Did you know Maine had a caucus this weekend, and Romney won? But nobody cares. Know why? First, because all it means is that the GOP caucus-goers in Maine have made a recommendation to the party insiders who will meet at a nominating convention in a month or so. It is binding in no way, much like a Pennsylvania voter’s opinion means nothing.
So, rightly, nobody particularly cares.
Pennsylvania, shockingly, is even more anti-democratic. Two weeks ago my county GOP committee met to determine endorsements for the upcoming primaries. At that meeting we endorsed delegates to the convention as an afterthought. Perhaps the people steering the meeting wanted it that way. Perhaps it’s always that way. I don’t know. These delegates never expressed any position at all– at least that I was aware of– prior to being endorsed.
This is important: I am a voting member of the party who attended the county endorsement convention, and I do not know who the nominated delegates preferred. The argument for why this system theoretically makes sense is that a regular voter is supposed to know what candidate a delegate prefers.
Of course, those delegates are not legally bound by anything anyway.
Now, in a week the state GOP will have a similar meeting, wherein they will nominate candidates at the state level for things like Treasurer and Attorney General. This is also where a presidential endorsement could, theoretically, be forthcoming. This is supposed to inform the delegate’s decision at the party convention, you see.
This year, at least, that question may or may not be taken up. It appears if Tsunami Tuesday delivers results indicating the primary process will linger on, they definitely will not take up the question. Perhaps, though, if Mac hazes Romney like a first-year midshipman they will just endorse McCain.
So the Pennsylvania GOP’s endorsement has more to do with the opinion of people in other statesthan it does with the opinions of a Pennsylvania county committeeman, let alone a regular Keystone State GOP voter. It is this party endorsement that, arguably, most informs the decisions of a delegate at the GOP’s national convention.
So, it appears the Pennsylvania GOP has voluntarily abrogated its right to allow Pennsylvania’s voters to have any say at all in who the national party nominates to be president. Because of the late date, the fact that the delegates are not legally bound to the preferences of the voters, and because the state committee itself seems to mostly base it’s recommendation on the primary results of states that do have primaries that matter.
There must be a reason for this. But trying to figure out why actual smokers never saw any money out of the class-action tobacco settlement confused me less than this.