The Presumptive Nominee
The Secret Insurrection
Presumptive: based on presumption or probability; affording reasonable ground for belief.
Presume: take for granted, assume, or suppose; assume as true in the absence of proof to the contrary; undertake with unwarrantable boldness; undertake without right or permission; take something for granted; act or proceed with unwarrantable or impertinent boldness; go too far in acting unwarrantably or in taking liberties.
The Point: Presumptive is a pretty loaded word.
Mitt Romney is the Republican party’s Presumptive Nominee for President of the United States.
Romney as Presumptive Nominee: Reasonable Status or Unwarranted Supposition?
The questions must be asked: is Romney the clear front-runner? Does Romney have a sufficient lead to gain the nomination at the Republican Convention at the end of August?
On the surface, Romney does appear to be a pretty clear front-runner. He does, after all, have 52% of the popular vote from State primaries at this point, according to Wikipedia’s count, which is based primarily on the Associated Press count. And the Republican Party “establishment” has recognized Romney as the Presumptive Nominee.
Finally, the mass media, with a few exceptions, certainly seems to be on board with calling Romney the presumptive nominee.
Doesn’t that make Romney a clear winner?
The fact that the conservative Wall Street Journal and Drudge Report did not jump to presume Romney to be the nominee gives us a clue that there may be some doubt about the security of Romney’s position.
There are a number of reasons why Romney should not count his chickens before they are hatched, particularly in this 2012 election:
- In 2012, a huge conflict is going on within the Republican Party between moderate “establishment” Republicans and the new more conservative “tea party” members, and has motivated a number of conservative groups to attempt unseating Romney, who is way too liberal for their taste. There is a secret insurrection going on.
- In 2012, there seem to be new strategies emerging that involve changing delegates’ minds after the primaries, effectively nullifying the results of the primaries and challenging the concept of “bound” candidates.
- Probability tells us that presumptive candidates are often displaced during the Republican convention– about 43% of the time. Romney is not immune to this possibility.
- History also shows us that whenever the presumptive nominee was displaced in the past, the replacement nominee was more likely to be successful in defeating the Democrats in the general election.
- Delegate votes at the Republican Convention do not reflect the popular vote directly, so delegate votes at the convention may surprise us despite Romney’s 52% of the popular vote.
- Delegate counts such as AP’s are only estimates, and these have been challenged, the media has been accused of misrepresenting them, and the numbers are under constant change, particularly in 2012.
The Republican Internal Conflict: Why Romney Might Be Challenged
Romney has struggled to inspire a passionate following among conservatives because of his liberal leanings, and much of his early success in primaries was attributed to his campaign’s prolific spending.
Prior to his eventual accumulation of 52% of the popular vote in the primaries, Romney struggled to compete with the conservative candidates opposing him. Lean economic times often cause more voters to be conservative. Most people have the common sense to realize that during a shortage one must conserve, not spend or waste. Conserving is the root of conservatism.
It has become pretty clear that now in 2012, the Republican “base” includes an increasing number of voters with conservative fiscal and social philosophies, who are not at all happy with Mitt Romney, author of RomneyCare, previous supporter of abortion, and present supporter of gay Boy Scout leaders and gay adoption. Some have even challenged Romney’s commitment to one set of values and have accused him of shifting his values in accordance with political advantage.
Although Romney was the front-runner during the primaries, he was also the only liberal candidate. Since the conservative vote was split among numerous conservative candidates, Romney appeared to be leading, but in actual fact, the total number of conservative voters was outnumbering Romney supporters. Many of these conservative supporters voted for Santorum in the primaries. When Santorum suspended his campaign due to his daughter Bella’s illness, these voters were left with nowhere to go other than Romney or Ron Paul. And Ron Paul’s extreme attitude towards foreign policy, defense budget, and legalization of drugs scared many voters off. Many voted for Romney because their favorite conservative candidates had suspended their campaigns. They voted for Romney despite their lack of enthusiasm for Romney. Romney was the not-Obama.
Things were also complicated by the fact that Ron Paul has refused all along to withdraw from the campaign, and still remains in the race, so Romney cannot claim victory officially. According to Convention rules (and depending on who is counting or estimating the delegates), Ron Paul still has a plurality of delegates in five states, and his name can be presented for nomination at the Convention. Romney is still taking this threat very seriously; his supporters are still attempting now in August, to unseat Maine’s Ron Paul delegates – Maine Public Broadcasting Network. Romney supporters would not be wasting their time if no threat existed.
