Thursday, April 12, 2012

RPT "Winner Take All" Rules Change effort - who benefits with which rule?

Much has been said about the proposed Texas GOP Delegate Rule change, along the lines of, Texas should be "winner take all".

Ironically, it was the RNC itself which learned a lesson in 2008 by the early victory of John McCain, which gave us a moribund candidate and very poor voter turnout in the Primary season after McCain was declared the winner so early. Not wishing to repeat that debacle, the RNC threatened to penalize state delegations if they didn't switch to Proportional delegate representation in early primaries. But that Proportional requirement only affected states having primaries before April 1st (2012); after April 1st, you could have a winner take all with no RNC sanctions.

The SREC, thinking the Texas primary would be March 6th, voted in late 2011 for more proportional delegate allocations (more candidates could receive delegates based on the popular primary vote); knowing that the change would require DoJ "preclearance", RPT also said proportional was more fair to (racial) minorites, which is a rational argument. NOTE that Texas had a "modified" winner take all prior to 2012 - candidates scoring at least 20% in congressional districts won delegates; in fact, in 2008 Huckabee won some Texas delegates, in spite of the fact that McCain easily won the state and the nomination contest was considered over.

To this day there still is some confusion about what the WTA proponents want -- a return to 2010 rules, or a pure "winner take all" for the entire state, where one candidate with say 33% of statewide vote gets everything and all other candidates with 32% or less get nothing?

The "power" argument, which some in the Ron Paul paid campaign staff made, is this: use the entire aggregate vote of Texas as a bigger hammer to influence leading candidates; Santorum and Paul campaign staffers both wanted new WTA rules in an effort to slow down Romney and at least force him to come to Texas for a political debate.  The grassroots argument is that the voice of the voters - especially those of the reform minded and highly energized Tea Party / Ron Paul minorities, is more important than the fortunes of the political candidates, which is also my argument.

My e-mail from around the Senate District and state are about 2:1 in favor of proportional rules; however, those in favor of proportional are mostly Ron Paul supporters.

The bottom line is this: like most battles in politics, there is always an unintended consequence of both victory and defeat, and there is always another winnable battle to fight.  We should have proportional voting, but it's not a "hill to die on", IMHO.

Here's a local TV news clip that does a decent job of summarizing the issue:

Don Zimmerman
SD-14 SREC Committeeman


TJ said...

Now that Senator Santorum is out of the race I am not sure it makes a hill of beans if we have a WTA or a Proportional primary.

I am in favor of a true winner take all primary, for the same reason I was in favor of releasing our national delegates after the first ballet.

WTA makes Texas the big dog, for conservatism. Is proportional a more fair way to represent the true will of the people of course it is, but as long as Liberal California is WTA then I want Texas WTA to balance the process out.

If the RNC passed a rule that every candidate got the exact proportion of the vote for every state that would be fine with me and if they made all the states do their primary within the same week all the better.

The bottom line is Texas has 155 delegates and California has 172. If our votes are cut up 2 or 3 ways then it does not make an impression on anything but altogether it makes a big difference.

I hope that we change it to WTA and I hope Gingrich wins it all.

prytulas said...

You can't be a control freak and walk by faith - Jim Cymbala