Representative Democracy in Party Politics
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
by Henry Dreifus
[EDITOR's NOTE: this is in response to Richard E. Berg-Andersson's Commentary of this past 18 April]
As a republic, this country's leadership selection process is inherently, and by definition, proxy or indirect representation- starting with the Electoral College. Thankfully, we have had a stable dominant two-party process (of course, there are many more than two parties- though most people have never heard of them) for most of our country's history- interestingly not like others around the world (such as India, Brazil, Israel, etc.) where governments are but amalgams of coalitions (although our own Electoral College itself was premised on just such a possible eventuality for the "great experiment" that we know of as the United States). [EDITOR's NOTE: please also see this website's own historical analysis of the Electoral College for more on the Electoral College as intended to have been more of a "nominating" process than an outright electoral one.]
Is not this very week really the most significant time of all, when the Republican National Committee conducts final rules meetings in preparation for how it will operate the GOP Convention in Cleveland this coming July? The delegate process will be really fought out during this meeting in Hollywood FL!
An underlying challenge to democracy is ultimately the trust of the people- and in the system. This has a greater implication to not just present, but future, candidates to the very stability and viability of both the Republicans and the Democrats beyond this present election cycle.
Through the Internet- and blogs like TheGreenPapers.com- there is now unprecedented information available to everyone, thereby proferring a transparency that will, and likely for the good, inform the nation's citizens about how exactly the whole US presidential candidate selection process works.
Whilst money and influence have traditionally been the major currencies that drive this candidate selection (not election) process, informing everyone through new media such as your own website is creating the most powerful and valuable new currency- knowledge. As a result, the future of the processes down to the local (district) level will forever alter the way in which candidates are determined.
Mr. Berg-Andersson responds on behalf of TheGreenPapers.com
Not a direct response to Mr. Dreifus here per se; merely, instead, some relevant "news and notes" in relation to that RNC rules meeting in Hollywood, Florida this week to which he himself has referred in his 'vox Populi' above:
There are reports of an important ("serious" here being, at this point at least, too strong a word maybe) split within the Republican National Committee's Standing Committee on Rules as regards its now- with the GOP presidential nominating process (here meaning the week-by-week procession of Presidential Primaries, lowest-tier Caucuses and higher-tier Conventions in the several States and US Territories) more than halfway along- possibly meddling with potential rules for the upcoming Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer.
One faction (dubbed by the media "the conservatives") seems to want this week's meeting of the RNC Standing Committee on Rules [EDITOR's NOTE (***important!***): not to be at all confused with the upcoming Republican Convention's own Committee on Rules and Order of Business, itself to be made up of 112 delegates to that Convention (one man and one woman from each of the 56 delegations represented at the GOP Convention) which itself has yet to even be organized (as of this typing, many States still have not chosen their actual delegates! Thus, there is, at this time, no way for those States to even know who will be representing said States on that Committee!)] to seriously consider potential rules changes for the GOP Convention already (in reality, all the RNC Standing Committee on Rules can actually do- should it so desire- is merely propose new rules to, in turn, to be considered by the yet to be organized Convention Rules Committee which will, thereafter, have to report any such new rules/rules changes out to the GOP Convention as a whole [only once the Convention in Cleveland is itself already underway come next mid-July]: at least a majority of the delegates to the GOP Convention [yes, at least that "magic number" of 1237 of same we have all been hearing about incessantly!] would have to then approve any such new rules/rules changes in any event before these could even become part of the Standing Rules for that Convention [as well as, by extension, the presumptive Temporary Rules for the next Republican National Convention in 2020])...
however, another faction (which appears to have the support of Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus) is opposed to taking such (perhaps "drastic" would not be too strong a word here?) measures on the altogether obvious grounds that it might well smack of favoritism toward (I myself would, admittedly, be sorely tempted to here write "against"!) one GOP presidential contender or another.
My own personal "two cents plain" here (depreciated to no more than a penny and a third once you drive them off the lot, to be sure) is that GOP Chairman Priebus's position (assuming here, of course, that the media reports as to Mr. Priebus's position are, indeed, most accurate) is the more sound: for just about the stupidest thing to do right now would be to have the Republican National Committee (or, for that matter, any of its duly constituted organs: of which its Standing Rules Committee is but one) monkeying about with even the mere possibility of 2016 GOP Convention rules changes!...
not, of course, that TheGreenPapers.com (being a non-partisan website)- or I, Richard E. Berg-Andersson, myself for that matter- is more usually in the business of telling one of the two Major US political Parties (or, for that matter, any other political Party or Independent campaign for elective office) what might be best to do- or not: but, as someone who has long studied the very history of the US presidential nominating/election process (not to also mention my own personal memories of at least the last now-dozen Presidential Election cycles, including this one), it would seem to me the best thing for the Republican Party leadership to now do is to simply let the current Republican presidential nominating process (as I have already defined it above) continue to play itself out without at all touching on the matter of GOP Convention rules directly...
at some point thereafter (here assuming- if only for sake of this particular discussion- no GOP presidential contender reaches the "magic" 1237 [although it's really not at all magic, merely math!] by the end of that process), just before the Convention in Cleveland itself first meets, there will be a 2016 Republican National Convention Committee on Rules and Order of Business in place and that Committee- yes, albeit with all the attendant (as well as largely unavoidable) politics engendered by (possibly) different GOP presidential contenders trying to pull it one way or the other- would be the far more appropriate vehicle through which to then hash all this out...
if there must, in the end, be a "fight" between such "conservatives" and another faction- or other factions (and whether or not these might well be fairly identified with the ambitions of particular presidential contenders)- within the Republican Party itself over just how the 2016 Republican National Convention should thereafter proceed, have it there: makes much more sense!