The real work of the Republican convention happened last week when Mitt Romney’s people oversaw the writing of the Republican Party platform. One of the most important aspects within that process is the establishment of the rules for nominating the next presidential candidate in 2016. Team Romney pushed through revisions to the rules that left many of the party faithful very unhappy:
TAMPA — A coalition of grassroots Republicans are pushing for a potentially distracting and noisy floor fight at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday to undo rules changes that weaken insurgent candidates and state parties. [...]
The group, which includes supporters of Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, as well as some top state party officials who back Romney, is working to oppose changes to the Party rules allow presidential candidates the right to refuse delegates to the national convention.[...]
The rules changes were forced through by the Romney campaign, led by the soon-to-be Republican nominee’s top lawyer, Ben Ginsberg. Ginsberg said he was making the changes “to correct what we saw as a damaging flaw in the presidential election process in 2012.” [...]
“This is the biggest power grab in the history of the Republican Party because it shifts the power to select delegates from the state party to the candidate,” said Indiana National Committeeman Jim Bopp in an email to RNC members late Sunday, calling it an “overreaction” to Ron Paul. “And it would make the Republican Party a top down, not bottom up party.”
Translated from the poli-speak, what this means is the leading candidate could effectively squash grassroots organizing and prevent a candidate like Ron Paul from gaining delegates through a democratic voting process.
Additionally, The New York Times interviews some leading Republicans about the divisions within the Republican party and finds:
More than anything, the party is racked by the challenge to the establishment from Tea Party outsiders, who are demanding a purge of incumbents who play by a set of rules that many of these Republicans reject.
Establishment Republicans were very happy to use the tea party faction to harrass President Obama and gain control of the House and local state governments in 2010. Now that the tea party recognized its strength and is winning primary elections against the establishment GOP’s preferred candidates in 2012, they want to disempower them. These new rules pushed through by the Romney campaign are the first step in that direction. Sadly for the real grassroots Republicans, the chances of overturning them are slim to none.