Tom Knapp: Platform Committee — and National Convention — Update

Posted by Thomas L. Knapp at Platform Committee — and National Convention — Update:

Earlier today, the Libertarian National Committee voted to:

  1. Invoke the “impossibility” clause in its convention contract with the JW Marriott in Austin Texas; and
  2. Postpone the 2020 Libertarian National Convention to a place to be determined, and an opening date no later than July 15; and
  3. Adjourn their e-meeting to next Saturday to consider options for that move.
It is my opinion that the LNC had no authority to do (2) above, and that it is now operating outside the scope of its bylaws. Others disagree, but that IS my opinion.

It is my further opinion that a bylaws-compliant 2020 Libertarian National Convention could not plausibly take place in meatspace by July 15, or for that matter by the bylaws deadline of August 31, even if the LNC did have the authority to reschedule.

That leaves two options:

  1. Call the whole thing off and let the LNC nominate a presidential ticket (and itself serve for another two years apart from resignations or, in the case of regional reps, replacement by the state parties in their regions); or
  2. Hold some kind of “online convention.”
In a previous post, I supported option (1) and explained why I think option (2) would be a train wreck.

I won’t say I have changed my mind exactly, but I’m leaning more and more toward (2) on both practical grounds and for reasons of “legitimacy” considerations.

Since we are operating beyond the scope of the bylaws already,  I’m not that worried about bylaws considerations.

But I do think we should get a presidential ticket nominated ASAP — around the time the original convention was scheduled to take place — rather than continue to kick the can down the road pretending that a “meatspace” convention is likely.

And I also think the party’s members would be happier if they saw that nomination take place by delegate vote rather than by LNC “vacancy-filling.”

Just to be clear, this is an advocacy AGAINST INTEREST:

If we have a “meatspace” convention, I plan to go, and although I am only a lowly alternate, I expect that attendance will be low enough that I will end up being seated as a full delegate.

If we have an “online” convention, there’s no damn way I get a delegate seat.

Furthermore, an “online” convention is much less likely to get any platform work done. It will be removed from the agenda in favor of doing nominations/elections and getting things over with. I think the platform committee has done really good work, I am proud of my part in that work, and I would prefer to see that work considered by delegates in convention assembled.

But I don’t think we should continue fucking around pretending that a “meatspace” convention is likely to happen.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

74 thoughts on “Tom Knapp: Platform Committee — and National Convention — Update

  1. Anthony Dlugos

    The dinosaur party conventions were both rescheduled to August.

    Any reason we can’t do the same?

    Just curious.

  2. paulie Post author

    Ballot access for one thing. Some states require the nominees to be known before the petitions can even start.

  3. paulie Post author

    For another, the other parties have much more infrastructure to help them and their campaigns than the LP. The LP and its nominees build that mostly from scratch and much of that is severely hampered before the nominees are known. Media outlets, donors and volunteers are all much harder to access for campaigns that are merely running for the LP nomination.

  4. paulie Post author

    Also, it’s not yet cleared whether the establishment party conventions will end up being physical. They are scheduled that way now, but that may change. It won’t impact their ballot access or ability to get money, donors and volunteers. They will have all those things anyway. And there’s no mystery who they will nominate. The LP nomination still has at least some suspense. Their conventions are just media events and party rallies.

  5. Anthony Dlugos

    Thanks, I figured some of that, just wanted to make sure I understood.

    You know, given that Amash is likely running, the conspiratorial among us might argue that the dinosaur parties will agree to run virtual conventions just to further ensure the contest comes down to a predictable two man contest.

    Just like with campaign finance restrictions, anything that limits political action works in their favor, by virtue of eliminating unknown variables.

  6. paulie Post author

    Another thing I didn’t even think of which was just pointed out on the national bylaws committee call. A lot of people will be voting by mail in the national general election, many more so than usual. A lot of those votes will cast in September. That gives whoever we nominate even less time than normal to persuade voters and build support.

  7. Anthony Dlugos

    all of which makes me wonder why Amash is even bothering.

    unless he figured he was going to lose his seat anyway and has zilch to lose, and more p.r. than close to zero to gain (which he would have received if he just played out the string on the House seat) by running for president.

