Tag Archives: Republican National Committee

RNC Official Claims ‘Every Delegate Is a Superdelegate,’ Can Override Will of Voters

Republican National Committeeman Curly Haugland of North Dakota sent a letter on Friday to fellow RNC officials arguing that current party rules allow 2016 Republican National Convention delegates to vote for the presidential candidate of their personal preference during the first round of voting, rather than voting along with the will of voters in their states.

Haughland wrote in a letter published by The Daily Caller that the party’s Rule 38, also called “Unit Rule,” specifically allows Republican convention delegates to vote their conscience in every vote at the convention.

Every delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention is a completely free agent, free to vote for the candidate of their choice on every ballot at the convention in Cleveland in July. Every delegate is a Superdelegate!” claimed Haughland, who also pointed out that he has “been defending the right of the delegates to the Republican National Convention to vote according to their personal choice in all matters to come before the Republican National Convention, including the vote to nominate the Republican Candidate for President, for several years.

[RELATED: DNC Chair: Superdelegates Exist to Protect Party Leaders from Grassroots Competition]

Haughland, who is a member of the RNC’s Standing Rules Committee, claims that convention delegates were only bound to vote along with primary results at the 1976 convention and that the requirement was repealed in 1980.

He said that Tom Josefiak of the RNC’s Counsel’s Office gave a 2006 presentation to the Standing Rules Committee in which he counseled, “One of the important rules changes over the last 50 years has been the unit rule prohibited… that change was made so that an individual delegate can vote his or her conscience.

Haughland, who told The Daily Caller that he believes Trump will not obtain enough delegates to win the nomination, said, “The nominee of the party must receive a majority of the votes of the permanently feted delegates of the convention. That means it doesn’t make any difference what has happened in terms of primary voters, because they don’t count at the convention. It’s only the delegates at the convention whose votes matter.

[RELATED: GOP Debate: Trump Calls on Republican Party to ‘Be Smart and Unify’]

News of Haughland’s effort to convince the RNC of his interpretation of convention rules comes on the heels of a Truth in Media report that the GOP establishment is working to force a brokered convention by attempting to deny frontrunner Donald Trump the delegates necessary to clinch the nomination during the first round of voting at the convention in hopes that another candidate will prevail in a subsequent round.

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National Review Publishes ‘Against Trump’ Issue, Loses Debate Sponsorship

The editors of the conservative magazine National Review released an issue Thursday night, titled “Against Trump,” which led to the publication losing its sponsorship of the GOP debates and ending its partnership with the Republican National Committee.

The issue called real estate mogul and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump “a menace to American conservatism” whose politics are those of “an averagely well-informed businessman,” and who is “by all outward indications, the most poll-obsessed politician in all of American history.”

[pull_quote_center]Some conservatives have made it their business to make excuses for Trump and duly get pats on the head from him. Count us out. Donald Trump is a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it underfoot in behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as the Donald himself.[/pull_quote_center]

The editors concluded that Trump is “not deserving of conservative support in the caucuses and primaries,” calling him a “philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones.”

The issue criticized Trump’s tendency to change positions on policies, noting that while immigration is one of the issues he has been the most vocal about, he previously criticized Mitt Romney for having a crazy policy of self-deportation,” which he referred to as “maniacal,” and the reason why Romney lost the vote of “everybody who is inspired to come into this country.”

In response, Trump took to Twitter, calling the National Review a “failing publication that has lost its way,” and claiming that “very few people read the National Review because it only knows how to criticize, but not how to lead.”



Less than two hours after the issue went live online, NR publisher Jack Fowler released a blog post titled “Houston, we have a problem” in which he wrote that the publication would no longer be sponsoring the upcoming GOP debate on Feb. 25 in Houston, Texas.

Fowler said the editors “expected this was coming,” and he called it a “Small price to pay for speaking the truth about The Donald.”

RNC spokesman Sean Spicer confirmed that National Review has been “disinvited” from the upcoming GOP debate, and said it was on account of the fact that “a debate moderator can’t have a predisposition.” 

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DONEGAN: RNC Loyalty Oath Goes Too Far By Asking Candidates to Endorse Unknown Nominee

Donald Trump’s refusal to rule out an independent presidential run during the first GOP debate of the 2016 election season put Republican Party officials in a legitimate bind. What happens if Trump or another candidate uses the GOP’s political infrastructure, donor funds, and primary debates as a launch pad for an independent run against the party’s eventual nominee, ultimately spoiling the race in favor of the Democrats?

If that were to happen, Reince Priebus’ Republican National Committee chairmanship would be viewed as an epic failure.

