Some of you have heard about the brewing RNC Rules dispute. For those of you that haven’t, it centers around a provision added by the Temporary RNC Rules Committee last Friday that gives presidential candidates the power to veto or remove national convention delegates representing them after they are elected in their various states. Texas’ two Rules Committee members strongly opposed the provision, as it would upend Texas’ grassroots-centric method of electing national delegates (Texas elects its delegates from among the 12,500 delegates and alternates to the Texas State Republican Convention, the largest delegated convention in the US, all of whom are elected to that convention from one of 263 county/senatorial district conventions). Texas is one of many states that, by state law, bind its national convention delegates to the presidential primary result, ensuring that the voters have a direct say in who our nominee is. A committee of delegates elected from each of the 36 congressional districts then assign that result to individual delegates, “binding” them to vote for that candidate unless released by the candidate at the national convention. In order to ensure that the voters’ voice is reflected in the vote for president at the national convention, each delegate signs a pledge to vote for that candidate they are assigned to on at least the first ballot. Unfortunately, some delegates in various states have, in the past, and likely this year as well, broken their pledges and voted for a candidate other than the one they were elected to represent. The genesis of the proposed rule change was to ensure those delegates pledged to a candidate actually are delegates who support that candidate, however, the proposed rule went too far, creating a situation in which the presidential candidates themselves would be allowed to select national delegates (the power to veto is also tantamount to the power to select), not the voters of a state and the delegates they select to represent them. An uproar developed over the past few days, and this morning the Texas delegation voted unanimously to support a minority report striking the new language and calling for a roll call vote on the Rules.
As the day brewed, other states were added to the number, with Conservative luminaries leading the charge. Monday evening a compromise emerged, changing the language in Rule 16, in my opinion, for the better–meeting the need to ensure faithful delegates, but preserving the power of the grassroots to elect their representatives at the national convention. Both of Texas’ Rules Committee members have signed on to the language, which is expected to be adopted by the Permanent Rules Committee in lieu of any minority report Tuesday afternoon.
For those asking about the text of the proposed compromise amendment to the disputed proposed Rule 16(a)(2), it is reproduced below:
For any manner of binding or allocating delegates under these Rules, if a delegate
(i) casts a vote for a presidential candidate at the National Convention inconsistent with the delegate’sobligation under state law or state party rule,
(ii) nominates or demonstrates support under Rule 40 for a presidential candidate other than the one to whom the delegate is bound or allocated under state law or state party rule, or
(iii) fails in some other way to carry out the delegate’s affirmative duty under state law or state party rule to cast a vote at the National Convention for a particular presidential candidate,
the delegate shall be deemed to have concurrently resigned as a delegate and the delegate’s improper vote or nomination shall be null and void. Thereafter the Secretary of the Convention shall record the delegate’s vote or nomination in accordance with the delegate’s obligation under state law or state party rule. This subsection does not apply to delegates who are bound to a candidate who has withdrawn his or her candidacy, suspended or terminated his or her campaign, or publicly released his or her delegates.