In fact, three candidates have enough delegates (a plurality of delegates in five states) for their names to be presented for nomination: Paul, Romney, and Santorum. This opens the door for at least several people to challenge Romney.
What About Paul Ryan? Isn’t He Going to Save the Romney Team?
Romney was lagging in some polls against Obama, making establishment Republicans nervous about his ability to carry the election against Obama. A rightful concern, with so many conservatives still unhappy with the “un-Republican” Romney, who has in the past virtually admitted himself that he was Republican in name only (RINO).: “My R doesn’t stand so much for Republican as it does for reform.”
Many conservatives, particularly in the wake of Obama’s recent abysmal failures to keep his word, are very nervous about the reliability of Romney’s new promises, particularly considering Romney’s previous flip-flop or Etch-a-Sketch reputation.
So Paul Ryan was added to the ticket. The addition of such a bright, energetic conservative to the ticket has energized the Republican Party dramatically. The initial reaction has been one of enthusiasm, new focus, strength, and has led to success in changing the agenda; from one of defense against Obama’s fallacious attacks on Romney, to one of challenging Obama on his policies and on his shameless dishonesty. The addition of Paul Ryan has been very positive, very beneficial, and has been very fruitful in the fundraising department.
However, something will eventually dawn on people- that if Paul Ryan is so noble in character, intelligent in policy and charismatic in personality that he can transform Romney’s campaign overnight, why is Romney, and not Paul Ryan at the top of the ticket?
It would be tempting for conservatives to rearrange the ticket, putting Paul Ryan at the top, if that is at all possible at the convention. As Vice President, Paul Ryan’s position and power are not secure. Ryan could swiftly be demoted by Etch-A-Sketch master Romney into a powerless and peripheral position immediately after the general election. Already, Mitt Romney is distancing himself from Paul Ryan, claiming that he, Romney, has an economic plan that is “not Paul Ryan’s.”
Mitt Romney would be naïve not to realize that Paul Ryan is a threat to him; not by design, but by Ryan’s inherent likeability, charisma and character; characteristics Romney is lacking.
The fact of the matter is that numerous conservatives like me, who have never committed to one political party, yet who are devoted to unseating the anti-colonialist Barak Obama, are sitting out the Republican internal insurrection to see who wins. We will support any candidate produced by the GOP convention by virtue of his/her being not-Obama, including Mitt Romney. But we do have our favorites, and Romney is not one of them.
Is Paul Ryan Enough to Placate the Republican Insurrection?
Many non-Republican conservatives (such as the Tea Party) are not sitting out the insurrection as I am. They are actively trying to unseat Romney as the presumptive nominee. (More on specific efforts below.)
Ryan has certainly energized Romney’s campaign, and will help Romney do better in polls against Obama, but Ryan may have little effect on internal Republican battles before the convention, because people realize the “demote-ability” of a Vice President.
If Romney survives convention attempts to unseat him, then Paul Ryan’s presence on the ticket will definitely help Romney against Obama in the general election. Let’s just hope Ryan does not get demoted to a position of little power and influence after the election, as some Vice-Presidents have been in previous administrations, including George Washington’s, who did not include John Adams in cabinet meetings. The current Vice President, Joe Biden, has virtually been assigned the role of court jester. In this case, however, his own behavior has contributed to his undignified position; presumably Paul Ryan would fare better than Joe Biden has.
The Case for Nominating Romney Versus Not Nominating Romney
The Republican Party has found its success during previous increasingly liberal decades by compromising repeatedly with liberals. They have thus slowly drifted away from staunch conservatism. The seasoned “establishment” Republicans want to continue this trend with the nomination of Mitt Romney, arguing that he will help to capture moderate votes, and perhaps even some liberal votes, helping Republicans to unseat Obama in the general election.
However, the tide of history can change, and has changed in the past. The Tea Party movement is one indication of a possible change of heart in the American people, driven by economic problems and by the need to face reality. Economic austerity often motivates philosophical corrections and a shift toward conservatism. The Republican establishment agenda of compromise and of seeking moderate votes will not attract votes when Americans are drifting towards conservatism. Instead, it will frustrate people who want true change. When the base gets alienated, they will not go to the polls, and the reduced voter participation will cancel out any gain that was made by compromising to get moderate votes.
