Primary Talk: Broken Primaries and Brokered Conventions

I had a thought a while back, and it’s rather interesting to see that thought is growing on many people’s minds. Is there potential for something surprising to come out of this primary. And I think there is…

I’m not a big fan of Romney, there are aspects of Newt I like, but many more aspects make him a toad. Santorum, stands for many issues I believe in, but then does it in ways I dislike. 

Ron Paul, of all candidates is the one who in recent years has caused me the most reflection and self re-evaluation of what I believe to be right – and why.  To me, he is the only candidate who would likely shake things up.

The primaries are confusing things.  Many don’t even realize that often they’re voting in nothing more than a “straw poll” which declares who is popular at the moment. And that the real election is by the delegates. Each state handles this differently. Some states require all delegates to vote according to the polls while others do not. Furthermore, there are numerous “party members” who get to vote as an establishment – something I fundamentally disagree with.

All that said, this election has the potential to go in an unusual direction. The media has repeated called for Romney. But Romney has had some big/surprising losses both to Newt and Santorum. (And there is a good chance Maine should have gone to Ron Paul.) These set backs weaken his total dominance. It also shows that the Republican party vote is extremely split. If this trend continues with Newt and Santorum winning a few here and there. The balance could be shaped in which none of the candidates have the necessary delegates (1,144) to win the nomination on their own.

This results in a “brokered convention”, in which all delegates are allowed to vote freely if bound and in which the delegates of weaker candidates are encouragage to support the stronger candidates. Now if Romney or another candidate does go on to achieve the 1,144 necessary delegate votes. There is no brokering. But if not…things could get real fun and interesting.

There seems to be a growing speculation as to whether a brokered ticket featuring Mitt Romney & Ron Paul could come of this.  And there are some peculiarities that might hint at that possibility.  Areas to which speculators point to:

  1. The fact that very little mud-slinging has occurred between the two candidates.
     
  2. The two candidates have been seen as very cordial to each other off camera.Rumor has it their wives became friends in the 2008 campaign. So that might account for a lot…but it could also be a bridge.
     
  3. A combined ticket might be more likely to defeat President Obama.
     
  4. Even in some contentious situations (ie: Maine caucus), Ron Paul has chosen not to raise a stink on irregularities.
     
  5. Ron Paul’s campaign has been organizing to take win delegate seats. Rumors persist that he is gaining more delegates than he would normally receive based on polls. And may have a fairly strong delegate hand.

So could we see a Romney/Paul ticket?  Maybe….but I’m not so sure.

  1. Ron Paul and Romney differ on many viewpoints.
  2. If Romney wins the delegates, I doubt he’d make such a compromise.
  3. Ron Paul is seen by many to be outside the mainstream.
  4. It’s all just speculation and rumor.
  5. Age…Ron Paul is older than the rest of the candidates running.

Why it might happen and might even work?

  1. To be frank, I do not believe Romney can beat President Obama. Nor do I believe Santorum or Gingrich can, in fact, as much as I like Ron Paul – I doubt he’d be able to bring about a win over President Obama.  But, quite a while back, I postulated a Romney/Paul ticket would have a much better change of winning.  Ron Paul might lose half his supporters. But he also swings a small portion of the Democrat vote. And when we’re talking 2%-3% margins of win. A mere 1%-2% percentage points shifted can make all the difference. 
     
  2. Adding Ron Paul to the ticket is unlikely to seriously hurt Romney.  Sure, there are some staunch establishment conservatives who dislike Ron Paul.  But in those circles Romney can dismiss their fears by pointing to Vice President Biden as an example of the office of VP being essentially meaningless. Besides, those not liking Paul are more to be voting “against Obama”; so little negative affect will be seen vote wise. 
     
  3. Ron Paul might be seeking a Romney/Paul ticket. But he might not be seeking it for himself?  Could he be pursuing the addition of his son, Rand Paul, to the ticket?  The Kentucky Senator is younger, more junior than Romney, and doesn’t bring quite the same baggage & stigma that Ron Paul carries. Furthermore, he’s more photogenic – and that’s a big plus in modern elections.

If we do see a Mitt Romney/Rand Paul ticket – don’t be surprise. Just kick back, nuke some popcorn, and enjoy what will be a much more interesting election.

ROMNEY/PAUL 2012

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Primary Talk: Why America is Treading on Questionable Ground

American liberty is founded on the right to vote, the ability to remove our leaders and replace them with new ones. It is the gift that our Founding Fathers purchased for us with their sacrifice. It’s a beautiful gift…

A few years ago I had the pleasure to participate in an Appleseed Project event. It was a blast, we learned marksmanship, history, camradery….but the pinnacle of the weekend was a reminder about how we don’t need to have another revolution because our Founding Fathers provided us with a system that allowed for change.

