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Ron Paul’s Delegate “Wins” Won’t Amount To Anything

There’s a quite little rebellion taking place across the country — although I suppose it should be called a “R3volution” — as Ron Paul supporters have infiltrated state GOP conventions and, though sheer numbers, taken over the delegate selection process to the point where a majority of the delegates from at least three states will consist of Ron Paul supporters. It started in Minneosta last month where Paul supporters apparently captured 20 of the 24 delegates selected at the State GOP’s Congressional District Conventions, and apparently they’re planning to do the same thing at the state party convention where the remaining 16 RNC delegates will be selected. As Ed Morrissey and Mitch Berg point out, part of the reason that Paul supporters were able to succeed in Minnesota was because of the disorganization of the State Republican Party, but it’s happening in other states as well.

This weekend, Paul supporters won 22 of the 25 delegates up for grabs at the Nevada GOP convention and a majority of the delegates at Maine’s state GOP convention, which attendees described as purely chaotic. They’ve apparently got similar plans for Idaho, which selects delegates on May 15th for a convention to be held in June. There’s also a possibility that Paul supporters could end up making up a majority of the delegates from Mitt Romney’s home state of Massachusetts, although they would be required to support Romney on at least the first ballot. Similar developments seem to be afoot in Iowa, Colorado, and Louisiana.

Now that it’s happened a few times in other states, of course, Romney supporters and other Republicans are becoming aware of the game the Paul supporters are playing and will likely be more prepared to block them in future efforts. Additionally, in some states like Maine there is talk about the result of the “hijacked” convention being challenged. Finally, the RNC itself has said more than once recently that the Convention Rules Committee still retains the authority to recognize or not recognize a partcular slate of delegates at the convention so we could see challenges in some of the states where Paul supporters have already succeeded.

There’s nothing improper about what Paul supporters are doing here. They’re acting within the rules of the respective state parties and taking advantage of the bizarre manner in which caucus states choose their delegates. As I explained at the time of the Iowa caucuses, “winning” a caucus doesn’t result in the awarding of any delegates and that preference poll results that are breathlessly reported by the media are non-binding and potentially meaningless (in 2008, John McCain got all of Iowa’s delegates even though Mike Huckabee had won the caucus preference poll). The only thing that happens at a caucus that impacts delegate selection is election of delegates to the Congressional District Conventions (some states also have a country GOP convention held before the District Conventions), which in turn send delegates to a state convention, which is where delegates are chosen for the National Convention. Since most of the state conventions take place long after the primary race has ended, what usually happens is that a delegate slate supporting the presumptive nominee gets approved regardless of how actually “won” the caucuses.

If nothing else, then, Paul supporters are doing us all a favor by providing an object lesson in why caucuses should be eliminated as a means of picking Presidential nominees.

More broadly however, it’s unclear what Paul’s supporters think they are going to accomplish here. Regardless of how many “wins” they rack up they are not going to be able to stop Mitt Romney from winning the nomination on the first ballot, although I keep running into Paul supporters online who seem to actually believe that Ron Paul can somehow come out of Tampa with the nomination. That delusion aside, though, it’s hard to see what they think they’re accomplishing. By and large, it appears pretty clear that they are antagonizing mainline Republicans every time they pull this stunt. That’s hardly the kind of thing that will win friends and influence people, nor is it the kind of thing you should do if you want to become a voice of influence in the Republican Party as Paul supporters claim that they do.

Ed Kilgore thinks this is all about building up influence for Paul’s son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, but as Ed Morrissey notes if that’s the goal they seem to be going about it all wrong:

At this point, what would Paul gain from disrupting the convention?  He won’t get the nomination, and he’s not going to get the VP slot, either, especially if he disrupts the convention.  Neither will his son Rand, who only just started his first-ever political office.  The Pauls want to play a long game, transferring the movement leadership from father to son, while maintaining their influence with the GOP.  Rand has much more potential than his father ever did within the party, and everyone knows it.

That potential will be destroyed if Ron Paul and his movement derails the convention and it leads to a second Obama term; they will take all of the blame, and they will deserve it if they pursue that strategy.  The Pauls are more rational than that, and they have used a frankly brilliant strategy to lay the groundwork for Rand in the next few cycles.  They played by the rules and won these obscure battles.  The big question — at least here in Minnesota — is whether they will stick around and do the work that these jobs require.

