure that all of the delegates are agreed to by the candidate and the candidate will have “the hammer” to make sure that is what happens.
Update 2: Welcome readers from Conservatives 4 Palin.
Update 3 (8/27/12): Rule 15 has now become Rule 16(a)(2). There is a movement for a floor battle. From an email sent by Kim Lehman – Iowa’s outgoing National Commiteewoman:
There is a Minority Report being circulated that would stop this change. We need you to contact your state’s delegates serving on the Rules Committee. These delegates and their contact information is listed below.
Here is a list of delegates serving on the Rules Committee listed alphabetically by state. Please take a moment to find the delegates from your state to urge them sign onto and voteFOR the Minority Report from the Rules Committee to stop the proposed change. The vote is expected to take place Tuesday. Please only contact delegates from your state.
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