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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    The Mechanics of Takeover

    By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
    Posted on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:24:49 AM EST
    Tags: integrity argument, patronage system, equality of merit, cleaning out closets, Schostak Must Go, Michigan "Dele-Gate" Fiasco, Anuzis Amendment to MIGOP Convention Rule # 9, Michigan's 11th Congressional District write-in campaign, Michigan Banana Republican Party, Republican County Conventions, Republican State Convention, District Caucuses, General Session, Robert's Rules of Order (all tags)

    As I published in June of last year, what the combined grassroots effort accomplished at the May Convention was impressive, but only the first battle of a much longer campaign that will be necessary in order to purge the Republican Party in Michigan (at every level) of the blueblood elites that have taken over the party establishment.  At the time, I mentioned that the reach of the broom needed to extend all the way down to the county executive committees where necessary, and I provided at strategic overview of what would need to be done to effect the end goal.  At this point, regardless of how it worked out, phases 1 through 4 are complete.  Since we only have four weeks to work with, we need to stay tightly focused on phase 5 of the plan, and we must use our time wisely.

    So with that in mind, grab a pot of coffee and a snack plate, and let's go below the fold.

    Given the party shenanigans last year, it's probably not a stretch to say that the Michigan Republican Party's love affair with the tea party movement has cooled considerably.  Heaven forbid the newbies get any substantive access to the internal levers of party power.  Why, they might foul up a well-oiled patronage system that's more interested in political status than in actually delivering electoral results.  Best to keep the grassroots shock troops on a short leash until they're needed again two years from now.

    Of course, it shouldn't be surprising that the aforementioned blueblood elites are circling their wagons to protect the seat of one of their own.  I found the Michigan Republican Convention Survey e-mailed out earlier this week to be a tad interesting:

    1. Are you planning on attending the February Michigan Republican Party State Convention in Lansing?

    2. Would you prefer that the leadership of the Michigan Republican Party were Tea Party or establishment Republicans?

    3. In the race for state party Chairman, are you planning on supporting Todd Courser or Bobby Schostak?

    4. In the race for Youth Chair, are you planning are supporting Blake Edmonds or Matt Jones?

    5. Would you prefer that the state of Michigan continued allocating their Presidential convention delegates by primary, or would you prefer that the parties held conventions?

    6. On political issues, do you consider yourself to be Very Conservative, Somewhat Conservative, Moderate or Liberal?

    In my opinion, question # 2 is poorly worded.  I mean, once the tea party movement has ousted the blueblood elites currently occupying the halls of power, do they not then, by definition, become the establishment?  But I digress.

    As I pointed out back in March of last year, the reality is that that those seeking to flip any seats at the state convention (or even the district caucus) have about eight days to get their act together, if that many.  I say this because a fairly common occurrence is for delegates to be selected at their respective county conventions based upon whom they're going to support at district caucus or state convention, and I know from hard experience that the incumbents (or those who have the favor of the existing establishment) will be throwing every roadblock they can in the way of the tea party insurgency, whether procedural or logistical or anything else.  This means that the challengers have to have their procedural and logistical ducks absolutely lined up . . . in advance.

    Let's quickly review the overview of phase 5, and then discuss it in some detail:

    Elect chairman, state committee, etc. (2013 State Convention/District Caucuses)

    • Encourage all Tea Party members & conservatives to attend their February County Convention.  At the County Convention we will select delegates to February State Convention and District Caucuses.  The State Convention and District Caucuses take place on the same weekend at the same location.  At the District Caucuses we will elect the Congressional District leadership & committee members, and State Committee members; at the State Convention we will elect new State Party Leadership.

    • Create slate cards that list our supporters that want to attend the State Convention and distribute it to our team at the February County Convention.

    • Field candidates to run for State Committee, Congressional District leadership, and MIGOP Leadership.  The MIGOP State Committee's purpose is to provide oversight, activism, and advice to the MIGOP Chairman and Staff.  The Congressional District Committee's purpose is to provide activism, support, and fundraising for the District Committee and its Congressional candidate.  The MIGOP Leadership consists of a Chair, Co-Chair, and six Vice-Chairs.  Work with other Tea Party members and conservatives across your Congressional District and the state to ensure that we are not running multiple candidates for the same positions.