Do We Court the Moderates, or Do We Go For a Bold Course-Correction?
The History of Republican primaries and conventions also indicates that the nomination of moderates or liberals (like Romney) often disappoints the Republican base, and leads to defeat in the general election. Republican Convention historian Dr. Barbara Haney, a RNC convention delegate from Alaska herself, discusses the surprising history of Republican conventions, a history which seems to indicate that the unseating of a lukewarm presumptive nominee by a more conservative alternative during a convention actually improves the chances of winning the general election against the incumbent Democrat.
The enthusiatic rally of support observed this week for Paul Ryan indicates that America might be ready for such a course correction towards conservatism. A moderate candidate like Romney gets half-hearted, lukewarm support, while a strong, principled conservative like Paul Ryan reenergizes the Republican party overnight.
What Hands Can True Conservatives Still Play?
Can We Learn from History?
The new energized conservatives, including evangelical Christians and the Tea Party, may play any hand available to them at this convention, to nominate a true conservative in place of Mitt Romney. This might actually be a good idea, based on Barabara Haney’s historical analysis, which showed an 88% chance of success in unseating an incumbent Democrat following the vetting process of a brokered convention, compared with a paltry 31% chance of success in unseating the Democrat incumbent following an uneventful first-ballot nomination of a presumptive nominee like Romney.
Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln are examples of the 88% successes, which illustrate Barbara Haney’s historical analysis and theories, on the beneficial nature of brokered conventions.
So it boils down to: do you play chicken, compromise, court the moderate vote, and risk having only a 33% chance of defeating Obama, or do you boldly embrace the uncertainty of the brokered convention, nominate a candidate capable of energizing the general election (like Reagan or Lincoln), and go for the 88% chance of defeating Obama? And do you put your energizing candidate in the Vice President slot, or in the President slot?
“Establishment” Republicans are making a fallacious assumption in promoting Romney; they are assuming that a conservative candidate of strong character will not attract liberal votes. Abraham Lincoln disproved that fear, Ronald Reagan disproved that fear, and, incidentally, Paul Ryan has already disproved that fear in his home district of Janesville, Wisconsin, which is liberal, yet has elected conservative Paul Ryan for seven consecutive terms, because of his integrity, his character, and his reliably.
Jim Thorpe testimony on Paul Ryan’s character and popularity:
Incidentally, Paul Ryan is not the only Republican with the character and integrity capable of attracting liberal and moderate votes; add to that list Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Michelle Bachmann, among others.
The UK Guardian offers the following analysis:
The Romney campaign chose him (Paul Ryan) to deliver the Republican base vote amid fears that die-hard conservatives could cost him the White House by staying at home on election day rather than turning out for a candidate they are ambivalent about….
But that strategy was not working. The US is so polarised that there are, according to the polls, few undecided voters left. Compared with 2008, when about 25% of the electorate had still to make up their minds at this stage in the election, only about 5% are undecided. Both the Democratic and Republican strategists have concluded that the winner on 6 November will be the campaign that fires up its own supporters, that gets its base out, rather than the one that wins over the independent swing voters….
Larry Sabato, professor of politics at the University of Virginia, said: “It is base v base. There are hardly any independents.” At the cost of winning over a percentage of that small group in the centre, the campaigns risked alienating their core support, he said.
This analysis supports my arguments and the historical findings of Barbara Haney; that a conservative candidate may secure more votes than a moderate at certain times in history. 2012 is one of those times.
Is It Too Late To Change Our Minds?
Aren’t Delegates Committed to Voting for Romney?
Apparently, it’s not too late to change our minds, and Republican historian Barbara Haney indicates that in the last 21 Republican conventions where the nominee, like Romney, was not an incumbent President, 43% of presumptive nominees were unseated at the convention. Romney, too, can be unseated. There is historically a 43% probability of that.
How Can Somebody Who Has Over 51% of the Delegates be Unseated?
Here comes the next surprise: RNC convention rules contain some surprises.
