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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Free Speech Died at the Republican National Convention

America's Big Political Institutions are All Cracking Up

(Editor's Note: A pattern of corruption has been exposed in the entire U.S. government under the 8-year reign of Barack Obama. It's clear that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) covered for then Secretary of State  Hillary Clinton in her email scandal, declassifying secret government documents after the fact. Information is emerging that after she shared U.S. secrets via her private email server, the FBI obligingly declassified the aforesaid secrets, allowing her to tell the American people that she did not send classified government documents by email on her illegal private server, which was hacked (conveniently?) by at least five hostile foreign governments. It's clear that the Clintons traded in U.S. secrets in exchange for donations to their Clinton Foundation, and became rich in the process. 

It was just revealed this week that the FBI has a parallel investigation into the Clinton Foundation along with Mrs. Clinton's private email server. It's kinda too little too late. Why wasn't anything done before now? Hint: Obama is up to his neck in the scandal. Though he denied it, he knew about the private server and sent Hillary emails under an assumed name, according to released Clinton emails. 

But the following piece points out that the Republican Party is also guilty of manipulating the rules to force a desired outcome that may or may not reflect the will of the people.  Perhaps it's time we dump both major U.S. parties and get something new and honest. Both the author of this piece and this blog support Donald Trump for president, although we do so very reluctantly. He is the only pro-life candidate. We pray for him, and hope he represents the best option now for the United States. At this point, to vote for anyone else other than Mr. Trump is a vote for the Clintonista mafia. That family has engaged in a pattern of corruption never before seen on this scale in the United States.) 

by Katie Hanzeli
Author Katie Hanzeli and her hero, Sen. Ted Cruz
On July 18–21, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio, I was privileged to be an alternate delegate from the Evergreen State of Washington. I had worked my way up from being a Precinct Committee Officer, an elected position, for the 400 or so voters in my neighbourhood  to becoming a delegate for my district, then on as a state delegate. At the Washington State Republican Party Convention in May of 2016, the delegates broke into caucuses for their respective Congressional districts. I had come this far once before -- in 2012, but no one knew me then and there was nothing particular to distinguish me from others, except for my pro-life stance.

This year, I became a delegate for Sen. Ted Cruz, beginning at the district level. My name was put on the official slate representing Mr. Cruz. I was overwhelming elected at all levels, showing me that 1) delegates were whole heartedly supporting Ted Cruz and 2) that they were pro-life. At each level, I had to make a 30-second speech to the voting delegates which ended with the phrase, “I will do my best to live up to the trust you have placed in me.” I hope I kept that promise, but the Republican National Committee (RNC) betrayed us. 

The party didn’t die all at once. It began in 1976 when the delegates’ votes were bound (locked up) to make sure that Gerald Ford was nominated for President. It meant that Ronald Regan had to wait four more years for his turn. It was the first time in the history of the Republican Party that this had been done. Prior to 1976, the delegates were unbound, that is, allowed to vote their conscience and not be tied to any primary or other pre-convention nominating process. The Democrat party had been binding their delegates almost from the beginning (1828).

The first salvo against free speech came from the 2016 RNC Rules committee. There are three parts to the Rules: 1) to guide the RNC in the upcoming years, 2) to govern the current convention and 3) to guide the party until the next convention. Our concern was part 2. Rules 37 and 38 ALLOWED for unbound delegates, delegates who could vote their conscience. 

The Washington State party leadership, when the question was asked of them, told us that we were bound by Rule 16. It was originally designed to prevent delegates from changing their support to another candidate at the convention. In my case, I was bound to vote for Ted Cruz. But just before the convention, the Rules Committee changed the meaning of Rule 16, binding us to vote for the winner of our respective state’s primary, in our case Trump. Never mind that the US Supreme Court said quite the opposite in numerous cases, most notably in Cousins vs. Wigoda in 1975.  Committee members, including one of our own from Washington, tried to speak against the Rules change but the chair didn’t acknowledge them. They were cut off.

Read Unbound: The Conscience of a Republican Delegate, by Curly Haugland and Sean Parnell.  It argues passionately that delegates are free to vote their conscience. The Rules offer surprising leeway. And in the case of the 2016 Republican Convention, the interpretation of  these rules could have meant the difference between Donald Trump as Republican presidential candidate and Ted Cruz. Conservative pro-life delegates largely preferred the latter. 