    • Ensure all delegates elected to the State Convention attend their Congressional District Caucus (Friday) and the State Convention (Saturday).  The State Committee and Congressional District Leadership will be elected at the Congressional District Caucuses and the MIGOP Leadership will be elected during the State Convention General Session.

    • Create slate cards that list our candidates for Congressional District Leadership, State Committee, and MIGOP Leadership positions.  Distribute the slate cards at the Congressional District Caucuses and on the floor of the State Convention.

    And I can guarantee you that the current establishment will be using the survey results to sort out who the pro-ShowStack county delegates are (or likely are), and use every trick at their disposal to make double-damn sure that the every district delegation is as anti-Courser as it can be.  If we're going to flip the state chair spot, then we're going to have to beat the Good Old Boys Club at their own game . . . again.

    We start, of course, by familiarizing ourselves with the 2013 version of the convention rules and the 2012 version of the party bylaws, so that we can hold the current establishment accountable to their own rules, should they wish to try anything funny.  We should also make a point of getting our hands on copies of the county and district by-laws (where they exist) . . . again, for the purposes of making sure that the establishment is playing by their own rules.  Being familiar with Robert's Rules of Order will also come in handy.

    The next thing we need to do is become familiar with the updated convention delegation apportionment (both by county and by district).  The numbers have been rearranged a bit from the 2012 version, because for this convention and the convention in 2014 the apportionment is based on the republican presidential vote instead of the republican Secretary of State vote.  This is so we know how many slots we need to fill, and because there's a dozen different reasons that an alternate could get elevated (and they get elevated by county), we need to pay attention to packing the ranks of the alternates in each county delegation with as many pro-Courser people as possible . . . just in case.  Rule # 12 provides the details for the elevation of alternates, and the pro-Courser coalition would do well to plan their county convention strategy accordingly.

    Expect a lot of jockeying at the county conventions, and be prepared for procedural and delegate assignment shenanigans.  The current establishment will use every trick at their disposal to pack pro-Schostak delegates into every available slot coming out of the county conventions . . . so be ready, and make them fight for every single vacancy.  Also, the pro-Courser coalition needs to use every means at its disposal to keep a record of who was actually selected as delegates and alternates coming out of each county (video recordings, transcribed copies of the approved delegations, and so forth).

    According to Rule # 9, the county reports are due to state party headquarters by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 11th.  That same rule requires these reports to be made available to: (1) any State Convention candidate, or his or her representative; or (2) any delegate to the county convention in question.  This is so that credentials challenges, pursuant to Rule # 8-C, can be filed in a timely fashion.  Here's where the pro-Courser forces keeping a county-by-county record of who was actually selected as delegates and alternates will come in handy.  If the record doesn't agree with the report, then a challenge needs to be filed (with supporting evidence) forthwith.

    The deadline to file credentials challenges, specified in Rule # 8-C, is 11:59 p.m. on Monday, February 11th.  That's a seven-hour window from when the county reports are due to when the challenge deadline lapses.  If it were me, the pro-Courser coalition should start politely inquiring of the county party staff for copies of the report starting at about noon on Friday, February 8th, as to the status of the county report . . . and start getting really persistent if that report isn't in hand by 9:00 a.m. on Monday.  It would not be out of the question to file a preemptive challenge (provided that it can be backed up by the independent record) if the county report isn't in hand by 4:55 p.m. . . . it's been done before.

    The intervening two weeks between the county conventions and the district caucuses are going to have the delegates and alternates on the receiving end of robo-calls, e-mails, campaign mailers, surveys, and whip calls.  (Hey, this is the price of being a convention delegate.)  There's a reason for this.  As anyone who's managed a convention campaign can probably tell you, just as a lawyer should never ask a witness-on-the-stand a question to which the lawyer doesn't already know the answer, there's no reason that a convention (whether district caucus or general session) should be called to order without a candidate for election knowing within ±5% what his vote totals are.

