Vox Populi
A Letter to the Editor

GOP Rule 40 and
nominations of presidential candidates

Friday, April 1, 2016

by Paul Lukasiak

[EDITOR's NOTE: This vox Populi is in response to that of Virgilio Pérez Pascoe on 24 March 2016]

Where Mr. Pérez Pascoe writes "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. ":

Rule 40(b) does NOT require that eight states be won. Rather it requires that

"Each candidate for nomination for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States shall demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates from each of eight (8) or more states... to demonstrate the support required of this paragraph a certificate evidencing the affirmative written support [boldface emphasis mine] of the required number of permanently seated delegates from each of the eight (8) or more states shall have been submitted...."

Nowhere in the rules that I've read does it say that a bound delegate is required to supply such written support, nor does it say that a delegate bound to one candidate cannot provide such written support to another candidate. (Nor, for that matter, does it say that a delegate can provide "affirmative written support" toward only one candidate's nomination.)

Because the criteria is "written support" from delegates, not "bound delegates", I believe that Mr. Haugland's point is valid with respect to who can be nominated.

Yet, and in fact, Rule 16(a)(2) says "If any delegate bound by these rules, state party rule or state law to vote for a presidential candidate at the national convention demonstrates support under Rule 40 for any person other than the candidate to whom he or she is bound, such support shall not be recognized."

Thus while it remains theoretically possible for someone who hasn't won a majority of 8 states to be nominated on the first ballot -- for instance, if a candidate with lots of delegates withdraws/releases his delegates (such as in the event of a scandal) absent that its highly implausible, given the dearth of "unbound" delegates, that an additional candidate could be nominated on the first ballot.

Paul Lukasiak
Philadelphia, PA

REB-A response to 1 Apr 2016 vox Populi

Mr.Berg-Andersson responds:

Curly Haugland's argument- the very one that produced the rather dire headlines in the media I reproduced (in boldface) near the beginning of my own Commentary on all this- would be that GOP Rule 16(a)(2) (nor, for that matter, anything under the rubric of 'Rule 16') would not apply to the upcoming Republican National Convention in Cleveland because such as Rule 16- and all its sections and subsections- are not part of the Temporary Rules governing that Convention.

Note that the final rule, among all the GOP rules- this being Rule 42- reads, in part, as follows:

Rule Nos. 26-42 shall constitute...the temporary rules for the next convention.

The "next convention" therein is, of course, the 2016 Convention in Cleveland! But, more to the point (re: which I am playing "devil's advocate" here), is that Rule 16 in toto is not included within "Rules No. 26-42" and, therefore, also not part of the "temporary rules" of the soon-to-convene "next convention". After all, I myself noted- in my own 19 March piece- that it is true that the immediately previous National Convention of a Major Party cannot bind (in this case, to following all rules adopted by that previous Convention for both itself and the next one four years later) a different National Convention so meeting four years later (for the next National Convention is an entirely new body- a newly convened 'Town Meeting'; a 'Court of Last Resort' of the Party convening anew).

It is, evidently, an inherent flaw within the arrangement of the GOP Rules themselves: thus, to take one obvious example, Rule 16(a)(2) also requires that [t]he Secretary of the Convention shall faithfully announce and record each delegate’s vote in accordance with the delegate’s obligation under these rules, state law or state party rule-- except that the 'Secretary of the Convention' is here being charged with the requirement to do something that is not (per the above-quoted Rule 42) even part of the Temporary Rules of the Convention itself!...

and, of course, there can be no Standing Rules for the Convention in Cleveland lest that Convention- as a whole (by vote of 1237+ delegates)- adopt same: presumably adopting- whether after [vociferous?] debate on the floor of the Convention itself or no- that which will be reported out to them by the Convention's own Committee on Rules and Order of Business (which itself can't be even done until the report of the Convention's own Committee on Credentials- the delegates themselves are not even "permanently seated" until that Committee's report has already been adopted [so, if there should be one or more serious challenges to delegate seating brought to the floor of the Convention.....])

It should be quite clear how a scenario involving a contested GOP Convention in Cleveland could so possibly degenerate (I won't here bother to even suggest the very nature of potential degeneration): which is why what happens as regards the Republican presidential contenders (and their campaigns), including at least one such one-time contender (his campaign now suspended) still trying to hold on to as many of "his" delegates as he possibly can, throughout this very month (April) now looms so large.


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