|The RNC, so far
||[Aug. 29th, 2012|01:48 pm]
I have to admit, during the last week I was gleefully enjoying the possibility that the Republican convention would be disrupted by Hurricane Isaac. Today, I think there are a fair few Republican delegates that might agree with me. What I'm talking about is the changes to the rules that were pushed through by the convention leadership. Details and protest. On the one hand, I can see the incentive for wanting to penalize bound delegates that effectively lie their way onto the floor to vote for a different candidate.
But on the other hand, there are a lot of problems here. For starters, this policy change basically says that in the future the campaign gets to pick their own delegates from each state...how? Will they have any idea who they should pick? Especially in uncompetitive states where the campaign doesn't spend a lot of time and resources, it seems like they'll essentially be picking blind, or relying on the state party to make the choice, possibly party leaders that can then play favorites behind closed doors.
Second, is this really a threat? Not only the rules change, but the subsequent marginalization of Ron Paul's supporters because they might try to, heavens forbid, actually try to nominate their candidate? Even taking the most optimistic projection from a Paul campaign staffer in one of the articles above, Paul has 320 out of 2,286 delegates. 14% of the total. Far more than he won in the primaries, admittedly, but still a number that is not even close to actually challenging Mitt Romney's nomination.
Third, it should really go without saying that ill-treatment of members of your own party is a terrible idea. Not paying any attention to the actual results of a viva voce, but instead just going ahead with the rules change despite protests? Refusing to seat part of the Maine delegation, causing them to walk out? Refusing to recognize delegates for anyone but Romney, or let another candidate onto the ballot? That mistreatment won't be forgotten during the general election. And to stop what? A token, symbolic effort to nominate Paul or some other minor candidate. A successful convention is about bringing the party together under the big tent, more unified than it was, in order to have a successful election season. The Republicans certainly appear to be trying to look unified, but they're doing it by snubbing the minorities in their own party, and enforcing a pre-determined outcome.
I don't think this ends well for them. How many snubs will it take before Paul's supporters decide that the GOP frankly doesn't want them around? Maybe it will be long enough that they'll have forgotten the first, or maybe they'll decide that they don't really have another option. But if not, I can easily see them walking off to a third party. They've certainly been given enough incentive in Tampa to do just that.