2013 RPV Convention demonstrates the folly of nominating conventions

While many convention goers are still asleep after their grueling day yesterday, those of us who are more clear-headed have had some time to reflect on everything that happened.  And from my perspective, I cannot, for the life of me, understand why anybody still thinks that nominating by convention is a good idea.

Let’s look at the numbers.

8,094 – The total number of registered delegates who showed up, out of over 12,000 who registered.
255,826 – The number of Republicans casting a ballot in the 2012 U.S. Senate primary.

Just from those numbers you can see that the majority of well-motivated Republicans interested in participating in our nominating processes were disenfranchised by the State Convention.

Here’s another number: $25.  As my colleague Melissa Kenney noted the other day, that’s the cost for children to attend the convention.  For a family as large as hers, or as large as Ken Cuccinelli’s, it would cost almost $200 for them to attend the convention.  That doesn’t include meals, transportation and hotel costs for those who didn’t come from Richmond or the surrounding suburbs and don’t want to risk a 5+ hour drive home after a grueling hurry-up-and-wait style convention.  Not everybody can afford the poll tax conventions effectively levy.

And despite the miracles of modern communication, cell phones, Bearing Drift and our livestream, John Frederick’s live broadcast, email, Facebook and Twitter, the convention floor was still rife with rumors and nonsense, including the fake/rescinded endorsement controversy between Corey Stewart and Pete Snyder on the final ballot. Conventioneers were treated like fungi – kept in the dark and fed crap – and that inevitably had an impact on the final selection of E.W. Jackson as our Lt. Governor nominee.  Information trickled out of the counting area, and it was left to bloggers and social media to keep convention goers in the know.  And given the length of the convention, cell phones were dying or dead far before the convention was gaveled closed at 10:30 Saturday night.

We’ve all heard the arguments over the years about disenfranchisement of military members, parents with small children who can’t afford the cost of childcare, small business owners who can’t afford to give up a spring Saturday to the convention, the elderly who can’t go for 16 hours at a time, and the rest.  That was clearly in evidence yesterday, given that by the time the fourth ballot rolled around, over a third of the conventioneers who had showed up had left.  The final ballot saw fewer that 5,000 votes cast.

Is that what we really want?

This is usually the part of the conversation where the convention crowd starts complaining about “the establishment” and how my comments are just complaints from another establishment Republican complaining because my candidate didn’t win.  Sorry, but that’s not going to fly given the outcome of this convention.  First of all, I’m not speaking for the establishment when I suggest conventions are awful.  The real truth here is right in front of everybody’s face: “the establishment” wants conventions.   RPV’s State Central Commitee – the “establishment” of the Republican Party of Virginia – voted on Friday 51-21 to nominate our statewide Senate candidate next year by convention.  Those of us who want primaries are not the establishment in Virginia, we’re the folks on the outside complaining about the outdated, discriminatory and elitist nominating process where only people who have nothing better to do on a spring Saturday than sit in an arena covered in stickers for fifteen hours get to choose our nominees.

And the establishment got their wish – two of their candidates were nominated.  Both Ken Cuccinelli and Mark Obenshain are solid establishment candidates.  Ken ran unopposed, and Mark had the overwhelming backing of most of the unit chairs and State Central members out there.  They were exactly whom the establishment wanted as their nominees.

If you hate the political establishment, I can’t understand how you can favor conventions.

Bishop Jackson, on the other hand, was probably not what the establishment was looking for, but he also demonstrates the other danger of conventions – runaway enthusiasm for good speech-making.   There is no better orator in Virginia today than E.W. Jackson.  Anybody who has heard him speak can’t help but be moved, even if we’ve heard the same speech given ten different times in ten different places.  He has a way with words.  And in a convention, when most interaction between delegates and the candidates has been via direct mail and incessant phone calls, actually hearing a candidate with no filter between them and the audience has a major impact.  Jackson’s campaign was lackluster up to that point – he didn’t file as many delegates as most of the other campaigns, he raised hardly any money compared to Corey Stewart, JeanneMarie Davis and Pete Snyder, and there was little buzz about his campaign going into yesterday.  Yet he blew folks away on the first ballot and steadily increased his percentage until pulling off the victory.  I am confident in saying that had the candidates not given speeches, this would not have happened.  And while I am confident that Bishop Jackson, as a Harvard educated attorney, a Marine and a successful preacher, has a shot at winning the LG race, he was by no means the most qualified or proven candidate out of the choices we were given.  The party has taken a major risk in nominating someone who has never won an election, never held elective office and who will be headed to a general election campaign against a Democratic field that has already outraised him 10-1. And given the stakes – control of the State Senate for two years – this may not have been the best time to go with the risky choice.

