GOP establishment tries to disqualify Ron Paul supporters from Republican Convention
Ever since Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) threw his hat in the ring regarding the Republican Party nomination for the presidency, the right-wing establishment has gone to great lengths to keep the libertarian lawmaker from making a splash significant enough that he could steal votes from presumptive nominee Mitt Romney. Now with the GOP only days away from formally electing a candidate at next week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, all votes are on Romney as being the guy all but guaranteed to receive the party’s nomination.
Rep. Paul hasn’t resigned his bid, however, even despite continuing efforts from his fellow Republicans to remove him from the race.
The Republican Party has challenged the results of state primaries in Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts and Oregon — all states where Rep. Paul proved to be a worthy challenger to Mr. Romney. Unless the GOP can agree that Paul walked away from those states with the amount of delegates he has claimed, though, the congressman can’t officially be allocated speaking time at the RNC.
In order to be given the stage in Tampa, Paul must win the majority of the delegates in at least five state primaries. And although pro-Paul delegations from Iowa, Nevada and Minnesota have already been accepted by the convention’s committee, the GOP is giving the congressman a hard time over his victories elsewhere. The party has attempted to eliminate Paul’s win in the state of Massachusetts altogether with the guise that his delegates must sign a sworn statement vowing to vote for Romney. The GOP attempted a similar measure in Louisiana, which Paul’s local campaign chair called “clear violations of the national requirement” that rules be submitted ahead of an October 2011 deadline.
On Tuesday, the GOP announced that some — but not all — of Paul’s delegates from Louisiana and Massachusetts will be seated at next week’s convention. In the meantime, Rep. Paul has refused to pull out of the race and his campaign is continuing to urge supporters to show the rest of the party who they prefer this election year.
Some say that the GOP’s refusal to accept Paul and his supporters could cost the rest of the part this year’s election, though. Josh Putnam, a campaigns and elections expert, tells National Public Radio that the Republican Party’s willingness to bend the rules to appeal to the Romney camp could be damaging for the rest of the GOP.
"We will get our way if we want to, but if you guys are willing to go along with where we're going, we'll let you be part of this," is how Putnam takes the Republican Party’s message so far this season.
Historically, though, Paul supporters aren’t exactly about endorsing Gov. Romney, even if he is given the party’s nomination. For the sake of the party, though, Putnam says that the GOP will have to reach out to the congressman’s crowd of supporters if they want a chance in November.
"The Paul folks have flexed their muscle in 2012," Putnam tells NPR, "and I imagine the RNC will punch back — not quell the rebellion, but figure out a way to incorporate these people that keeps them united as a party."
Even if he isn’t allotted the standard 15-minutes to speak at the RNC, supporters of Rep. Paul are staging a rally in Tampa to coincide with the convention.
“Ron Paul’s rally will enable supporters, the public, and media to further witness the ideas and people that are the future of the Republican Party,” national campaign chairman Jesse Benton says in a statement. “Dr. Paul’s delegates and supporters are coming to Tampa under the watchful eye of America and the world.No matter the convention outcome the Congressman and his fellow patriots will be heard, and as more people in politics are swayed there will be a net benefit to the nation.”
Rep. Paul is scheduled to address his supporters from Tampa on Sunday, one day before the RNC formally is underway. His talk will be preceded with speeches made by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan), economist Lew Rockwell and the congressman’s son, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), among others.