Posted by Curt on 28 August, 2012 at 8:53 am. 36 comments already!


Ed Morrissey @ Hot Air:

Give the followers of Ron Paul credit for this misstep by Team Romney.  They apparently spooked the nominee’s campaign enough to provoke a floor fight over delegate control, which blew up in their face rather spectacularly yesterday.  By the end of the business day, Team Romney had retreated to a compromise proposal that seems to be gaining a little momentum, but is still far from over.  Jazz Shaw had a good analysis of the situation on Sunday, and yesterday the Texas delegation threatened to go into full rebellion:

Texans, who select their delegates through a voting process that often elevates grassroots activists, say the change is an affront to the Lone Star State.

“We believe in Texas as a principle that no presidential candidate nor the RNC should be able to tell Texas who can or cannot be a delegate to the national convention,” said Butch Davis, a Lone Star State representative on the RNC rules committee. “It’s not a plain vanilla political fight. It’s a fundamental principle that we’re arguing for.”

Davis said the battle is over fundamental freedoms and voting rights: “This isn’t Reagan versus Ford, Goldwater versus Rockefeller,” Davis said. “This is George Washington versus King George.”

“We won’t allow this control by Republican candidate to take place,” Davis added.

By yesterday evening, Romney’s team had backpedaled significantly, but perhaps not to the extent sought by the suddenly-angered delegates:

 Jim Bopp, a conservative delegate who had led the opposition to Mr. Romney’s proposed rules, issued a statement on Monday, saying he was pleased with the compromise.

“The Romney for President campaign has heard the concerns of the conservative grass-roots voices in our party and has crafted an amendment to the rules adopted on Friday to address these concerns,” Mr. Bopp said.

Under the compromise, delegates would be selected by the state and local level without interference or control by the party’s presidential candidate. That would allow competing voices inside the convention, both sides said.

But in a nod to the concerns of Mr. Romney’s campaign, delegates sent on behalf of a candidate would be required to vote to nominate that candidate on the first ballot. If they tried to vote for someone else, their vote would be recorded for the candidate to whom they were bound.

We’ll come back to the concept of “bound delegates” in a moment.  Today, BuzzFeedreports that Team Romney feels more optimistic about this controversy dissipating before a floor demonstration:

“It’s an evolving process and its going well,” Romney aide Ron Kaufman, a longtime RNC insider, told BuzzFeed Tuesday morning. …

“Everyone wants the same thing,” he said.

Romney’s goal, he said, was merely to allow the party more flexibility in changing its rules in responding the changing political circumstances, something Democrats can do now and which, he said, “gives them a political advantage.”

I understand the anger over the initial proposed rules change, but it springs from a ridiculous anachronism in the presidential nomination process in both parties:caucuses.  Primaries almost always result in bound delegates, and they also reflect the will of the voters in each state; they also don’t take days to tally from handwritten sheets.  Caucuses may allow for grassroots activism, but they also create embarrassments for the parties and the candidates, as we saw this year in Iowa, Nevada, Maine, and other states.  Delegates selected in primaries represent voters of that state, while delegates selected in caucuses represent themselves.  Which is actually more valuable to the process of nominating a candidate?

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