Fortunately, unlike all of the other nominees – including the Democrats, Jackson does have experience running a statewide campaign. Granted, he only captured 4.72% of the vote in that campaign, but the experience is something no one else has.  Whether that experience will be enough to overcome the Democrats clear cash advantage is anybody’s guess.  We can only hope.

But it didn’t have to be this way.  It is time we ditch these wasteful conventions for statewide primaries for good, and that means we need to finally adopt party registration here in Virginia.  Unfortunately, given the current make up of State Central, its going to be a while before we are going to be able to drag RPV kicking and screaming into the 20th century.

We can worry about the 21st century some other day.

  • Isophorone

    “Fortunately, unlike all of the other nominees – including the Democrats,
    Jackson does have experience running a statewide campaign.” Ummm, excuse me? Remember that Ken Cuccinelli also has experience running a statewide campaign (which is why he is the sitting Attorney General).

    • I was talking about the LG race there. McAulliffe has run statewide, too.

      • Isophorone

        I was messing with you a little bit (and being a compulsive editor). Actually, I agree with much of what you wrote here. Thanks.

        What does it take to have closed primaries anyway? An act of the General Assembly? The cynic in me says that State Central Committee would still have conventions even if there were closed primaries!

        • Well, it would take State Central voting in favor of a primary, and it would take the GA to mandate party registration and fund SBE in such a way as to make that a reality.

          • We could do a statewide canvass right now, could we not? And set the rules about participation just was we do for other canvasses across the state. The lists stay within the the party. Cost is borne through filing fees. We can provide for military voters. All the advantages of a convention and a primary.

  • Erik Udovich

    Given the choice between 8,000 highly informed, educated party activists (i.e. conventions) and a couple of hundred thousand mindless lemmings who stop in to their polling location on the way home from work to vote for the perosn they saw on TV the most (i.e. primaries), I choose the former. This is how a republic is intended to work, with candidates being selected by a highly informed, engaged citizenry. You sound bitter because your favorite candidate, despite having some big money backers, was unsuccessful in this process although he probably would have won a primary given his deep (and dubious) financial backing. And calling conventions wasteful is ridiculous; they are entirely financied by the party with plenty of volunteers instead of forcing the taxpayers to pick up the tab to pay for poll workers and the like, as in the case of a primary.

    • No, it’s the difference between 8,000 highly informed, educated party activists and 200,000 highly informed, educated party activists. Random folks don’t vote in primary elections.

      And since my favorite candidate was female and was dropped on the first ballot, this isn’t about Pete Snyder.

      Conventions are wasteful – the money spent on the convention would be better deployed winning a general election.

      • Fred Flynnestone

        Candidates spend a fraction of the money on a convention than they need to in a statewide primary. Yeah the party spends more but that expense certainly gives the folks in the hall yesterday a much bigger stake in the outcome. And they’re the folks who, for the most part, will be manning polling places in November.

        • Of course, because the folks who didn’t get a say won’t now.

        • Volunteers manning polling places don’t win elections.

          • Fred Flynnestone

            Yeah. That’s exactly what I said.

          • I’m curious if there is reliable data on what is currently working best to influence voters. I have always been shocked by the post-election reports with exit interviews showing X% of voters were undecided right up until they went and voted. I suppose volunteers at polling places have at least some minimal effect there.

            But now there is a lot of focus on data mining. Do you then use that to prioritize how you do mailings, TV, radio, Internet ads, neighborhood door to door canvassing? You can have massive volunteer support but if it is not properly allocated, it won’t help much to win I would imagine.

          • The best data comes from the winning campaigns.

            Data is primarily used, as you noted, for microtargeting purposes. Many campaigns have a hard time deploying volunteers well, because every volunteer has different strengths and weaknesses and it takes a good field director to utilize folks properly.

      • You think the Jeannemarie would have done better in a primary? If that’s true, it’s the perfect example of why we should not have primaries.

        It must be so difficult to be so far left of the republican party. Feeling lonely over there Brian?

        How does it save money to have to campaign in a more costly primary? Television and radio ads aren’t cheap. E. W. Jackson spent next to no money because he had no money! While Pete, the establishment Richmond’s choice sent flyers daily, Jackson sent exactly ONE flyer. And yet the will of the people prevailed, without the support of the establishment and without their money.

