During an August 26 rally for Ron Paul in Tampa, Florida, with nearly 10,000 supporters in attendance, libertarian-leaning Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.) called for an audit of the Republican National Committee after it seated delegates from states with a great deal of support for Ron Paul at the edges of the convention floor.
The Houston Chronicle reports, “Delegates from U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Northern Marianas Islands get better seats than Ron Paul’s supporters.”
According to a convention seating chart obtained by Politico, “the delegations from Nevada, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota and Oklahoma all located on the outer fringe of the convention floor. Each are states with significant Paul followings.”
Paul’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, who has been accused by Ron Paul’s supporters of being a neoconservative saboteur, did not consider the RNC's seating choice for Paul delegates an issue. “I am glad so many of our delegates get to sit close together,” he said.
The GOP and Romney’s campaign have seen to it that Paul’s supporters are denied a place on the convention floor, even though Paul has five states — Louisiana, Oregon, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Maine — enough to grant him official recognition on the floor. Convention rules permit a candidate who controls five state delegations to make a motion on the floor; however, Romney’s lawyers successfully stripped away Paul’s delegates, thereby limiting the power of Paul’s supporters to seek to amend the party platform or nominate Paul.
Ron Paul’s supporters have complained about the treatment by the Romney-controlled convention officials.
"I think it may be time we audit the RNC," Amash said at the Paul rally, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Amash, an outspoken supporter of Paul, had this to say about his choice for the Republican presidential nominee: "There is no next Ron Paul. He is one of a kind. No one can replace Ron Paul."
Despite his support for Paul, however, Amash has stated that he will support the GOP nominee, without mentioning Romney by name. (Paul’s son Rand, of course, has explicitly endorsed Romney.)
There have been numerous cries of foul play as Romney and the GOP have strong-armed the convention and rewritten the GOP rulebook. The New American’s Joe Wolverton noted:
The RNC Rules Committee voted 63-38 to create a new party rule granting the ruling cabal — and by extension their candidate, Mitt Romney — unchecked power to change the party’s rules.
At the urging of the Romney campaign’s chief attorney, Ben Ginsberg, the new rule allows the RNC to rewrite the party's rulebook without the approval of the full Republican National Convention.
The new scheme is an unprecedented power grab that gives the GOP’s presumptive nominee power to control the party and to effectively prevent any dissenting man or message from penetrating the thick veil of control draped by the Establishment over the nominating process.
Remarking on this, Paul told his supporters, “They’ve learned how to bend rules, break rules and now they want to rewrite the rules! But then again, maybe they’ve been paying attention to what’s going on in Washington. [The RNC has] been bending the rules and breaking the rules and rewriting the rules for too long, and that’s what we have to stop from happening.”
On that same day, the Republican Party voted to strip Ron Paul of half of his Maine delegates. The 10 unseated Maine delegates would have been able to preserve their seats had they agreed to support Romney. But the delegates told Romney’s campaign that Romney would “have to steal it” from them, and so they were unseated.
Ron Paul referenced the dispute over his unseated delegates to the massive audience of wildly cheering supporters at the “We are the Future Rally” held on the campus of the University of South Florida.
“People at the RNC were worried about just how much trouble we would cause,” Paul said. “There is a big fight going on … and they overstepped their bounds.”
Likewise, state Republican Parties have been working overtime to silence Paul’s supporters at the RNC. GOP delegates from California, for example, promised to drown out “any uprising” by Paul’s supporters on the RNC floor.
“The state delegation, marginalized in most matters because of California’s heavily Democratic electorate, could be significant in drowning out any chants supporting Paul: The 172-member delegation is the nation’s largest, and unlike some split delegations is fully committed to Romney,” the Sacramento Bee reported.
Senior Romney adviser Jeff Randle has indicated that he directed 16 delegate whips to lead pro-Romney chants.
Meanwhile, Ron Paul was invited to speak at the convention, but rejected the invitation because of the strings attached. The New York Times writes,
Mr. Paul, in an interview, said convention planners had offered him an opportunity to speak under two conditions: that he deliver remarks vetted by the Romney campaign, and that he give a full-fledged endorsement of Mr. Romney. He declined.
“It wouldn’t be my speech,” Mr. Paul said. “That would undo everything I’ve done in the last 30 years. I don’t fully endorse him for president.”
Still, despite some of the major disappointments surrounding Paul’s campaign and the mistreatment of his supporters at the Republican National Convention, there is much for Paul to celebrate as well.
“We used to say most people found libertarianism by reading Ayn Rand,” said David Boaz of the Cato Institute, a libertarian research organization in Washington. “In the last five years, most people have found libertarianism by listening to Ron Paul."
And as noted by Benton, Paul’s constant rhetoric against the Federal Reserve has finally forced the Republican Party to draft a platform plank calling for an audit of the central bank.
According to Brian Doherty, senior editor at Reason magazine and author of Radicals for Capitalism, Paul “normalized” a movement once considered to be kooky.
Ron Paul has remained optimistic about the future of the movement he has been leading, and asserts that the libertarian arm will eventually become the base of the GOP. “We’ll get into the tent, believe me, because we’ll become the tent eventually.… Once they know we are the future they will know about us,” he declared.
Photo of Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.): AP Images