There is a group, often referred to as the 3%, who believe the system is broke and there is no other choice but to enact change, by force if necessary.  The moniker is taking from the fact that during the Revolutionary war the active forces in the field fighting the tyranny of England never exceeded 3% of the colonial population.

I myself, tend to agree with the philosophy that so long as there is a means to enact change, the “trump card” option of force need never be used.

But what happens, if a large enough portion of the voter base begins to feel disenfranchised?  Even more of a question…what happens, if they are right in their beliefs that their ability to affect change is being negated?

That is a scary question… but it’s one that I feel will become more visible unless things change in our election process.

Presently, we have a system of primaries occurring, in which a tremendous amount of FAIL and fraud is occurring.  We have a candidate whom the establishment of the party has chosen, and has worked hard to see become the nominee (Romney).  While that candidate will likely become the nominee, it has been far from the “sweep” the establishment both wanted and expected, and arguably manipulated for.

Besides the media, which has repeatedly been calling for Romney in shocking fail after fail. Has there been more at hand?

We have seen a number of elections/caucuses  end with disturbing results. And it’s fairly well understood that the party leadership of the Republicans want at all cost not to see Ron Paul win.  Now I am not saying that Ron Paul would have necessarily won the elections in which questionable events have occurred.  What I am simply saying is a tremendous number of issues have arisen,  and some with very peculiar aspects. These incidents will lead to a growing feeling of disenfranchisement. That the system is merely rigged and no more than a circus and pony show.

Iowa, numerous irregularities, differences from polls, 137 precincts with irregularities, 8 precincts not reported (many of which gave no votes for Romney in 2008).  Oh, and let’s not forget moving to a secret location to count ballots.   How atrocious is Iowa’s results?  So bad, they’ll never be able to report a true winner. This is a state for which Ron Paul had a very strong position.

Nevada, once again a caucus which had bizarre behavior. High amount of precincts reported, and then suddenly a two day wait. In Ron Paul campaign’s case, it was one for which many Ron Paul supporters expected a strong result. And some feel by the fact that Ron Paul had increased his vote tallies by an avg of 200% -ranging from 85% (in FL, a state he did not campaign in) to 385% over his 2008 performance. Then suddenly in Nevada Ron Paul found himself with a meager 1.5% gain. Perhaps Ron Paul did not grow his support in Nevada (as this blogger would argue ).  But when combined with numerous delays, people complaining that figures were not being reported correctly, voters are sure to question “what just happened?”

Maine, more recently we’ve found ourselves in another similar issue with regards to Maine. Maine also has been having many questionable reports coming out of it. First off, it’s a fairly close race, but was announced for Romney while only 85% of the votes were reported. Second, a county believed to be strongly in support of Ron Paul had their caucus cancelled by a GOP party member on record for their support of Romney. Reports have circulated of individuals who worked the polls claiming the numbers being reported do not match what they reported.

And in many of these races, the votes of certain precincts have been discounted over the fact that extra ballots have been cast.  Many Ron Paul supporters feel that the GOP has engaged in election fraud. And are perhaps sabotaging precincts with strong Ron Paul support by adding irregularities so the votes are not counted.

This may or may not be so. It’s quite possible all those Ron Paul supporters are merely the loonies that the mainstream media likes to make them out to be. And you know what, A LOT OF THEM ARE!

But what it does say is that without a doubt our political system is broken. And that is a very dangerous situation in a democracy.

I understand that some will put forth that political parties are “private entities” and therefore cannot have their practices determined by the government.  I’ll disagree, and I’ll point to laws that have regulated how and what parties can function (laws mostly passed by the main two parties to exclude any alternative parties from competing).

Until you’ve tried to go through the political process of signature petitions, jumping hoops and hurdles, etc; you do not realize how hard it is to work within the system.  The laws governing our politics have essentially made the two party system the de facto system.  As such, I believe that either a) primaries need to come under regulation and observation or b) that the laws governing “major party” status should be prohibited, or at the very least revised.

At the very least, every Republican should be enabled to sue the Republican Party for fraudulent behavior. And be able to have the party penalized for it’s actions be they deliberate or negligent.

Why does this concern me?

Because if we continue to have elections in which the people feel “robbed” of their vote. We will lose the buffer of grace that Democracy provides. When people feel there is no way to enact change within the system, they will look outside of the system to enact change.

This is why I believe one of the #1 issues that should be of concern in the political year of 2012/2013 is primary reform.

***

Dear Republican Party,

THIS MEANS YOU!!!
(time to get your act together please)