This is What Democracy Looks Like

Dave Killion — May 15, 2012

The path to the nomination for the US Republican presidential candidate is terribly convoluted. The US states hold caucuses and primaries, and the results are used in some fashion or another to determine the delegates who will attend the Republican National Convention to select the candidate. In some states every delegate may be required to vote for the winner of the caucus/primary, while in other state delegates may be proportioned according to poll results. There is even an argument being made that all delegates are free to vote for whomever they please

“Much of the debate over whether (delegates) can vote their consciences rather than be bound to vote for the candidate who won the state’s popular vote centers on the interpretation of a Republican Party rule.

Republican National Committee Rule Number 38 states: “No delegate or alternate delegate shall be bound by any attempt of any state or Congressional district to impose the unit rule.”

The Unit Rule is a rule requiring all delegates from a state or congressional district to vote as a unit, that is to say, for the same candidate. “

The Ron Paul campaign has taken advantage of this complex process by making a detailed study of each state’s rules, and working with them to fill a disproportionate number of delegate positions with pro-Paul people. This has proven so successful that the Republican parties of some states have fallen entirely under the control of Paulites. The potential for disruption of the national convention is substantial. Of course, much of the old guard is complaining that what Ron Paul supporters is doing is undemocratic. This is a great source of mirth to libertarians, who know that what is happening is perfectly in keeping with what one can expect under a democratic system. That is, a group in power will try to rig the system so as to keep themselves in power, only to have the rules become so complex that they are ultimately cast out by the very same process by which they attempted to fend off opponents. Now that one group of special interests has been expelled by another, we can only hope that this particular group find that they can stay in power by doing good.

Leave a Comment

Disclaimer: The articles and opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Libertarian Book Club.