Ben Ginsberg, counsel for the Mitt Romney campaign, has spearheaded a blatant grab for power in the GOP that will disenfranchise Republicans around the nation in the next election cycle and beyond. Tonight, GOP leaders and Romney supporters have attempted to extend an olive branch, in light of overwhelming opposition to the proposed rules changes.
These changes would be disastrous for the caucus states, as well as allowing presidential candidates to hand-pick delegates from wealthy donors, rather than giving grassroots and middle class voters the chance to be a part of the electoral process.
Earlier this week, the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee stripped several states of elected delegates loyal to Ron Paul in an attempt to exert control over the outcome of the convention. (A portion of the Maine delegation that was challenged and stripped to five is pictured at right.) On the heels of those actions, rules changes have been proposed that would require all states to either bind delegates proportionately or in a winner takes all scenario, forcing out candidates who didn’t receive as much support as the “presumptive”.
Morton Blackwell, Virginia National Committeeman, has been leading an effort to force through minority reports on the convention floor. According to Blackwell, it will require six states to force a roll call vote on the convention floor.
You can view the minority reports, proposed rules changes, and a letter from Blackwell at this site:
According to the Houston Chronicle, Romney supporters and the GOP have backed down on portions of the change for Rule 15, in an attempt to placate state parties that are outraged at the changes. Under the compromise, states would still able to select individual delegates under their own laws and party rules. GOP leaders agreed to remove the rule change provision that would have allowed state-party-selected delegates to be disavowed.
Under the deal, delegates who are bound to a presidential candidate who hasn’t left the race or released them are barred from casting a vote for a different person.
Any vote for another candidate would be voided and the delegate would lose his or her position.
However, states would still get to choose delegates according to their state party laws and procedures.
Several states have spoken in opposition to the rules changes. According to an article from the Des Moines Register, Iowa leaders will be working to oppose the changes tomorrow afternoon. Iowa is a caucus state, so the new changes would affect them directly. Iowa delegates would no longer be unbound and would move to a primary system, effectively shutting out grassroots organization.
A.J. Spiker, chairman for the Republican Party of Iowa, acknowledged that it wasn’t just the Ron Paul supporters or the Tea Party faction that were worried about the changes.
“You’ve got small-government conservatives, Goldwater types, Christian-right types and moderates all up in arms,” he said. “It’s bigger than just maybe some Ron Paul people from Iowa or some Santorum people who got to go.”
It’s reported that at least eight states are ready to attempt to force a roll call vote, surpassing the threshold needed to put the minority reports through.
The compromise would make it punishable for a delegate to vote for someone else, when bound to another candidate. Which raises the question, are they able to do so now? According to the proposed change, a delegate who violates a binding pledge will be removed. This may affect how delegates feel about the new set of rules altogether, and spur an attempt to vote the entire set of new rules down and keep the current rules for this convention and the next.
There would be no reason to propose a rule for a penalty for a faithless vote or to be able to remove a delegate from the floor if it were legal to do so NOW.
Remember that this will be a RESOLUTION, most likely to accept the Report of the Rules Committee or something along those lines.
There won’t be anything to compromise on if there are no changes from the current rules.
This is the text of the email, obtained by Hearst Magazines, that describes the compromise:
Subject: Resolution of Controversy regarding Rule 15/16
To the Members of the Republican National Committee and the Convention Committee on Rules:
The undersigned are very pleased to announce that the leadership of the Republican National Committee and the Romney for President campaign has heard the concerns of the conservative grassroots voices in our party and has crafted an amendment to the Rules adopted on Friday to address these concerns.
At the same time, the revised language closes a loophole in our party rules, which previously failed to include a penalty for delegates who break their promise to vote for a particular Presidential candidate as required by state law or state party rules.
We are pleased that our party has come together to fashion this compromise. This will allow Republicans of all stripes to come to the Convention united and focused on defeating Barack Obama in November.
The Convention is our party’s opportunity to energize our supporters and activists. It would be unfortunate to squander the opportunity fighting an internal battle which we have now been able to successfully resolve and which will accomplish the goals of all parties involved.
The resolution that we have reached is straightforward. It simply prevents a bound delegate from nominating or casting a vote for a different presidential candidate than the one to whom the delegate was legally bound by state law or state party rule.
Instead, under this new provision, a delegate who attempts to violate his binding pledge is deemed to have resigned and the Secretary of the Convention will record the improper vote as it should have been cast based on state law or party rule.
It leaves the actual selection of delegates completely to state parties under state law and state party rules.
We are pleased that we were able to reach an acceptable resolution and urge the members of the Convention Rules Committee to adopt the revised Rule tomorrow to be included in their report to the Convention.
Text of the Rule:
For any manner of binding or allocating delegates under these Rules, if a delegate
(i) casts a vote for a presidential candidate at the National Convention inconsistent with the delegate’s obligation under state law or state party rule,
(ii) nominates or demonstrates support under Rule 40 for a presidential candidate other than the one to whom the delegate is bound or allocated under state law or state party rule, or
(iii) fails in some other way to carry out the delegate’s affirmative duty under state law or state party rule to cast a vote at the National Convention for a particular presidential candidate,
the delegate shall be deemed to have concurrently resigned as a delegate and the delegate’s improper vote or nomination shall be null and void. Thereafter the Secretary of the Convention shall record the delegate’s vote or nomination in accordance with the delegate’s obligation under state law or state party rule. This subsection does not apply to delegates who are bound to a candidate who has withdrawn his or her candidacy, suspended or terminated his or her campaign, or publicly released his or her delegates.
James Bopp Jr. NCM IN Vice Chairman Republican National Committee Cindy Costa NCW SC
Bob Bennett Chairman Ohio Republican Party
John Ryder NCM Tenn.
Ron Kaufman NCM Mass.
Henry Barbour NCM Miss.