Are Republican Delegates "Bound" At All?

The Ron Paul campaign "delegate strategy" would work a lot better if delegates to the convention in Tampa were not bound to vote (either proportionally or in total) in line with the GOP voters of the state in primaries or caucuses. 

Local Cincinnati Fox-19 TV journalist Ben Swann has been talking a lot about RNC "Rule 38" which on the surface seems to not permit entire state delegates to be bound to the same candidate--though other Paul fans threw cold water on that by pointing out most states have a few wildcard delegates that get around that rule.

Swann now claims to have found ironclad proof in the 2008 opinion of an RNC lawyer that as far as they are concerned, every delegate to national can vote for whoever the heck they want. The video, relevant part at around 2:20:

For my Pre-Mcluhanites who would like to see this argument in words, from Mason Buran at Examiner.com:

The Republican National Convention Legal Counsel deals with rulings and controversies within a party. Utah follows the winner-take-all delegate awarding system, which means that the majority winner of the state attains all 40 delegates. In Utah, during the 2008 GOP Nomination process, a delegate refused to vote with the state's primary winner, John McCain. The Republican National Convention Legal Counsel commented with this statement

“Jennifer Sheehan, Legal Counsel for the RNC, plainly stated in a letter to Nancy Lord, Utah National Committeewoman, several weeks before the convention, 'The RNC does not recognize a state's binding of national delegates, but considers each delegate a free agent who can vote for whoever they choose.'”

In order to become a delegate, it involves a long and enduring process by attending after-caucus/primary meetings. Following those meetings, potential delegates are then required to attend district and state conventions where the delegates are then nominated to the convention. The process requires that the supporters have a lot of patience, while still maintaining enthusiasm for their ideal candidate. Ron Paul's supporters have been taking advantage of this process ever since Iowa. In many of the winner-take-all states, Ron Paul supporters have been nominated as delegates to the Republican National Convention but are still hypothetically bound to Mitt Romney. However, according to this ruling by the Republican National Convention Legal Counsel, they are not required to vote for Mitt Romney in any circumstance.

That letter notwithstanding, this language from the 2008 "Rules of the Republican Party" adopted in September 2008 does seem to allow for binding according to state Party rules or even state law. See page 18:

Delegates at large and their alternate delegates and delegates from Congressional districts and their alternate delegates to the national convention shall be elected, selected, allocated, or bound in the following manner:

(1) In accordance with any applicable Republican Party rules of a state, insofar as the same are not inconsistent with these rules; or

(2) To the extent not provided for in the applicable Republican Party rules of a state, in accordance with any applicable laws of a state, insofar as the same are not inconsistent with these rules; or

(3) By a combination of the methods set forth in paragraphs (a)(1) or (a)(2) of this rule; or(4) To the extent not provided by state law or party rules, as set forth in paragraph (d) of this rule.

Thus, it seems, deciding whether any state's delegates are bound, by the language above or at least how I'm understanding it, requires looking at that state's laws or party regs, not just the language of a letter from an RNC legal counsel

For how Ron Paul got so far that this is even a live issue, consult my out-soon book Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired and/or its dedicated blog.

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  • yonemoto||

    of course they are not bound. They can just not show up. What should happen is ron paul should run a counter-convention, and many of the states will conspicuously have fewer delegates than they should. It would be hard for the MSM to miss that.

  • Hugh Akston||

    "GOP Leaders Streamline Nomination Process"

  • Pro Libertate||

    "Militias take delegates hostage."

  • Anacreon||

    "Obama Rescues Adorable Child From Burning Building"

  • affenkopf||

    "Celebrity nipple slips: A retrospective"

  • ||

    "Is Sarah Palin's Retarded Baby Pregnant?" by Andrew Sullivan

  • db||

    EXPOSED: How one retired stay-at-home Mom used this ONE WEIRD TRICK to save millions on her crop insurance!

  • Skip||

    That would require him "evolving" on the issue of Trig being the daughter's baby.

  • Farturo||

    Hmm, pretty interesting. This will be minimally an embarrassment for the GOP at the convention, because the Paul folks are certainly going to make a huge stink (and rightfully so).

    Probably in the queue already: GOP-sponsored federal legislation dictating the state-level rules for Presidential primaries and national convention procedures.

  • ||

    Especially since front leader is beating and raping gay classmates.

  • Hyperion||

    I thought he only beat them and cut their hair. Guess the progressive owned MSN have upped the propaganda a little since I last heard.

  • ||

    Oh!! Great!!! Only only only cutting their hair.
    Turn on yous snarkometer.
    See how this incident plays looser.

  • Hyperion||

    My snarkometer goes off on a Friday night after 4 beers, and my more dark and cynical mode takes over.

  • Jerry||

    Oh please, that was just prep school male bonding.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Seriously, has no one seen 300?

  • Hyperion||

    I saw it, I remember the part when the dude forced the Persians to fall into a big hole in the ground. I bet Rick Santorum watches it over and over, sitting in his lounge chair with his most evil sweater vest on, and pretends he is that dude.

