Minnesota is a caucus state. That means it selects its delegates to a national political convention through a cascade of smaller elections. Last month I went to the lowest, grassroots caucus of the Republican party. I was elected a delegate and had a right to vote in the next tier of the election cascade.
That election was held yesterday. Since this is a redistricting year and political unit boundaries are redrawn, the first order of business was to establish rules and adopt a constitution for what is now the Minnesota Senate District 60 Republican Party (SD 60).
I enjoy rules and rulemaking, so this was not tedious. Parliamentary procedure was a bigger factor in this convention than in most neighborhood meetings, but less strict than the government meetings I watch on public-access TV.
There was only one significant point of contention. The preamble to the draft constitution, there was language about membership being open to all citizens regardless of race, religion and a few other things. Somebody moved that “disability” be added to the list. Understandable, since she happened to be using a wheelchair. Another wanted to add sexual preference to the list. Understandable, too, since he looked like he had a non-traditional preference.
The libertarian faction countered with the idea that the Republican Party should not see people in categories, but as individuals. They moved the list of aggrieved categories be deleted. Their motion carried.
I was against it. I agree completely with the ideal and the sentiment, but the constitution is also a piece of advertising. The world hasn’t caught up to Dr. King’s vision of a judging by character alone. I wanted to offer a different version of the preamble that would signal group inclusiveness while staying true to individualism.
The parliamentary procedure got ahead of me. I am accustomed to community meetings that takes great pains to make sure everyone is heard. It leads to ideas being discussed to death and uses a lot of time. At this convention the chair was more interested in settling the dispute quickly. Once the basic points pro and con had been made, the body agreed to end debate and put it to a vote. As the disableds’ advocate told me later, there’s always next year.
The meaty part of the agenda was electing delegates who will vote in the next tier of conventions. Those are the US Congressional District 5 (CD5) and Minnesota statewide Republican conventions. Each of those conventions will then elect delegates to the national Republican convention in August. Whoever is sent from CD5 and MN State are the ones who will be voting on the Republican nominee for President.
To each of the next two conventions, SD 60 elected twelve delegates and twelve alternates. I am told that alternates very frequently get seated and take over the voting rights of delegates who don’t make it to those larger conventions.
All the delegates and alternates elected by SD 60 are Ron Paul supporters. It was a 100% sweep.
I won 3rd alternate to both conventions. If a Santorum delegate from another district doesn’t show up, I may well be taking that seat. And I’m not voting to send a Santorum supporter to the GOP national convention.
I am watching and participating in the Ron Paul campaign’s strategy of collecting delegates. With organizational persistence, Paul can win many more delgates than Big Media reports on the various election nights. He’s still a long longshot, but the race isn’t over.