By Ken Small
If you were sitting at home last weekend, (Friday May 13 through Sunday May 15), wondering if there is hope for our nation and the Republican Party you should have gone to the state convention in Reno instead. With the national election scene in full swing, Nevadans got their chance to select their national convention delegates, electoral delegates, and alternates, and to make rules, platforms and other decisions necessary for Nevada to go forward on the political and election scene. Participants reported that it was the best-run presidential cycle convention in modern memory. Amidst news reports of major disruptions at the Democratic convention in Las Vegas, the Republican convention was anything but what the Democrats will now be remembered for. Anyone who has been to a state or county convention knows that tempers and patients can, and have, run out at times.
Having the organizers manage the procedures to give everyone a chance to hear and be heard is a hard job that was well preformed there.
Contrary to the national media reports there was no one speaking publicly against supporting the presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, and no one speaking on behalf of those who lost against him. If one term had to define the event that word would be “inclusive.” The event began with state party chairman Michael McDonald calling for unity.
But it seems that he was ‘preaching to the choir.’ Many admitted that Trump was not their first choice but there was no attempt to hijack the proceedings for another candidate.
The State Republican Party has apparently learned a few things from mistakes of the past and the recent Clark County Convention. Those who were at the County Convention will recall the credentials debacle, where people’s credentials were not organized enough for them to get into the convention. Long lines to get credentials and debating inside the convention about how to resolve the problems caused that event to miss its scheduled start time by half a day. This time the state party took its cues from organizations like the Las Vegas Republican Men’s Club that outsourced the payment process to Eventbrite.com. Party emails then told potential participants to buy over and over again… even after they had paid. This worked really well to avoid the massive credentials/payment problems of that event. This event convened within a half hour after its planned schedule… a huge improvement over the county event.
The most major technological improvement (of the always tech-challenged party) was the selection of an electronic voting
system. Each participant was given a hand-held simple device that really sped up the process of voting. Initial fears were resolved and the participants that I spoke to found them to be significantly beneficial. These were much easier to use than a cellular phone. Had the other items coming from the party organizers not been a bit disorganized, one could say that they got two days’ work done on Saturday.
Organizers had failed to post required information on candidates to the Web site sufficiently prior to the event for participants to research them. So the potential for a smooth running efficient system was definitely not achieved. According to the presentations used, the party still hasn’t mastered such technological marvels as a business office of the year 2000. No Power Point presentation indicating candidate’s resumes or biographies or pictures to show who they were shown or used. Spreadsheets listing candidate numbers were missing names or used redundant numbers or had two persons with the same number or the like and had to be corrected while attendees waited.
This made the new voting system and its OK graphics look like a modern wonder by contrast. All this was also a wonderful contrast to our quaint Nevada traditions such as drawing high card to break ties for the (low) alternate positions. One tiebreaker drew an ace of spades against the opposition’s king.
Onlookers commented that they hoped that we could keep the quaint high card drawing tradition while moving the 1990s tech up to modern practices. If you think that all of these tech and human volunteer problems could overshadow the politics, this was not at all the case.
Although the Democrat-owned press would have you believe that the party is fragmented due to Trump, the event and participants were very supportive of his candidacy and actually no one spoke against him.
Three very small procedural motions went against the signs that the Trump team was holding up. But, otherwise he got 99 percent. Again counter to what the RINO or Dem’d press would have you believe, the ground game of the Trumpers seemed to be spot on.
Noteworthy of the politics was that some people didn’t dare show their face at this event. Holding the event in Reno should have brought RINO Governor Sandoval out to shake a few hands or pat himself on the back for his achievements. Whenever Sandoval’s name came up the participants generally referred to him as RINO. Similarly RINO Mike Roberson, Speaker-of-the-Weak John Hambrick and the other tax-raising RINOs were also nowhere to be found.
The mood regarding these RINOS and their massive commerce tax was nothing but angry. Much discussion was spent on avoiding the RINO problem during the next legislature.
Who didn’t show up due to their failure to keep their campaign promises turned out to be important for policy reasons. The platform concerned itself with pre-primary endorsements… locking out the RINOS. However, the pre-primary endorsement processes could similarly harm new blood, persons who want to depart from the failed policies of the past like Trump has. There was significant debate regarding party endorsements. Endorsement procedures are in the rules now. So we shall see how that turns out in the future. People who join the party and then run shortly thereafter rarely get any help from the party anyway.
Now it will be more likely that the party apparatchik will endorse themselves over anyone relatively new on the scene. We will see if it becomes a lockout mechanism for potential new good candidates. It will almost certainly cut down on the long list of second-term RINOS. Last minute paper balloting was used to vote on endorsements. Watch the state GOP website to find out who is endorsed. Much debate was undertaken to sort through this issue on the last day.
The second hotly debated issue of the second day was the party platform. The document that came from the platform committee took over 200 hours of their time to create many detailed pages. As soon as the subject opened, a person offered a one-page version condensing the positions down to one page per side. That substitution looked like it would pass until it finally lost after attempts at amending it. One group argued that showing a potential party member the short document to explain what republicans stand for was better because the other was eight pages and too long. The other side argued that more detail is needed to explain to party elected officials what they should stand for and what is expected from their performance by the party.
Over 1000 attendees selected 27 delegates to go to the Cleveland national convention in July, where Trump is widely expected to be the Republican Party nominee. Party participants remarked that Trump would definitely beat Hillary if she makes it to the Democratic Convention without being indicted. Sanders is thought to be less of a challenge
due to his policies.
Resolutions adopted included topics of: scolding RINO republicans who caused a tax increase of over one billion dollars after promising not to raise taxes, support for repealing Obamacare, urging that voters vote no on ballot initiative 1 related to gun control, protecting voting rights from going to illegals, BLM supervision of land use by ranchers and sportsmen.
Those who missed the event should check the website www.nevadagop.org web site for election results and detailed resolutions.