In 2012, when the GOP establishment silenced grassroots voices at the RNC national convention and essentially entrenched itself as Lord and Master over those snotty, uppity TEA Partiers and Ron Paul supporters, I told the Republican Party to go to hell.
Not that I was much of a Republican anyway. I identified much more as a libertarian-minded independent, but I also knew my views in many ways matched Republican ones more than Democrats, if you had to look only at major parties.
I did not vote for John McCain in 2008. I did not vote for Mitt Romney in 2012. I did not vote for George W. Bush in either 2000 or 2004, even though most of my libertarian-leaning friends fell for his “smaller government,” “more liberty” promises. I did not abhor those men (except for maybe McCain, because he’s just SUCH a dick!), but I never felt confident giving any of them my vote. I have always considered my vote as a sacred duty to give my confidence to the people who I thought were best suited to run this country. My goal was never to win, but to ensure that my vote accurately reflected my views about who was best suited for the most important job in the land.
And yes, it is a job. And the election season is one big job interview, as far as I’m concerned. We, the American People, employ the President and every Congressperson and Senator whom we send to Washington. We pay them to represent us. We pay them to lead us. We certainly do not elect them, their cronies, or their moneyed supporters to impose on us what they think is best, because we’re apparently too stupid to know it ourselves. Many seem to have forgotten this, and base their votes on who can win or who is less terrible.
(At this point, I will inform the readers that I’m not engaging in debates with you about “throwing away” my vote, or “supporting Hillary” if I cast a vote for the third party. This debate has been rehashed in numerous discussions in numerous posts, both here and on social media. I’m not going to repeat it. So if you come here angling for a debate, screaming how I’m giving away the election to Hillary Clinton, or trying to convince me to vote for the Hairy Hemorrhoid™, save your energy. That’s not what this post is about anyway. I’m just providing some background and context.)
Mitt Romney lost in 2012. I cannot definitively say whether it was because of the “47 percent” or the “binders full of women” remarks that were so successfully exploited by the Obama campaign, or whether it was scores of Republican voters who, tired of holding their noses, were even more put off by the shenanigans of the 2012 convention. I know that couldn’t have helped.
I also know that the GOP has learned exactly dick since the last convention.
The RNC establishment, working with the Trump campaign, quashed the “Free the Delegates” movement with a voice vote, ignoring calls for a roll call vote. A group of “Never Trump” supporters sought to unbind delegates and felt they secured enough signatures to force a roll-call vote on the party rules, which essentially centralized decision making in the RNC. Those delegates were also joined by those looking to decentralize said power after the 2012 debacle and encourage states to restrict primaries to registered Republicans, since the Republican nominee should logically be decided by… well… Republicans. Party members should decide who their candidate will be, not Democrats, many of whom I have personally seen admit they cast votes in open primaries for Trump to ensure the weakest candidate to challenge their Democratic nominee. That tactic isn’t new, and it works. An effort to ensure that only Republicans are able to choose their nominees was disingenuously dismissed with a voice vote, which many who were present say leaned in favor of the “Free the Delegates” movement.
Make no mistake, people. The grassroots were once again silenced by the establishment. The petty, pathetic tyrants Trump promised to challenge, banded together with his campaign to ensure victory and to silence real conservative opposition – to silence the very grassroots who supported the presumptive nominee in hopes of having their voices finally heard.
Gary Emineth, the former North Dakota GOP chairman who joined the Trump-RNC joint finance committee earlier month, says he was disgusted by the floor vote and immediately texted his resignation to Priebus.
Emineth says he’s furious the campaign and RNC worked in tandem to keep delegates from voting their conscience.
“I was on the Trump finance committee and I just resigned because that bully tactic is absurd,” Emineth said. “I just texted them right now. Why can’t the people be heard? I’ve been texting Reince for 10 minutes. He said we didn’t have the votes. We had 10, 11 states. They peeled people back. They were calling delegations asking people to step off the committee. You don’t do this in America. You do this in other countries.”
After being denied the vote, most of the delegation from Colorado walked off the floor in protest, leaving behind rows of empty seats, and reportedly former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli tossed his credentials to the stage in disgust and walked off.
The Trump supporters will crow that this is proof positive that their grassroots conservative voices are finally being heard by the establishment. In fact, the opposite is true. I fully agree with this editorial.
The rules changes conservatives sought today were not anti-Trump. In actuality they were pro-Trump’s message of not encouraging a “rigged” system and Trump supporters should be livid. The rules adopted today increase the power of the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, lessen the voice of grassroots republicans, and further allow the establishment to rig the system.
The effort to return power to the grassroots did not start today, or even this year. Conservative members of the Rules committee have long tried to change rules that limit the involvement of the grassroots in the party. With a large portion of anti-establishment delegates in the hall, conservatives finally saw their chance to affect real change. They were thwarted by the establishment who convinced Trump delegates that this was an effort to steal the election from Trump.
Over time the rules of the Republican Party have consolidated more power in the RNC Chairman and his hand-picked committee heads. This is especially true with Rule 12, which Mitt Romney allies pushed through in the 2012 convention. Rule 12 allows RNC rules to be modified by the members of the RNC rather than the quadrennial convention. This takes away significant power from the grassroots, acts as an excuse for rushing rules committee meetings, and shifts power for rule making away from the grassroots to the RNC itself, albeit with a high ¾ member bar.
The writer is correct. This isn’t new. The 2012 RNC fiasco took place long before this year’s primary season, and the fact that a Trump supporter and finance committee member recognized this stunt for what it is – an effort to further consolidate power within the RNC and silence the grassroots ought to tell you something. Maybe you should listen, because the GOP establishment certainly will not.