Conservative Index Add
pagetitle

Sunday, May 20th, 2018Last Update: Wednesday, May 9th, 2018 06:18:06 AM

Unruly

By: Richard Engle

An unprecedented degree of attention has been put on the rules of the Republican Party this election season. This is not surprising as the media is looking for answers to questions which have gone unasked in decades.

It is important at the start to state unequivocally that I believe our Republican Party needs rules which are fair, honest and open. Every effort should be engaged to prevent any manipulation of the rules to create a specific outcome. The rules of the Republican Party are our constitution. As such they are not the plaything of a few. They should be something that projects what we, as Republicans, believe our party should be. They should be designed to survive the test of time rather than to fabricate a short term political goal.

One is reminded of the TV show West Wing, in which presidential Chief of Staff Leo McGarry is shown sitting on a bench after reading the Constitution in the wake of a crisis. It's as if saying, "Oh no, it must be a serious problem if he's reading the actual Constitution!"

Until recently much attention was on the revised Rule 40 which requires that to be nominated a candidate "shall demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates from each of eight (8) or more states, severally, prior to the presentation of the name of that candidate for nomination." In 2012 this rule was amended from the prior requirement of only a plurality of five states. As both Mr. Trump and Sen. Cruz are sure to be able to fulfill this requirement the controversy has quieted.

To the surprise of many, nomination is not required for delegates to vote for a candidate. Indeed, if a majority of delegates from eight states vote for a candidate, those votes will constitute the called for demonstration. Presumably, other means of demonstration will be accepted by the convention. But, if in the midst of the convention, a dark horse/white knight candidate were to pick up the requisite eight states then that candidate would be deemed nominated.

Nomination is only required for a candidate to be granted the opportunity to give a nominating speech. Yes indeed, prime time TV is the prize people fight over! To be fair, nomination is also required to win.

The change made in 2012 to Rule 40 was only one of such changes which have become controversial this season.

Rule 12 was adopted permitting "rules flexibility" in which the Republican National Committee may (with a super majority and under certain restrictions) change the rules of the party. This would allow the RNC to enact party rules in direct opposition to the rules enacted by the convention.

The subject of rules flexibility had been long considered. When I became Oklahoma's Rules Committeeman to the convention in 2000 the subject was hotly debated and the Republican National Committee itself rejected the idea. Then in 2012 when I sat as proxy for the sitting National Committeeman on both the Standing Committee on Rules and the Republican National Committee itself, the subject of rules flexibility was defeated. I strongly supported the draft rules proposed by the RNC to the convention Rules Committee.

When the draft/proposed rules were presented to the convention Rules Committee, amendments were proposed to the previously mentioned Rule 40, Rule 12 allowing "flexibility," and to Rule 16. Republican "super lawyer" and Romney advisor, Ben Ginsberg pushed the changes. His changes gave power to the RNC that a majority of its members did not desire. To prevent them from removing the new power from themselves, via the same flexibility, his rule prevented them from changing that one rule alone. Largely loyal to the presumptive nominee the committee approved the changes. The proposed rules then moved to the convention and were adopted in a manner which created additional controversy. A fine article from the time can be found at:

http://www.freedomworks.org/content/romneys-rnc-power-grab-what-really-happened .

In defense of Gov. Romney, I have seen nothing that persuades me that Mr. Ginsberg's amendments were at the actual behest of the Governor. It is not uncommon for those associated with a candidate to act on their own out of an overblown sense of devotion. In this case it seems that an intent to help the Governor resulted in events contrary to his current interests.

Another change from 2012 is the "compromise" revisions to Rule 16. Mr. Ginsberg proposed that a presidential candidate be permitted to "disavow" any delegate, forcing a sudden election of a different delegate. The compromise as adopted instructs that a delegate who "demonstrates support... for a presidential candidate other than the one to whom the delegate is bound... shall be deemed to have resigned as a delegate..." This "delegate discipline" rule is draconian to say the least. It is unprecedented to abolish the will of those who voted for a delegate over matters of "demonstrated support" rather than their fulfillment of (or a failure to fulfill) a pledged duty.

A final rule that has come under media scrutiny of late is that of Super Delegates. In actuality, it is the Democrat Party which is overrun by Super Delegates. The Republicans only have the three members of the RNC as automatic delegates. In 2000 I filed a minority report to the Rules Committee Report on the floor of the National Convention to prevent even this minor adaptation. Sadly, my minority report failed despite relatively broad support. Fortunately the RNC itself has taken actions to mitigate the problem. Only the impression of Super Delegates remains, and thus a few in the media have a false target in this matter.

