This week is the Republican National Convention.  Anger seems to be the word of the week so far.  The convention got off to a rocky start when hurricane Isaac threatened Florida, forcing a very abbreviated first day session that lasted exactly two minutes.  Oddly, hurricanes also affected the 2004 and 2008 conventions.

Ron Paul

Ron Paul has always had very devoted supporters.  The average depth of support among his fans is certainly greater than that of any other candidate.  The only probably is that a “eh, I like the guy” vote counts just as much as a “I’d die for the guy” vote.  Paul has never been able to muster a strong breadth of support – and that’s what really matters.

While Paul was basically a non-factor, his supporters have claimed that while he didn’t win, this campaign was the start of a revolution, and that the Ron Paul 2012 campaign would set policy within the Republican party for the next generation, on par with Ronald Reagan.  Really?  A fringe candidate with support of a small minority of party members is on par with a two term president?  If Romney wins the presidency, I’d expect the GOP to close ranks behind him a bit and at least shift somewhat toward him. 

Paul supporters did cause at least one change, though.  State delegates will now be bound by the results of the state’s primaries and caucuses.  Paul’s support had been able to lobby to become delegates, such that their representation as delegation was far out of proportion with the percentage of votes Paul had received in primaries and caucuses.  In other words, they were essentially disenfranchising the voters by making the election results irrelevant.

The platform

The Republican platform is far to the right of where Mitt Romney stands.  It has been characterized as “activist written”.  The platform advocates making English the official language, banning all abortions (even in case of rape), and changing medicare to a voucher-based system.  So, basically, the platform alienates legal immigrants, women, and senior citizens.  Prominent Republicans such as John Boehner and Jeb Bush have spoken out against the platform.

I’d expect to hear the Romney/Ryan commercials tout their own platform, while essentially ignoring the official Republican platform.  There is a link to Romney’s plan at the bottom of this article – it’s a free Kindle download. 

It will be interesting to see what role the platform could play in congressional races, however.    A Democratic candidate could push an opponent to either embrace the platform (alienating independents and affected groups) or reject it (possible reducing voter turnout among their base).

This is how we feed the animals

One of the lowlights from the convention were two partygoers who threw nuts at an African-American CNN cameraman, saying “this is how we feed the animals.”  The two attendees were immediately removed by police.  I realize that a large amount of alcoholic beverages are probably consumed by convention attendees, but is it asking too much to remain civil?

The convention released a statement condemning the acts.  I’m sure that the vast majority of Republicans would condemn this behavior as well.

The national race

I always laugh when I hear people talking about the national polling number.  It’s almost as if they believe there is a national election for president.  That’s not really the case.  We operate on the Chuck E Cheese model.  There are 51 presidential elections.  The winner of each elections get a certain number of tokens.  If you get 270 tokens, you can trade them in for the big prize.

You can safely ignore the national polling numbers and the numbers from about 3/4 of the states.  A handful of battleground states are the only ones that really matter.


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