Come, I will conceal nothing from you: unlike virtually everybody else in the Republican political universe, I am not particularly upset over delegate/convention/organizational shenanigans. It’s part of the process of a republic and a political bureaucracy – and I don’t mean the latter as a pejorative: writing things down and keeping copies of the stuff that you’ve written down is what keeps us from sliding into literal barbarism. So it is with some amusement that I see that the RNC managed today to use perceived public disapproval of hampering the only two real candidates left as an excuse to keep a rule that allows the RNC the option to hamper the only two real candidates left. It’s inspiring, really.
NBC summarized it well enough, but neglected to really highlight what happened: “The biggest debate took place over an amendment proposed by Oregon commiteeman Soloman Yue to change the convention rules from House Rules to Robert’s Rules of Order, which proponents say would prevent establishment-minded Republicans from inserting a favorable candidate at a later ballot during a contested convention. A half-dozen members rose to express their opposition to the proposal, all warning that any changes now would be damaging to the party.” See also the Daily Caller and ABC News. Basically, adopting Robert’s Rules would mean that a delegate with an objection would have to be recognized by the chair at the convention, instead of, say, being ignored because there’s a steamroller going on to give a compromise candidate the nomination. The change would also apparently limit options for reopening the nominating process – a process which would be necessary for any sort of, again, compromise candidate drive.
Now you may be thinking at this point, “How does changing the old rule hurt Ted Cruz or Donald Trump?” Short answer: it doesn’t, particularly. But the RNC isn’t particularly interested in devolving the power of the chair downwards during the convention, so various RNC officials got up today and piously announced that of course they could not change the rules now because the Republican party base would freak out. And it worked! The amendment was defeated.
…Seriously. I am in legitimate awe. This is political jujitsu at its finest. The RNC ‘Establishment’ – whatever that means, these days – has managed to weaponize the base’s mistrust of the ‘Establishment’ and turn it into the RNC’s benefit. And the best part? None of this prevents the RNC from going in just before the convention and rewriting the rules anyway. Oh, excuse me: that’s the job of the various delegate rules committees. Which will be populated… by people who are committed Republican party men and women.
Which is to say: I understand fully why Ted Cruz isn’t getting upset over today. But, shoot: why isn’t Donald Trump? Didn’t anybody think to tell him that this was a rules change that he maybe wanted to see implemented?