Sunday, April 3, 2016

RNC Rule 40b Is Self-Defeating

Reagan got ripped off in 1976 by the RNC's "super delegate" system. But he took defeat with class.
Then worked with the party to bring reforms and after that he eclipsed Ford in the history books.
  This weekend we are watching the North Dakota Republicans hold their convention. They will send a delegation to the national convention consisting of 28 "Uncommitted" delegates. Colorado is determined to do the same thing. Expect more state parties to give strong consideration to a return to this format, in the years ahead.
  Why? Because presidential candidates do not own states! Nor can they assert ownership over the issues and priorities of that state party.  Far more than a presidential preference is on the line for these state organizations. Party organizations used to be far more influential than they are now reduced to.

RNC Rule 40(b): Each candidate for nomination for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States shall demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates from each of eight (8) or more states, severally, prior to the presentation of the name of that candidate for nomination. 
  Notwithstanding any other provisions of these rules or any rule of the House of Representatives, to demonstrate the support required of this paragraph a certificate evidencing the affirmative written support of the required number of permanently seated delegates from each of the eight (8) or more states shall have been submitted to the secretary of the convention not later than one (1) hour prior to the placing of the names of candidates for nomination pursuant to this rule and the established order of business.

  Rule 40b was ill-conceived and poorly implemented 4 years ago. It was Romney's final dig at Ron Paul. It was a move which left some of the most committed and organized conservatives on the sideline of the 2012 general election campaign.

  In order for a candidate to succeed to the nomination, he must win a lot. And he must win big. And he must win big many times. Very few contested state or territorial primaries or precinct caucuses result in a massively one-sided victory. Prior to March 15th, all contests are proportional in their delegate allotments. Ted Cruz did achieve this feat in Texas (his home state) due to some massively lopsided wins in some congressional district results. But he did not meet the 50% threshold of the popular vote. Rubio's disintegration led to Cruz winning 2 of the 3 delegates assigned to Texas congressional seats, where Rubio failed to reach a 20% threshold.

In 1976, my native Minnesota Democrats went to the DNC as "uncommitted" delegates. One of them voted for a farmer from Hampton, Iowa. Was it really an insult or an obstruction? Or was it purely a reminder that voters matter? No, this kind of thing rarely happens (otherwise it would not make national news). But state parties go to the convention to conduct a massive amount of substantive business which is vital to each state's party interests. Those who send the delegates are insulted at the notion that a presidential candidates asserts ownership over them.
  Suppose that many more states decide to hold early March contests? Or suppose that still many more opt for choosing uncommitted delegates at state conventions, like North Dakota and Colorado have done? Those delegates are now openly receiving many perks ranging from gifts, Cruises, Hotel upgrades in Cleveland, and many more considerations. Will their kids be getting full college scholarships? Will other state party members tolerate them selling out the state's best interests and preferences in exchange for bribes? Even though they are legal?

  Since the RNC cannot force states into late March winner-take-all contests in order to retain their franchise in the national party, this rule (40b) is a pathetic failure and an embarrassment to the Republican legacy. Yet another example of a great party letting a presidential opportunist have his way with her.

  How can a presidential candidate have his name placed in nomination for the 2nd ballot, when no one can demonstrate that he still has the control of a majority of the delegates in at least 8 states?

  It's a catch-22. Folks can't vote for a candidate unless 40b is satisfied... But until you count the real votes, how can you know who really has a majority of the delegates in any state?

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