Republican delegates could have overturned the new version of Rule 16, freeing the delegates from the results of the primary elections. A minimum of seven states had to sign a petition to bring the Rules to the convention floor. Ten states did! These included Washington State and Colorado. U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan brought the Rules to the table for a vote excluding the 10-state petition. The vote was quick and the Rules were supposedly “passed.” The delegates rose up in anger. Where are the petitions? The protest continued, but the convention leadership walked off the stage, ignoring the rank and file.

Behind the scenes, the whole process was caught up in shenanigans -- dishonest manoeuvring.   Floor microphones were turned off so protests could not be heard. We received this text from a delegate called Unbound“Secretary of the convention hiding behind armed guards in attempt to muzzle the delegates.” After making numerous requests of other convention personnel to take the petitions back, a lowly convention worker agreed and they were received by the Secretary, a necessary legal step for them to be heard.

After five minutes of protest, the delegates calmed somewhat and the leadership returned. More time passed as it was apparent that discussion about the petitions was going on. It was then announced that only six petitions had been received, one short of the needed seven. Where were the other four?

Unbound texted: 
“Rigged election. Walk out.” Colorado did. Washington stayed. Before the “vote” and after the petitions had been received by the Secretary, it was learned that the party whips (the men in florescent yellow/green baseball
The #NeverTrump delegates adopted the yellow hats first as a means
of identifying each other, but then the RNC whips showed up with
the same-colored hats. 
caps on the floor) were intimidating delegates in an attempt to get them to remove their signatures from their state’s petition. (One female delegate was threatened by a group of people when she emerged from the ladies' room stall.)

Washington State’s party chair went to Washington’s signers in an attempt to get them to remove their signature. Three states caved. Washington did not. To her credit, the Washington chair accepted the will of the delegation and backed off. In an attempt to be heard at the Washington floor microphone, our delegate stood with her hand in the air, holding a flag which, hopefully, would be better noticed than just a hand, for long and painful minutes, while one of the whips stood immediately behind her, in her personal space. He didn't touch her, but he breathed, “hah, hah, hah" right on her neck, hoping for a reaction from our delegate. She stayed the course, and security had to be called to force him to back off.

Three states were intimidated to remove their petitions, but where was the fourth? Only seven were needed to force a vote on the rules allowing the delegates to vote their conscience. It could have meant the difference between Trump and Ted Cruz as the Republican nominee. No one knows what happened to the seventh petition. In my opinion, since Colorado walked out, their petition was removed by the leadership. The RNC got what they wanted. The protest could not move forward. The Rules binding the delegates was a (fraudulently) done deal. (Editor's Note: Another source reports there were originally nine states who signed the petition and three states were pressured to withdraw)

The Platform (which is quite good in terms of its stance on Life & Family) passed without a peep. The delegates were still in shock. I sat in the rafters with tears streaming down my face.

Throughout the whole Rules debacle, I had been praying fervantly. I was just trying to discern God’s will. It  seemed to  be the death of free speech in the Republican Party.

I wish I could say this was over, but it wasn’t. In between these comparatively short-lived events, we had speeches and more speeches. The music from the band kept getting louder and louder -- it was a deliberate attempt to prevent thought and communication. From the beginning, all of the speeches and the audio/visual “stuff” was geared toward Trump. Every day had a different theme, taken from Trump’s, “Make America Great Again” mantra. One could watch the delegates cave and wave their Trump signs and scream their heads off for this man. At one point, I wondered where the signs came from as we were expressly forbidden to bring anything into the hall that didn’t fit into the
clear plastic bag provided to us. Signs and other items like fresh fruit, ammunition (but not guns), noise makers, baseballs (but not bats!) were all forbidden. Yet, there they were; hundreds of signs waving with the slogan of the day.

Since the new Rules, which were just “approved” required the binding of delegates, you can imagine how the nominating process went. Each state was called in alphabetical order, the number of total delegates for that state and the numbers bound to each candidate were announced. Many states announced their vote differently than what the leadership announced. It didn’t matter. Their votes were changed to reflect what was “bound” according to

the RNC. (Washington D.C. delegate Gary Teal confirms this took place. His delegation was obligated under the rules to vote for Marco Rubio and John Kasich. The Secretary of the Convention announced (before the D.C. delegation voted) that "DC casts 19 votes for Donald J. Trump." The DC Chair stood up and contradicted him: "Ten votes for Marco Rubio and nine votes for John Kasich." The secretary intoned, " 19 votes for Donald J. Trump." Then he brought down the gavel)

Only one state protested and requested an individual polling of their delegates, which they got. It didn’t do any good. They were told they had to vote “according to the Rules of this Convention” -- just viciously passed.

