Politics

RNC will focus on 2016 rules

RNC will focus on 2016 rules

Don’t expect any incisive “mea culpas” from the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting on why the party did so poorly in the elections last November—not now anyway. Rather, the political observers should keep an eye on how the party addresses some controversial new rules involving its presidential nomination for president.

That’s the consensus of people in and outside the Republican National Committee on what to look for at its winter meeting, which begins tomorrow in Charlotte, N.C. The re-election of National Chairman Reince Priebus and the three other officers of the RNC is expected to be an anticlimax. Two years after he won a five-candidate race, former Wisconsin State Chairman Priebus is expected to be re-elected without opposition from the 168-RNC members — the state chairman and national committeeman and committeewoman from all fifty states, plus the District of Columbia and five other territories.

If there is any political story to emerge from Charlotte in the next two days, sources told Human Events, it will deal with the efforts of some conservatives to overturn a controversial rules change accepted at the national convention last summer and dealing with the nominating procedure for the next presidential race in 2016. Historically, Republicans have always accepted the rules voted on at the close of one convention as final for the next presidential race, with no opening for changing them over the coming four years. At the Tampa convention last fall, the Rules Committee changed this—permitting any amendment to rules in the intervening four years if 75 percent of the RNC votes to consider changes.

Virginia’s National Committeeman and veteran conservative activist Morton Blackwell hit this hard. Blackwell pointed out to Human Events last summer that “since 1968, Democrats have revised their rules, had mid-year and ‘mini conventions.’ We always said Republicans were different because once we adopted rules, we stuck with them.” Blackwell also told us that a chairman who favors a particular presidential candidate could influence the RNC to adopt rules that help his candidate over others, if the change making rules more flexible is allowed to stand. So the Virginian has made clear he is going to lead the charge in Charlotte against the new rules, which were adopted by the full convention in Tampa by voice vote.

In December, Chairman Priebus announced a special committee to study why the party—to the surprise of many of its leaders nationwide—lost the races for president and control of the U.S. Senate in 2012. But no one expects it be unveiled or even near completion in Charlotte.

But there is also little doubt that the topics of “What Happened?” and “Why Were We So Off?” will be much-discussed among Republicans in Charlotte.

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