By Brian Doherty
You may have heard Ron Paul finally won a caucus outright--in the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands on Saturday.
Paul campaign spokesman Jack Hunter finds it ironic that a press that always reports victors in terms of popular vote, not delegate counts, chose to declare this a Romney victory since he walked away with more delegates.
Paul fans also are annoyed that the Virgin Island GOP's official web page changed to not even mention the 29 percent more votes for Paul delegates than 26 percent for Romney ones, though the original results are still visible in this post from former Reason man Dave Weigel at Slate.
The convoluted, poorly-reported-on rules for the Virgin Island caucus state that no one is voting for the candidate per se, they are merely voting for delegates who are committed to a certain candidate (or not). It seems as though a larger percentage of people voted for delegates who said they were for Ron, those votes were too spread out among different potential delegates for many of his delegates to actually get selected. Each voter had six different votes to case for delegates.
Residents of the Virgin Islands can't actually vote for president in the general election. And while it is inaccurate to say "Ron Paul won the popular vote," since no one was voting for Ron Paul per se, more people did cast votes for delegates committed to Ron. (384 total votes were cast in the VI caucus.) And yet he's walking away with only one committed one going to Tampa. The New American with more on the double-standard in reporting victors, and Independent Voter Network on the same; how bitterly ironic that the first time the media is scrupulously mindful of the importance of delegate accumulation over raw votes, a point Paul's campaign emphasized early and often, it is to deny Paul a moral victory.
Now for some snapshots of the Ron Paul delegate fight from GOP conventions 'cross the land:
*Paul people rock Clark County Nevada, reports the Las Vegas Review Journal. Details:
Supporters of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul on Saturday effectively took control of the Clark County Republican Party by winning election to 14 executive board positions, or two-thirds of the ruling body.
The election came during the county GOP convention where Paul delegates dominated, winning as many as half of the 1,382 delegates nominated to the state convention May 2-4 in Sparks.....
"This is the grass roots taking a stand to change the direction of the party from the county level," said Carl Bunce, Nevada chairman of Paul's campaign and a delegate. "This is bigger than just Ron Paul. This is about liberty and openness and fairness and changing the party."....
Still, the Paul factor could complicate things at the state convention for Mitt Romney, the GOP front-runner who won the Feb. 4 GOP presidential caucus in Nevada with 50 percent of the vote....
The 2012 state GOP convention will elect 28 delegates to the Republican National Convention this summer in Tampa, Fla.
Romney earned 14 of those delegates because of his 50 percent caucus finish. The rest of the delegates also were awarded proportionally, depending on the percentage of the caucus vote that each candidate won in Nevada.
■ Newt Gingrich got 21 percent of the caucus vote to pick up six delegates.
■ Paul won 19 percent for five delegates.
■ Rick Santorum won 10 percent for three delegates.
Bunce said Paul supporters would follow the rules, which require the 28 delegates elected at the state level to attend the national convention and be bound on the first ballot to vote in line with the GOP caucus winning percentages.
That could mean a Paul delegate would have to vote for Romney on the first ballot if he's the GOP nominee based on delegates won during the primary season. However, a contested convention could lead to more than one ballot, and delegates could then switch to other candidates.
*Angry non-Paul fan reports from Minnesota:
Up until yesterday, I really hadn’t taken the Ron Paul campaign very seriously. Most non-Paul voters probably felt like I did, and laughed him off as that “kooky Uncle” who didn’t have a chance in hell to win the Republican nomination for President.
Well, I’ve changed my mind. Big time.
Yesterday I attended the Republican organizational convention for my Senate district here in Minnesota, and what I witnessed was an organized take-over of our nomination process by Ron Paul cultists. They came to this convention with the sole intent to take over as many of the delegate seats as they could, and sadly, they succeeded....
As soon as the man leading the convention(the Convention Chair) began to ask if there were any motions to bring to the floor, several Paulbots lept to their feet to make motions asking to “suspend” the rules so that people who were in attendance could add their names to the delegate nominations....
The Paulbots, who did NOT submit their names prior to the convention, were now demanding that they should added to the list of nominees that very day. This is normally outside of the rules, but the Paulbots(there were at least 50 of them spread throughout the auditorium) through a suspension of the rules, demanded that they be added to the list of nominees...they were able to add all of their names to the delegate nominations.
*Nick Weltha, a Ron Paul supporter from Iowa, reports to me personally that "Paul has at least half if not maybe 4/5ths of the delegates in Polk County, Iowa (biggest county in the state) from the historic 12-hour county convention last weekend. This is just my estimate, of course, but the turnout was enormous and every person I ever saw walk into the Central Iowa Paul office seemed to be there, including some of the fringe left-libertarians...we seem to have stacked the state GOP convention in favor of Paul."
*Paul Alaska delegates fear possible skullduggery aimed at them with delegate payments delayed deliberately til after the official deadline. More warnings of possible GOP intimidation against Paul people.
*In Wyoming, the Washington Times reports, Paul's delegate strategy fails with a 21 percent popular vote turning into only one delegate going on to the national convention.
*Paul fans analyze fine-grained data from New York in 2008 and find that merely dragging a buddy or two to vote could be very meaningful in that primary state.
*Rick Santorum has his own delegate strategy, detailed in this long memo that does a decent job explaining why the unbound caucus state delegates will likely not go the way the straw poll votes might indicate. Santorum, like Paul, thinks his people will be better organized and passionate enough to pull off surprises.
*Black Swan author Nassim Taleb hearts Ron Paul: "Only one candidate, Ron Paul, seems to have gasped the issues and is offering the right remedies for the central pobrlems we are facing so I came out just to support....i think one caddiate represetnes the right policies...and that's Ron Paul."