Although it has been touted as the way forward for victory in 2014 and beyond, the GOP Growth and Opportunity Project contains some recommendations that leave cause for concern. Some of these recommendations, specifically related to the 2016 presidential nomination process, (along with existing RNC rules), literally ensure that any grassroots/rank and file Presidential Candidate stands no chance of winning the GOP Presidential nomination.
Let’s begin with the existing 2012 RNC Rules that were passed at the Tampa Convention. These rules were pushed through the Convention rules committee by Romney campaign lawyers and were not properly ratified on the floor of the convention as the “ayes have it” for these rules was read off of a teleprompter without a proper vote.
Due to this outright fraud, the Maine Republican State Committee passed a resolution in January 2013 rejecting the 2012 RNC rules and instead recognized the 2008 Rules as being in full force and effect. In the end, these rules, if not changed, ensure that the grassroots will be cut out of the presidential nomination process. The rules that are of most concern are rules 12, 16 and 40.
Rule 12 allows the RNC to change these rules until September 2014, while Rule 16 allows for statewide presidential straw polls to be binding with regards to delegate allocation and allows for delegates to be removed at the will of the presumptive presidential nominee. Rule 40 now requires any presidential candidate to have the majority of 8 states to be placed in nomination at the convention whereas it used to only require the plurality of 5 states.
The RNC will be meeting in Los Angeles April 10-12 to address these rules and many RNC members have expressed concern that these rules must be changed to ensure fairness to all candidates. To accomplish that goal, it is recommended that the only fair and equitable solution to this situation is to call for the RNC to reject the 2012 rules and instead, revert to the 2008 rules. Short of this, Rule 12 will be used to reform these rules within the RNC Standing Committee on Rules.
Besides, the current rules that clearly favor a well funded establishment candidate, the recently released Growth and Opportunity Project recommends all states move to a primary system and eliminate caucuses and/or conventions as the vehicles to elect delegates to the National Convention. This top down approach from the RNC, if implemented, will eliminate once and for all any chance of a grassroots candidate winning the nomination. Historically, caucuses and conventions are where the grassroots come alive in favor of candidate whose message is more in line with the rank and file of the party.
Another recommendation is to hold an earlier National Convention in June or July. This strategy ultimately condenses the primary season into a shorter period of time, favoring the candidate with the larger purse and more established network, making it again that much harder for a candidate from the grassroots to gain traction.
To save the GOP grassroots with regards to the 2016 Presidential Campaign, you can start by contacting the RNC members of your state and let them know that the GOP grassroots will not be ignored and cast aside.
First, let your RNC members know that the 2008 RNC rules should be in full force and effect. Second, explain that an accelerated primary season with an emphasis on caucuses and/or conventions being removed as a vehicle to nominate national delegates as well as an earlier National Convention are unacceptable.
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Mark Willis is a member of the RLC of Maine and National Committeeman for the Maine Republican Party