In all of these cases short term, selfish or provincial motives have created many of the controversies now being used to berate the Republican Party and to stir up passions among our candidates and their advocates.

It is my sincere hope that we Republicans will move past these times of dissension and develop honest, fair and open party rules which will then withdraw into the invisible, but necessary, foundation of our party's political system.

About Richard Engle

Richard Engle is President of BellWest America. He has long been a fixture in conservative Republican politics in Oklahoma. He was twice elected to the Bethany City Council, served two terms as President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, and over a decade as Vice President of the Oklahoma Conservative PAC. He is married to Denise Engle, Commissioner for the Oklahoma Workers Compensation Commission and they live in Oklahoma City. He may be reached by email at: engle@flash.net

Other Articles By Richard Engle

A Cornett However...

I was at an event and got stuck talking to a musician. I am not musically inclined, so to make conversation, I asked him about the difference between a trumpet and a cornet. Knowing me he responded, A Trump-ette is likely to be conservative, a Cornett however...

Our Dirty Little (Not So) Secret

Did anyone actually think the Devil would go about with horns and a dark suit tempting people with...

Republicans for Governor

Its early, but any serious candidate has, by now at least, made public their intent to run. The...

You Cant Get There from Here

Many of my friends know that from time to time I drive with Uber. I do it mostly late at night on...

Unruly

...

Red to the Roots

Would it surprise you to hear that only 45% of partisan elected officials in Oklahoma are...

Did the Grinch Steal the Monument?

On September 11, 2015 an Oklahoma County District Court ordered that the Ten Commandments monument...

Other Constitution Columnists

Tony Lauinger

Abortion: There Is No Silver Bullet
The right to life is a God-given right, and the lives of unborn children should be protected by law....

Steve Byas

Christians and Government
When I read the words of the Apostle Paul, in Romans 13:1-5, penned under the inspiration of the...

Steve Byas

The Teacher Strike
It was called a walkout, or perhaps even a protest, but make no mistake about it, it was a strike....

Richard Engle

A Cornett However...
I was at an event and got stuck talking to a musician. I am not musically inclined, so to make...

Randy Brogdon

Ending Abortion Is Possible by Ending Pro-life Policies
Since 1973 after the Supreme Court opinion Roe v Wade declared that abortion of an unborn baby was a...

Rep. Jason Murphey

My Criteria for Voting on Legislative Proposals
Consider the following statement one might hear if they stay around the capitol very long: If there...

John Michener

Voter Guide for Republican Gubernatorial Primary
After forty-five years of electing pro-life politicians who have promised to fight abortion, we find...

David Deming

Should We Surrender on Bump Stocks?
In the aftermath of the October 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas, the US Justice Department has...

Charlie Meadows

Have Republican Lawmakers Been Suckered
Since the elections of last November, most Republican lawmakers have been regurgitating the mantra...

Brandon Dutcher

New OU President Gallogly: We will not have waste on campus.
James Gallogly has been selected as the next president of the University of Oklahoma. Oklahoma...

Andrew K. Boyle

State Question 788 brings 420 to the 46th State
Finding Virtue in the Unvirtuous:State Question 788 brings 420 to the 46th stateState Question 788...

Theodore King

The Federal Page for Spring 2018
Jim Bridenstine, NASA AdministratorCongratulations to Congressman Jim Bridenstine, who was finally...

In The News

Constitution Staff

Federal Offices on 2018 Ballot
The U.S. Congress is composed of two chambers. Senators serve six-year terms with only a third of...

Constitution Staff

State Offices Attract Candidates
In non-presidential election years, the governors office, a host of secondary statewide offices, and...

Constitution Staff

Candidates File for Oklahoma Legislature
The candidate filing period for the Oklahoma Legislature this year was April 11-13. Oklahomas...

Constitution Staff

Special Elections for Legislature Come to an End
After an election on March 6, Special Elections for the Oklahoma Legislature are now complete. The...

Constitution Staff

Gov. Fallin Signs Massive Tax Increase
On March 29, Governor Mary Fallin signed a tax increase package to fund a pay raise for state...

Constitution Columnists

Tony Lauinger

Abortion: There Is No Silver Bullet
The right to life is a God-given right, and the lives of unborn children should be protected by law....

Steve Byas

Christians and Government
When I read the words of the Apostle Paul, in Romans 13:1-5, penned under the inspiration of the...

Steve Byas

The Teacher Strike
It was called a walkout, or perhaps even a protest, but make no mistake about it, it was a strike....

© 2001 - 2009 The Oklahoma Constitution, all rights reserved.
Contact the Oklahoma Constitution by calling 405-366-1125 or emailing okconsti@aol.com
Content Management System (CMS) provided by WebTeks CMS.