The Ron Paul Plot Thickens

8 May

Writing in Salon, Steve Kornacki reported that Ron Paul picked up a lot of delegates over the weekend, in maine and Nevada. Sorta.

Of course, not all of the Paul-ites who are winning delegate slots will actually get to vote for him at the national convention, since many are filling slots that are by rule designated for Romney. For instance, Romney’s overwhelming win in the straw poll that was conducted with Nevada’s February precinct caucuses guarantees that most of the state’s national delegates will be bound to support him on the first ballot. So Paul will actually have two types of delegates in Tampa: a relatively small group of delegates pledged to him, and a potentially much bigger group that wants badly to vote for him but can’t.

It’s that second group that is starting to make Romney’s camp, which sent its top lawyer to Maine for the convention this weekend, nervous. Romney-pledged Paul backers could try to change their states’ rules (or the rules at the national convention) to allow them to support Paul. But this probably wouldn’t work; the RNC is now threatening not to seat individual delegations that try this, and to pull it off in Tampa the Paul team would need an outright convention majority, something it’s not on course to have.

They could still stir up a lot of trouble, though. Even if they’re neutralized procedurally, Paul-aligned delegates could make their hostility to the GOP establishment clear during the convention’s prime-time hours. The potential for such an embarrassing, nationally televised spectacle is probably what the Romney team is most worried about at this point.

Ah, the Emperor has no clothes, is that Ron Paul’s role in this election?

 

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