    It won't be just the two candidates for state chair either.  It'll also be the candidates for the contested vice-chair seats as well as contested district seats.  The liberty coalition (tea party movement, liberty caucus, and so forth) learned their lesson at the January 2011 State Convention; this time I expect that they'll be storming the gates and uninterested in taking prisoners, which I forecast even then.

    Caucus Night Follies

    At the district caucuses (Friday, February 22nd, starting at 5:00 p.m.), according to the convention rules (starting on page 10, which is page 12 of the PDF), the following seats are up for election in each district:

    • electing one (1) Convention Vice Chair (to preside as Chair of the District Caucus)
    • electing one (1) Assistant Secretary (to serve as Secretary of the District Caucus)
    • electing one (1) Congressional District Chair (who will also serve as a member of the Michigan Republican State Committee), who shall serve a term of two (2) years
    • electing one (1) Congressional District Vice-Chair (of the opposite sex of the Chair), who shall serve a term of two (2) years
    • electing one (1) Congressional District Secretary, who shall serve a term of two (2) years
    • electing one (1) Congressional District Treasurer, who shall serve a term of two (2) years
    • electing six (6) persons, no more than three (3) of which shall be the same gender, to the Michigan Republican State Committee, who shall serve a term of two (2) years - the seven district members of the State Committee consist of these six persons plus the District Chair
    • electing a district committee of fifteen (15) members to serve for a two (2) year term

    . . . and the specifics of how this'll be done may vary from district to district.  However, a few things are constant:

    Just so we're clear, the election of the Convention Vice Chair (to preside as Chair of the District Caucus) and the Assistant Secretary (to serve as Secretary of the District Caucus), as well as the appointment of the caucus officers, have nothing to do with the election of the actual District Committee positions that will be served for the next two years.  So unless there's a real and verifiable concern with the competence of either nominee, leave them be.  Fighting these two seats, unless there's an airtight reason to do so, is just petty.

    Convention Rule # 11 specifies that, "All congressional district caucuses shall follow Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised on matters not covered by these Rules."  Now, some districts have district bylaws and some don't, and under normal circumstances the bylaws would override in conflicts with either the convention rules or Robert's Rules, but here's the thing . . . Earlier this week I had a conversation with the sitting 2nd District Chairman.  In that conversation, I learned that Eric Doster, the state party's General Counsel, had ruled that, for those districts that do have bylaws, if even one of the 25 voting members of the District Committee now live outside the district (due to the 2011 reapportionment), then the district bylaws are null and void until they can be re-ratified by a district committee consisting entirely of members residing within the current boundaries of the district, thus after the closing gavel of the District Caucus.

    So, if the District Chair, or any of the district leadership for that matter, tries to say that the district bylaws prohibit whatever it is that you're doing, the easy response is to insist that they prove that: (a) the bylaws actually exist, and (b) that Mr. Doster has ruled that those bylaws are valid.  If both can't be proven, then the bylaws don't matter, which means that Robert's Rules are the rule in any instance not covered by the convention rules.

    Here's why that matters.  While the convention rules allow for the option of competing slates at the county conventions (if the county bylaws so permit), no such option is provided for at the district caucus or general session.  Nevertheless, it's not uncommon for incumbent district chairs, or the "next in line" if the chair is stepping down, to attempt to advance a slate of candidates for the remaining 24 seats on the District Committee.  (There's any number of reasons for doing this; and I can't think of a single one that'd be considered champion in its purpose.)  Robert's Rules provide for a grand total of two methods of handling the district elections, and a slate approach isn't one of them.  This is a violation of the rules, requiring unanimous consent to proceed, and should the Caucus Chair seem inclined to allow a slate approach to proceed, all it takes is one member of the delegation to voice objection (and keep saying it until it's obvious that the chair gets it)

    For the elections of the 25 members of the District Committee, there are two options under Robert's Rules:

    • Nominate, support, and elect each of the positions individually, one at a time.  This is necessarily time-consuming, but it's a great way to wear down the opposition if they're not prepared for a drawn-out floor fight and you are.

