Liberty depends on each of us keeping our word, following the rule of law, and honoring contracts. When men and women will not honor their promises or keep their word, the law must enforce contracts. At least nominally, this is a basic tenent of libertarians and conservatives.
A very few men and women who are supporters of Ron Paul believe that they know better than the millions who voted in their State Republican Primary and they are suing in Federal Court for the “right” to nullify the votes of people who voted in the Republican Party Primaries. This lawsuit is about members of a voluntary association, the Republican Party, who don’t want to follow the rules in existence when they campaigned to be delegates by voting in the first ballot for the person chosen at their State Primaries.
“In a revolt against Romney, at least 40 more national convention delegates asked to join 123 previous plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Republican National Committee, and their attorney said hundreds more may soon follow suit.
“The first 123 delegates, all from the 9th Circuit, sued the RNC, its Chairman Rince Priebus, and every state party chairman in the 9th Circuit in Federal Court on Monday, demanding the right to vote for the candidate of their choice on every ballot at the Republican National Convention, including the first.
“The delegates claim the party violated federal law by forcing them to sign loyalty affidavits, under threat of perjury, to vote for Mitt Romney, though he is not yet the official nominee.
The Republican Party has rules. ‘The people who went to the Primaries to vote thought they were voting for their candidate to be placed on the Republican ballot in November. Expecting people who join our Party to follow those rules is not “intimidation” or “disenfranchisement.” The people who are now suing to change the rules volunteered to join a political party when there were other parties available and no party affiliation is mandatory.
These people actually believe that they know better than the voters in their State’s Republican Primary. Since they are so much wiser than the voters, they want to become their own elite power to trump what they believe is another elite. The honest and honorable thing is to follow the votes in the Primaries. It’s ridiculous to believe that they would sign pledges or contracts and decide to break these contracts, yet be honorable or trustworthy enough to override the election results in their States.
The Constitution (Article 1, amended by the 12th Amendment) is clear about the national election of the President and the Vice President. However, Party delegates are not covered in the Constitution, nor are the Parties themselves. At the least, the contract put in place by State Party rules should be followed. At the most, this is definitely a case of State’s rights that is not covered by the Constitution.
In Texas, our State law imposes some rules and the rest come from our delegates to the RPT convention. Before the candidates stood for nomination at our Congressional District meetings last week, the rules for and requirements of delegates and alternates were read. Anyone who didn’t want to follow our RPT rules shouldn’t have run.
This lawsuit probably won’t extend to Iowa, since the Ron Paul delegates are happy with the outcome in that State. Last January, I represented Governor Rick Perry at one precinct caucus in Des Moines and heard the chair of that caucus explain how the National Delegates would be chosen. Nevertheless, after the Caucus voted overwhelmingly for Santorum, the precinct participants then voted to send the two men who spoke for Romney and Paul to their County Conventions. In effect,whether they knew it or not, they actually voted for Paul and Romney, since those delegates later voted to send Paulers to the State Convention. Of the 28 Iowa delegates going to the National Convention, 23 are aligned with Paul. That’s the rules in Iowa and it’s the responsibility of the voters to know.
Irregularities at the State Conventions are completely separate from the requirement to agree to follow the will of the Primary voters. The news reports from Louisiana seem to be one place that a lawsuit to correct high handedness at the State Convention would be appropriate. If the plaintiffs in the 9th Circuit Court lawsuit can prove their other allegations of ballot stuffing and intimidation at Conventions, then perhaps they have a case there. But two wrongs don’t make a right and they don’t have the right to unilaterally invalidate a contract that they knowingly signed.