Bound Delegates Are BoundSubmitted by blazeofglory on Wed, 06/06/2012 - 00:24
The RNC Legal Rep was misquoted. The quote has been widely circulated based on a blog post. However, it has been shown more recently that she was not quoted correctly. The part about delegates becoming free agents was not part of that correspondence and was somehow added by the blogger and put in quotes. Here is the correspondence. Her comments definitely do not say that delegates are free agents. The understanding they basically come to is that rule 38 was not intended as a way of stopping states from binding delegates. It's just that the RNC isn't going to step in enforce the binding, and they leave it up to the state parties. The RNC only steps in and overrules the states if they are breaking national party rules (and the act of binding delegates does not break national party rules). If your state doesn't force you to follow their own binding rules, then you're allowed to vote for anyone you want (even if that person isn't being nominated).
Federal Law? Federal law on the binding of delegates. Were you hindered or intimated to vote for Romney during the primary or caucus vote? If not, that is the end of that. It has no bearing on the interal mechanisms of the party after the vote.
Historical example? In 2008, there were a few people who abstained or who voted for Romney or Paul, but in all cases that I've been able to find, they were never bound in the first place or originally bound to Romney or Paul. Show me a delegate in 2008 that was bound to McCain based on the vote and by his/her state party rules but who didn't vote for him. Please don't try naming the Utah delegates.
And as a side note, no one really cared what delegates did in 2008 since the roll call vote was so completely lopsided and the result was never in doubt. States may not have cared enough to do anything even if their rules were violated - and that's completely acceptable according to the RNC. That doesn't mean they wouldn't care enough if the vote was closer. But regardless, show me an example of a case of a delegate breaking binding in 2008.
In 2008. ALL delegates in Utah were bound to Romney.
Then Romney dropped out and released his delegates, and all of them were unbound. The state committee tried to force all of the delegates to vote for McCain, and a couple objected. That's what prompted the letter. And the words often quoted actually weren't even in the response letter from the RNC.
Utah delegates weren't trying to break binding to McCain. The Utah delegates were fighting to be allowed to vote for the person they were originally bound to.
A comparable scenario would be the delegates in Kansas, 33 of which are bound to Santorum. If Santorum releases his delegates they will all become unbound. The state cannot FORCE them to vote for Romney, though they're allowed to if they want. They're allowed to vote for anyone they want once they're released. Utah was trying to take an extra step and re-bind the delegates, and the RNC told them they can't enforce that. One should not take that to mean that delegates can't be bound in the first place, especially since the actual letter says quite clearly that states can bind delegates and enforce that binding.
RNC Rule 15? The RNC specifically allows state GOP as well as state legislation to bind delegates.