In the name of transparency, RNC may scrap convention rulebook to head off anti-Trump manuevers

An interesting proposal from the Republican National Committee may help Donald Trump avoid the pitfalls of a "contested" convention.

The RNC is considering scrapping the 1500 page rulebook that governs the proceedings at the national convention, and substitute Roberts Rules of Order - a far simpler and more transparent way to conduct business.

Washington Times:

The changes wouldn’t guarantee Mr. Trump the nod but would make it easier for all sides to see what sorts of changes anti-Trump factions are attempting.

Some members of the Republican National Committee want to ditch the massive rule book, which is based on the parliamentary handbook of the U.S. House, and instead use Robert’s Rules of Order to govern floor action at the convention. Robert’s is the standard manual used by entities such as civic associations, county boards and state legislatures.

Those pushing the change are not Trump partisans, but they want to make it hard to forge in secrecy what voters might see as backroom deals to “steal” the presidential nomination from Mr. Trump, the front-runner.

“To make this convention more transparent, I will advocate, at the RNC Standing Rules committee meeting in April, adoption of Robert’s Rules of Order to replace the 1,500-page U.S. House rules to govern the convention,” Oregon RNC member Solomon Yue told The Washington Times on Wednesday.

Kansas RNC member Helen Van Etten, a member of the RNC’s Standing Rules Committee, said she will vote for the change to Robert’s Rules, which “our party’s grass roots have been using to conduct business at the county party, state party and national party levels for many years. Unlike the 1,500-page U.S. House rules, there are in Robert’s no surprises that will prevent the kind of chaos media are predicting.”

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has said the party must insist on transparency as it moves ahead with its nominating process, but he has not taken a position on the change in parliamentary rules.

Even if the 168 RNC members adopt Robert’s Rules at their April meeting, the thousands of delegates at the convention will still have the final say.

Moving to Robert’s Rules also could save the RNC a potential headache.

Under the current parliamentary system, if the convention is deadlocked over a nominee on Thursday, it wouldn’t be able to suspend the rules to work out a solution. The U.S. House rules allow suspension only on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of a week, Mr. Yue said. Robert’s Rules has no such constrictions.

I don't think the RNC is trying to do Trump any favors. Perhaps the worst case scenario for the Republicans would be a convention that picks a nominee after back room manuevering that would deny Trump a first ballot victory. Such a move is forestalled by using Roberts, although a clever parliamentarian can still use the rules to cause trouble. 

I think this is one more indication that at least the GOP leadership is moving toward accepting Donald Trump as the nominee, even if their personal feelings are telling them otherwise. They are party men - first, last, and always. And if the party supports Trump, they have little choice but to back that play.

 

An interesting proposal from the Republican National Committee may help Donald Trump avoid the pitfalls of a "contested" convention.

The RNC is considering scrapping the 1500 page rulebook that governs the proceedings at the national convention, and substitute Roberts Rules of Order - a far simpler and more transparent way to conduct business.

Washington Times:

The changes wouldn’t guarantee Mr. Trump the nod but would make it easier for all sides to see what sorts of changes anti-Trump factions are attempting.

Some members of the Republican National Committee want to ditch the massive rule book, which is based on the parliamentary handbook of the U.S. House, and instead use Robert’s Rules of Order to govern floor action at the convention. Robert’s is the standard manual used by entities such as civic associations, county boards and state legislatures.

Those pushing the change are not Trump partisans, but they want to make it hard to forge in secrecy what voters might see as backroom deals to “steal” the presidential nomination from Mr. Trump, the front-runner.

“To make this convention more transparent, I will advocate, at the RNC Standing Rules committee meeting in April, adoption of Robert’s Rules of Order to replace the 1,500-page U.S. House rules to govern the convention,” Oregon RNC member Solomon Yue told The Washington Times on Wednesday.

Kansas RNC member Helen Van Etten, a member of the RNC’s Standing Rules Committee, said she will vote for the change to Robert’s Rules, which “our party’s grass roots have been using to conduct business at the county party, state party and national party levels for many years. Unlike the 1,500-page U.S. House rules, there are in Robert’s no surprises that will prevent the kind of chaos media are predicting.”

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has said the party must insist on transparency as it moves ahead with its nominating process, but he has not taken a position on the change in parliamentary rules.

Even if the 168 RNC members adopt Robert’s Rules at their April meeting, the thousands of delegates at the convention will still have the final say.

Moving to Robert’s Rules also could save the RNC a potential headache.

Under the current parliamentary system, if the convention is deadlocked over a nominee on Thursday, it wouldn’t be able to suspend the rules to work out a solution. The U.S. House rules allow suspension only on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of a week, Mr. Yue said. Robert’s Rules has no such constrictions.

I don't think the RNC is trying to do Trump any favors. Perhaps the worst case scenario for the Republicans would be a convention that picks a nominee after back room manuevering that would deny Trump a first ballot victory. Such a move is forestalled by using Roberts, although a clever parliamentarian can still use the rules to cause trouble. 

I think this is one more indication that at least the GOP leadership is moving toward accepting Donald Trump as the nominee, even if their personal feelings are telling them otherwise. They are party men - first, last, and always. And if the party supports Trump, they have little choice but to back that play.