In the past those of us that went to the Republican National Convention in Florida last year have shared concerns about rules changes pushed through that centralized party power and weakened the grassroots. We want to keep everyone informed on what is happening as this internal party conflict will have a profound affect on our party as a whole and the methods and means we use to nominate our Presidential candidates.
Our Nation Committee Woman Dr. Carolyn McClarty has even came to Cherokee County and elsewhere speaking against the power grab rules changes. You can read about Dr. McClarty’s visit to Cherokee County Here if you missed it before.
Even now we have grassroots leaders across the States still fighting the fight and working to undo the damage of those recent rules changes. Below is a letter recently sent to our National Chairman Reince Priebus discussing concerns and ways to address them.
Dr. Shannon Grimes, Chairman
Cherokee County Republican Party
By: Morton C. Blackwell (Diary) | August 2nd, 2013 at 05:20 PM | 3
Mr. Reince Priebus, Chairman
Republican National Committee
You received last month my notice, as required, that I shall propose a single amendment to The Rules of the Republican Party at the August 14-17 meeting of the RNC in Boston.
It’s a one-word amendment to Rule 16 (c)(2) to change the word “may” back to the word “shall” – a small change of wording that would have a major effect on our Republican presidential nomination process and please a great many grassroots Republicans.
Because many new people have recently become Members of the national committee and because debate on Rules matters is customarily limited, I decided to discuss this matter in advance and in some detail in this letter to you, with copies to all RNC members.
My change would repeal one of the worst power grabs pushed through by Ben Ginsberg at the 2012 Republican National Convention Rules Committee in Tampa.
For decades, Republican leaders watched as state after state moved their presidential primaries earlier and earlier. We moved closer and closer each election cycle to what amounted to a “national primary,” where a majority of convention delegates would be elected on a single day or within a period of a very few days. There was almost unanimous agreement that a national primary is a bad idea.
Here are some of the reasons why almost all party leaders agreed that something had to be done to stop the movement toward a national primary:
1. The selection and binding of most national convention delegates in a very short period of time would give a huge advantage to a very wealthy candidate. There would not be time for anyone who started without such wealth to build a base of supporters by proving himself or herself to be an excellent candidate early in the presidential nomination season and, over time, building a winning grassroots campaign.
2. The front-loading of our delegate selection would give the major liberal media an opportunity to build up quickly someone they wanted our party to nominate. The liberal media can, in a very short time, generate favorable coverage and national celebrity for any Republican candidate they choose. They have done this before and might do it again. It takes longer for grassroots Republicans to unite behind their choice of candidates.
3. There should be a sufficiently long period in the nomination contest to test every potential nominee in a number of successive contests in a wide variety of states and circumstances. Without such a testing period, one lucky break or one early mistake could result in our nominating someone due to a fluke.
Something really had to be done.
Literally for decades, our Party wrestled with this problem. Many solutions were proposed. One, called the Delaware Plan, actually passed at a Convention Rules Committee, but some states objected and filed a minority report which would have resulted in a Rules battle on the floor of the convention.
Our presidential nominee that year didn’t want a convention floor battle on anything, so his people pressured enough supporters of the Convention Rules Committee’s Delaware Plan to withdraw their support of it. No reform was passed that year.
Front-loading of the primaries got worse, but it became clear that no presidential candidate about to be nominated at a national convention would let a Convention Rules Committee change the timing of presidential primaries because there was always a fairly strong minority of the states which, for different reasons, opposed any one of the several proposed reforms of the system. No convention floor battles would be tolerated.
Front-loading of the delegate-selection process grew and grew.
Finally, it was decided to set up a special commission to propose a Rules reform to somehow spread out the delegation-selection period enough to prevent a national presidential primary. Enormous amounts of time, talent, and RNC money were invested in coming up with a solution. A solution was found that almost everyone accepted. A special “one-time-only” Rules change permitted passage between conventions of a reform of delegate-selection-timing rules, so no national convention would have a floor fight over it.
The reform provided that, with the exception of four smaller “carve-out” states, delegate selection and binding could not begin until March, but no winner-take-all primaries could be held before April. States choosing to hold binding presidential primaries in March, the Rules said, “shall” have to allocate their delegate votes among the candidates using some form of proportional system. That reform was adopted and was in effect for the 2012 nomination process.
The reform would have worked as intended, but the strong compulsion to move to the front of the line in the nomination process led some states to disregard our Rules and to schedule binding, winner-take-all primaries before April 1. Those states which “jumped the gun” were subjected to the penalty of losing half of their allocated number of delegates, but that penalty wasn’t strong enough to stop some state legislatures from leap-frogging those states which were in compliance with our Rules of the Republican Party. As a result, our 2012 presidential nomination process started much earlier and therefore lasted much longer than our Rules intended.