        The convention was a resounding success. The grassroots, no money, candidate won! The establishment’s candidates did not win, the people’s candidates won. It was a sight to behold.

        • No, I don’t think JeanneMarie would have done better in a primary. She had an uphill battle regardless of the nominating method.

          Money spent in a primary hits the exact same targeted audience you want to hit in a general election. You aren’t targeting a small subset of preselected convention attendees drawn from the ranks of party activists. A TV ad that raises your name ID during a primary is still useful in the general.

          Everybody who voted for Jackson in the convention is obligated to support him in the general because they have to in order to stay party members. He doesn’t gain anything.

          The will of the people always prevails, Jeanine. And your candidate didn’t win either, so I’m not sure why you’re declaring victory here.

          • Not Harry F. Byrd

            As a sidenote, it will baffle me for the rest of my life how JeanneMarie (whatever her merits) and Tom thought she could get through a primary (let alone a convention). It was never going to happen. Ray Charles could have seen that.

          • At the time she decided to get in, there were no women and no moderates on the ballot. In a primary, she could have played those strengths to run up the numbers in Northern Virginia. In a four or five way race, there was a path to victory.

          • But it wasn’t a primary, so why did she remain in a race that she couldn’t possibly win? It never made sense to me.

          • It’s hard to unmake a decision like this once you’ve made it.

          • Because my second choice candidate did win! I supported two outsiders and one of them won. I was very happy that the candidate chosen for us by the Richmond republican establishment, and given so much money from the party insiders, did not prevail. It was a beautiful day for the people! No wonder Pat Mulllins was so testy!

        • Liz McCoy

          This line of thought is exactly what is wrong in Washington right now.

          The suggestion here is that we should ask our candidates to become more beholden to special interests in order to raise more money for TV ads and posh mailers.

          We should also turn over the method by which we choose our candidates over to the commonwealth entirely. The additional cost would go to the taxpayers of course. To top it off we would have grown the state government ever so more at a time of economic uncertainty.

          I want a choice between convention and primary.

          You are entitled to your opinion Brian but no thank you.

          • Stephen Spiker

            Liz, any candidate will have to raise money to be competitive in a general election. I’m not sure why you think that’s such a bad thing in a nomination process. More to the point, I’m not sure why *not* being able to raise funds could ever be viewed as a good thing for any candidate.

          • pinecone321

            I would suspect that there would be a whole lot more people willing to donate to who is on the ballot, than to those hoping to be on the ballot.

            As to EW not raising tons of funds, but still winning the vote is a testament against those that think fundraising spells a successful candidate. If that’s your criteria, you can always go for the Clinton fundraiser, who will have the entire DNC and Clinton machine behind him. Lemme see, I think Creigh Deeds had similar support, and still lost. And Deeds didn’t have half the baggage McAuliffe does.

          • Stephen Spiker

            Liz McCoy suggested that being able to raise funds is somehow a bad thing because she think its makes people “more beholden to special interests.”

            Besides being wrong, it’s also irrational to suggest that for some reason *not* being able to raise funds is somehow a good thing.

            You suspect that being on the ballot will help. Not so. Please take a look at how massively outspent Jim Gilmore was in the 2008 Senate Election. He was also chosen by a convention.

            I never said anything was a “criteria” for being a candidate, so most of your post is a stupid attempt at an ad hominem attack, which is often what people who don’t have a point to make resort to. Try reading and making a coherent point instead of just calling people who you disagree with Democrats.

          • I hope he can raise the money. Because Chopra has almost $1 million in the bank.

          • catholicgal

            And of course we need over $1 million woo our very informed electorate with those 30 second commercials.

          • How does an electorate become well informed? TV ads are part of it.

          • Dave cline

            Getting the nd will bring platform and thus money. that is Unless the establishment is so upset and such sore losers that they’ll abandon our nominee and give the tie breaking vote in the senate to Chopra, just to teach the “rebellious underlings” a lesson.

            If they do….I’m leaving the VA republican party…and I mean it. I bet I’m not alone either.

      • sparkyva

        That is a lie. Conventions are cheaper than primaries, more candidates run in Conventions than in primaries because they don’t need as much money, and you gave yourself away with your support of Jeanmarie – the most liberal of the candidates running. Go home and write about your friends the democrats. You obviously are one.

        • It’s not a lie. It’s my opinion. And spare me the “you’re a Democrat” nonsense. Show me a ballot with your name and an R behind it. If you can’t, don’t go calling folks who can Democrats.

