Another GOP ‘rules war’ looms over Tampa
TAMPA, Fla. — Although Republicans dodged a major fight in Tampa Monday night over a change in rules regarding who selects delegates to the next presidential convention, the GOP’s “rules wars” are not yet over. Sometime Tuesday afternoon, delegates assembling for their national convention will deal with another controversy — this time over just when rules for national conventions are spelled out.
“They’ll be talking about Rule 12 today,” David Norcross, former GOP National Committeeman from New Jersey and an expert on party rules, told Human Events Tuesday afternoon. He was referring to a vote on Friday of the Rules Committee that would have permitted a major change in the timing of rules governing the 2016 convention. Republicans traditionally decide their rules for the next national convention at the close of the last one, and there can be no changes in between.
Under Rule 12, however, this would change dramatically. The new rule would permit a vote of three-fourths of the Republican National Committee to allow a mid-term convention or another vehicle between presidential election years to make alterations in Rules 1-24, which govern the presidential nomination process.
Opponents immediately had visions of the Democrats, who opened the door to “evolving rules” at their 1968 convention, and have had rules change at mid-year or other times since.
As it was in the delegate selection battle, conservatives such as National Committee members Jim Bopp of Indiana immediately began leading the charge against Rule 12. A minority report opposing the changes has been written and the debate and subsequent vote on it today will likely be a rare moment of excitement in Tampa.