Fun & Delegate Games, Or How Ron Paul Got His Kicks In Massachusetts
I recently did a cover illustration for Worcester Magazine, an alternative newsweekly
in Worcester, Massachusetts. It was for their lead story about squabbles within the state Republican party re delegates to this week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Here’s the final:
What does the illustration mean, exactly? Let me break down some of the main elements, especially for my non-U.S. readers:
Each party nominates its candidate for president at a national convention. Republicans are holding their convention this week in Tampa, Florida. There’s a tradition of wearing straw hats at these conventions, though I’ve been unable to trace its origin.
Most of the delegates in Tampa will cast their votes for Mitt Romney, making him the Republican presidential nominee. Why? Because Mr. Romney won the most delegates in state primary elections which took place earlier this year.
The other “player” in my illustration is Ron Paul, one of several other candidates who ran against Mr. Romney in the state primary elections. Mr. Paul is a Republican, but he is also a hero to many Libertarians, who advocate limited government and expanded personal freedoms.
And that helps summarize two competing factions in the Republican party:
Mr. Romney represents traditional or mainstream Republicanism (a majority), Mr. Paul represents a more libertarian strain (a vocal minority). In the illustration, Mr. Romney is kicking Mr. Paul off the elephant.
How good are the caricatures? Here are two photos of Mr. Romney, with his full head of too-perfect hair, deep-set eyes, slightly down-turned nose, pronounced chin:
A bit more background on the Massachusetts delegate controversy:
Massachusetts utilizes both caucuses and a primary. Delegates (the actual people
who will attend the national convention) are chosen at local caucuses. Statewide primary voting determines which candidate wins those delegates. The delegates pledge to vote for the winner (of the primary) on the first ballot at the national convention.
The potential for conflict arises because a delegate may personally support a candidate who lost the primary. He is pledged to support the winning candidate on the first ballot, but he actually prefers a different candidate.
That’s what happened in Massachusetts (and some other states like Maine): Ron Paul supporters campaigned hard at local caucuses, and won many of the delegate slots. Mitt Romney, however, won the primary. All delegates are obliged to vote for Mr. Romney on the first ballot, but Ron Paul supporters also want to do all they can to keep Mr. Paul and his ideas in the spotlight.
The state Republican party decided to put extra pressure on the delegates who were Ron Paul supporters. They asked them to sign an affidavit, swearing to vote for Mr. Romney at the convention. Some refused, some were late returning the affidavits. The state party then decertified those delegates, and gave those slots to the runners-up in the same caucuses (who are Mitt Romney supporters).
Which is why the illustration shows Mr. Romney giving Mr. Paul the boot.
The illustration also contains a little joke: Boston is the capitol of Massachusetts and its largest city, with a population of about 618,000 people. Worcester is the state’s second largest city, pop. 180,000. However, since the illustration was for Worcester Magazine, I made Worcester the “big star,” and reduced Boston to a tiny speck. Here’s a close-up:
What do you think? Does it make sense to elect delegates who support one candidate, and then oblige them to vote for another? Ever felt torn between sticking with your own candidate and supporting another for the sake of party unity? Hope you’ll leave a comment.
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