          • sparkyva

            Rino stands for Republican in Name Only. Wear it, it fits.

          • No, it doesn’t.

      • Dave cline

        Of course you liked the most liberal candidate on the ticket, and are upset that she got thumped.

        Fact. Primaries tend to nominate moderates….or the one who makes the best commercials, etc. Conventions nominate conservatives.

        If people in our party haven’t seen that nominating moderates is a recipe for loss, especially when dems nominate radicals…then they haven’t been paying attention.

        We’ve tried moderates time and time again…we lose.

        • Stephen Spiker

          That’s not a “fact” at all. Marco Rubio won a primary against Charlie Crist. Rand Paul won a primary against the Establishment’s hand picked choice. So did Ted Cruz. Thousands of candidates have been chosen by primaries. It is simply crazy to try and make a blanket statement about all of them.

      • catholicgal

        The RPV made $100,000 this weekend, after expenditures. The primary would have extorted more tax money. But hey, let’s keeping spending and spending.

        • Again, there is no reason why the party can’t reimburse the Commonwealth for the cost of a primary if they choose to do so.

    • Steve Waters


    • Kathy Mateer

      Erik, your response is the high brow elitist attitude that stains the Republican Party today. The fact is the RPV has made our party a laughing stock with the back and forth voting for conventions to pick their hand selected people while not giving “the people” a choice. Unless, that is, they can afford the money or time to attend these conventions. As a Republican who is also a Veteran, I am sickened we disenfranchise our military. I thought we were the party who cares about the military, but alas, only if they don’t care to vote in primaries.

    • Stephen Spiker

      First of all, those “mindless lemmings” are Republican voters who we need to show up in November, something they’re a lot more likely to do if we involved them in the process of choosing our nominee.

      Second, we need all those voters and a lot more, so many brazenly and arrogantly insulting them for specious and self-serving reasons isn’t the best approach. Just saying.

      • Ghost of Ted Dalton

        So true. I can’t think of a more arrogant attitude than those I keep hearing about wanting a “convention” b/c everyone else is so “dumb.”

        If people are so interested in the Founders, go read Jefferson’s July 4, 1826 writing..made b/f he passed away that year. That says a lot about those who are obsessed with limiting the ability of the average American to participate in government. There isn’t some innate “class” of people who are better suited to make governmental decisions than others. The rest of the Commonwealth isn’t some horse to be ridden by a class of self-proclaimed “experts” with spurs at a convention hall in Richmond. Their “expertise” is simply being able to afford and stay at a convention for 12 straight hours, no more and no less.

        • Couple thoughts. It’s not a matter of smart versus dumb. It’s a matter of people who consider it important enough to do. The larger the obstacles to participate, the more committed the participants. We’re not talking about participating in government by voting on government officials. We are talking about a party selecting who it will run in an election. Either do what you need to be active in the party, pick another party, form your own party, or don’t vote in the election because you didn’t have hand in selecting any of the candidates for office.

          Now, to be fair, none of that answers whether the party is better served by a convention or a primary. I personally think there are benefits and drawbacks to both. The only thing I truly despise is open primaries because I think if they are voluntary they stupidly allow people to influence the outcome of a group to which they do not truly belong or if they are required by law they violate the rights of people to decide with whom they want to freely associate.

          • If it were simply a question of priorities, that would be one thing. But when you have folks physically incapable of attending, regardless of how important they view it, that’s a problem.

            Telling someone they shouldn’t join the military, shouldn’t have kids, shouldn’t be broke or shouldn’t age because it may interfere with their ability to attend political conventions is ridiculous. There are plenty of examples of folks who viewed the convention as very important but not as important as the really important things in life, like family.

            I agree about open primaries. If we shift to primaries, there needs to be party registration.

    • And you are presuming the 8,000 were highly informed. They had a lot of data, but the veracity of the vast bulk of it was questionable at best.

      • sparkyva

        You would be surprised how smart the delegates really are. Lies don’t go very far, and turn delegates off from candidates that try them. Instead of being a back bencher, you ought to try being a delegate.

        • I’m not saying the delegates aren’t smart, I’m just saying that with so much misinformation, rumors, and down right noise floating around, it is presumptuous to say that the 8,000, who dwindled to 5,000, were highly informed. And I refuse to participate in conventions, because I believe them to be frivolous and destructive to the Party.

          • sparkyva

            Sour Grapes – a sore looser.

    • 40 Year Old Virginia Voter

      I was at the convention, I could make a strong case that many folks marching around in Red Ball Caps were not highly informed and/educated. They were just rabid fans of the preacher. We asked many what he stood for and they replied “It doesn’t matter – it’s a movement.” Uh, OK.

