Ron Paul Delegate Strategy to Win Republican Nomination Paying Off

By | May 13, 2012

Ron Paul delegates in MichiganWe featured an article on here a few days ago regarding the possibility of Ron Paul winning delegates in Michigan, and whether or not it would be possible based on GOP rules.

After a ton of comments and emails back and forth with various sources, we have a clearer picture on what the rules are and how we might expect them to be interpreted.

Rule 38 and the Unit Rule

First there is the infamous Rule 38 of the Rules of the Republican Party which states, “No delegate or alternate delegate shall be bound by any attempt of any state or Congressional district to impose the unit rule.” So this sounds like delegates can not be bound to vote for a particular candidate, right? Well, first let’s look at what the unit rule is.

The unit rule prohibits states from forcing all delegates to vote as a unit. In other words, a state can not bind all delegates together and force them to vote a certain way. However, states get around this rule by having one or more at-large delegates which are not bound and free to vote however they want.

So…Are Bound Delegates Really Bound?

So what about the regular delegates – the ones not so lucky to be a token unbound delegate? Surprisingly, we were unable to find anything that indicates that any of the delegates can actually be bound at the national convention. Initially we had heard reports that delegates could simply abstain during the first round of voting, but it appears they may not even have to do that.

Mitt Romney had this very issue come up in 2008 while running against John McCain in Utah. Mitt Romney won almost 90% of the votes in the primary, but the Utah Republican Party voted in a standing rule that effectively bound all of those delegates to vote for John McCain at the national convention, since Romney had dropped out of the race.

However, one of those delegates refused to vote for McCain and that prompted a letter from Jennifer Sheehan who is legal counsel for the Republican National Committee to Utah National Committeewoman Nancy Lord. In it, Sheehan said “The RNC does not recognize a states’ binding of national delegates, but considers each delegate a free agent who can vote for whoever they choose.” She continued, “The national convention allows delegates to vote for the individual of their choice, regardless of whether the persons name is officially placed into nomination or not.”

What Does the Law Say?

Another fascinating tidbit is the fact that there are no laws that cover this. Election laws do not apply because the delegate process is handled by the Democratic and Republican national organizations. So don’t expect the courts to get involved, but do expect to see all sorts of shenanigans pulled at the Republican national convention. If Mitt Romney doesn’t have 1,144 actual delegates secured, and its increasingly beginning to look like he may not, then not only is the door opened for Ron Paul, but it’s essentially opened for anyone else as well. That could include candidates that have dropped out, or other power brokers in the Republican Party that never entered the race.

Our state convention will be held this Friday and Saturday, and it’s going to be very interesting to see how the delegates actually fall, but its unlikely that Romney will get a majority of them despite winning the state primary in February. If all of this seems different than how you thought our political process worked, you’re not alone. And to complicate matters more, when it comes to collecting delegates, Ron Paul just keeps on winning…

33 thoughts on “Ron Paul Delegate Strategy to Win Republican Nomination Paying Off

  1. James Crane

    Its amazing you would put a article on here about this, dont you watch tv? Mitt Romney vs. Obama – why is that so hard to understand?

    1. J Vincent Burr Post author

      It’s not that simple James. I admit, I haven’t seen much of this covered on TV or in other mainstream media, but the more we dig into this the more it’s becoming apparent that the powers that be just don’t want the public to know how things really work. I’d like to think I’m not wearing a tinfoil hat, so as crazy as it sounds you’re being lied to.

      Now that doesn’t mean you won’t eventually see Romney vs. Obama, but for some strange reason the process is being declared over when it appears to be just getting started.

    2. Matt

      Well, if you listen to the media bias, James, one is convinced that there are only two candidates still in the race. In fact, there are even more than three!

      The two party system is failing and the media buys into it. The media loves to pick candidates that they support and make them look good. Hence fox as republican and msnbc as democratic. It doesn’t matter which one of them wins, the media corporations still win and get lots of money.

      This is why many people turned to Ron Paul. The media and lobbyists HATE him, because they can’t buy his opinion

    3. Gordon

      Because that’s the problem with the media. You think they cover the truth and nothing but the truth?

      When Mitt Romney wins a worthless popular vote like in Maine or Nevada they’ll be ready to jump all over it, but when Ron Paul supporters stay organized and win delegates in the very same states, it’s pretty much ignored.

