Vox Populi
A Letter to the Editor

More on Republican Rule 16
(delegate binding)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

by Virgilio Pérez Pascoe

Editors of The Green Papers,

Point number 7, by Mr. Curly Haugland in his clarifying remarks to your commentary of 19 March 2016, explains rightly, in my opinion, that no presidential contender to be nominated as Republican standard bearer can be placed for nomination before the Credential Committee “permanently seats” the sum total of delegates.

What I cannot find, is where it says that these delegates can place in nomination for Presidential or Vice-Presidential candidate anyone they want at the outset. Here is the link to the Call for the Republican Convention for 2016 [as a .pdf file-Ed.], which I used as a reference: http://bit.ly/1XFkFp1.

Rule 16 (a)(1) provides a more nuanced position:

"Any statewide presidential preference vote that permits a choice among candidates... must be used to allocate and bind the state’s delegation... except for [my bold and underline] delegates and alternates who appear in a ballot in a state wide election and are elected directly by primary voters."

I looked in your very comprehensive site, and, I conclude that this includes the at-large delegates, the 6 jurisdictions which do not constitute states, and states which elect in a ballot state-wide (or, in your parlance, primaries, modified primaries but not caucus/conventions of any kind) as well as those States whose delegates are uncommitted. Looking at your table “Republican Delegate Allocation,” in the column unpledged, the total is 106, but it is missing Colorado, and the rest of Wyoming, which would add 63 delegates to the list, for a total of 169. Added to this are the 390 at-large of the 39 states that hold primaries (11 hold caucus/conventions and 6 are non-state jurisdictions). Also, 168 delegates are party leaders (3 for each of the 56 jurisdictions). This gives me 727 delegates which can vote their will. This is a significant number, a bit more than 29% of total delegates, but does not constitute a blanket permission for all delegates to disregard the elections or caucuses that took place from the beginning of the year.

Further in Rule 16(a) (2):

“If any delegate bound by these rules, state party rule, or state law... demonstrates support under Rule 40 for any person other than the candidate to whom he or she is bound, such support will not be recognized. Except as provided for by state law or state party rule, no presidential candidate shall have the power to remove a candidate.”

The manner in which the binding and other actions can take place includes:

Rule 16 (d) (1):

"(i) by primary election

(ii) by the Republican State Committee...

(iii) by state and Congressional District Conventions

(iv) by any method consistent with these rules..."

Additionally, Rule 21 further specifies “...Only contests [disputes, my note] elected or selected at large shall be presented to the Republican National Committee...”

But it is also true, as Mr. Haugland states that Rule 40 (b) requires that in the 8 states required to win, the win must be by majority, not by plurality. This must be certified and presented to the secretary of the convention one hour before the placing of the names of the candidates for nomination. This does not appear to be a high bar for the leading candidate, since a significant number of states until June 6 will now be winner takes most or winner takes all.

It is true that the rules can be changed prior to the convention, but given the fractious nature of this season’s nomination for candidates, it may not appear feasible-- for it would create a backlash. But, nothing should be ruled out.

I conclude that some of the delegates can vote their will, but not all and that those that can vote their will are clearly specified, and in case of dispute, the RNC will resolve.

For what it is worth, it appears to me that barring some unforeseen circumstance (of which there have been many this season), the leading contender will probably reach the magic 1237 number of delegates on, or before June 6, as Mr. Berg-Andersson explains in his post.

Virgilio Pérez Pascoe
Cummins, GA


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