GOP Field Must Use 2016 To Force Conservative Primary Reform

A view of downtown Cleveland, which has been chosen for the 2016 Republican National Conve
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

As we approach the 2016 Presidential Election members of the Republican Party find ourselves in the middle of what will certainly be the most unique, yet pivotal, nomination process in the entire history of the party.

With an unprecedented field of uniquely qualified candidates and an equally unprecedented number of wealthy individuals willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in the nomination process, the Republican political industry is fully mobilized in the most lucrative Presidential nomination chase in history.

Given these circumstances, now is the time to study the nomination process, especially the Rules of the Republican Party.

To the casual observer, primary elections will determine the nominee. However, a trained observer will note that the delegates to the Republican National Convention actually choose the nominee.

The Progressive Movement in the United States has championed primary elections as the way to take the power to choose candidates for public office away from “political machines”(AKA political parties) and vest that authority in the general public voters in primary elections.

With the clever use of terms like “party bosses” to denigrate the members of political parties, and “political machines” to likewise create an unfavorable view of political parties, and labeling convention halls as the “smoke filled rooms” where the “back room deals” are made to select the party nominee in their “brokered” conventions, Progressives in both the Democratic and Republican parties, in collaboration with the media, and an out of control political industry that feasts on the massive spending now common to primary elections, have nearly succeeded in giving the primary system complete control over party nominations.

The final tool necessary to accomplish the Progressive goal of democratizing the Presidential nomination process, is the “binding” of the delegates to each major party’s national convention, forcing each delegate’s vote to be cast on their behalf according to the results of the public vote in primary elections.

How Democrats handle “binding,” or the forced voting of delegates, based on primary voter’s choices, is of no consequence in this discussion since each party is free to make their own rules.

But the Republican Party, since its establishment in 1854, continues to operate as a private unincorporated association of individuals that has established its quadrennial convention of delegates as the highest and sole authority of the Republican Party.

At each convention, Republican delegates first adopt the Rules of the Republican Party consisting of the rules for the current national convention and also the rules for the election and government of the Republican National Committee from the close of the convention until the next national convention is convened.

Each convention has three main functions; adoption of the rules of the Republican Party, adoption of the official platform of the Republican Party and the nomination of the Republican Party candidate for President and Vice President of the United States.

The current rules 26 through 42 are the temporary rules for the 2016 national convention.  Likewise, rules 1 through 25 establish the Republican National Committee, rules which expire prior to the 2016 national convention.

The rules adopted by the 2016 convention will then, likely, re-establish the Republican National Committee in accordance with whatever rules may be adopted by the convention. This “new” Republican National Committee reorganizes after the 2016 convention adjourns.

Thus, the Republican Party of the United States is not a seamless, perpetual institution.  Rather, it is a series of successive authorizations of its quadrennial convention of delegates.

The Republican National Committee can do nothing without the authorization of the convention delegates.

The forgoing discussion is extremely important to comprehend as we discuss the Republican nomination process from this point on.

Progressives within the Republican Party (yes, we have them too) have been trying to emulate their Democratic mentors for many years with a steady, persistent push to make primary elections the final determinant of the Republican nominee.

A big problem for Republican Progressives, however, is the Republican system of rules and the authority vested in convention delegates.

In order for the Progressives to achieve their objective, they would need to convince the delegates to the national convention to surrender their individual right to choose the nominee, and, instead, vest that right in the low information voters in primary elections. Would the delegates, while sitting at the 2016 convention knowing they possess the right to choose the nominee, voluntarily surrender that right? Of course not!

But, undeterred and determined, Republican Progressives turned, instead, to deceit and trickery in their attempts to defeat the authority of the convention and transfer the power to nominate our candidate to the primary system.

Not long ago, primaries were known as “presidential preference” primaries, or “beauty contests”; terms seldom, if ever, heard today.

Through clever and subtle manipulation of the rules over a long period of time, Progressives wove a yarn into the primary storyline that exists today. Even the term “primary election” is a falsehood. The correct term would be “primary nomination” in the context of presidential elections.

It is well to note that this custom began as some state Republican parties simply appended their “presidential preference” ballots to the state government funded primary elections that Democratic administrations wrote into state law in states they controlled.

Then, some Republican state parties, on their own initiative, began to copy Democrats and the Democrat’s practice of binding delegates. Progressive Republican leaders with the responsibility to prevent this abuse dismissed these rogue state actions and began a doctrine of interpretation of rules to permit state by state binding as a matter of “state’s rights.”

In the Republican National Convention of 1964, this practice gained the attention of the convention rules committee which resulted in the addition of a single sentence to what was then Rule 18: “No delegate or alternate shall be bound by any attempt of any state or congressional district, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands to impose the unit rule.”