  • Hyperion||

    One way or the other, the GOP is going to deal with us Libertarians, there is no sweeping us under the rug any longer. Either they lose a lot of their voter base to a new 3rd major party or they welcome us. Either way is ok with me, if they don't want us, fuck them. I don't give a damn if I have to vote for Gary Johnson and it throws the election to Obama. I won't hold my nose and vote for the RINO. They have been warned. The lesser of two evils trick is not working any longer, no one that I know is falling for that crap this time. Speaking only for myself, never again.

  • yonemoto||

    I plan on voting for ron paul twice this year, much like I voted for him twice in 08.

  • Hyperion||

    I would love to vote for him in the general, but lacking the chance, Johnson is getting my vote.

  • yonemoto||

    1) primaries?
    2) write-in?

  • Sevo||

    OT:
    Facebook co-founder dumping US citizenship to avoid taxes:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/......DTL&tsp=1
    Commenters are *outraged*(!) the guy is actually planning to keep some of the money her earned! He should pay his 'fair share'!

  • ||

    Columbia rules the world.
    Anyone who commits a crime that violates a US law should be arrested and tried in the US.

  • ||

    Of course but if Americans violate other countries laws, e.g., by drinking liquor (banned in Saudi Arabia) they are exempt.

  • Hyperion||

    So when are the whiners going to start paying their fair share? As in more than nothing? They can get their sorry ass over to my place tonight, I need the dishes washed and someone needs to get me another beer. That would be a good start for them.

  • R||

    Already an entire post about this:

    http://reason.com/blog/2012/05.....verin-beco

  • Sevo||

    Ooops!
    But then Tulpa doesn't begin to match the sanctimony of the whiners on my link.

  • Braadacus Maximus||

    Just who the hell do these people think they are barging in and insisting on following rules?! The nerve of some people...

  • Mike M.||

    Please, give it a rest already. Paul is not going to be the nominee; he's going to serve out the rest of this year and then he's retiring.

  • Braadacus Maximus||

    It's not about Paul ultimately. It's about the ideas he represents, which contrary to Establishment hopes are not going away once he retires. The storm heading for Tampa is just the beginning.

  • Hyperion||

    Amen, Bro, Amen.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Whomever they choose. Whomever.

    Did I miss the point?

  • Jerryskids||

    Pre-McLuhanite? We prefer the term "literate".

  • johnd2||

    In a few days, I will proudly vote for Ron Paul in the Texas primary. But way more people will vote for Romney. I think they will be making a mistake. But delegates have a responsibility to respect the will of a huge majority like Romney will get.

    Time to show a little respect and grow up.

  • Brian D||

    The delegates have no such responsibility. The nomination process isn't a secret. If "the people" really wanted Romney to be nominated, more of them would show up at the convention to ensure they select delegates who will nominate the candidate they support. Don't blame Ron Paul if Milquetoast Romney can't inspire the same level of passion.

  • db||

    It's really hard to see the good in having many multiple delegates from a state if they have to vote for the same candidate. Sure, sure, they vote and wrangle over more than top candidates but when was the last time a party's platform had signifixant sway over the actions of its candidate once in office? They could save a lot of time and money just writing a registered letter to the natoonal committee.

  • db||

    For my Pre-Mcluhanites who would like to see this argument in words...

    Thanks for that. I'd always rather read the substance. Watching video of someone reading words is a waste of time when i can read and comprehend them faster in print. While you can get a lot out of facial expressions and tone, and the how of communication is important, the what is most initially important to me.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The Paul delegates can at least have fun by pressing for a fiscal-responsibility plank in the Republican platform, calling for defense cuts and entitlement reform. When the convention rejects that language in favor of generic boilerplate, the Paul delegates can cry "shame" loudly for the benefit of the cameras.

  • ||

    Are Republican Delegates "Bound" At All?

    You know, this is a really interesting intellectual question. I was thinking about it and ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ [wall shaking snoring]

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Wake up! Sarah Palin! Gay marriage! Guns! Beer!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Sarah Palin and her lesbian wife shooting beer cans off of fence posts!

  • shamalam||

    I really like Sarah Palin, especially with the picture you paint.

  • shamalam||

    I am no lawyer, but doesn't "insofar as the same are not inconsistent with these rules" make all of the "binding" not at all binding?

    All of the rules you listed are inconsistent with rule 38.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    "Pre-Mcluhanites"? It seems to me that posting a video of several minutes duration, when a paragraph or two of writing -- which can be read and comprehended in seconds -- will do, clearly sends the message (by choice of medium) that "your time is not important, or at least, less important than mine." Yes, the medium is the message.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    For a moment, I thought that the "Nancy Lord" mentioned in the article was the same one who ran for VP under the Libertarian party banner in 1992. That would have been VERY interesting (to me, at least). But with the Internet -- gotta love it! -- I was able to establish in a minute or so that they were two entirely separate people. Oh well.

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