The Rigging of a State Convention

THE RIGGING OF A STATE CONVENTION AND HOW TO FIGHT IT  by James F. Davis  

This past weekend I was a delegate to the North Carolina Republican Party State Convention. This is not a summary of what all the distinguished speakers said but rather about how a few members of the establishment leadership forced their will on somewhat uninformed delegates.

The convention started Friday afternoon. Those of us who are not members of the establishment assumed (correctly) that they would have some rules that would make it next to impossible for the convention delegates to express their support for anyone other than the establishment’s 30 chosen delegates to the GOP national convention in Cleveland, i.e., the so called “Chairman’s slate.”

We found buried in the rules (Rule11, C) was a sentence that made it next to impossible to have an alternative slate because it could not have any delegate candidate on its slate that was also on the Chairman’s slate. Of course they did show us the Chairman’s slate until shortly before the vote. How could one come up with an alternative slate without violating the rules if you do not know who is on the Chairman’s slate?

Therefore Ted Hicks and I moved and seconded that this sentence be stricken (removed) from the rules. We both explained that, with this rule in place, virtually all NC convention delegates would not have any say in who would go to the GOP national convention because no one could come up with an alternative slate until we knew who was on the Chairman’s slate.

Our preliminary estimate was that we had the majority vote to get this common sense amendment passed, but then a delegate requested to see if a quorum was present. Many establishment people immediately started leaving the room. Therefore the moderator announced we did not have a quorum and that the meeting was adjourned until the next day.

That gave the establishment politicians a day to put out the rumor that this was a Ted Cruz backed plot to stack Cruz delegates. So the next day, many Trump delegates voted against the amendment and their own self-interest even though we explained how the rule was designed to stop ANY non-establishment candidate’s delegates from putting up a slate.  So that delegates would not leave, the establishment cleverly arranged the vote before the votes for other individual state wide officers. Our motion failed.

What we should have done is what the establishment people did the day before. Supporters of the amendment should have left the convention as soon as the amendment to have the sentence removed was defeated. Then there would have been no quorum to vote for the 30 national delegates. This would have meant that only the 39 delegates elected at the 13 District conventions would have gone to the national GOP convention. And the Chairman’s slate of 30 would not have gone legally to the convention in Cleveland. But then they would probably break the rules and vote anyway. The establishment will continue to get whatever they want until people take the time to learn the rules.

James F. Davis, 23 Sourwood Lane, Hayesville NC 28904 828 389 8971, jfd11@cornell.edu