  8. paulie Post author

    Yeah, I do think he would lose his seat anyway. Meijer has money, and Michigan is one of the very few states that still has straight ticket. And I don’t know when redistricting happens. Michigan will probably lose at least one seat. If Amash were still in there when it does, I bet his district would get carved up.

  9. Anthony Dlugos

    well. I will say that I think the LNC is doing as a good a job as can be expected, given the circumstances. I don’t know what we’re supposed to do, so I’m kinda glad that I’m not in on the decisions that are being made for the whole party.

    The whole thing surely sucks.

  10. NewFederalist

    Since the bylaws apparently don’t matter in this time of severe crisis I still maintain that an online convention is a good idea. Better yet, all members in good standing of the national party should automatically be delegates. Democracy in action! A 2020 updated version of the 1996 Reform Party nominating convention. It would get great media; be a lot of fun for party members and be totally unpredictable as to nomination outcome. Let’s do this!

  11. paulie Post author

    “Better yet, all members in good standing of the national party should automatically be delegates. ”

    That would be up to the state parties. They, not the national party, determine their delegations.

  12. Thomas Knapp

    “I will say that I think the LNC is doing as a good a job as can be expected, given the circumstances.”

    I would say that the LNC and Convention Organizing Committee are doing their best. It’s just a shit situation.

    I, too, wonder why Amash is bothering. There doesn’t seem to be a lot for a third party candidate to accomplish this year. But I could be wrong about that, I guess.

  13. Bondurant

    These are bizarre times. Waiting until ’24 seems like a better play for Amash. Win or lose his House seat he could focus more time on ’24. He can campaign the full cycle and help with ballot access. COVID-19 will make an already taxing process even more difficult. LP might not be on the ballot in all states which would be a waste for a higher profile candidate. Maybe none of this matters to him and he sees this as part of a longer term goal. Who knows?

    As for gerrymandering in MI much of the population loss comes from the east side of the state. Wayne County in particular. I believe the Grand Rapids are has been growing with an economic upturn pre-coronavirus. Might not matter. GOP hates him and would eagerly carve up his district. During the next wave of gerrymandering I suspect Amash’s and AOC’s will be prime targets for elimination. Districts that don’t follow “the rules” must pay the price.

  14. Richard Winger

    Michigan has a nonpartisan citizens redistricting commission in place. The Michigan Republican Party has lost in its court attempts to overturn it. So politicians can’t abolish the Amash district at will.

  15. LibertyDave

    Thomas Knapp, you claim that the LNC doesn’t have the authority to change the date of the national convention. After reading the bylaws I don’t understand where in the bylaws it states the date can’t be changed.

    The section in the bylaws on conventions states only that the time and place will be selected by the National Committee. Where in the bylaws does it state that once the date is set it can’t be changed?

  16. Anthony Dlugos

    Richard.

    Amash has essentially given up running for the House seat anyway, correct?

    Frankly, I thought the strongest reasons for sitting out the presidential election stay the same no matter how he might lose the House seat.

    Then again, he may see this as a trial run for 2024.

  17. Thomas Knapp

    LibertyDave,

    Where in the US Constitution does it say that Congress can’t establish a Texas Chainsaw Cannibal Colony?

    The LNC has the powers the bylaws give it, not every power the bylaws don’t explicitly deny it.

    The “absurd consequence” rule of interpretation is relevant here — if an interpretation would lead to an absurd consequence, it’s not the proper interpretation.

    If the LNC has an unmentioned, unlimited power to postpone and move the convention, it could schedule the convention for May 21 at noon in Austin; and at 11:59am, re-schedule it for the next day at noon in Rochester, New York; and the next day, reschedule it for the day after that in Seattle. That is absurd. Therefore the power does not exist. If it existed, it would be openly stated and include e.g. notice requirements.

    Once the LNC has set the time and place of the convention, that time and place belong to the delegates. If they want to postpone/move it after it is called to order, that’s up to them. It no longer belongs to the LNC.

  18. Cody Quirk

    I know I’m a fire eater on some of the contentious issues in the LP (like Justin Amash); but on this matter, I’m wondering if a compromise could be reached on the subject of our convention?