    4. james

      haha “dont you watch tv” come on, the tv is not going to give you a straight answer they have always pushed for their establishment candidate romney and ignored Ron Paul’s delegate success

  2. Cory D

    I don’t know what to believe anymore. Our system is so corrupt. If what you’re saying is true why do we even vote? Seems like just a handful of people get to decide things anyway. What’s the point of civic duty and all that?

    1. J Vincent Burr Post author

      My opinion of this has changed. I think voting is the lazy way out. If you want to get involved you need to become a precinct delegate and see how the sausage is made, so to speak. Be active in your community and work from there. The reason it seems like voting is just picking between the lesser of two evils for so many people isn’t the fault of the system, its actually the fault of the people.

      1. Addison Bair

        After becoming a delegate and participating in city, district and state conventions, I completely agree with the author.

        Being able to be there in person to vote, challenge, yell and scream at party individuals who are not following rules or the will of the people makes the whole process a million times more accountable.

        The private parties (Republican and Democrat) are modeled after the government and separation of powers itself. Each party has rules that mimic the nature of the republic and as a result are set up to be a representation of those most active in the party.

        We are a representative republic first and foremost, not a mob-ruled democracy. We have these rules for a reason and they help solidify an otherwise shaky process.

      2. L Brownlee

        you are doing a great job getting the truth out Mr. Burr, fantastic article

      3. yrad

        “My opinion of this has changed. I think voting is the lazy way out. If you want to get involved you need to become a precinct delegate and see how the sausage is made, so to speak. Be active in your community and work from there.”

        Umm, that’s why the Founders created a Republic. This is exactly how they invisioned the process. Congratz! You now see the light!

    2. ProudAmericanFirst


      Contrary to what people are led to believe, we are a Republic. True democracy means that 51% of the people have the ability to enslave 49%. This is why our country was founded as a Republic – to safeguard against that and the will of a king.

      The system is also designed so that it is required to actually learn the process to make change. Otherwise you’d have many people acting on personal wants and greed rather than the betterment of the whole of a nation.

      We seek truth, freedom and liberty – much of that has gone by the wayside in our corrupt 2 party (now merged into 1 party) system.

      Get involved. It should be EVERY persons civic duty to be involved. I am 4 months new to this and boy did I have a lot to learn, so much so that I abandoned my life-long party (Democrat) in order to restore freedom to our country. My heart has grown so much larger than ever and I wish the world peace and prosperity.

      1. J Vincent Burr Post author

        That’s a great point. Instinctively we want to say everyone’s vote should count the same, regardless of how knowledgeable or involved they are in the community and with the issues at hand. But nowhere else in life do we follow that line of thinking. Imagine a business running where the new guy has just as much input as the boss …

    3. Matt

      No really, Cory. It’s a republican form of government. We are a republic, not a democracy, and democracys become corrupt. We vote for individuals who represent us. For example, we vote for state representatives who represent our state in the federal system. The same goes for the RNC. We vote for individuals to represent our state when choosing an official candidate.

      Think of Ron Paul winning as a big “F*ck You” to the media trying to influence the election (with all the Romney vs Obama hype and no mention of Ron Paul).

    4. kp

      A rich guy like Romney can dump zillions of dollars in ads and favorable TV commentary, portraying himself to be likable and fool people which they have accomplished this cycle just like every time. The founding fathers knew this so they set it up where you don’t elect the Presidential Candidate but a local person who you know well and who represents you well i.e., a delegate. This delegate is supposed to be more knowledgeable about the candidates true positions and vote for the right candidate who could be different from who a voter perceived as good for the country.

    5. Cameron

      @Cory D, The system has been corrupted, but the system itself is not corrupt. The nomination process is set up in this way so an uninformed majority is not shaping the future of the country. It is set up for those who are dedicated to their causes. Any person can walk into their precinct, fill out a ballot, put it in the machine and be done with voting until the general election because it’s quick. It takes dedication to attend a convention or caucus. They typically require early morning attendance in a location that can be far from one’s home. These are not the most exciting events in the world and they can also be a bit lengthy. The average person who can be bothered to cast a quick vote most often cannot be bothered to dedicate their whole day or weekend to political procedure. Typically anybody who is registered can attend these conventions, it’s just that most people don’t. For example, in my district in MA 54,000+ people voted in our primary. But out of that 54,000+, only 207 people showed up to my district’s delegate selection. All 54,000+ were eligible, but only 207 knew or cared enough to show up for the second step of the process.

