Ron Paul? You gotta be kidding, right?
Actually, no. It could very well happen according to the nominating rules of the Republican National Committee. While the rest of the nation has been focused on the cat fight between Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, Bachman, Cain, Huntsman and Perry, Ron Paul supporters have been sneaking through the back door. I witnessed this first hand when I went to my local Republican Caucus (see this article).
Ron Paul’s campaign, though effectively suspended for now, has played a brilliant strategy. All but ignored and often scorned by the media as a joke candidate, his campaign quietly went after states with caucuses and states with election processes that nominate delegate representatives to send to the convention. People show up to caucus at these events and cast their votes and as soon as that’s done they nominate a delegate to represent that district at the convention. Most people don’t want to bother with politics after the caucus. That’s where Ron Paul supporters have been sneaking in. They stick around and volunteer to be those delegates. All in favour say ‘aye’. And we’re done, let’s go home.
Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum may have won the caucus but a Ron Paul supporter is going to the convention. Nothing could go wrong there, could it?
There’s only a handful of states left to finish their primaries or caucuses and Mitt Romney and President Obama are already waist deep in lobbing negative campaign ads at each other. But under RNC rules, delegates that were formerly assigned to Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich are unbound. They can vote any way they want at the convention. In fact, under RNC rules all delegates are unbound whether or not state rules say they are binding. Guess who those delegates actually support?
“Jennifer Sheehan, Legal Counsel for the RNC, plainly stated in a letter to Nancy Lord, Utah National Committeewoman, several weeks before the convention, ‘The RNC does not recognize a state’s binding of national delegates, but considers each delegate a free agent who can vote for whoever [sic] they choose” - Legal statement by the RNC Legal Counsel
And that is the back door according to an interpretation of Ron Paul lawyers, The Rules of the Republican Party. Rule 38, the Unit Rule,
“No delegate or alternate delegate shall be bound by any attempt of any state or Congressional district to impose the unit rule”
Ron Paul actually won Minnesota with 32 of their 40 delegates. He also took away 24 of Maine’s 28 delegates. Similar scenarios unfolded in Iowa, Louisiana, Nevada, and Colorado. The RNC is aware of this little insurgency and in truth even if all these delegates that are Ron Paul supporters showed up they still could not unseat Mitt Romney’s inevitable nomination. But you have to give them credit for the ideological argument. Republicans really don’t like Mitt Romney. But their disdain for Democrats and President Obama in particular is so great that they are willing to forgo those reservations. Ron Paul supporters, however, are not. They are the PUMAs (disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters from 2008) of this campaign cycle. Only the PUMAs conceded and jumped on the Obama bandwagon. Ron Paul supporters aren’t likely to do so.
- Because Ron Paul backers show up, expect a battle at the GOP convention in Tacoma (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- RNC Legal Counsel: All delegates are unbound (examiner.com)
- The Ron Paul insurgency lives on (dailykos.com)
- Ron Paul, Still Running for President, Wins Minnesota (runronpaul.com)
- 5 Things Ron Paul Wants From the Republican Convention (lewrockwell.com)