A little known fact to most voters is that Republican delegates don’t have to vote in accordance with their respective state’s binding primary result.
Delegates are supposed to represent the voters of their state, but according to Republican National Committee (RNC) rules for the Republican National Convention, delegates can vote however they want in the first balloting round, “according to their conscience.”
In other words, every Republican delegate who votes this summer in Cleveland can vote for whichever candidate they so choose– their votes are not bound by his/her state’s rules or the voters who choose the winning candidate in their state’s primary. Essentially, every delegate is a “super” delegate who can vote for any candidate.
According to RNC Counsel, Tom Josefiak cited Rule 38, (still in effect, known as the “Unit Rule”) during a January 19, 2006 orientation session for RNC Rules Committee members. Josefiak explained:
“One of the important rules changes over the last 50 years has been the unit rule prohibited…that change was made so that an individual delegate can vote his or her conscience.”
To win the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, unless the RNC changes rules before the convention, a Republican candidate must receive at least 1237 delegate votes. Donald Trump, the GOP front-runner, has gained the most number of delegates who’ve “pledged” their support for him. And Ted Cruz , is not far behind him. However, in light of Rule 38, this could change.
Instead of representing the voters of their state or following their state’s election laws and rules, RNC elitists who do not represent voters, have deemed that delegates can vote “according to their conscience,” not according to their actual job description or responsibilities.
Is this fair? Is it ethical? Is it even legal?
If delegates aren’t bound by the voters of their state or their state’s election laws, why have primaries at all? Why should any voter go to the polls if the RNC has already determined the outcome?
How did this happen? Thank Ronald Reagan supporters.
In 1980, delegates at the Republican Convention revoked a resolution implemented by Gerald Ford in 1976. Known as the “Justice Resolution,” delegates in 1976 were bound by RNC convention rules to vote in accordance with the results of each state’s binding primary results. In 1980, the RNC restored previous rules, which prohibit binding votes.
To clarify any confusion: binding and non-binding votes relate to the first round of balloting at the convention. Historically, Republicans have had two groups of delegates. “Super” delegates are free to vote for whichever candidate they choose, irrespective of their state’s primary outcome, during the first round. Non- “super” delegates cannot. They are bound to vote according to their state’s rules and primary outcome.
Since 1980, delegates are allegedly free to “vote their conscience.” But what does this really mean? What is a delegate’s purpose?
According to several dictionary definitions, a delegate is a person:
- sent or authorized to represent others, in particular an elected representative sent to a conference,
- who is chosen or elected to vote or act for others,
- acting for another,
- who is a representative to a convention or conference.
If a delegate is supposed to attend a convention to represent the people from their state, why is the RNC advocating that delegates instead vote “their conscience,” to effectively not represent the voters of their state?
If the RNC has its way, the Republican Convention will be much ado about nothing. Primaries are a total sham, as are elections for that matter.
Former presidential candidate Gov. Mike Huckabee was right: elections are supposed to be about voter’s choosing their candidates, not about political parties selecting the winning candidate. He added:
“It’s not the Republican Establishment’s job to decide who the nominee is, it’s the voter’s decision. Voters are angry. The problem is the Republican Party.”
But the RNC will continue to select candidates, change rules, and turn a deaf ear to voters who will most likely en masse leave the GOP altogether. Soon, the Grand Old Party will be nothing more than a poached elephant chopped to pieces by the RNC Establishment determined to sever its tusk to spite its weight.