That last point is perhaps the most important one. The reason that social conservatives have become a force in the GOP is because not only are they a reliably Republican voting bloc, but they are also willing to the grunt work that being involved in politics involved. It’s not all about idealistic campaigns for President, after all, there are down-ballot races that are just as important and when other members of the party start realizing that you can be counted on to help out, they’ll start listening to you and your influence will grow. Are Paul supporters willing to do that? Given their sometimes cult-like devotion to Ron Paul, it sure doesn’t seem likely. And if that’s the case then these antics of theirs will amount to nothing in the end.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. swearyanthony says:

    In the meantime, it’s really, really funny for the rest of us.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 10

  2. As Ed Morrissey and Mitch Berg point out, part of the reason that Paul supporters were able to succeed in Minnesota was because of the disorganization of the State Republican Party, but it’s happening in other states as well.

    And what are the chances these state parties are suddenly going to become organized enough to mount effective campaigns in November? If they can’t deal with Ron Paul, the DNC is going to eat them alive.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  3. Finally, the RNC itself has said more than once recently that the Convention Rules Committee still retains the authority to recognize or not recognize a partcular slate of delegates at the convention so we could see challenges in some of the states where Paul supporters have already succeeded.

    So if the rules don’t get the correct result, the RNC reserves the right to change the rules after the fact until they do. How Soviet of them.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 45 Thumb down 3

  4. Chad S says:

    The Ron Paul supporters love democracy SO much that they want to totally undermine it lol.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 38

  5. Hey Norm says:

    Who cares…the gold standard…what a loony tune.
    The guy is the clown prince of a flawed ideology.
    He gets some foreign policy things right…but even broken watches are right twice a day.
    Most of his policies (and Libetarian policies) wilt at slightest exposure to reality.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 41

  6. Nick says:

    Then why is Romney’s people still committing election fraud, passing out fake delegate slates in Maine and Nevada? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khCqLYsxZw4

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 3

  7. swearyanthony says:

    I like the bit where Bush v Gore “super lawyer” Ben Ginsburg is out there with the rule book arguing with Ron Paul fans over the finer details of RNC rules and regulations. Ah, karma, don’t go changing.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  8. jtournee says:

    This is a poor poor article – written like a little child desperately trying to work out the game the grown ups are playing.

    Maybe in a few years you’ll understand, son.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 28 Thumb down 14

  9. Alan says:

    Ron Paul supporters are willing to spend hours and hours supporting their candidate, even in the rain, in the cold, and when the establishment throws every dirty trick to stop them.

    Romney supporters will be there as long as they have their latte, and as long as they get home in time to catch the business report at 3.

    The fact is, Romney is as inspirational as a sore toe, and he isn’t running to promote anything. In fact, he is willing to be whatever we want just as long as we will vote for him.

    Ron Paul (like him or hate him) is running for America. He is seeking to change things that need changing (in his view). His followers are tired of crumbs falling off the table of the rich, and want change to.

    And Paul followers are willing to fight. Romney folks just don’t care enough to stop them.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 43 Thumb down 7

  10. steven says:

    What this bias creep is leaving out, is that the wheels are comming off the old gop bus.

    It’s the end.

    Anyone who wants the truth, just turns their phone on.

    This IS a revolutuon.

    Without end, unless theres REAL CHANGE!

    Got that MSM puppet.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 6

  11. Nick says:

    @Hey Norm: Ron Paul is the only candidate advocating those foreign policy issues – the rest perpetuate our immoral, unsustainable empire building that has only proven to create our terrorist enemies, run up our debts, and hurt our poor & middle class while military contractors, bankers, oil companies and the politicians they bankroll profit.

    And this professor disagrees with your arrogant assessment about Paul’s monetary ideas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr7nL2xIZqI&feature=player_embedded#

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 6

  12. Hey Norm says:

    @ Nick…
    Murray Sabrin is another kook.
    Tying our currency to a commodity is suicide.
    Period.
    End of story.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 19

  13. Nick says:

    @Chad S: Our country is a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy. “Democracy is like 2 wolves and a sheep deciding whats for dinner.” Our Republic has a set of rules that protect the minority from mob (majority) rule, allowing for a politically active minority to have influence in our politics. The delegate selection process is part of this. Paul supporters are abiding by these rules, while the establishment GOP is trying to silence them by disenfranchising their vote.