However, in using the party’s sponsorship of and control over officially-recognized Republican presidential primary debates as leverage to pressure all candidates into signing a loyalty pledge, the RNC has set a dangerous precedent. Now, the expectation is that in order to get into the Republican Party’s official presidential debates, each candidate must sign an oath promising not only to swear off an independent run, but also to blindly pre-endorse any of a long list of candidates prior to even debating all of them on the same stage and determining what their positions are. That should be alarming considering the fact that there are 17 announced candidates in this season’s primary.

[RELATED: Trump Signs RNC Loyalty Pledge Promising to Endorse Nominee “Regardless of Who It Is”]

In fact, in circulating the loyalty pledge so early in the election season, the RNC has asked Republican candidates to sign an oath promising to support the party’s nominee at a time, with candidate filing deadlines still looming, when it might still technically be possible for another candidate to enter the race. In a crowded field, a candidate whose views do not speak for large segments of the party could prevail, forcing single-issue activist candidates to endorse a nominee that on day one of his or her presidency would begin working against them — and conceivably the entire party — on issues. Also, a candidate like Donald Trump, who was a Democrat just a few short years ago, could in theory change his mind on positions at the last minute.

The loyalty oath as a concept will offend Tea Party and libertarian activists who see it as a tool by establishment figures to put the party’s brand over its issues. “Republican in name only” has become a commonly-used pejorative among center-right leaning activist circles to describe brand-focused Republicans who ditch their principles for whatever position polls well after they stealth into office by bamboozling the GOP base into carrying the election for them.

Above the broader concept of the loyalty oath dangles the RNC’s bigger mistake, including language in it that effectively bullies candidates into pledging that they “will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is.

During the 2008 and 2012 Republican presidential primaries, candidate Ron Paul said from the beginning that he had no intention of running as an independent if he were to lose. There was no need for a loyalty oath because even Ron Paul, with his near-total disregard for political expediency, realized that he had to rule out an independent run to have any practical shot at winning the nomination.

However, former Congressman Paul likely would not have signed a promise to endorse the nominee because not doing so was essential, not only to his principled approach to advocacy, but also to his strategy of collecting delegates that would go on to influence the party at the Republican National Convention. This is often a crucial step in reconciling the party when it is struggling internally with major debates over important issues.

Put simply, if the RNC had made the signing of a similar oath a condition for being a participant in the party’s debates in 2008, Ron Paul would have never signed it and his historic debate performances that inspired an entire generation of activists never would have taken place.

Promising to support the eventual nominee no matter who it is forces candidates to marry themselves to their own attack ads. What kind of schizophrenic message does it send when a candidate spends months warning about how dangerous another candidate will be only to then endorse them months later?

As a former elected county-wide Republican Party official on what is effectively Nashville, Tennessee’s subsidiary of the RNC, I understand the importance of the brand-building job that comes with being an official on a Republican Party executive committee. However, is this loyalty oath going to create a bigger Republican Party or will it create a smaller, more obedient one while, over time, systematically pushing issue-focused and principled conservatives and libertarians out and into the arms of a rising third party?

Also, out of respect for independents who are the fastest growing voter segment in the U.S., it is important to consider the fact, pointed out by Ben Swann in the below-embedded CBS46 Atlanta Reality Check video, that independent taxpayers themselves are forced to invest in the primary system yet do not have a way to get candidates into debates. By limiting the ability for right-leaning independent candidates to participate in the Republican primary process and its debates over issues, which either directly or implicitly tying a loyalty oath to debate participation will do, the RNC is disenfranchising them and giving them no choice but to work to create a third party.


For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Trump Signs RNC Loyalty Pledge Promising to Endorse Nominee “Regardless of Who It Is”

Ever since candidate Donald Trump refused to promise not to run as an independent at Fox News’ first Republican presidential debate of the 2016 campaign season, state and national level Republican Party organizations have been scrambling to find a way to force him to sign an oath pledging his loyalty to the party.

On Wednesday, the Republican National Committee distributed a loyalty pledge to all 2016 candidates and asked them to sign it prior to CNN’s September 16 Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

According to The Guardian, Donald Trump signed the pledge on Thursday after a meeting with RNC chairman Reince Priebus and said at a press conference, “I have no intention of changing my mind. I see no circumstances under which I would tear up that pledge.” It is worth noting that his comments after signing the pledge seem to have left open the possibility that some type of unforeseen circumstance could in theory motivate him to tear up the pledge.

According to Politico, the RNC pledge reads, “I [name] affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for president of the United States I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is.

It continues, “I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party.