    Would a hybrid convention that’s in-person, but includes electronic communication with either certain individuals, or state delegations, or both -be possible? Would such be both reasonable for the members and still in conformity with the bylaws at the same time?

    If we can cross this bridge quickly on this matter on move on by doing this, I’m all for it.

  19. Thomas Knapp

    Cody,

    What you’re asking is if there should be a “compromise” under which some of us spend hundreds or thousands of dollars and travel hundreds or thousands of miles, theoretically risking our lives, for the purpose of making sure that other people who won’t put down their bag of Cheet-Os and get off the fucking couch get the same vote as the rest of us.

    I’m not sure that sounds like a very fair “compromise.” I’d prefer to just have an online process in which all animals are equal than a “hybrid” process in which some animals are more equal than others.

  20. paulie Post author

    If the LNC has an unmentioned, unlimited power to postpone and move the convention, it could schedule the convention for May 21 at noon in Austin; and at 11:59am, re-schedule it for the next day at noon in Rochester, New York; and the next day, reschedule it for the day after that in Seattle. That is absurd. Therefore the power does not exist. If it existed, it would be openly stated and include e.g. notice requirements.

    On the other hand if the LNC has no power to reschedule, the whole city where the convention is to take place could be on fire and we’d be out of luck. I don’t think any LNC would reschedule a convention at the last minute just for shits and giggles, and if they did I could see pretty much every state party cut ties with them, establish a new national coordinating body and blacklist anyone involved.

  21. Cody Quirk

    Thomas, remember that we have a virus going around, and while its not that deadly, its still dangerous to the elderly and those with medical conditions -I’m sure some party members fall under those categories and simply don’t want to put their lives at risk. Another factor are the legal restrictions in place in many states right now that prohibit large gatherings, which makes this matter even more difficult to deal with.
    In fact a black & white absolutionist approach on this matter doesn’t seem to be feasible, or productive at all; and that applies to both sides of this.

    What I’m advocating for is likely the best solution to this issue that won’t split the party and yet still keep us in conformity with the bylaws, imho.

  22. Thomas Knapp

    Cody,

    I am well aware that there is a virus going around. That’s one reason I’m advocating for an online process, not some kind of “hybrid” process designed to accommodate feelz by creating first- and second-class citizens, the latter of who are supposed to risk their lives to serve the former.

    Conformity with the bylaws is already out the window and is highly unlikely to be back on the table in this election cycle, so let’s just get shit done instead of playing games.

  23. Cody Quirk

    Thomas, notice that I wasn’t specific on what type of hybrid convention I was advocating for?
    Plus with the fact that the opposing side is so ticked off about this that there’s even talk of state affiliates (ballot-qualified ones) splitting from the national party over this -I’m actually looking to see if I could help prevent this and mend things over and not have a repeat of what happened to the Constitution Party in 2006 -happen to us.
    So I really am trying to do something constructive for all LP’ers involved on this matter, as little say as I have on the matter.

  24. Thomas Knapp

    Cody,

    I see where you’re coming from.

    My understanding of the term “hybrid” is part physical convention, part online convention.

    Even if that’s possible, and it’s not necessarily possible, it doesn’t make any sense.

    If we’re going online, let’s go online.

    And let’s do it ASAP.

    Poll the national and state party members (IOW, the population eligible to serve as delegates if we had a convention) between now and May 21, let the LNC pick a presidential slate (and they will surely do so based on that polling), and see you in Reno in 2022.

    This year is a shit show. Continually kicking the can down the road while pretending shit is gonna get better is magical thinking, not realistic thinking. The quicker we wrap this stuff up, the quicker we can get on with whatever’s going to pass for actually campaigning this year.

  25. Cody Quirk

    Not trying to spar with you on this Tom, or be a fire eater about it as I am on some things; but the feedback I’ve been hearing from several in my state party and others I’m friends with and chat with online -is that this contention could seriously split up the party nationally, and I seriously don’t want to see that; that scenario scares me.
    I’ve been through it too many times with other minor parties in my life, and don’t want to go through it again, period.

    Plus, this is an election year, and regardless of how you feel about Justin Amash -we’re back to being under the media microscope again; any action the party takes at this time is going to be all over both the news and the social media, and I’d prefer not to give either one anything that could be used to beat us, or the image of Libertarianism, over the head with.