    If Romney was so friggin great, he’d have enough people showing up and voting for his delegates – as Paul supporters are.

    Romney’s people and the GOP are the ones ‘undermining’ the process – committing proven election fraud in most states so far: Canceling meetings once Paul supporters are legally voted in as chairmen, passing out fake delegate slates, turning away ‘non-jewish’ voters, and sending threatening letters that have nothing to do with set rules.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=347BJLhZkE4

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 5

  14. Nick says:

    @Hey Norm: Do you consider Jim Rogers a ‘kook’ too? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odpttximeTw&feature=youtu.be

    Point is, plenty of educated, successful economist, professors, and business people endorse Paul’s economic and monetary policies. You may disagree, but base it on facts, instead of dismissive name calling.

    Do you realize that if our government included the rising cost of food and gas, they’d have to admit our inflation is really 8-12% per year? We’ve doubled the amount of dollars in the last few years…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 9

  15. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Oh, my, the R3voLunatics are out in force. Wherever shall we go? Whatever shall we do? Quick, Rhett, to the fainting couch!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 21

  16. Hey Norm says:

    @ Nick…
    Tying currency to a commodity is suicide. That’s a fact. Period. End of story.
    Although Australia, which is one of the largest producers of gold…and has the most kooks…would probably be happy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8

  17. Hey Norm says:

    The gold standard is supported by Objectivists (Ayn Rand), Supply-Siders, and the Austrian School.
    The first two on that list have proven to be total failures.
    The third is subject to the Dunning-Kruger effect in that it can’t even recognize it’s own mistakes. Math and statistics in economics? How silly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 9

  18. Tillman says:

    @Nick: Why the hell would you include rising food and gas prices into our measure of dollar inflation? You act as if there’s no such thing as other economies with a growing demand for food and gas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

  19. grumpy realist says:

    Revolution, schmevolution. For all the banging of the drums, what’s going to happen at the Republican National Convention is that Mitt Romney will be awarded the position of Republican Nominee for the Presidency of the United States of America. The only reason Romney would not win the crown is if he drops dead of a heart attack between now and then.

    I challenge any of the Ron Paul supporters out there to put their $ where their mouth is. If Paul’s victory is so inevitable, put all your $ on PoliticalTrade or whatever betting place it is placing bets on the outcome of political processes. It’s a sure bet, right?

    ….I don’t think many of the posters here will actually risk their money….

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 16

  20. @grumpy realist:

    For all the banging of the drums, what’s going to happen at the Republican National Convention is that Mitt Romney will be awarded the position of Republican Nominee for the Presidency of the United States of America.

    I think this may be where people are going to be suprised. Everyone assumes this is about the 2012 election and point out that Ron Paul’s delegates have no hope of derailing the nomination. This is correct but it also overlooks that the convention delgates are the people who elect the state party executive committees, who in turn elect the Republican National Committee.

    That’s what really has the party establishment freaking out: not that Paul’s supporters effect the outcome of this election cycle, but that they start influencing the rules determining how future election cycles are handled.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  21. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Exhibit Z for why the minimum voting age needs substantially to be increased and for why basic cognitive tests should be prerequisites to voting.

    That aside, there actually are salutary effects from all this foolishness. That these kids and other waste cases are so busy on Saturday mornings with party conventions means they’re not capable of other mischief. At least not on those particular days. It’s good for them. Gives them something over which to obsess.

    A friend of mine is a neuropsychiatrist who consults at various mental wards. The key to keeping schizophrenics in line, he says, in addition of course to giving them thorazine, is to keep them busy. To give them tasks. To give them jobs. Keep their minds occupied. You don’t want crazy people to have too much time on their hands.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 23

  22. An Interested Party says:

    Exhibit Z for why the minimum voting age needs substantially to be increased and for why basic cognitive tests should be prerequisites to voting.

    Oh please, the sun rising in the morning is reason enough for you to have these views…

    A friend of mine is a neuropsychiatrist who consults at various mental wards. The key to keeping schizophrenics in line, he says, in addition of course to giving them thorazine, is to keep them busy. To give them tasks. To give them jobs. Keep their minds occupied. You don’t want crazy people to have too much time on their hands.

