Have you heard about the defiant posse of disillusioned GOP-ers that held an unsanctioned state convention in Reno this past Saturday? Organizers claim it was a lawful reconvening of the GOP’s recessed April 26 state convention in Reno (which was shut down prior to final voting). However, the party’s executive committee has set (and stuck by) a July 26 date to resume activity.
Depending on who you ask, the late April shut down was either (1) a tragedy of epic proportions because it was shaping up to be a national delegation with more backers for Ron Paul than John McCain, or (2) a proper procedural response because there were too few delegates to call a quorum (because the promised Ron Paul reps did not actually materialize on the convention floor).
State rules say roughly 800 total delegates are needed in order to obtain a convention quorum. We didn’t have them in April, and we didn’t have them this weekend either because the Ron Paul reps barely numbered 300. (And just for extra fun, we’re not sure how many of those delegates were credentialed since Paul organizers didn’t have the official delegate List with which to cross-reference attendees.)
Depending on who you ask, the Ron Paul backers (1) asked the GOP for the List and were refused, or (2) did not follow the proper procedure for obtaining the List.
Any-hoo, this weekend’s gathering of 327 was a pretty poor showing considering the Paul camp claims that they had “over 1,000” delegates teed up. Their response? The April convention did not have a quorum and was invalid – but this one counts because this weekend’s first order of business was to change the rules of quorum and (you guessed it) decide that 327 delegates was enough.
Ron Paul devotees say they will take their fight to be recognized as The Legitimate Convention all the way to September’s Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul and that they will appeal their case to the RNC and/or national convention committee. Many Paul backers have also said they will cast a write-in vote for the Texas congressman in November because McCain is closer to being a Democrat than a conservative.
They have my sympathy, as far as that goes, but all this Brouhaha brings us round to a familiar electoral quandary. Do you cast a principled vote for an Independent candidate who is closer to your (and your party’s) values but could also be the “spoiler” that leads to the election of the opposition? Or do you compromise and go with the safer bet to ensure we maintain at least some semblance of sanity in the White House?
In a swing state where President Bush narrowly won in 2000 and 2004, your decision could play heavily in the national election.
Your comments are welcome, because I’m still undecided myself.