      In conclusion, you are correct when you say “Seems like just a handful of people get to decide things anyway.” But that is what makes this knowledge most important. Anybody can easily become one of the “handful of people” who “get to decide things”. With proper organization we can always get the right handful of people deciding things instead of the folks who have been making the wrong decisions for the past couple of decades. They say showing up is half the battle, but in this situation it’s more like 95% of it. The remaining 5% is having video cameras for transparency and a little knowledge of Robert’s Rules of Order/parliamentary procedure.

    6. Brad

      The point of the delegate process is to provide an incentive for those who are the most politically involved and to prevent mob rule. Everyone has the same right to be involved in the district conventions and state conventions. They just have to get up off the couch and get involved. The reason Ron Paul is gaining delegates is because his supporters are the most passionate about their cause and they will actually show up and take part in the process. If the Romney supporters don’t want to show up then that’s their fault.

    7. John

      The Primary or Straw vote is just a beauty contest. It is kinda what we would take as a “Democracy”. Unfortunately, the United States is not a “Democracy”, we are a “Republic”. That means we vote for people to represent us. Every state has their conventions, which started at the precinct level. At the precinct there are delegates that are elected, usually they are just normal people, just like you and me. They then go to county conventions where they then elect new delegates to go to state. Then at state, new delegates are voted on to go to the National Convention. In some states that are “Primary States”, some of their delegates are “bound” to vote for the candidate that won the “beauty contest”. But not this time, after the 2008 national convention, the RNC changed the rules for this time… hoping to make it a fast win for Romney. But, Romney is all money, not grassroots… which is what you need in a “Republic” system. Now you are probably wondering wouldn’t it be easier to go to a “Democracy” system… and it would, but you had better be happy with what the residents of Miami, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angelos, San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, Washington, and Dallas choose for you… because that’s half the population… and everyone else vote wouldn’t even count. Much like it is up here in Washington State… 95% of the counties in Washington are conservative, but Pierce & King are liberal and they have the population (Seattle, Tacoma)… on initiative and referendum votes (which 51% or more wins)… well, sadly our state is over taxed & over regulated, as a result.

      The “Republic” way allows everyone who wants to get involve, no matter how small the town they live in, no matter how poor, to be a part of our countries future.

  3. Andrew Coe

    The process was designed this way intentionally by our founders, as was the Electoral College. What you must understand is that democracy has one huge flaw, the concept of mob rule. This process was designed in a way that allows informed voters, involved voters, to override the majority ensuring the best candidate is nominated and elected.

    Look at it this way, the main stream media has been blacking out Ron Paul. His movement is HUGE, powerful and extremely organized. Since the media is purposely portraying this race as over and minimizing Dr, Paul’s movement the majority of people are confused when they hear that Ron Paul has won 11 states (media claims he has won zero) or that the delegate count is really 314-110 in Romney’s favor, much closer than anyone who doesn’t dig knows. Based on these lies people do not know about Ron Paul’s views or real chance of winning so they think Mitt is their only choice and vote accordingly even though they are entirely and grossly misinformed. This process allows the people, citizens of our country, patriots if you will, to elect the best candidate, even if it means overriding the majority’s vote (mob rules vote).

    This is nothing more than another check and balance and is brilliant. To think our Founding Fathers saw this hundreds of years ago and worked to prevent it then is incredibly humbling. What we are seeing is American’s legally taking back their party and government. They are not subverting the majorities wishes because the majority has been intentionally misled. This is reveloutinary, everyone should feel great that dedicated Americans are working tirelessly to restore our country back to its Constitutional structure.

    Good article, I appreciate your honesty in stating that you just weren’t aware of this. It is shocking to learn the truth after being lied to for so long. This race is far from over.

  4. Ace

    Ron Paul wants to fucking win the nomination.

    All this talk of influencing the platform or having a say in the party is meaningless. If the establishment politicians haven’t changed for the past 30 years, what makes anyone believe that they will change just because RP told them too.

    Ron Paul hasnt spent millions and worked very hard over the last 6 years just to deliver some fucking speech. If he wanted to give a speech about his ideas and policies, he would just call for a rally. Thousands of people would show up and listen.

    So dont tell me that he just wants to give a speech to a bunch of people that dont give a shit about anything he says.