    Oh, your friend must have given you the advice to frequently read and comment on this blog…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  23. Chad S says:

    Lmao…paultards are predictable. I’ll give them that. But its becoming more a cult and less a political bowel movement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 13

  24. Nick says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: You guys are too funny. Go ahead and stay in denial thinking that all Paul supporters are 19 year old drug addicts with no concepts of reality. Ignoring that those people showing up to delegate meetings are middle-aged average Americans that will no longer tolerate perpetual wars, crushing debts, our rights being violated, and corporate interests running most of our government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4

  25. Herb says:

    @Nick:

    “middle-aged average Americans that will no longer tolerate perpetual wars, crushing debts, our rights being violated, and corporate interests running most of our government. “

    If that’s the case, and these people are unable to tolerate these things, why are they lining up behind a perennial last-placer? What is the end game here?

    Ron Paul has been in politics as long as I’ve been alive and what we’re seeing now is probably the apex of his national popularity. The trouble is, after three decades in politics, that apex just isn’t that impressive. Maybe he can be more persuasive when he’s 80 than he is now at 76, but I doubt it.

    Maybe Rand Paul will pick up the torch and run with it, but even then the question remains: What’s the end game? Are we trying to end perpetual wars, crushing debts, and all the rest….or are we just trying to keep the Paul family in office?

    Ardent Paul supporters may not realize they have already answered that question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 10

  26. kachek says:

    Consider the source here. This is a northern Virginia lawyer. He probably has $700K in mortgage debt. he is not underwater since that market did not correct. Why would it? its right next to the trough. People up there ( and I’m from there) know they are sucking on the gov. teat, esp. lawyers. This guy won’t tell you about the RNC not counting votes or resorting to other dirty tricks, also not a way to win friend and influence people ( the friends and people without whom the GOP cannot win this election, most Paul supporters myself included will stay home in a romney v obama race, because this is like choosing between being punched in the junk or punched in the junk). This doesn’t matter for Smug Doug here, b/c Obama will keep printing the monopoly money and his lifestyle of standing around looking casual at overpriced sporting events won’t be messed with. You’d expect more from someone trained in the law. You’d expect they’d at least had a Con. law course and understood our founding document, but, well, I guess its hard to put liberty and principles over your McMansion and toys

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

  27. grumpy realist says:

    @kachek: Exhibit A as to why the Paultards will never get anywhere.

    You know, you might win some more people to your side if you didn’t keep assuming that just because someone has an idea different from you that he’s wicked or evil or doesn’t know anything.

    And I’d put up Doug’s knowledge of the Constitution and constitutional law up against any internet blowhard who claims to “know the Constitution.” For gossakes–it’s not a magic binkie, you idiots. It’s a document that was written full of inconsistencies and planned ambiguities in an attempt to paper over differences between the states.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  28. Tillman says:

    @kachek:

    Paul supporters myself included will stay home in a romney v obama race, because this is like choosing between being punched in the junk or punched in the junk).

    You would think that, wouldn’t you?

    I once tried to have a political conversation with an acquaintance I knew in college about Ron Paul. He’d converted to the cause. It was like talking to a slightly intriguing but mostly infuriating brick wall.

    I don’t know, I’ve tried to engage you people before and all I get is the same nonsense. I know there’s a thinking person in there, but I seem to lack the talent or skills to draw him out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  29. merl says:

    @Stormy Dragon: You’re catching on, huh? the repubs always change the rules to win. they are masters at Calvin Ball.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  30. Nick says:

    @Herb: Because Romney and Obama both represent the same; more wars, more debt, less rights, and a government by & for corporations. They are both largely funded by the same bankers and international corporations, while Paul is not.

    Only Paul and Gary Johnson promote peace (only going to war when necessary, and with Congressional approval), balancing our budget, restoring our rights (ending Patriot Act, assassination/indefinite detention of US citizens, Trespass Bill), removing corporate control from our government (FDA, USDA, EPA, Treasury, ect), and will address the FED’s destructive, secretive, un-checked, inflationary policies. We may all disagree on how to fix these things, but Obama and Romney won’t even talk about them. – So we will only support Paul and Johnson.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  31. Barry says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “So if the rules don’t get the correct result, the RNC reserves the right to change the rules after the fact until they do. How Soviet of them. ”

    How Republican – it’s just a variation on voter disenfranchisement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  32. kachek says:

    I would think this b/c Obama signed the NDAA and Romney said he would to. Exempting yourself from observing due process is unconstitutional. Habeas Cropus, who needs it? magic binkie? c’mon. This is a funny sentiment. The reason for all this overreach is that the (muslim) boogie man is going to get us. what a joke. its always someone, which is why geniuses in the U.S. do things like locking up all the Japanese. I’ll take my chances, b/c I don’t need mommy government to take care of me.