Virginia and North Carolina’s Republican Party organizations are considering forcing candidates to sign a loyalty pledge in order to obtain ballot access, and South Carolina’s GOP announced last week that candidates must promise that they “generally believe in and intend to support the nominees and platform of the Republican Party in the November 8, 2016 general election” prior to September 30 in order to appear on the party’s ballot.

Former Virginia Governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Jim Gilmore told The Washington Post, “If someone is going to go to the party and ask for their support, if they’re going to ask the rank and file for their vote, that comes with an obligation for loyalty, in my mind. Generally speaking, if you want the party’s support, that loyalty should be there.

Former RNC chairman Michael Steele said, “I appreciate what [RNC chairman Reince Priebus] is trying to do [by circulating the pledge], trying to bring some level of order to this situation. The expectation should be if you’re running to be nominee of the party, you should support the nominee of the party.

Though the RNC’s circulation of the pledge appeared to be motivated primarily by the desire to get Donald Trump to swear off an independent run, asking candidates to pledge to support the party’s eventual nominee without knowing who that might be or what positions that person might be championing at that time goes even further. In the 2012 Republican presidential primary, candidate Ron Paul said that he would not run as an independent but ultimately refused to endorse the party’s nominee.

The Republican Party can use its powers to deny candidates the use of its voter information database and to strip them from RNC-sanctioned debates to pressure them into falling in line. However, there is nothing stopping a candidate like Trump from signing the pledge and then backing out of it later on, other than the political reality that voters do not typically support candidates who break promises.

In the below-embedded CBS46 Atlanta Reality Check video, Ben Swann discusses the implications of the Republican National Committee’s power to ban candidates from Republican presidential debates.


For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

RNC Subcommittee Meets this Week to Consider 2016 Presidential Election Changes

By guest contributor Nicole Revels

A newly-formed subcommittee of the RNC Committee on Rules will hold their first meeting this Friday in Washington, D.C. The subcommittee is charged with considering some of the most controversial aspects of the Rules of the Republican Party, those affecting the 2016 Presidential Primary process. Discussions will include the topics of state election timing guidelines and the delegate selection process.

The formation of the subcommittee was announced during the August meeting of the RNC, at which point it was explained by Rules Committee Chairman Bruce Ash that the subcommittee’s function would be to discuss amendments to primary-affecting RNC rules, and submit a report of amendment suggestions for a vote before the entire RNC Standing Committee on Rules.

Texas Republican Party Chairman Steve Munisteri, a member of the new subcommittee on rules, says that the purpose of the subcommittee is efficiency in the consideration of the hotly-debated primary election rules. “You have 50 people on the rules committee, every state has (a representative). I would say that’s probably an unwieldy number, to sit there and go back & forth on a regular basis. You’re talking about monthly meetings that may become weekly meetings,” says Munisteri. “As a practical matter, I don’t know how practical it is to try to get 50 people together once a week or once every couple of weeks.”

Morton Blackwell, a long-standing member of the RNC rules committee, opposed the formation of the subcommittee, concerned that the process could lead to a consolidation of decision-making. Blackwell stating during the summer meeting, “It is perfectly feasible for the committee to deal with each issue separately. It is not the custom of this committee to come up with an omnibus set of changes derived by some group other than the entire membership of the Standing Committee on Rules.”

Blackwell warned rule committee members, “It is entirely possible that (the subcommittee) is going to come up with a report which will have many different portions offered, some of which will be very offensive and thought to be very wrong by many people on this committee, and then we will be told that there are some elements of this that you like, and if you want to get those things that you like, you have to vote for those things that you think are bad for the Republican Party. I think that under any circumstance, issues should be considered individually.”

Suspicions have stigmatized the RNC rules debate ever since the 2012 Republican National Convention, in which many delegates felt shut-out during the debate and passage of the 2012 rules. Jeremy Blosser, a 2012 Republican National Delegate, is skeptical of claims by Chairman Ash that the discussions this week will be conducted with transparency.

“The RNC is continuing a pattern of promising transparency and delivering the opposite,” says Blosser. “Forming a subcommittee to consider rules issues has some merit, but … we were told the discussions would be open and transparent.” Blosser plans to observe this week’s meeting, but says he has not yet received confirmation that he will be admitted into the room. “These conversations are critical to the future of the party … they have to stop trying to close the doors.”

Munisteri, who has a reputation among Republican Party activists for transparency advocacy, also hopes that the process will be open, “I think Tampa made it particularly important that we try not to do things behind closed doors unless it’s absolutely necessary because there’s already a climate of suspicion among some and we need not to do anything to foster that suspicion.”

Event page for following activists attending subcommittee meeting https://www.facebook.com/events/1413532492209125/?fref=ts