UPDATE: 4:30 PM EST The Committee on Rules and Order of Business presented the proposed rule changes, and it was adopted by the general convention, but not without considerable opposition, judging from live audio. Immediately after the chair ruled it passed, there were loud “boos” from the floor of the convention, followed by chants of “USA! USA!” to drown out the “boos.”

Tonight, unless something changes again, will be the official nomination of the 2012 GOP presidential candidate. All options I am aware of have been exhausted to nominate someone other than Mitt Romney to this position. Besides Ron Paul, who has often been accused of trying to cause part dissent, names such as Sarah Palin, Rick Santroum, and some others have also been thrown around as potential challengers.

So what exactly has happened to this point? Well, I couldn’t tell you everything because the $5.00 I have made in advertising revenue wasn’t quite enough to book a flight to Tampa this year, but I’ll give you what I know.

It takes 5 state delegation [majorities] to nominate a candidate at the RNC. Depending on whose numbers you count, Ron Paul had somewhere between 5 and 13 or 14 states, but as far as official numbers go, it looks like he only had 5. Still, that’s the bare minimum to nominate him and force a “brokered” convention in which the nominee wouldn’t be known until the end of the convention. The last time this happened, Ronald Reagan became president for 8 years. Since then, results have been, well, different.

In an effort to silence the “dissenting” Ron Paul crowd, the RNC Rules Committee has proposed a few striking rule changes that would prevent an uprising in the future. These rule changes are very important, so you need to hear about them. They affect every single grassroots activist in the Republican Party.

  1. Plurality. Currently, a 5-state requirement exists to nominate a candidate, in the event of a long primary (such as we had this time around). This prevents candidates with little to no support from being considered for the nomination, but still allows competition which should theoretically result in a better candidate. They tried to change it to 10, which, conveniently enough would stifle the effort to nominate Ron Paul from the floor. This change was unsuccessful.
  2. Winner takes all. This one passed, and will require all state delegations to be “winner takes all” bodies. That means, for example, in my home state of Oklahoma, where the race was about evenly split between Santorum, Gingrich, and Romney, Santroum would have clinched all of our delegates, instead of having a proportional representation. This also makes all delegates bound, taking away this little notion we call democracy. More directly, it means that candidates like Santorum, Paul, and Gingrich, who had mostly grassroots support, and were sometimes outspent 12-1 by the Romney campaign would have virtually no chance at gaining ground in the future.
  3. Disqualification. Candidates will be able to disqualify their delegates, at will, if they don’t like them. That means that a candidate can pick and choose who represents them. I thought we were supposed to choose who represents “we the people,” but apparently the GOP thinks that’s an old outdated idea that needs to be done away with. This also passed in committee.
  4. Further rule changes. This is perhaps the most significant of the rule changes. If this passes in the general convention this week, some sort of central committee at the RNC will be able to change party rules at their own discretion, without the approval of any future delegation at national conventions. This would be a damning action that will basically empower only the elite higher-ups in the party, and effectively take your voice out of the party process. It is a violation of the principles (of both parties, by the way) that make us American. We are a nation because we believe the individual is to be in charge of his or her government, not the other way around.

This list may not be exhaustive or 100% precise in detail, but it is what I have heard from delegates in the convention and reporters on scene. This really looks like what happened in Oklahoma, except they’re doing their dirty work out in the open, prior to the convention itself.

What can be done?!

There is still some time to contact members of the Rules Committee. Here is a list of their names and contact info. Don’t be afraid to contact members from your state. They are your delegates, and their job is to represent you. The convention convenes in about one hour from the writing of this article, but anything can happen all the way up until the time that the convention is over.

Lastly, the way forward is to get and stay involved. Many people are upset with the GOP already, and some plan to leave the party, either becoming independent, joining the Libertarian party, or just giving up altogether. I understand each of these decisions, but I believe that we must continue to fight from within the party, and return it to the principles it is supposed to uphold. Run for your county and state positions. Volunteer. Become “known” at the local level, and work all the way up to the top. Without this type of involvement we wouldn’t even be having this battle.

And remember, and idea whose time has come cannot be stopped, not by any army, not by any government, and certainly not by any tyrannical party leadership.