      Our group walked away feeling very disenfranchised yesterday and not so sure there is a face in the Republican Party in Virginia that does represent me.

    • old_redneck

      ” . . . 8,000 highly informed, educated party activists . . . ” ?!?!?!?!?!

      Don’t you mean “8,000 blabbering, shrieking Teahadists?”

      I know four people from Northumberland and Lancaster counties who attended the convention. There’s not a functioning brain cell among them.

      • sparkyva

        We have conventions so that people like you won’t come. Enjoy your sour grapes.

  • Ghost of Ted Dalton

    Amen. I am still amazed at the arrogance of those who insist on a statewide convention. I am sorry, but there are so many good Republicans from the western half of the state who simply can’t afford the cost. Think about it…if you had a family (husband, wife, 2 kids)…think about the financial costs to attend if you live in say, Galax. Gas, food, registration, hotel…..You’re talking a good 400 bucks. Now, to some of those in attendance, that may not be much. But to a lot of folks west of Richmond, that’s a lot of money. I’ll guarantee you that if the GOP convention was held in Bristol this year, we would never have another convention. But somehow it’s fine to disenfranchise western VA.

    And let’s be clear, this “rationale” about “we don’t want Democrats controlling who our nominees are” is simply a straw man. Go look at liberal blogs, twitter, etc. b/f the 2012 Senate primary. There was no concerted effort on the part of Democrats to vote in the GOP primary. Every now and then there’s a state legislative race where the D’s aren’t strong in a particular district and they may come out and vote for the more moderate R. But please show me any statistically relevant evidence of the Democratic Party ever “swinging” a GOP primary at the statewide level. I have no problems for conventions at the state legislative level, but statewide? There’s just no evidence that the D’s care.

    And one final point….A LOT of people at the convention don’t trust the convention! Yesterday, there was a lot of anger, confusion at Stimpson’s 1st round total. And if you recall, just 5 years ago, there was an enormous amount of controversy about Marshall/Gilmore. Why in the heck is a convention such a good idea when we see so much controversy about the vote counts themselves?

    • MD Russ


      You are absolutely right. This canard about “raiding” open primaries was thoroughly debunked over 40 years ago when I was an undergrad political science major. It has never been demonstrated. However, the voters who are excluded from a convention or a firehouse primary are not Democrats. They are the independents who will make up over 30% of the voters in the general election and always are the determining factor in who wins. I would think that Republicans would want their input in the nominating process. But, no, they prefer to be pure. Guess what? The Republicans are likely to pure out of luck when it comes to keeping the deciding vote in the Senate next year. I’m sure that Jackson is a fine man and he certainly has an impressive record. But he has never won elected office before and is far too conservative for large blocks of independent voters. And, unlike Cuccinelli, he is not going to be running against some 1%-er carpetbagger in a Hawaiian shirt.

      • Ghost of Ted Dalton

        Arguably the only statewide primary in the last 30 years that may have been affected by “crossover” voters is 1996. And honestly, even if it was a “closed” primary, I have a hard time believing that Jim Miller would have won. That was simply an unorganized campaign with no funding. Obviously, some D’s did vote in that one as J. Warner was the most popular statewide officeholder b/f M. Warner came along.

        However, I simply can’t remember another primary in which either side truly made a difference. Before I was born, sometime in the 40s or 50s, the state GOP actually did covertly aid the Byrd Machine in a primary at least according to some historians.

  • Dry Viking

    Some good points on conventions vice primaries, if only Democrats couldn’t screw ours up. . .
    Biggest delight though is that JMDD lost on the first ballot. A stroke for liberty that!

  • Keith Drake

    I’ve only read to the 4th paragraph, but find the following inaccuracies that your argument appears to be based on:

    255,826 – The number of Republicans casting a ballot in the 2012 U.S. Senate primary.
    >> Wrong. We don’t have party primaries in Virginia–they are open primaries. This is the number of registered voters who cast a ballot in that primary. That electorate was comprised of Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, liberals, and probably a lot of confused folks who simply couldn’t remember when the general election was.

    Just from those numbers you can see that the majority of well-motivated Republicans interested in participating in our nominating processes were disenfranchised by the State Convention.

    >> Wrong. No one was disenfranchised. Nearly everyone had equal opportunity to become a delegate and attend the convention. Different process, sure, but it’s not accurate to claim that folks were disenfranchised.

