Thursday, March 29, 2012

Texas Republican Presidential Debate May 24th, 2012 in Houston – Nationally Televised!

Texas GOP will warn candidates that if they do not show up, they will be considered as not caring for Texas and should not get our vote
A Major Presidential Debate in Texas? This is pretty much unheard of!
Nothing is set in stone yet, but the Republican Party of Texas is close to finalizing a deal that will bring a nationally televised Republican Presidential Debate to Houston, TX on May 24th, 2012. The debate will be only 5 days before the Texas Primary Election and there are 155 Presidential Delegates at stake. A candidate needs 1144 delegates to win the Republican nomination.
Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri has been working hard behind the scenes to get this debate together. He has received a commitment from a major television network to televise the debate if there is enough candidate participation. So far, two of the four Republican candidates have responded and agreed to the debate.
Texas needs more than 2 candidates to commit to the debate in order to pull the debate off. This Saturday, March 31st, 2012, the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) will present, and likely pass, a resolution calling on all four candidates to show they have concern for our state by committing to be at the debate, and under no uncertain terms to make it known that the state party leadership would consider it a major slight to the state party and to Texas Republicans for them not to show up. 
This resolution should put enough heat on the candidates to get all 4 of them to show up.
The Republican Presidential Nomination Race is being split 4 ways (Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul) with no signs of anyone backing out. This means that there will likely not be a winner yet by the time Texas gets a chance to vote in the May 29th, 2012 Texas Primary Elections.
This sets up Texas to be something it has not been in a while, a Battleground State.
Texas Should Go Back to Winner Take All
Texas has gone from winner take all to proportional because the RNC forced us to make the change because we were originally going to have our Primary Election before April. This means that Texas will have less of an impact in the Presidential Race because the 155 delegates that Texas has will be split up between 4 candidates instead of the 155 delegates all going to the candidate who wins Texas. This is not good for Texas because it significantly lowers the impact that Texas will have in the Presidential race. I have advocated for Texas to go back to winner take all to reclaim our state sovereignty and give Texas a bigger say in the Presidential Race. Proportional dilutes the voice of Texas because our delegates are all split up, whereas other states get to put all their delegates behind the one candidate who wins their state. This puts Texas at a disadvantage. With winner take all, Texas could significantly change the Presidential Race because the
winner of Texas would get all 155 delegates and that could drastically change the race. 155 delegates all to one candidate could singlehandedly make one candidate the winner, it could give the runner up enough votes to become the frontrunner, or it could keep the frontrunner from getting enough votes to secure the nomination which would mean a brokered convention.
Proportional might sound good vs. winner take all because under proportional the candidates get a proportion of Texas delegates based on the percentage of the votes they get in the state Primary Election. The problem is that proportional weakens states’ rights. With proportional we might as well just have a big nation-wide popular vote. With winner take all, the State of Texas (as well as all states with winner take all) has a much bigger impact on the Presidential race because the candidate who wins Texas really does win Texas and gets all of the delegate votes from the State. Winner take all is modeled after the Electoral College. The President does not win by a national popular vote. The President wins by the Electoral College and he wins by winning the most states, not the most people. Having a national popular vote would be dangerous to state sovereignty and we get closer to a national popular vote every election as states reject the Electoral College. Winner take all vs. Proportional is all about states’ rights vs. a national popular vote. With Texas having such a late election, we need all the power we can to have an impact on the Presidential race so we need winner take all!
Proportional Helps the Chances of a Texas Debate
Although I am for winner take all, proportional certainly does help our chances to get all four candidates to show up at a debate because with proportional each candidate can get a slice of the 155 delegates that Texas gets in the Republican Presidential Nomination Process.
Because all 4 candidates have a chance to get a slice of the pie, I would expect all 4 candidates to agree to come to the debate. Not coming to the debate could really hurt them in this Texas election. Unless of course the race is already wrapped up by the time Texas votes and then in that case Texas will again go back to having our vote mean nothing.
Regardless, having a big debate in Texas is something that does not happen often and it is very exciting!
The Republican Party of Texas will be sending out more info as soon as everything is finalized.


  1. David,
    As Chairman of the Denton County Republican Party, I applaud and share the RPT's desired to have a Presidential debate here in Texas. And I have a couple of suggestions. First, May 24 is way too late --- nearly half of Texas Primary voters vote early, and early voting will be almost over by that time. A better date would be May 9 or 10, which is when the candidates should be coming to TX anyway, immediately following the NC, WV and IN primaries. Secondly, unless the national network is FOX, the event will be another liberal-media driven attempt to bring out the worst in our candidates. I would think that if we get all the candidates to agree to come (rather than just the two who are behind in the delegate count right now), that whatever date we pick will work for one of the national media, again, hopefully FOX. The ideal format would be something similar to what Huckabee did --- one on one with the candidates to let each really explain his policy regarding energy, foreign policy, debt crisis, budget, etc. Most viewers are sick of the debate formats where shouting and attacking each other is required; the more positive approach of a non-debate format would help begin the process of making our eventual nominee -- whoever he is -- look good and very electable to the November voters. The proposed resolution is a very good idea, and I hope that some of these thoughts will be considered by the SREC in their deliberations about the proposed resolution. I really appreciate Steve's work in putting this together and I hope that the SREC will pass the resolutions -- perhaps with some modicfacations as I have suggested above.
    Dianne Edmondson -- Denton County GOP Chairman

    1. I think CNN's debates have been more fair and balanced than FoxNew's has, this primary. I also have enjoyed the format of the CNN debates vs all others. I normally don't watch CNN, but have to give credit where it's due.