The official transcript of the 1964 debate of this rule contains these comments by a Mr. Ross:

Ladies and gentlemen, I was the Chairman of the Subcommittee which recommended this rule and I want to say it was our thought at the time this language was merely explanatory of the sentence which preceded it. That sentence says this:

But if exception is taken by any delegate to the correctness of such announcement by the chairman of the delegation, the Chairman of the convention shall direct the roll of members of such Delegation to be called and the result shall be recorded in accordance with the vote of the several Delegates in such Delegation.

Now that sentence in different language is and has been for a long time an effective method of preventing the imposition of the unit rule upon any delegate.”  “All any delegate has to do is stand up and say ‘I want a poll of the delegation’ and his vote will be recorded in accordance with his wishes regardless of any attempt on the part of any delegation either at a state convention by state law or by the state delegation to impose upon him a position or person he does not wish to support.

The rule language quoted by Mr. Ross above is found, verbatim, in the current Rule 37 of the Rules of the Republican Party where it has been since 1923, according to testimony from the 1964 record. The sentence that was added to what was then Rule 18 has since become the stand alone Rule 38 of the current rules.

As can be seen, for the past 90 years, this rule has prohibited the binding of Republican delegates and continues to protect the right of each delegate to The Republican National Convention to vote their personal choice on issues coming before the convention and for the candidate of their choice to receive the party’s nomination.

So, rather than attack the delegate protection rule directly, Progressive Republicans began their subtle but serious attempt to write a binding provision into rules governing the election of delegates, currently governed by Rule 16.

In the 2000 National Convention, the order of the Rules of the Republican Party was inexplicably reversed.  Prior to 2000, the rules were in proper chronological order with the PROCEEDINGS OF NATIONAL CONVENTION first, then followed by THE RULES FOR THE ELECTION AND GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE until the next convention.

This subtle change gives the false impression that the rules printed AHEAD of the temporary rules for the next convention actually apply to the next convention!

They simply do not. The preamble is clear and unambiguous, even given the reversal of the rules order, where it states “…the following…are adopted as the Rules of the Republican Party, composed of the rules for the election and government of the Republican National Committee until the next national convention…” Keep in mind, these are the 2012 party rules.

In other words, the current Republican National Committee ceases to exist when the 2016 Republican National Convention convenes and, if re-authorized, a new Republican National Committee will re-organize following the convention to govern the party until the 2020 convention.

Progressive Republicans have since exploited the deliberate confusion created in 2000 with the fraudulent introduction of three words, “select”, “allocate” and “bind”.  The complete details of this fraud are listed below.

“Letter to RNC Members, April 17, 2014″


Dear RNC Member:

Re:   Binding Added to Rules by Fraud

The Binding Discussion has recently led to the shocking discovery that the word “binding” was added to the Rules of the Republican Party through deliberate acts of fraud and deceit.

Shocking, to say the least!

A page by page review of all of the proceedings since the 2004 National Convention, which led to the adoption of a rules change to add the words “select, allocate and bind” to what was then Rule 15, “Election of Delegates and Alternate Delegates”, reveals that, in fact, there was virtually NO discussion of the impact that adding these words to the Rules of the Republican Party would have on the presidential nomination process.

In fact, this change was introduced by the RNC Counsel’s Office staff member Jennifer Sheehan.

This rules change was presented as a “clarification” of the rules as stated in the purpose for the recommended amendment, “The purpose of this amendment is to clarify the current Rules related to the delegate selection process.  The intent of this language is currently included in the Rules, but this additional language makes the interpretation consistent for all circumstances.”

As you can see, the proposed amendment added the words “select” and “allocate” throughout the rules where, previously, only the word “elect” appeared in connection with the election of delegates to the national convention.

The transcript of the final meeting of the RNC Rules Committee on August 27, 2008 provides insight into the deception involved when Ms. Sheehan introduced the amendment stating, “The last amendment, it applies to throughout the rules the definition of “elect”, “select”, and/or “allocate.” It just allows the clarification that that applies across the board during the delegate selection process.”

The deception becomes immediately apparent when, in discussion of the proposed amendment, Nancy Lord of Utah asked “…can you clarify for me whether or not the word “allocate” refers to the binding of delegates”?  Ms. Sheehan’s prompt response was, simply, “Yes”.

Ms. Lord then moved to add the word “bind” to Sheehan’s amendment and the amended motion passed on a voice vote.

This all took place in the final minutes of the final meeting of the RNC Rules Committee meeting held the day before the full membership of the RNC met and approved the rules changes recommended by the RNC Rules Committee.

