“As Maine goes, so does the nation.” These words filled the hallways at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 29 as part of the “Wednesday walkout,” when Republican delegates from Maine and five other states left the convention floor, eventually bringing the protest outside the building.
What led to the walkout was a series of “disingenuous” events, as Cody Morgan, a 19-year-old UMaine political science student, said. Morgan was an alternate delegate for the Ron Paul campaign and attended the convention in Tampa, Fla. Morgan summed up the entirety of events in Tampa, saying there was a “lack of virtue, and no one was following the rules.”
The RNC led Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan into the running for president and vice president, respectively. However, this was not done without careful and strategic planning from powerful political figures. National Committeewoman Jan Staples and Peter Cianchette, chairman of Maine’s Mitt Romney campaign, challenged the lawfulness of the selection of the Maine delegates.
In Maine, delegates are chosen according to how the candidates fared during the caucus elections. Paul won the caucus elections in Maine, and was therefore able to have more Maine delegates at the RNC than Romney.
At the convention, each delegate votes to advance one candidate for the presidential election. Delegates are not required to vote specifically for the candidate they are representing; however, it is assumed that in most cases they will. Romney swept the RNC nominee vote by nearly 90 percent.
Morgan, a delegate for Paul, was baffled by the behavior that played out on the floor of the convention. On Monday, Aug. 27, the day before the convention started, the 20 delegates and 20 alternate delegates for the Maine Republican Party were informed that there was foul play in the voting of the delegate nominations, even though they failed to pinpoint an actual case.
Staples and Cianchette challenged Maine’s delegates and alternates along with five other states including Massachusetts, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Oregon. The credentials committee ruled that only 10 delegates and 10 alternates would be seated at the convention and the remaining people would be hand picked by the credentials committee themselves.
For a candidate to become the Presidential nominee for the Republican Party, he or she must win by a simple majority, meaning one vote more than 50 percent of the total 2,286 delegates would suffice.It has been speculated that this ruling was made in an effort to shut out a portion of Paul’s support.
Paul supporters did not go down without a fight. Brent Tweed, the Maine delegate chairman, tried to reverse the decision made about the delegates and announce an objection. This would normally be done by a formal request to speak and a runner to deliver the message to the chairperson of the RNC. In this case, however, the request was blatantly ignored. Tweed then tried to use the microphone to state “objection,” but the microphone was turned off.
The next speaker was then called to the stage, at which point hundreds of people on the floor were chanting “point of order,” which eventually became “seat Maine now.” Despite the speaker on stage being drowned out by the crowd, the attempts to change the decisions about Maine’s delegates were ignored.
The issue “could have been opened up for debate, but it turned into a coronation,” Morgan said.
Upset and discouraged, the Maine Ron Paul delegates left the floor. Morgan was shaking with rage as he left.
“Since I was a kid I was told that every vote mattered, and every voice is heard,” Morgan said.
“You can buy your way [into a political position] with enough TV time and ads,” Morgan said, which ruins his belief in the grassroots approach — “the door to door, and face to face” interactions.
Tampa was a “bunch of slaps in the face,” according to Morgan. When asked how he is still inspired to continue fighting in the often skewed political arena, he replied by saying, “I want to fix that […] carrying the same torch of virtue and propriety that Paul does.”
Morgan hopes to soon see a place where people of integrity are running the powerful positions of the country: “When someone has an objection it’s heard, whether we agree or disagree, because those are the rules.”