I had a discussion at work about the Republican National Convention that happened about a month ago. The coworker was telling me some interesting things that he’d seen reported on Fox News, which I think I’ve mostly been able to confirm on other web sites.
Also note that I don’t understand the Republican caucus process very well, so I may not be able to explain everything as well as I’d like.
Essentially what happened was that Ron Paul had enough delegates to receive a nomination at the RNC. That wouldn’t have meant he would have automatically been the presidential candidate; it just would have meant that they would have had to vote between Paul and Romney at the Convention. Under the rules of the Convention, if a person received a plurality of delegate votes (meaning, the person with the most votes, even if it’s not more than 50%) from five or more states, that person could be nominated from the floor of the Convention. Paul had pluralities in eight states.
However, at the Convention they proposed the following rule changes:
- All states must require that their delegates cast their votes for the person who won the popular vote in the state
- A person must receive pluralities in 10 states, not 5, to be nominated from the floor
- The Republican National Committee is allowed to change rules about delegate qualifications between Conventions (which only happen every 4 years), whereas before the entire Convention had to vote to change the rules
The proposed changes were put to a vocal vote. Some reported that the group that did not want the rules changed sounded louder than those who did. But Boehner, allegedly following a scripted teleprompter, said that “the ayes have it” and the rule changes were instituted.
There’s more. A delegate from Virginia had gathered enough signatures for a “minority report” that could be offered for a vote at the Convention, and if it had been voted for and passed, it would have prevented the rules changes. However, for some reason, that delegate’s bus kept circling around instead of taking him to the Convention. The delegates on the bus insisted on getting off, at which point they were prevented by security three times from entering. When the Virginia delegates finally got in, it was too late to propose the measure.
My coworker, who is a staunch libertarian, was so outraged by these tactics that he says he’s determined to vote third party (Gary Johnson, the official libertarian candidate). He saw an ad from Paul Ryan saying that “A vote for Ron Paul is a vote for Obama.” His response was that he’d rather have his vote go for Obama than reward the Republicans for what they’ve done.
Here are a couple of articles where I confirmed most of my information. This first one:
is easier to read if you’re not familiar with the caucus system. This second one:
goes into more detail, and includes a picture of the teleprompter saying that “the ayes have it.”