    Yes, I have converted to the cause, of Liberty. Not Freedom, Freedom+ personal responsibility, so Liberty. Caucuses are their to keep people who don’t think and aren’t committed from foisting their crap on the rest of us.

    Its sad, so many people are going to get behind a man who has the same platform. Attack Iran, sending gas to 10 Euros a gallon (b/c that will be the end of the dollar), continue spying on Americans, kill them if you feel like it, nationalize health care, on and on. And why trust Willard, he’s been on both sides of every issue, twice.

    Have fun with this news coming out about him and Jeb and their ponzi scheme.

    But it doesn’t matter. Just like the people cheering for Obama in 07, you’ll see what you get if he wins. So sad. This election is the death knell of this system anyway. People are waking up. Get on board, all are welcome and there’s plenty of room. =) And I love you anyway because…. “its just a ride.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  33. kachek says:

    ooooh, now i get it. this is a blog for people who worship El.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  34. @merl:

    You’re catching on, huh?

    No, I caught on quite a while ago, which is why I’m no longer a Republican.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  35. Noah says:

    @Chad S: @Chad S: we love the Republic! We Paul-Bots are absolutely against democracy.

    The problem is that democracy is not freedom. Democracy is simply majoritarianism, which is inherently incompatible with real freedom. – Dr. Ron Paul

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  36. Herb says:

    @Nick:

    “Only Paul and Gary Johnson promote peace (only going to war when necessary, and with Congressional approval.”

    This is perhaps my biggest problem with Paul. They just assume that Paul’s foreign policy equals peace. As if peace will spring up magically if we “only go to war when necessary” and ask Congress’s permission first.

    I’m no neo-con, but sometimes peace can only be achieved by kicking ass.

    balancing our budget,

    Everyone’s concerned with that. The problem is no one agrees on how to do it. And almost no one agrees with Paul’s approach.

    restoring our rights (ending Patriot Act, assassination/indefinite detention of US citizens, Trespass Bill),

    All noble ventures, but how is electing Paul to the presidency going to accomplish that? That pen only signs legislation. Congress is going to have to step up to the plate too and who in Congress is afraid of Ron Paul?

    removing corporate control from our government (FDA, USDA, EPA, Treasury, ect),

    If by “corporate control” you mean “industrial influence,” then good luck with that. If you mean just getting rid of agencies you don’t like, then I’ll just say this: It’s a dream we all have.

    and will address the FED’s destructive, secretive, un-checked, inflationary policies.

    Most people are able to criticize the Fed’s actions without criticizing its existence. Could Ron Paul resist the urge?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  37. Jeff_r0x says:

    Arcane rules? There is nothing arcane about it. They are published on the RNC’s website in 6th grade English. The people who participate in the RNC conventions know the rules, even if ignorant authors like yourself do not.

    This is about participation in the process. There was nothing hidden, as the Ron Paul campaign was very clear from the beginning about winning delegates. These delegates were elected by voters in their state. They were vetted at the precinct level, the county level, Congressional district and finally the state level. These delegates have persevered scrutiny in order to represent their state. There was no theft involved. We live in a Republic, not a Democracy. A republic has representative government, where the rights the individual are protected from the ignorance of the masses. The delegate system rewards the informed activist, while still giving some attention to the arm-chair voter. The sad fact is, Romney has no real support other than the RNC establishment and the media. How is he planning going up against Obama’s community organization?

    By the way, as far as proof of needing to do away with the caucus process, I have one comment. In order to do that, the RNC will need to change the rules. The problem is, the Ron Paul Revolution is now leading the RNC in a number of states now.

    Do you really think these few states with delegate wins were flukes, or are we only seeing the tip top of the iceberg? If this means nothing, then why is Romney’s campaign scrambling to get a handle on this? He has less and less of the delegate estimates reported by the AP everyday.. Lucky for the Ron Paul revolution, the media will continue repeating their naysaying prognostication to its own detriment and discredit.

    Note: If you keep spouting stupidity, you eventually won’t have a job, because no one will listen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  38. Luke says:

    @Chad S: The American revolution wasn’t fought democratically. Playing by the books is not undermining democracy…it is smart.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0