Whether it is by the wisdom of our predecessors or by fluke, RNC convention rules appear to allow for delegates to change their minds about candidates between the primaries and the convention. Although there has been some dispute over this, the 2008 convention raised this issue for a delegate from Utah, and the RNC Legal Counsel Jennifer Sheehan upheld the freedom of delegates to change their minds, writing:
The RNC does not recognize a state’s binding of national delegates, but considers each delegate a free agent who can vote for whoever they choose.
The national convention allows delegates to vote for the individual of their choice, regardless of whether the person’s name is officially placed into nomination or not.
More details on this controversy on Rule 38 at Educate-yourself .org.
Why would the architects of democracy allow such uncertainty and reversibility in RNC primary and convention rules? Presumably they assumed that delegates will be honorable and will not to change their minds frivolously; that they will make a serious effort to vote (in the first ballot) for the candidate they were “bound” to by the primaries. But ultimately, they are allowed to consider events and developments prior to the Republican Convention, and are allowed to change their votes, or to abstain from voting, if they feel it is in the best interests of their constituents. It could be argued in 2012 that the majority of primary voters wanted a solid conservative to represent them, and Mitt Romney is not that solid conservative. We have the unusual case where delegates could honestly believe that they will be more faithful to the wishes of the people if they abandon Mitt Romney. It is such an eventuality that would motivate the architects to include some flexibility into the system. After all, our elected Representatives and Senators are not bound to vote the party line after their election either, and are allowed to use their best judgment in response to developing events.
What Could Motivate a “Bound” Delegate to Change Their Vote or to Abstain?
Ben Swann, a Fox News anchor from Cincinnati, Ohio, produced a segment of Reality Check, explaining why he believes that internal tension within the Republican Party may be undermining the security of Romney’s projected victory. According to Ben Swann’s Reality Check, The Liberty Movement (conservatives who support Ron Paul) is taking over the GOP. Reality Check suggests that the Republican Party might be winning the Texas battle at the moment, but could actually be losing the primary war to conservatives. Some claim that Ron Paul may have recruited as many as 1,000 delegates going into the Tampa convention, reducing the support Romney thinks that he has:
Ron Paul’s not-so-secret plot for the GOP convention– ABC News
Fox Reality Check is not alone in their suspicions. Newt Gingrich also acknowledged that Ron Paul is the “biggest danger” for Romney in Tampa. As Ron Paul wins over delegates Romney thought he had, it becomes difficult to make any projections about the convention at all. For example, 1,144 delegates become only 144 delegates if somebody wins over 1,000 of them. Extreme example, but illustrates the point.
Very recently, a conservative movement has surfaced issuing an appeal to 20,000 RNC members and delegates at the Convention called DumpRomney. They propose that dumping Romney would be accomplished by “bound” delegates conscientiously abstaining from voting in the first ballot. When Romney does not get the required 1144 votes in the first ballot, then all delegates are released to vote their conscience in subsequent ballots, and new candidates can be added to the list of contenders. Not only can previous contenders like Santorum, Gingrich, Ron Paul and Michelle Bachmann be added, but new names can also be added. Sarah Palin? Scott Walker? Paul Ryan? Anybody’s guess. DumpRomney does not advocate any particular candidate; they simply advocate the dumping of Romney at the RNC convention.
Ron Paul’s campaign has claimed to have won over 500-1,000 delegates. The DumpRomney folks may or may not have success in persuading delegates to abstain in the first ballot. This split in the Republican Party makes Romney’s nomination in the first ballot very uncertain.
The Battle Is Still On
The present battle for delegates is (not surprisingly) not covered by the mainstream media, who would love to see liberal Romney as the Republican nominee.
The Republican Party is also not advertising the conflict. Public show of division is rarely wise.
But the battle rages on:
- Battle over Maine delegates
- Maine Governor threatening to boycott convention
- Battle over Oklahoma delegates
- Republican activists challenging 20 Ron Paul delegates from Maine
- 160 convention delegates sued the RNC to be freed from voting for Romney
- Louisiana’s GOP delegate count is being challenged (8-13-12)
- Arguments continue over GOP convention delegates
Why Haven’t We Heard This in the Media?
- Most of the Media is liberal and would love to run against Mitt Romney, who would be challenged to offer anything different from what Obama has offered.
- “Establishment” Republicans are not in a rush to advertise disunity to their opposition.
