So today Nevada’s delegation to the National Republican Convention stole the votes of thousands of Nevada Republicans. Caucus goers were promised that their delegates would honor their votes, and would vote on the floor of the convention in proportion to the vote in the caucuses. The national delegates promised they would “play by the rules” and vote in accordance with the caucus vote. Delegates elected in the caucus meetings themselves either stood silent about their intentions, or lied out loud about what they would do in Tampa if they ultimately went. The national delegates lied about their intentions.
Pursuant to the rules of our caucuses, Romney earned 20 delegate votes, while Ron Paul only garnered eight. And yet when the roll call came, our delegation announced… Ron Paul with 17, Romney with 5, and 5 abstentions.
How embarrassing. How enraging. How destructive to the cause they claim to champion. Why have I been beating this drum for so long? This is why.
Sadly, all is proceeding as I have foreseen.
Anyone who was looking could see this coming. A few months ago, I wrote a piece called, “Lie, Cheat, and Steal – It’s the Ron Paul Way!” I didn’t even know how right I was. I call them thieves because stealing my vote makes you a thief, and that’s exactly what these folks tried to do in Tampa today.
The “leadership” of the State Republican Party just spit in the face of the caucus-goers by not respecting the will of the people, as expressed in their caucus votes. You don’t like the outcome of a vote, so you just ignore it. Nice. For a bunch of people who scream about being victims of “tyranny” at every occasion, our Ron Paulestinean “leadership” sure does seem awfully comfortable with the methods of tyrants.
Right now, there are plenty of opportunities for Republicans in Nevada, with all sorts of great local candidates in tight races. We have chances to make real gains in our legislature. But even this is in jeopardy. Down-ballot candidates rely on the national get-out-the-vote money and organization from national parties and national campaigns. The RNC gave our state party $166,000 to get a voter registration effort off the ground, which seems not, so far, to have been spent very effectively. After today, does anyone think the RNC will give one more thin dime? Let’s hope they do, but that they donate directly to campaigns and other, more functional organizations. But if the Romney campaign feels it can’t spend resources here effectively because of resistance from state party members who don’t want him to win, they may spend that money helping down ticket races in other swing states where the state party actually wants to win their own elections.
Thank God our Senate race is so important nationally, which will keep bigger guns in the game here.
State Chair Michael McDonald was not at the convention, due to an illness in his family. To his credit, he seems to share my disdain for these lawless thieves who stole the votes of our fellow Republicans, and I have no doubt he would have cast his vote for Romney had he been there. But he was elected by these Paul folks because they knew he would not and could not stop them. His inability to lead and lack of credibility predictably led to this embarrassment, and the Nevada GOP is dead in the water so long as he stays at the helm.
It will take a long time for the Republican party to recover from this, no matter who leads it. After expecting their votes to matter and having them stolen out from underneath them, why would any rank-and-file Republican go to a caucus again? What would be the point? We’ve lost the caucus as a party building tool for a generation, because 14 losers couldn’t keep the faith with the people they claim to represent, or follow the rules they knew they were expected to be bound by when they volunteered to go to Tampa. And say goodbye to the outsized influence we could have wielded as an early caucus state in any future presidential election.
Some people I respect had heartburn with the RNC’s last minute rule changes to prevent these jackwagons from stealing the votes of their people, but not me. If my own state party can’t honor the overwhelming will of Republican voters, I’m glad someone is. Fortunately, as a result, the actual, recorded votes will be counted properly – the Paulestinean perfidy won’t be rewarded, and at the end of the day it was only an Attempted Larceny.
Fortunately, the Paul folks have so far failed to disrupt the convention, or embarrass the national party or our new official nominee. To a national audience, Nevada was represented far more by a great speech by our great governor, and the “incorrect” vote was a footnote if it was noticed at all. Good. And for the next few months, I hope the looming threat of another four years of President Obama, this time unburdened with the threat of losing an election, will keep everyone focused and engaged until November. I’m cautiously more and more optimistic that across the nation, this election looks more like 2010 than 2008.
But here in Nevada, I fear that we also will look like 2010, missing the rising conservative tide. If the conservatism that I believe is indeed the majority position in this state is to take root in our policies, there is a lot of work to do.
Our elected official MUST get involved with the state party. It’s not an accident that the best days our party had seen in a long time started when Mark Amodei took the helm. I understand their desire to throw their hands up at the absurdity of it all, but if they care about laying a foundation for a conservative future, our GOP electeds cannot stay away. They must invest their time, money, and credibility into cleaning out and rebuilding a healthy party that can cultivate future leaders and weed out the dishonorable and the self-destructive. And they must not be afraid to call out these buffoons for what they are, without fear that they won’t get the “Ron Paul” vote – they won’t get it anyway, and even if they do, the price is too high. And while doing all this, they must resist the temptation to fall back into a more insular past, where legitimate frustration in the grass roots can fester to these poisonous levels.
And while I hate “purges,” the truly “liberty minded” amongst us must all recognize that people who will lie, cheat, and steal to gain power will be happy to lie, cheat, and steal once they have power. We have to reject these thieves the way the Conservative Movement ridded itself of the familiarly-paranoid and similarly self-destructive John Birch Society. Right-leaning independents in this state cannot be allowed to walk away believing the Ron Paul factions are anything but a rejected fringe, or we’ll lose them for the foreseeable future.
The good news is that in chaos there is opportunity. Here’s hoping Nevada Republicans can take advantage of it.
Update: The chair, vice-chair, and secretary of the state GOP put out a statement disavowing the hijacked vote. Good for them and all, but this was foreseeable and preventable. The time for this was back during the State convention and before. Let’s hope this is “better late than never” vs. “too little too late.”