  26. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    New Federalist: “Better yet, all members in good standing of the national party should automatically be delegates. ”

    Paulie: That would be up to the state parties. They, not the national party, determine their delegations.

    State parties cannot, by themselves, determine their number of delegates. If other states prefer the current delegate allocation, California cannot, by itself, insist that all 100,000+ registered Libertarians in California are now delegates for the online national convention.

  27. paulie Post author

    State parties cannot, by themselves, determine their number of delegates.

    True. I think that’s a bylaws formula, or some kind of set rule. But they do get to decide who those delegates are. National taking that decision away from them, especially after many states already selected delegates, would fundamentally shift power between state and national parties.

  28. ATBAFT

    Should have been anticipated in the By-Laws? Since the LP amends the By-laws every convention, that’s pretty good indication that the LP isn’t real good at anticipating every change in political or organizational conditions. So it would seem reasonable that the LNC can re-schedule conventions when a good reason happens to land on us.
    On-line convention sounds good. Now, who is going to assign every member in good standing a discreet password that can only be used once? Is the credentials committee up to it? Without such security, every one of the seventyeleven losing people running for the presidential nod will be claiming fraud, demanding Judicial Comm. hearings, and etc. I suspect it may take years to set up such a secure voting system for 15,000 people who send in dues at various times.

  29. Thomas Knapp

    Cody,

    I’m not sure what you think I disagree with in your most recent comment, or why you think Justin Amash has anything to do with it.

  30. paulie Post author

    There’s a new proposal which CAH says has majority LNC support, to move P/VP only to an online format with the vote to be held ASAP, and everything else to an in person convention in July or August. Some people are still pushing for a remote option at the second event as well.

  31. Thomas Knapp

    I don’t think there’s much likelihood of an in-person convention this year, but if telling themselves that it can happen will get LNC members to support getting the presidential and vice-presidential nominations DONE, I guess that’s good enough.

    I hope the LNC will wait until May 21 to choose the nominees, and do extensive polling of likely delegates, as well as the party membership in general, between now and then so that it can make the most well-informed situation possible.

    I do hate advocating for this. I think that doing it this way advantages late fake-celebrity entrants like Justin Amash and party insider types like Judge Gray over candidates I prefer. But we gotta do what we gotta do, and the sooner we do it the sooner it’s done and we can move the hell on.

  32. robert capozzi

    PF,

    Huh, off the top, CAH might be onto something there. But I wonder if that’s Bylaws-compliant.

  33. paulie Post author

    But I wonder if that’s Bylaws-compliant.

    LNC counsel Oliver Hall and the authors of Roberts Rules say yes. CAH says no, but she is willing to bend what she believes the rules are due to exigent circumstances (ballot access deadlines) for the p/vp nomination only. But not for anything else. The vote to limit any options being considered besides physical convention was close this past Saturday so a couple of people willing to carve out an exception for P/VP would make that happen.

  34. NewFederalist

    How about opening this part up to more delegate/participants? Most folks don’t care all that much about other convention business anyway.

  35. paulie Post author

    I don’t think there’s much likelihood of an in-person convention this year, but if telling themselves that it can happen will get LNC members to support getting the presidential and vice-presidential nominations DONE, I guess that’s good enough.

    Agreed.

    I hope the LNC will wait until May 21 to choose the nominees, and do extensive polling of likely delegates, as well as the party membership in general, between now and then so that it can make the most well-informed situation possible.

    I think it’s going to take the form of some sort of poll of the delegates, probably relayed by delegation chairs or maybe directly through an online link tied to LP membership data and other personal identifying confirmation. I don’t think a 2,000 person zoom conference will work.

    I do hate advocating for this.

    Me too. But delaying the nomination to July creates a lot of problems, particularly with the difficulties of petitioning now and the fact that a lot more votes will be cast in September vis a vis November compared to past elections. I don’t see a 2,000 person zoom working out either. We’ll see what ends up happening with the rest of the convention, but this will solve the biggest immediate problem.

  36. paulie Post author

    How about opening this part up to more delegate/participants? Most folks don’t care all that much about other convention business anyway.