    2. Thanks for the suggestions Dianne. I am not sure how much ability we will have to change the date. We will find out more info this weekend at the SREC meeting. Thanks!

  2. With the Electoral College and federalism, the Founding Fathers meant to empower the states to pursue their own interests within the confines of the Constitution. The National Popular Vote bill is an exercise of that power.

    The National Popular Vote bill preserves the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections. It changes the way electoral votes are awarded by states in the Electoral College, instead of the current state-by-state winner-take-all system (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states). It ensures that every vote is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

    Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ Electoral College votes from the enacting states. That majority of Electoral College votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.

    Unable to agree on any particular method, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method for selecting presidential electors exclusively to the states in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution-- "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . ." The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."

    The Electoral College is now the set of dedicated party activists who vote as rubberstamps for their party’s presidential candidate. That is not what the Founders intended.

    The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes, ensures that the candidates, after the primaries, in 2012 will not reach out to about 76% of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind, like Texas.

    Now votes, beyond the one needed to get the most votes in the state, for winning candidates in a state are wasted and don't matter to candidates. That's why Texas is ignored after the primaries. Utah alone generated a margin of 385,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of CA’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than CA provided Kerry (1,235,659).

    More than 2/3rds of the states and people have been just spectators to the presidential elections, like Texas. That's more than 85 million voters.

    Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states, like Texas, are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

    States have the responsibility and power to make all of their voters relevant in every presidential election and beyond.

    Now, the President does NOT necessarily win by winning the most states.

    With the current state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes, winning a bare plurality of the popular vote in the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population, could win the Presidency with a mere 26% of the nation's votes.

    The powers of state governments are neither increased nor decreased based on whether presidential electors are selected along the state boundary lines, or national lines (as with the National Popular Vote).

    Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in the current handful of swing states. The political reality would be that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the country, including Texas.

    1. what do we not know about romney? hes been campaigning for 4 years and he will be the nominee short of delegate trickery at the convention.... the campaign needs to end we need to transition to national election politics to put a dent in obama poll numbers instead of tearing eachother apart.. its not good for the party to have a santorum out there saying hed rather vote democrat over romney if that doesnt show you his conviction idk what will... hes toxic and needs to be dumped ROMNEY/PAUL 2012 rand not ron....

  3. The Texas Republican Party should award its delegates proportional. The Lone Star state is a large and diverse state. The political culture of East Texas, South Texas, and North Texas are not the same. No one region should dominate the other.

    I support the electoral college, and why it keeps getting brought up in discussing an intra-party matter is beyond me, unless some are trying to play on fervor for the American Tradition among our Republican ranks to gain favor for their pet project, while realizing the connection is spurious. I hope that's not the case, and those arguing a connection really see one that I just don't appreciate.

    1) The electoral college can function as Winner-Take-All by state or in many other ways. As late as the 1860s, South Carolina held out and allowed its legislature to appoint electors. This means South Carolina could appoint a mixed slate of electors supporting multiple candidates if it wanted to do so, and its sovereignty and the integrity of the electoral college was not put in jeopardy.

    Federalism - and the Electoral College - recognizes that Texas has sovereignty within a compound republic. Here, I trust we all agree. The Republican Party of Texas, though, is a political association to advance the interests of Texans - in a plural, not a corporate sense. It is not a state organ imbued with sovereignty, and the RNC will not become a unitary republic if we award delegates proportionally, because the RNC is not a federation. It, too, is merely a tool through which citizen-voters aggregate their interest.

    All conservatives participating in the Texas Republican Primary should have their interests represented in Tampa! This blog's author acknowledges that proportionality provides more of a draw for the candidates to attend the TX Republican Debate being planned, so why will he not acknowledge that proportionality has the same draw to the voter?

    If every candidate has a chance to win some delegates, then every candidate's supporters has a reason to get involved, campaign, show up at the polling station on election day, and walk away feeling - win or lose - that s/he were represented. She or he can comfortably and confidently vote her or his conscience, rather than - already, at the primary level - being pressured to vote strategically in order to have any impact. Her or his voice will echo through the Republican Party - meekly or as a roar - and s/he can feel the party gave her or his views a representative chance. Some conservatives need not ask whether continued participation in our party is the best vehicle to advance their interests and views.

    If you're looking for an analogue, it isn't federalism, it isn't the electoral college, it is the free market! This extra participation makes the front-runner work harder through the extra competition, while providing the environment for minority positions to have more impact on the overall discussion - ultimately rising or falling based on their own volition. Some ideas from the candidate getting less votes might have such resounding success that the victor ultimately incorporates them into his agenda. The majority is not merely represented, but informed and invigorated toward inclusion of people and wisdom via such a competitive process. Proportionality promotes competition.

    The theocratic leanings of some voters that have higher sway in some portions of the state shouldn't be able to hold hostage the strong support for a free market and economic principles that is part of the Texas tradition as well. If the Republican Party cannot amply represent the conservative voters who put economic concerns first and foremost - especially in these trying times (!) - then some of us must ask ourselves whether it is still our home.

    1. Great Insight and also why I don't support a winner take all in any state.