From a delegate at the convention:
What’s going on in Cleveland? There is a full-scale effort by the RNC to join forces with Trump forces to quell any rebellion… or, frankly, any disagreement whatsoever.
That is somewhat understandable. But it’s not just defending against attack – it’s tamping out the spirit of the Party faithful… and actually weakens Trump. He cannot lead the minds and hearts of the Republican faithful… much less a broader coalition of Americans… if he is joining forces with the very establishment Party bosses who have long been tamping out the voice of the grassroots and any truly dissenting voice within the Party.
So what else is going on in Cleveland? Well, it’s not over til it’s over. For the next 24 hours – there will be a concerted effort by a not-insignificant block of Republicans to try to take the Party back from the establishment leadership. To be clear – this effort is a direct result of that establishment leadership taking overt steps to crush dissenting voices. Strong arm tactics – threatening calls – an orchestrated rules committee meeting which tamped out reasonable offers of settlement… and more.
At least one news accounts of the rules committee process (Politico article) paints the dissenters as “asking for too much.” First – it’s difficult to seek too much power devolution from Party bosses, but second, it’s simply not true. The offer on the table from the so-called “Cuccinnelli” group was a reasonable effort to establish a stronger Party and had reflected so many significant concessions that Mr. Cuccinnelli was even maligned a bit by some “for trying to cut too much of a deal.” His efforts were designed to hold together a broad coalition of folks with different interest to make the Party stronger. The efforts of the RNC were to quell the dissent and maintain command and control.
Importantly, the current effort is not all – or even majority – a “never-Trump” effort. This effort is a combined effort of never-Trumpers, skeptics and even Trump supporters who are sick and tired of the establishment effort to silence dissent and demand allegiance to their “pragmatic-lesser-than-two-evils” approach to governing. These are people ticked off at the way they’ve been treated – in Rules committee, and more broadly.
At this moment – there is an effort to build support to vote against the rules majority report that will be sent to the floor. That effort involves a few steps:
A.) Getting momentum among the 2473 delegates to get a majority to vote down the rules when it’s brought to the floor;
B.) Getting the signatures of a majority of 7 states to demand a roll call vote. This effort IS OCCURING tonight at welcome receptions and will occur again tomorrow morning at delegation breakfasts. If you are reading this – you should sign (see below);
C.) Having procedures in places to force the RNC to actually acknowledge those signatures and carry out a roll call vote.
D.) Having a plan for what occurs after that to ensure good rules are in place to give confidence among Party members that their voice can be heard.
The impact of taking down the rules would be several fold – and it should be widely supported, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU SUPPORT TRUMP OR DO NOT. Why?
1. It would punch the RNC in the nose for disregarding the Party faithful;
2. It could cause a concession in compromise to get better rules before a vote on the rules;
3. If the rules were voted down, it would immediately kick out most of the rules (1-25) and leave in place only the remaining rules (26-42), and therefore the Rules Committee would have to meet again and pass better rules.
4. To the extent one accepts that delegates are bound at all… it would partially or fully unbind the delegates (under Rule 16) to free up delegates to vote their conscience (for Trump or against).
5. Should Trump still get the necessary votes – it would result in a stronger candidate after the convention, having been accepted not by force but rather through the will of the delegates.
Is there a chance? About as much as the “Dumb and Dumber” quote would suggest – but YES. And it has the benefit of being the right thing to do. Voting down the rules package gives a chance for the Republican Party to truly survive…
But, the Party will do everything it can to stop it.
The Party will 1) whip in favor of supporting the rules package, 2) act to shut down any effort for delegates to get microphones to voice dissent, 3) threaten anyone who takes steps to dissent, 4) work to disregard the list of signatures received from 7 states should those states choose to submit said signatures and 5) then should the rules be voted down – work to immediately re-adopt the rules in committee with tweaks and jam this through again.
The grassroots have their chance to demonstrate that THEY control the party and not the party staff, bosses and lobbyists.
Voting down the rules gives us the best chance to have confidence in the Party and then to either 1) unify behind Trump after the delegates are able to vote their conscience or 2) unify behind someone else if Donald Trump has failed or fails to win their hearts. If he can’t win a majority of these delegates – then we should pick someone else. If he can, good for him. #NotComplicated.
There is a reason the Republican Party has won precisely ONE popular vote since 1988 and NO change-of-party popular vote since Reagan in 1980. The Party simply does not care to represent the grassroots as part of a broad coalition.
The best path to ensuring NeverHillary is to vote down the rules.
Inspire us, Republican Party.