Amid Convention Cheers, Resentment Lingers
by Thomas MacMillan | Aug 31, 2012 12:12 pm
Posted to: Campaign 2012
On the final night of the Republican National Convention, designed to unify the party behind its chosen hero and propel him to victory, arriving delegates were greeted by dissenting colleagues offering dire warnings of electoral disaster.
As delegates poured into the Tampa Bay Times Forum just after 6 p.m. on Thursday, Minnesota delegate Yelena Vorobyov (pictured) was one of over a dozen waiting at the top of the entrance steps to express their displeasure and alienation. She carried a sign that read “Grassroots” with a circle and a slash through it. The message: The party’s rank and file is rankled by the way Republican leadership rammed through procedural rule changes earlier in the week. Vorobyov said she’s been getting calls from distressed Minnesota Republicans who are so disgusted that they may not volunteer to help former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney try to defeat President Barack Obama.
The intra-party protest was the latest fissure to appear as a result of Republican moves to tamp down the “Ron Paul Revolution.” Supporters of erstwhile presidential candidate and Texas State Rep. Ron Paul complain that the convention leadership forced through rule changes that will make nomination a more top-down process, and shut out party members at the grassroots. Click here to read about the controversial rule changes voted on at the convention Tuesday.
“We are no longer a grassroots organization,” said Vorobyov, a 30-year-old delegate from Apple Valley, Minn. The vote on Tuesday was illegitimate, she said. “We do not believe that the ayes had it. We believe the nays had it.”
The chair refused to listen even as delegates from Texas and elsewhere chanted “point of order!” on the convention floor, Vorobyov said.
“We’re asking for a recount of the votes,” Vorobyov said.
The message to the Republican National Committee (RNC), she said, is: “You are dividing the party by making it a top-down organization. Grassroots efforts are now going to die out, which means they may lose the election.”
After “ostracizing the grassroots,” the RNC will have “a very hard time getting voters to vote in the way they would like them to vote. Because there’s no workers. There’s no worker bees. Grassroots are the worker bees.”
If Romney loses and Republican lose local and state elections, “it is because of what the RNC did on Tuesday to slap the grassroots people in the face. It is going to be their fault if they lose the election.”
“It was a big mistake,” Oregon delegate Allison Scott said of the rule change process. “I think it’s going to hurt [Romney’s] campaign. It’s a widespread group that are disillusioned. I’m afraid we are going to lose a lot of Republicans.”
Disillusionment was apparent later in the evening on the convention floor. As the Republican coronation reached its zenith in Romney’s acceptance speech, delegates leaped to their feet to cheer at his applause lines. But a number of members of the Virginia delegation sat impassively with their hands folded through the entire speech.
Jonathan McMillan, a 28-year-old delegate who wore a black Ron Paul armband over a yellow button-down shirt and tie, said he was disgusted to find that the convention was not designed for actual political processes to occur. “It’s all scripted,” he said. He pointed to the large teleprompter facing the stage, which he said showed “the ayes have it” during Tuesday’s vote. “That’s terrible.”
McMillan said he will still work to get Romney elected, but only out of dislike for Obama.
“I’ve sat in front of these boys all week,” said Kay Gunter, another Virginia delegate, one who had been cheering for Romney’s speech. “I just don’t understand it.”
Paul never had a chance with the minuscule amount of delegate votes he had, she said. “At some point reality has to set in.”
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While I think Ron Paul is a whack job, he is also the most interesting of the Republican Candidates. While libertarians typically take things way too far, liberty (and the opportunities and responsibilities that go with it) are being eroded by both parties.
I was hoping that Rick Sanatorium would win the nomination, get crushed in the general election, and then the GOP would wake up. Just like the Democrats did after Mondale.
The conventions are now a waste of time and money for D’s & R’s. No dissenting voice will be heard. Ron Paul was shut out. Dennis Kucinich and any other voices will be silenced in the D convention. And why is there no coverage of any other candidate, like the Greens or any other candidate. This is not real democracy and not real freedom of the press .