    Delegates have been chosen in convention by many states. I don’t think national should mess with that process.

  37. Thomas Knapp

    “How about opening this part up to more delegate/participants?”

    An attempt to hold an online “convention” would be a train wreck.

    Personally, I’ve asked (and argued for) the LNC to choose a presidential and vice-presidential ticket on May 21. That’s actually four days earlier than the now-canceled national convention would have, unless its agenda had been modified.

    I’ve also asked (and argued for) the LNC to do its best to poll the party’s membership — both national “sustaining members” and state affiliate members — between now and then as to their presidential preferences, and to consider the results.

    I don’t see any plausible way to BIND the LNC to honor party polling, and I expect that polling to be imperfect in any case, but I hope they’ll be mindful of it. Let’s get a presidential ticket picked and have that over with.

    No, it’s not bylaws-compliant, but there’s an exigent situation that means the bylaws are gonna have to be broken. I don’t think anyone has ever heard me advocating trusting the LNC before, but there’s a first time for everything. Poll the membership, trust the LNC, get the business done.

  38. Thomas Knapp

    “Delegates have been chosen in convention by many states. I don’t think national should mess with that process.”

    Well, let’s discuss how that process works.

    1) The states choose delegates.

    2) The states choose alternates.

    3) The delegates who happen to show up at the convention are seated.

    4) The delegates who don’t show up are replaced by alternates.

    5) Anyone who happens to wander in and find a delegation that isn’t full can, at the discretion of that delegation and state party rules, become a delegate.

    Which means that until the convention starts, there are no delegates.

    And which also means that until the convention ends, every sustaining national member and every state member is potentially a delegate.

    Poll as much of the party as possible and let the LNC pick a slate.

  39. LibertyDave

    Thomas Knapp,

    Wow!

    I have never heard of the “absurd consequence rule of interpretation” before.

    I’m not a lawyer so I had to look it up. When I put the quote above into the search engine the results came back with Statutory interpretation. You would use statutory interpretation when there is some ambiguity or vagueness in the words of the bylaw.

    The bylaws are very clear, the power to set the time and place of the national convention belongs to the national committee, their only restriction is a time range when it has to happen.

    I see your problem in that there is nothing in the bylaws about canceling or postponing the convention once it’s been set.

    But your assumption that only the delegates have the authority to cancel a national convention ignores the fact that in order for a national convention to happen requires a contract with a third party. In any contract there are always two parties that can cancel. So the question becomes who has the authority to negotiate the contract to hold a national convention, and that authority has always belonged to the National Committee because they are the delegates representatives when the delegates are not in convention. This means because the National Committee has the authority to negotiate the contract means they also have the authority to postpone or cancel the contract.

  40. NewFederalist

    Since the US Constitution is largely being ignored in this time of severe crisis it seems the violation of the LP’s bylaws with regard to nominating a national ticket to enhance any chance of 50 state & DC ballot status for 2020 is unfortunate but necessary.

  41. robert capozzi

    TK and PF,

    Just throwing this out…it strikes me as stronger if the NatCom would register a unanimous vote for either TK’s or CAH’s approach. That might help to blunt challenges.

  42. Thomas Knapp

    RC,

    Good luck getting unanimity from the LNC.

    I’m not going to criticize anyone’s motives, although I suspect a couple of LNC members have motives worthy of criticism. But they also just have honest disagreements about what’s possible and about what’s best.

  43. Richard Winger

    It is somewhat exaggerated to say that lots of public votes for president will be cast in September 2020. I think there are only one or two states that allow early voting that early. The typical early voting law lets people start voting 4 weeks before the November 3 election date. And even when states allow it earlier than that, I doubt most people will want to vote that early. Many voters who voted early in a March 2020 presidential primary were kicking themselves later for not having waited a little longer, to see which Democrats would still be running and which ones had dropped out.

  44. Thomas Knapp

    Richard,

    Yes, September seems pretty early to expect much early voting.

    However, I do expect most states — including ALL “blue” states — will adopt either universal or greatly expanded vote by mail options for this November’s election.

    There’s all kinds of room for technical difficulty, honest error, and intentional fuckery in that transition.

    And getting our nominees identified to state election authorities earlier rather than later reduces at least some of our prospective exposure to that difficulty, error, and fuckery.

  45. robert capozzi

    tk: Good luck getting unanimity from the LNC.

    me: I hear that, although it strikes me that once a decision becomes inevitable, I would think that even the most curmudgeonly LNCer would see the wisdom of recording a unanimous vote.

    Just a thought from the peanut gallery…

  46. Cody Quirk

    Understood Tom, this is not a productive thing to dwell on. And indeed I will be there in 2022.

    What’s this that I’m hearing the California LP passed a resolution saying they’ll refuse to put the LP presidential ticket on their ballot if we end up going against the bylaws by doing an online national convention?

    Heard this from a party member on facebook.

  47. Thomas Knapp

    Cody,

    A number of state parties have passed resolutions demanding either an in-person or online convention, asserting that not getting their way would violate state ballot access laws, etc., and saying they won’t (or might not be able to) run the national ticket in that case.

    Nothing is going to make everyone happy, and state ballot lines belong to state parties so they are a bargaining chip in any case where an affiliate holds it isn’t receiving the representation that it trades that ballot line for. If this happens it won’t be the first time, even for the LP (the Democrats have been more inclined to that kind of thing, both in 1860 and in the “Dixiecrat” era).

  48. robert capozzi

    TK,

    Oh, boy, this could get very ugly. We could see Amash as the nominee in 30 states, Bumper in 5, Kokesh in 3, Vohra and Supreme in 1, it seems. If so, that’s the definition of a shitshow….

  49. Anthony Dlugos

    RC,

    That would be terrible.

    Even falling short of 50-state ballot access would be problematic, from a legitimacy perspective.

  50. Thomas Knapp

    RC,

    I consider it highly unlikely.

    And not a big deal.

    And, if it happens, more likely Amash in 46 states, Hornberger and Supreme in 2 each.

    Not that the party is likely to have ballot access in 50 states this year anyway. But there is an up side on ballot access for future years (court victories over conditions made difficult by the COVID-19 panic can be used to challenge those conditions as obviously unnecessary in the first place).

    If the Libertarian Party was going to have a ballot access splintering problem, much better to have it now than in a year when getting out of the 1-2% bracket was a realistic prospect.

  51. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    robert capozzi: We could see Amash as the nominee in 30 states, Bumper in 5, Kokesh in 3, Vohra and Supreme in 1,

    I assume you picked those numbers arbitrarily.

    Judge Gray would certainly appear on some state ballots. He’s a native Californian, and, I believe, popular among California libertarians.

  52. paulie Post author

    Latest from LNC as of the last time I checked: the compromise is for an OpaVote or similar poll of delegates to nominate the presidential ticket, possibly on June 6-7, or on the originally scheduled Memorial Day weekend if technical issues can be worked out fast enough. The plan at this time is to still try for an in person convention during the first half of July, possibly in Vegas right before or after Freedom Fest, or perhaps in New Orleans or Orlando again. Per bylaws, and with pressure on nominating the presidential ticket off the table assuming that works out, it could be moved as late as the end of August.

    Backup plans are being made in case the in person convention still can’t work out. Last night the party did a practice run using zoom with about 300 people participating. It was, to put it kindly, a clusterfuck, and would be exponentially worse with thousands of people as opposed to hundreds. My best guess is that these issues will not be resolved using technology. While some state parties and the much smaller CP convention have been held fairly successfully using online conference technology, the LP national convention is too big for that to be implemented well at this time.

    I also remain pessimistic about the prospects of an in-person convention this year. But, if OpaVote or something like it can be done successfully for the presidential nomination, it may well also be feasible for LNC and JC races. It will be more of a challenge since it involves multi-member approval voting for LNC at large and JC, but it may be feasible. I have a harder time envisioning a process that would work for platform and bylaws debates if an in-person convention doesn’t work out.

  53. Thomas Knapp

    If there’s no convention, there are no delegates. You’re not a delegate until you’ve been credentialed and seated, just like you’re not a president until you’ve been inaugurated.

    So why not poll the whole party, instead of just the people who might have been delegates if a convention had occurred?