    He wants to be the goddamn president.

    1. J Vincent Burr Post author

      I don’t believe I said that. I don’t believe he’s doing all of this to make a speech or be the VP or anything like that. It looks to me like Ron Paul is trying to takeover the entire Republican Party at the grassroots level and give it a more libertarian platform. Whether someone agrees with his message or not, I don’t think many people would argue that the current two-party system is working very well.

      If nothing else, look at all of the people that learned how our elections actually work – I suspect that will have a long lasting impact on future elections. It’s going to be a lot harder for the RNC and DNC to tell people how things are going to be.

  5. Dan H

    Great article, but ultimately the RNC is a private organization and it can choose on how to interpret its own rules freely. Sadly, I would not be surprised if delegates choosing to vote for Ron Paul would simply have their votes not counted at the convention.

    1. J Vincent Burr Post author

      It will be interesting, because you’re right – the RNC is a private organization and might be able to make up things as they go.

  6. ChrisCZ

    I’m a Ron Paul Republican. I filed my paperwork for running as precinct delegate in our next election. But even as a non-precinct delegate, I attended my county convention (as many Paul supporters did). I became a State Delegate, and will be going to the MIchigan State GOP Convention to push for Liberty-minded delegates to attend the national convention.

    Ron Paul has been right all along with his delegate strategy. Ron Paul Republicans are taking over the GOP at all levels and and we will elect Ron Paul as the Republican nominee so we can defeat Obama.

  7. Kyle Munk

    Great article.

    After reading everything else from the so called “reporting news” (cough) outlets, I decided to research this myself. The national GOP rules are pretty dang clear. A state can bind a candidate, however, there is nothing in the rules stating that the binding MUST be followed at the National Convention.

    It’s also pretty clear why if you look at it from the standpoint that many primaries allow ANYONE to vote in the primary, not just a registered republican. The National GOP understands that the primaries may not exactly be the GOP’s voice from that state, and so they do not explicitly bind candidates to their State’s bind.

    If Ron Paul’s delegate strategy pays off, he will be the Republican nomination, end of story.

  8. Gene Clegg

    Thank you for the article Mr. Burr. You are correct in your comment to another poster. Voting is the lazy way out, that is why I became a precinct chair and a delegate to the State Convention in order to support Ron Paul and his defense of the Constitution. We Paul supporters are not out to “take over” the party or cause trouble, we are working hard and following the rules to ensure that Obama has real competition that appeals to a majority of voters.

  9. Cernac

    Romney is in an interesting situation; he has the money and media message to get people to vote for him, but he does not generate the interest that encourages voters to show up for rallies and conventions.

    By some estimates Ron Paul has earned, or will earn, the majority of delegates in Washington, Minnesota, Missouri, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, Arizona, Oklahoma… and more to follow.

    Remember the scene in “Old School” where Frank the Tank says, “Let’s go streaking!” and no one is behind him? The same sort of thing may happen to Romney at the convention.

  10. daniel

    Wow, Mr Burr this is news! It amazes me why no one wants to report on it. I find it very interesting. Very similar to what Reagan tried to do in 76, it paid off for him the next cycle though. I also agree, complacency means you get what you get. Make a change, cause you ain’t gonna vote it in.

  11. brian

    The establishment would like all of us to believe we are a Democracy. America is not a Democracy, it is a Republic. Our founding fathers understood how the majority can strip away the rights of the minority in a Democracy. It is much more difficult to do that in a Republic, which is why we are a Republic. They also understood how easy it is to adulterate votes when there are thousands to be counted. However, when you have a few representatives it is much easier to make sure the votes are properly and transparently counted.

    Mr. Burr is correct, if you really want a voice you can’t just go to the polls and vote. You have to get involved and understand how the system works, who the players are and what they really stand for or what they really are trying to do.

  12. Jack

    Ron Paul is just as slimy as the rest of them. He can’t win elections because he is loony, so why not try to go the dirty route and steal it. What a piece of work he is.

    Get the message, you old bastard: You have lost the election EVERY time you try to run for pres. We don’t want you.

  13. Saul A

    This article is pointless because Ron Paul dropped out of the race.

    1. LIPS


  14. alberto

    Hey Jack !! speak for yourself, are you ready for FEMA CAMPS !? oh and Saul, RON its pretty much in the race and rocking !!


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