Washington was told they had 44 votes and all were bound to Trump. How could this be? At the Washington State Convention in May, 41 of 44 Delegates and 40 of 44 Alternates (including me) elected were Cruz delegates. Our leadership knew this but announced to the Convention Chair that all 44 of our delegates were for Trump, in perfect obedience to the will of the RNC. In contradiction to the vote of the caucuses, the Washington Primary voters chose Trump with 74% of the votes. However, it was an open primary so any voter of any party could vote for any candidate of any party, as long as they only voted for one candidate. Democrats, hoping Hillary would win,  flooded the Republican Primary and voted for Trump as they considered him to be beatable. Washington wasn’t the only state where this happened. The vote was rigged.

Even with this Primary outcome for Trump, three Washington State delegates should have been allowed to vote for any other candidate, to reflect the 26% anti-Trump voters. The Primary was called “the will of the people,” but it wasn’t even that. It was  “winner take all.” This is what the new Rules did to our free speech.

By the time Wednesday evening rolled around, many had climbed onto the Trump band wagon, some with enthusiasm, but many with resignation. When Ted Cruz took the stage, the entire Convention went wild with cheering.

He was better received than any other speaker up to that point and better than any that came after him, in my opinion.

He spoke well and eloquently. The first thing he did was to congratulate Donald Trump on his nomination the night before. He also strongly encouraged all to vote the ticket, “up and down.” He supported the party, its candidates and all he said came as close as he could to endorsing Trump without actually endorsing him. It was masterful.

Remember the boo’s that started to come as it became apparent that Mr. Cruz wasn’t going to give the desired endorsement? Some began to boo spontaneously as his speech progressed, but most of it was incited by those florescent yellow/green-hatted whips on the floor. They wandered around inciting the delegates to boo. And, like sheep, they obeyed. The reports say the delegates were mad at Mr. Cruz. Some were, but most were just going ga-ga over the moment, egged on by the whips, wanting an emotional high they couldn’t get from Trump’s nomination.

Thursday evening, we listened to a whole lot from Trump supporters and 1 hour, 16 minutes of Trump. I got my time on the floor, offering my one vote - to adjourn, thank God! - and was pelted by the balloons as they dropped. I managed to salvage the little I could from this whole mess: some reusable balloons for my grandchildren.

What can we learn from this whole thing? Trump got his nomination and he was right. It was rigged. What he didn’t tell us was that he was part of the rigging. The question has been going around, “Why would the RNC support a candidate they hated?” Answer: “They hated Ted Cruz more.”

Is free speech completely dead in the Republican party? Is our right of conscience no longer to be respected? The party is a private group, and it is not bound by rules or guidelines that govern our everyday living, so they can create whatever rules they want to govern their processes. However, this party has been the party of the Constitution, the party of free speech, the free practice of religion and the right to so many other things we have held dear since the founding of our country. At this Convention, the RNC took several steps to ensure that we would not be allowed these rights. Are they now gone, victims of the pursuit of power? I would say, “Yes.”

During my sojourn as Precinct Committee Officer,  I had one, long-time party activist tell me, “You’ll never get anywhere with that stance,” referring to my pro-life beliefs. I thought he was one among many, an oddity among good people. But I was wrong. Too many won’t discuss abortion, privileged gay rights, the redefinition of marriage. This despite the fact that as I’ve gotten to know them, I’ve learned that many do strongly hold traditional values. But they want their candidates elected more, no matter what those candidates believe.

One good thing that came from this convention was that four of the  speakers publicly proclaimed that they were pro-life, something that I hadn’t heard at any level in the past (except from me!)

I said at the beginning that I would do my best to live up to the trust that was placed in me. I hope I did, but the Republican National Committee (RNC) betrayed us.

© 30 October 2016
Image from the Republican National Convention

Washington D.C. delegate Gary Teal was also at the convention, fighting for freedom of conscience. Most of the delegates from D.C. were pledged to non-Trump candidates. He said, "The RNC did not play fair, and they embarrassed themselves before the world." He said that if the #NeverTrump crowd  had been able to plan, they would have done the same thing as the RNC. Get their delegates to sign the state petitions, then have them disappear, leave the floor, take off their name tags and not answer their phones. Then no one could have been pressured to withdraw their signature. "But we didn’t have dozens of paid whips on the floor to lobby and we didn’t have control of the gavel. We lost."  Here's the link to his piece: What was it like attending the 2016 GOP Convention 

Also read Not a Single Republican Delegate is Bound to Donald Trump at National Review 

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