- Conservatives hoping to make a course correction in the Republican Party are not in a rush to advertise their plans and their tactics.
But now, for those of us who are rooting for a brokered convention, for a replacement of Mitt Romney with a true conservative, for the election of the next Ronald Reagan or Abraham Lincoln, this, 1 week before the Republican Convention, when the plans have been laid and the agenda is set, is a good time to remind everyone to have an open mind and a positive attitude toward the possibility of a brokered convention.
This Convention is Bound to Be Very Exciting
There is no question that this Republican Convention is bound to be very exciting.
It also holds the potential to alter the course of history dramatically.
Let’s presume little: historically speaking, Mitt’s odds are 57:43.
Much is going on behind the scenes that the media is not telling us about.
However, if Mitt does get the nomination, our chances of beating Obama are reduced by a factor of about three.
Can Romney Still Redeem Himself?
Can Mitt Romney convince Republican conservatives that he is capable of the kind of leadership that the fiscal and moral challenges of 2012 demand?
Mitt Romney has already pledged to repeal ObamaCare (which 2/3 of America opposes) and to oppose abortion. He claims that he will balance the budget, something that is high on American list of priorities.
Romney could also pledge to uphold the values that close to 2/3 of Americans hold:
- Life: 2/3 of Americans oppose federal funding of abortion
- Liberty: more Americans support religious leaders on upholding religious freedom than those who support Obama’s trampling of religious freedom, and 2/3 of Americans want reduced government control of our daily lives
- Marriage: 2/3 of American states have passed amendments protecting traditional marriage.
Mitt Romney could sign the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life Pledge. He is one of the few Republican candidates who have refused to sign the pledge so far.
Mitt could promise to uphold religious freedom, a freedom that is under threat for the 25% of Americans who are Catholics.
Would Promises Be Believed?
There was a time when political promises carried more weight. But a new era of political dishonesty has been inaugurated with Obama’s demonstrated ability to about face, and to thumb his nose at his own previous promises.
The lies, reversals, security leaks, and imperial mandates characterizing the Obama administration have led many into shock and disbelief that so much could transpire in less than four years. Obama rules by issuing mandates each time Congress and the Senate fail to approve the legislation he wants. No FBI, police, or security force has materialized to challenge Barack Obama on his actions, to label him a traitor, or to drag him off in chains.
The head of the Department of Justice, Eric Holder, panders to Obama’s wishes, fails to protect and enforce the Constitution of the U.S. and it’s laws. He has been held in contempt of Congress, yet the Department of Justice refuses to prosecute him.
The Department of Homeland Security similarly neglects it’s duties, and seems to be headed by a “liberal sisterhood of plundering hacks” who are consumed in an Animal-House style sexual harassment scandal.
In the past, the news media would also have kept presidents and politicians accountable for their promises. In 2012, they don’t. The media clearly has a political agenda, an extremely liberal one not shared by the majority of Americans, an agenda which 2/3 of America opposes, and the media misuses their profession to misinform the public, attempting to steer them towards liberalism. Liberal Presidents and politicians get away with more and more lying. No behavior on the part of liberals shocks the media; neither lies (Obama) nor incompetence (Biden) shock anyone. Media now actively covers for the liberal politicians whom they favor. They excuse any behavior by candidates who continue to advocate lower and lower standards of morality and accountability in our society.
In this atmosphere, it will be difficult for Romney to acquire the credibility to energize the Republican base and to get them to the polls. His recent statements in support of gay adoption and gay Boy Scout leaders do little to improve his credibility as a conservative or as a Republican.
Previous to 2012, Romney might have had a better chance to redeem himself.
But today, an alternate, more principled nominee with a history of strong character is more likely to be believed, and would serve both the Republican Party and our nation much better in 2012.
May God Bless, Help, and Direct America!
May God bless, help, and direct America… starting with the Republican Convention on August 27- 30, 2012.
Numerous moral and ethical leaders have indicated that this election is the most important election of a lifetime, an election which will determine the future character of America; strong, responsible and autonomous nation, or bankrupt dissolute welfare state. The movie 2016 predicts disaster for America if Barack Obama is re-elected on November 6th.
What’s at Stake: Can the People (2/3 of America) Be Highjacked by Media and Politicians (Democrat and Republican), or Does Our Democratic System Still Work?
Related Article, 7/27/13: