Third Party & Independents Archives

The Joy of GOP Convention Rules

When trust is at a low point, process becomes viewed with suspicion, nay, even paranoia. So what normally is an arcane meeting of Republican activists and party members - this time in Hollywood Florida - instead became the focal point of yet another controversy in the GOP’s once-in-a-lifetime circus of a nomination process.

Rules of order can be Robert's or House rules. In the latter, the speaker can decide on rule changes - like rule 40b - that matter because they would make it possible to bring in an outside white knight as a candidate for the nomination at the convention in Cleveland. That would require - yet another - change in the GOP nomination rules book. The question is: who votes the rule change? The standing rules committee that met in Hollywood? Or the more general convention rules committee made up of more of the actual delegates in Cleveland?

Oregan GOP committeeman Solomon Yue wanted to change to the Robert's rules of order to prevent the possibility that Paul Ryan - the convention chairman - could bring as candidate someone other than Trump, Cruz, or Kasich (assuming Kasich is still at it in July). The Robert's rules would send that type of decision - whether to overturn rule 40b that requires a nominee to have won primaries in at least 8 states - to a majority vote among delegates.

But Reince Priebus was firm in that the standing rules committee should defer to the general convention rules committee to decide if a majority of delegates or just the chairman could bring in a fresh face. Or if they should stay with the House rules which currently allow chairman Paul Ryan to change the rules (specifically eliminate rule 40b) to enable God-knows-who to stride onto the stage to resounding boos from a large number of hostile delegates.

The standing rules committee punted to the convention rules committee who will have the pleasure, about a week before Cleveland, of deciding on Yue's proposal and any others that will likely spring up as political strategists try to game the rules to favor or destroy the chances of Trump, Cruz, Kasich, or God-knows-who.

All of this is theoretical until the convention actually gets under way, but inevitable. Gaming the rules is what political parties do. With unintended consequences inevitably arising the next time around. Trying to keep up with GOP convention rules is almost as much fun as trying to understand the rules of the Senate. And this time around in 2016, just as, or even more, important to America's political future.

Imagine the Senate rules and the GOP and Democrat nomination rules so concise they would each fit on a postcard. Ridiculous right? We have a convention to game!

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Comment #404294

I’ve been participating in elections since the 50’s and, for whatever reason, this delegate vote and super delegate vote has not caught my attention.

Must be because this is a very unusual silly season what with Sanders the ‘insider’ running as an outsider and Trump running as an outsider.

In this election cycle one gets the sense that the ‘establishment’ might want to influence the process to help an establishment candidate get the nod.

I believe I heard right that Penn. has a total of 71 votes to win for the GOP side. Seventeen are won thru the popular vote and the remainder are reserved for the ‘delegates’ to award at the convention. On it’s face, that sounds highly undemocratic.

Can anyone on WB help me to understand why this process isn’t a bad thing?

When you scratch the surface a lot of the process sounds quirky. Like, I’m not a party member. I just give my vote to whomever I think will make the best president in the nomination election and general election.

But, what is to keep me from voting in the dem primary to knock out their main man and then vote in the GOP primary for the candidate of my choice, and so on - - -

I’m thinking a new 3rd party w/a/dif/pol/att would have a policy of popular vote for elected office. But, I really haven’t delved into the issue as of yet.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: roy ellis at April 25, 2016 9:17 PM
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The more I learn the less I like this delegate-super delegate stuff.

Like in Penn, the delegates hold 17 pledged delegate votes and the unpledged delegates hold 54 votes. The big majority of the pledged votes will likely go to Trump. The unpledged votes can commit between now and during the convention.

Assume some of the incumbent ‘vote holders’ are running for re-election. A voter will not likely know who the delegate voter is and who he plans to give his delegate vote to in the general. So, a person may be voting to re-elect a delegate who plans to vote against the choice of that private voter.

I’m thinking any new 3rd party w/a/dif/pol/att would adopt a straight up popular vote election policy.

Would that not be a big pull to attract folks to a new 3rd party? It seems the two party’s are weighing in too heavily to protect their party from any ‘outside’ upstart candidates.

Otherwise - - -

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