A floor fight is brewing at the Republican National Convention as grassroots activists face off against establishment Republicans over a proposed new rule that effectively would allow future presumptive presidential nominees to veto states’ selection of delegates.
On Friday, the Convention Committee on Rules adopted a top-down delegate selection process which Republican National Committee Vice Chairman Jim Bopp called “one of the biggest power grabs in the history of the Republican Party.” Starting in 2016, the candidate would have the power to refuse delegates, theoretically freezing out insurgent grass-roots delegates nominated by their state committees.
The change has raised the ire of conservative groups including FreedomWorks, Republican Liberty Caucus, Eagle Forum, Tea Party Patriots and others.
Georgia delegate Julianne Thompson’s open letter to the Republican National Committee argued on behalf of the “boots-on-the-ground” wing of the party.
The GOP is the political Party of the grassroots. Our national delegates are the boots-on-the-ground that get Republicans elected. We are there for County meetings, State Conventions, National Conventions, and most importantly we spend our time and money canvassing our neighborhoods, going door to door, making phone calls, writing personal endorsement letters, and getting-out-the-vote for Republicans. We are the worker bees, and we are the heart and soul of the Republican Party.
Blogger Drew McKissick is spearheading the effort to file minority reports that will force the Rules Committee to reconsider the changes, and delegates such as Steve Munisteri, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, are fighting to bring the changes to a roll call vote.
The tea party and other grass-roots movements are no strangers to making waves for the establishment, and the trend looks set to continue as grass-roots conservatives fight for their place at future conventions.
Update: Washington’s GOP chair says his state’s delegation is on board with the minority report.
Is this grass-roots movement to protect the grass roots getting results?
Update: The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the Rules Committee Monday night reached a compromise agreement and is backing away from the rule changes.
An email detailing the compromise reads, in part:
The Convention is our party’s opportunity to energize our supporters and activists. It would be unfortunate to squander the opportunity fighting an internal battle which we have now been able to successfully resolve and which will accomplish the goals of all parties involved.
The resolution that we have reached is straightforward. It simply prevents a bound delegate from nominating or casting a vote for a different presidential candidate than the one to whom the delegate was legally bound by state law or state party rule.
Instead, under this new provision, a delegate who attempts to violate his binding pledge is deemed to have resigned and the Secretary of the Convention will record the improper vote as it should have been cast based on state law or party rule.
It leaves the actual selection of delegates completely to state parties under state law and state party rules.
We are pleased that we were able to reach an acceptable resolution and urge the members of the Convention Rules Committee to adopt the revised Rule tomorrow to be included in their report to the Convention.
So, are these “energized” supporters and activists satisfied with the revised language?