    • Nominate and support to each of the 25 positions.  Once the nominations are closed for all positions, each position is elected individually.  This allows for the an efficient method of handling the vote, by way of having pre-printed ballots with all 25 positions listed (with a blank line beside each position so that the name of the desired candidate can be written in), and the nominees for each position listed on a large white board (or something similar) at the front of the caucus room.

    The actual voting can be done by any acceptable method under Article VIII of Robert's Rules, but the clear expectation in the rules is that some form of election by ballot will be the norm at the caucus.  Nevertheless, expect that the elites will try to pull some sort of "voice vote" or "show of hands" . . . and we know how reliable that is.  Again, an objection on the floor should be enough, but this may require an actual "yea" or "nay" motion to force a ballot (which is another reason why it's helpful to know your vote totals in advance).

    The final thing to keep in mind here is that for contested seats, an absolute majority of the ballots cast, ignoring only blanks, is necessary to win the election.  The caucus tellers are supposed to report the vote totals when reporting the results, along with the number of non-blank ballots cast and the number votes needed for majority.  If they fail to do so, then this is another cause for an objection from the floor.  (Keep in mind that votes cast for an ineligible person does count as being part of the total ballots cast, and thus will affect the number needed for majority.)  If, for any particular position, a majority isn't achieved, then that spot - only - is revoted as often as necessary until a majority is achieved (or until all but one contender has dropped out of consideration).

    Now keep in mind that, in order to accomplish anything useful in the several caucuses, the liberty coalition has to: (1) work as a team, (2) occupy at least 40% of the voting delegate slots - assuming that we can peel off at least 20% of the establishment voters who are dissatisfied with the status quo, and (3) don't make an issue out of something that isn't worth the fight.

    General Session Notes and Final Thoughts

    As with the May and September conventions last year, don't be overly surprised if the blueblood elites try to pull a fast one as a way to box out the liberty coalition.  However, keep in mind that they'll also lob out red herrings as well, as a way to distract us from what we need to be focused on.  Know what is and isn't worth objecting to.  We are, in effect, going after the king; so those who have a vested interest in his retaining office will utilize every procedural and logistical roadblock, hurdle, and distraction they have in their bag of tricks to throw the liberty coalition off of their game.  And while they're at it, those same elites will twist any arm and offer up any deal (including 1:00 a.m. phone calls from elected executives) to pry away support that they can't peel off . . . be ready, and keep the contingency plans quiet.

    I'll also recommend that the liberty coalition keep a minimum of two pairs of eyes on the district voting machines at all times.  (Do this in a way that's unintrusive.)  Consider it the convention equivalent of poll watching.  One of the two observers should jot down the numbers from the machine strip as soon as it's printed and run it up to someone on the team who'll be keeping tabs on things at the teller's table.  This way, we have a backup record of what the numbers are supposed to be.

    As with the district caucuses, know what your vote totals are in advance of the convention being called to order.

    At this point I'll bet that there are several of you who by now are wondering why I'm telegraphing strategy to the opposition.  What makes you think they don't already have all this figured out?

    < MDP: No 2010 Repeat of Angry Virg(ina) | You Don't Sweat Much For A Fat Girl >

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    Reads as though the convention rules (none / 0) (#1)
    by Bruce on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 12:39:32 PM EST
    play like a 10-level video game.  Another example of fixing the game rather than fixing the problems.  Is it any wonder why the average citizen simply walks away from politics?

    Kevin (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by grannynanny on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 06:22:42 PM EST
    Did you read the series on Breitbart about what was happening behind the scenes in the RNC?  Same thing as our state and local shennanigans.  Reince Preibus is as bad as our establishment players here in Michigan.

    http://legalinsurrection.com/2013/01/how-republicans-got-clobbered-in-tech-in-two-images-and-a-few-l inks/

    Pretty sad that the progs have infiltrated what was once a great party.

    I am strongly in favor of a third party and the time has come to stand for our beliefs and principals.  Now is the time.  We cannot continue to trust the Republican party - too many traitors.

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