  54. paulie Post author

    It is somewhat exaggerated to say that lots of public votes for president will be cast in September 2020. I think there are only one or two states that allow early voting that early. The typical early voting law lets people start voting 4 weeks before the November 3 election date.

    Thanks. I thought mail-in was allowed about two months out, so I’ll amend September to October.

    And even when states allow it earlier than that, I doubt most people will want to vote that early. Many voters who voted early in a March 2020 presidential primary were kicking themselves later for not having waited a little longer, to see which Democrats would still be running and which ones had dropped out.

    It’s a different dynamic in the general election. Many people would cast their vote now if they could. They either want to vote to keep Trump or get him out. There isn’t a field to winnow like in the primary with the likelihood of a bunch of campaigns being suspended before the election.

  55. paulie Post author

    1) The states choose delegates.

    2) The states choose alternates.

    3) The delegates who happen to show up at the convention are seated.

    4) The delegates who don’t show up are replaced by alternates.

    5) Anyone who happens to wander in and find a delegation that isn’t full can, at the discretion of that delegation and state party rules, become a delegate.

    That last one, not as much the last two conventions and probably wouldn’t have been the case with this one if the original plan had worked out and not been derailed by pandemic related events. This time around there was a competitive process for delegates in many states and state convention attendees deliberately voted for who they wanted as delegates as opposed to alternates.

  56. paulie Post author

    But your assumption that only the delegates have the authority to cancel a national convention ignores the fact that in order for a national convention to happen requires a contract with a third party. In any contract there are always two parties that can cancel. So the question becomes who has the authority to negotiate the contract to hold a national convention, and that authority has always belonged to the National Committee because they are the delegates representatives when the delegates are not in convention. This means because the National Committee has the authority to negotiate the contract means they also have the authority to postpone or cancel the contract.

    Good point. And, the absurd consequences thing can cut in both directions, as explained above.

  57. Thomas Knapp

    “That last one, not as much the last two conventions and probably wouldn’t have been the case with this one if the original plan had worked out and not been derailed by pandemic related events.”

    It certainly happened at the last two conventions. At the last one, it happened to me (not for the first time, either).

    Yes, there’s been less of it the last two conventions. Whether it continues to diminish as a factor depends on whether the level of interest in being a delegate remains high.

    But in any case, the main point still stands:

    Being selected by your state to be a delegate is not the same thing as being a delegate. You’re not a delegate unless you show up to the convention, get credentialed, and put your ass in a chair. There are many instances in which that does not happen and alternates fill in or delegations simply are not filled.

    So let’s not pretend that “the delegates” can be polled without a convention happening.

  58. paulie Post author

    The LNC continues to be worried about state law provisions which say the ticket has to be nominated in convention. I’ve communicated Richard Winger’s counter to them, but they persist. So, they will do their best to approximate a convention nomination, even if it’s by OpaVote, so CAH can in good conscience join Nick in signing certificates to various states SesOS that the ticket was nominated in a duly constituted national convention.

    I’m just giving you a weather reading (coincidentally, my old job for a few years at the airport back in the 90s shortly before I got in the petition business). You can advocate for whatever system you think would be better, but that’s how I am reading the wind as blowing.

  59. Thomas Knapp

    “The LNC continues to be worried about state law provisions which say the ticket has to be nominated in convention.”

    An Opavote is no closer to an actual convention than an LNC vote is.

    I’m tempted to conclude the supposed objections are less about how we nominate per se than about who would win given a particular method.

  60. Anthony Dlugos

    paulie,

    what’s the reason the LNC (or some of them) is insisted an in-person convention, especially this year, especially if the presidential ticket has already been decided.

    Can’t we just get the ticket & party leadership selected by internet vote of some kind, leave the platform as is? Heck, you could just move the in-person convention and platform stuff to next year.

  61. paulie Post author

    what’s the reason the LNC (or some of them) is insisted an in-person convention, especially this year, especially if the presidential ticket has already been decided.

    Bylaws currently state it has to be held before the end of August this year.

    Can’t we just get the ticket & party leadership selected by internet vote of some kind, leave the platform as is?

    Maybe. I suspect that is likely to end up happening. But they will at least try to comply with the bylaws provision that it has to happen before the end of August this year, rightly or wrongly. Then if and when that fails that’s what will happen by default.