This action was fraudulent because:

  1. Counsel’s office clearly knew the word “allocate” was a synonym for “bind”.
  1. The copy of the complete Rules of the Republican Party that was presented to the full RNC for approval contained only the addition of the words “select” and “allocate”; not “bind”, which the record clearly shows was part of the motion that passed the Rules Committee the day before.  Thus, the full RNC has never approved that addition of the word “bind “to the Rules of the Republican Party. 
  1. The members of the Convention Rules Committee were also deceived by RNC Counsel when, in the opening moments of the Committee work on August 29, 2008,  Delegate Chris Callaghan from New York asked of Counsel, “Could Counsel …go through the new…copy and…tell us how it’s different from the …copy we had previously received?”  “Can we just get an update on the changes that occurred with the past week or so?”  In response, Mr. Josefiak replied that…”there were a series of very minor technical amendments…and then…a couple of substantive amendments…Oh, and the other one was…a change in the date so that you could no longer, as a State, select, elect, or bind delegates prior to…”. Seriously?  Mr. Josefiak actually used the words “select”, and “bind” as though they had always been part of the rules, and did not tell the committee, even in answer to a direct question that should have caused him to disclose the fact, that “bind” was first introduced to the Rules of the Republican Party at the RNC Rules Committee meeting on August 27, two days earlier.  The addition of the single word, “bind”, is easily the most substantive change in the Rules of the Republican Party since Lincoln, and the Convention Rules Committee was deceived by its own staff in recommending it.
  1. This major change in the rules was proposed by the RNC Counsel’s Office disguised as a “clarification”.  Since the Counsel’s office serves only as staff to the Rules Committee and is completely without authority to participate in rulemaking, it is fair to assume that these changes were offered on behalf of Rules Committee Chairman, David Norcross.
  1. The words “select”, “allocate”, and “bind” were added by this amendment to the word “elect” wherever it appeared in the rules relating to the election of delegates to the Republican National Convention.  According the Black’s Law Dictionary, “The word “elected”, in its ordinary signification…cannot be held the synonym of any other mode of filling a position.”  The words “select”, “allocate”, and “bind” are in no way similar in meaning to the word “elect” and were added intentionally to codify customary practices of “selecting” delegates, instead of electing them.
  1. “Binding” delegates to the results of primary elections is the only way primary proponents can preserve the “value” of primaries and justify the huge amounts of money invested in attempts to “win” primaries.  This primary money has a large constituency of big money donors and campaign consultants that have become dependent on primaries as a way to exert undue influence, in the case of donors; and accrue tremendous wealth, in the case of campaign consultants.  Members of the RNC who are also members of the National Presidential Caucus have been directly involved in subtle rules changes to empower primaries at the expense of convention delegates.
  1. “Binding” delegates was, and is, in direct conflict with Rules 37 and 38 which prohibit binding. According to Robert’s Rules of Order, a motion which conflicts with an existing rule is an improper motion, and is null and void.

Thus, a major fraud was perpetrated on the Republican National Committee, and subsequently, on the entire Republican National Conventions of 2008 and 2012. 


Curly Haugland,

National Committeeman North Dakota

Member RNC Rules Committee

Cell (701) 226-4072

In short, the Progressive Republicans have attempted to transfer the act of official voting for the purpose of determining the party’s nominee from the convention delegates to the voters in primaries and caucuses.

This destruction of the rights of the Republican individuals who have succeeded in earning the high honor of becoming a delegate to the National Convention of their chosen party is unconscionable.

Each delegate to the Republican National Convention has a rules protected right and a constitutionally guaranteed right to vote their conscience on all matters that come before the convention.

Like the other First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and religion, the freedom to choose those with whom you associate politically carries with it the right to participate in the private affairs of that association without interference from the government or others who are not associated with you, such as non-Republican primary voters.

Democratic Party v. Wisconsin ex rel. La Follette.

This Constitutionally protected freedom to associate politically protects the rights of the individual delegates, free from threat, coercion or intimidation, to exercise their right, as official delegates to the Republican National Convention, to vote to adopt new Rules of the Republican Party, to adopt the platform of the Republican Party, and to nominate the Republican candidates for President and Vice President of the United States.

There are 168 individuals who, by virtue of membership in the Republican National Committee, will be official delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention. And though we may not all appreciate the freedom and liberty that gives us the right to freely vote our personal choices, every one of us has this right and the concurrent right to defend our freedom and insist that all delegates rights are honored at the convention.

While the Second Amendment guarantees the right of all Americans to keep and bear arms, it does not require anyone to keep and bear arms.  But it does prohibit those who do not wish to own guns from trading away the rights of those who do.

So it is with the First Amendment right that protects our individual freedom to associate politically with other like-minded individuals.  Progressives have no right to compromise our freedom of political association by allowing non-Republicans to participate in our Presidential candidate nomination process.


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