Friday, March 2, 2012

The Ron Paul Alert Level

The Daily Beast wakes up to the whole Ron Paul Delegates Strategy with this article: "How Ron Paul's Minions Plan to Hijack the GOP Convention." The story (as noted before in this blog) is this:
Ron Paul is orchestrating a highly unusual, yet precisely organized, grassroots effort to bring as many loyal delegates as possible to the Republican National Convention. Romney's campaign has some mass appeal but invites little passion. Paul's might have even fewer supporters than Romney but their energetic zeal could culminate in having an outsize influence at the RNC without having won a single primary.

You can read the story--but it's really much more complex--and fascinating!

How It Works
You've been watching each state vote and you see a winner appear in each state--usually with whoever came in second. Right? If you go to CNN or wherever you'll see how many delegates each candidate got for winning the state--for Michigan it was a tie of 15 each--except, oops, Romney supporters used some legal action to make it 16-14. But anyway, you get the picture, right? Like in Florida: Romney won that one too---but, uh, hey: Gingrich is suing him because Florida is violating the proportional delegate rule! Right--well, Iowa? Oh, wait: Santorum actually won that one after a recount. Maine? Well that's contested ...

But okay, right--legal action aside you win the states, you win the delegates? Right?

Not so fast.

You Win The State: That's The 'Beauty Contest' Then Comes the REAL Contest
The caucus that you voted in? That didn't count except for the TV cameras. It's what happened after that matters.
“You’ve got to understand, with the straw poll, most people show up to these caucuses just for that, and then after that’s conducted, they go home,” he said. “It’s only a few the people that stay around for the actual most important part. And I know, speaking for myself in Portland, the majority of the people that stuck around were Ron Paul supporters.”

The second step in securing a state delegate win called for maximizing the number of votes cast for delegates who would go on to support Paul.
It was at this stage that it became clear Paul supporters had a strategy in place – and that the Romney camp, apparently, had none. 
How do about 145 people in a room decide which 73 of them will go on to become delegates?
If you’re at the Portland Republican caucuses, the process involves paper ballots with 145 names on them -- printed by the party onsite -- on which participants must individually circle their top 73 choices 
Once the ballots were printed, candidates for state delegate were each given 10 seconds to stand in front of the crowd and make their pitch. About four-dozen of the delegate candidates formed a line that snaked around the room, waiting their turn to speak.
One after another, the Paul supporters took the microphone.
These people in the Ron Paul operation are organized and trained. Here's the sign-up site--they want you to study up on Robert's Rules of Order so you are ready for the parliamentary battle that will ensue when the real, actual, binding delegate selection happens.

But some people think he is going further: If Ron Paul could get people in the Primary States to be his delegates they would be forced by law for the first vote only to vote for the candidate who won the state. After that? Ron Paul all the way, baby!

What Could Happen?
Well, if you're worried that Ron Paul is going to seize the nomination this way, don't be (or, if you're a Ron Paul voter, don't stop working for him). The numbers, even with this strategy are not good. Out of about 2000 total delegates and 1144 needed to win the caucus states together have around 400 total. So even if this strategy to every caucus state for 100%, Ron Paul still wouldn't have enough to win the nomination on that alone.

However, that doesn't tell the whole story either. 

The First Issue: Every Delegate Ron Gets This Way Someone Else Loses
Romney won Maine--so he gets "the delegates" from there counted for him. But if Ron Paul actually gets the delegates? Then not only does Ron shoot up in the race but Romney falls. The system has Hard and Soft delegates (see The Green for a good breakdown). Basically Romney has 162 delegates by their count (154 by RCP) but only 118 hard delegates. The other 40 or so delegates might not be his. Maybe. Maybe not. Hard to know. 

The best case here is simply that Ron Paul draws delegates from the runners up and nothing really changes-but what if that's not the case? What if Ron Paul's delegate loss results in Romney (most likely) losing the delegates he needs to clinch the election? What if he's barely over the line and that "line" goes to Ron Paul.

In this event it's an upset--and towards the end of the cycle, after everyone thought it was done--it isn't. But that's not the worst-case.

The Second Issue: If the Convention Is Contested What Happens If Ron Has Sympathizers?
If the convention becomes a contested one then after the first vote (which no one wins) if the people selected suddenly switch over to Ron Paul? Well--he still probably wouldn't have enough to win but party brokers would have to be negotiating with him instead of whoever those people were originally pledged for. I don't know the man personally--but I suspect that no one wants to negotiate with Ron Paul. Most likely he'd just want leverage--but what if he wanted something else?

Here is a Ron Paul poll pick for best choice of VP:
(Hi there, Vice President Ventura)

We are right now at Code Blue. Stay alert!


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