  62. paulie Post author

    An Opavote is no closer to an actual convention than an LNC vote is.

    Why not? It’s a poll or series of polls of the people selected as delegates by their state parties. Presumably there would be some approximation of the existing token system. There would be back channels to lobby delegates for tokens and votes, broadcasted debates and speeches, online state and caucus discussions on FB and other channels.

    CAH for one was originally one of those who was dead set against anything other than a traditional in person nomination and only after much discussion has seen her way clear that for the p/vp nomination only the online option is close enough for her to sign those certificates. And that’s not trivial, since she is one of the two people who has to do so.

    I’m tempted to conclude the supposed objections are less about how we nominate per se than about who would win given a particular method.

    I don’t believe so. CAH, Nick, JBH and others involved most likely don’t agree on who their preferred P and VP nominees are.

  63. Thomas Knapp

    “Why not? It’s a poll or series of polls of the people selected as delegates by their state parties.”

    In other words, a poll of non-delegates.

    If we’re going to nominate based on a poll of non-delegates, we should either do it based on a poll of the entire membership, or of actual party officials (the LNC).

    Another alternative that I don’t like as well is doing a poll of the only existing body of ACTUAL delegates that is given ANY non-convention power in the bylaws — those who were credentialed as delegates at the LAST convention.

    “Let’s poll a sub-set of the people who MIGHT have been delegates IF we’d have a convention” just doesn’t fly from any angle.

  64. paulie Post author

    The people who choose to show up in person and those who choose to show up online are different sets but no different in principle. In both cases alternates are there to take the place of those who don’t. There was a selection process at state conventions. In the past you argued that delegates represent state parties. Switching from in person to online doesn’t completely change that.

  65. Thomas Knapp

    “In the past you argued that delegates represent state parties.”

    That’s just a fact. I don’t see how it’s relevant to whether not having a convention is having a convention.

  66. paulie Post author

    Do you believe the constitution party event which nominated Blankenship was a convention? Do you believe that state LPs which had online events labelled as conventions this year in fact had conventions? Were the BTP online conventions actually conventions? Is the Green Party going to have an online national convention this year?

  67. Thomas Knapp

    It’s not about what I believe.

    A vote is not a convention.

    That’s just a fact.

    I haven’t read the Constitution Party’s bylaws, nor do I know what their event was like.

    I know that some state LPs had conventions this year. I doubt those conventions were “everyone cast a vote, OK we’re done here.”

  68. NewFederalist

    “If we’re going to nominate based on a poll of non-delegates, we should… do it based on a poll of the entire membership…” – Tom Knapp

    Hell ya! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

  69. paulie Post author

    “I know that some state LPs had conventions this year. I doubt those conventions were “everyone cast a vote, OK we’re done here.””

    This one would not be either. There would be a system akin to debate tokens, then some candidate debate, nomination tokens, nomination speeches, and at least possibly more than one round of voting. There could be state and caucus chat rooms, and if there aren’t, they would take place anyway through FB, email, slack, phone conferences and other unofficial means. Other than not being physically in the same room it won’t be any different than any other presidential nomination aspect of a presidential convention.

    Other business is at this time still slated for an in-person convention this year. Some of it may be shifted to an online format later. Some people think all of it can be, but I’m not optimistic that can be competently managed this year yet. It may be that an in person convention will work out for the rest of the business, but I’m not optimistic about that either.

    Supposing that none of the other business manages to take place either in person or electronically that still won’t make the presidential online convention automatically something other than a convention. There have been bylaws proposals in the past and maybe one being worked on now which would move all or at least some of the other business to the non-presidential years. If that were to pass, that would not make the presidential convention something other than a convention going forward.

  70. paulie Post author

    “If we’re going to nominate based on a poll of non-delegates, we should… do it based on a poll of the entire membership…” – Tom Knapp

    Hell ya! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!”

    The job of the secretary and credentials committee is difficult enough without making it 1-2 orders of magnitude more difficult. The autonomy of state parties also indicates that we should do our best to approximate their choices about who would represent them in making the decisions that they elected delegates to make, even if all or part of the decision making gathering ends up being virtual rather than physical.

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