    • Keith, you’re splitting hairs. We have no way of knowing how many Democrats may have claimed to be Republicans and voted in the primary, but no matter how many it is, there were at hundreds of thousands more Republicans who took part in the process compared to yesterday’s convention.

      Yes, plenty of folks were disenfranchised. That they had “equal opportunity” to become a delegate is like claiming that blacks in the 1940s had an equal opportunity to register to vote, even though less than 3% of eligible black voters were registered in the south. It’s absolutely accurate to say that someone who wanted to be involved in the process but was unable to do so because of military status, family obligations, economic status or age weren’t disenfranchised. They were.

      • sparkyva

        Most folks are disenfranchised anyway by themselves. Just look at who votes in primaries – less than 10%. And yes Brian, many are crossovers trying to give the Republicans the worst candidate they can. So far I have to question your qualifications to write about politics. Either you are in the bag with the old style republicans or you are just blowing smoke. Jackson won because he brought the youth vote with him and enthusiasm. That is what wins elections. Your call for “fairness” and primaries means you favor those things that help the democrat machine win. We are tired of that. Get out of our way, we the new republicans are coming through.

        • /eyeroll. Read my bio. As for for your substance, You must have a different definition of “many” than the rest of us. The threat of Democratic crossovers is minimal. There is no evidence they have decided any close Republican primaries. But I agree our process should be reserved for Republicans, which is why I advocate a change in the law to create party registration and allow for closed primaries.

          I want Republicans to win, regardless of whether they are new, old, young, or whatever.

          • pinecone321

            Read my bio, don’t you know who I am. Selected in some cases, elected in none.

          • pinecone321

            “There is no evidence they have decided any close Republican primaries.”

            Which is exactly why we still have the open primaries that we do. You, and others refuse to see the problem, and therefore keep it going.

          • momsaid

            Having lived in Washington State for several years, I saw first-hand what open primaries produced. Christine Gregoire, Gary Locke and others got in through two doors: cross-over primary voters and ballot shenanigans. I watched the Dems choose our candidates every year…just like they did when they handed us John McCain in 2008. The corruption is still rampant up there:

            1. The WEA was fined for electioneering among teachers, pushing them to vote for the weaker Republican primary candidates, as well as instructing members to wear only Democrat pins IN SCHOOL in front of students.

            2. The ridiculous recount of votes in 2004, when Gregoire was dragged across the finish line (more votes tallied in King County than there were registered voters) was a travesty and a crime.

            The lack of evidence you refer to may be because no one has been caught or bragged openly about their deceit, or because it has been carefully hidden. It is far too easy for those who would undermine the integrity of our elections to the point of disenfranchisement to get away with this garbage. Closed primaries give us a better chance of honest dealings and true tallies.

          • Stephen Spiker

            Where are people getting this “Democrats gave us John McCain” garbage from?

          • Ghost of Ted Dalton

            I have no idea where this is coming from. I don’t know of a single D who voted for McCain in 2008. I think they were a little too concerned about Clinton v. Obama. But what is hilarious is that these folks forget that there was a semi-serious effort for one party to raid another party’s primaries…..El Rushbo actually did openly advocate for REPUBLICANS to go vote for Hillary in the D primaries in open primary states! “Operation Chaos” anyone?

          • George from Cleveland

            McCain won all of the open primaries in the competitive phase of the 2008 primary, he didn’t win any closed primaries. This probably wasn’t from Democrats crossing over, more likely from the unaffiliated choosing McCain. The Democrats did attempt a raid of the 2012 Michigan primary by attempting to prolong the Santorum campaign, as the right attempted with Hillary in 2008. In the Iowa Caucuses of 2012, there was a campaign of “blue republicans” of liberals voting for Ron Paul.

          • sparkyva

            You forget that the dems had ruled out allowing Florida to participate because they moved their primary up. With no effective vote, they moved to McCain and gave him enough to end the Republican Primary. Liberals always prefer to run against a moderate than a conservative.

          • Stephen Spiker

            Right, and the fact that McCain won 30 other states and came in 2nd in another 13 had nothing to do with it. It was all Democrats in one state that forced McCain on us. McCain won Florida by 100,000 votes. You really think Democrats were responsible for that?

            Give me a f’n break.

          • sparkyva

            Your break ended long ago, you lazy bum. You distort history and have a failed memory. Florida was the turning point that made it impossible for any of the others to win. What you describe is what happened after the debacle in Florida. Shame on you for the distortion to support your lie.

          • Stephen Spiker

            Just stop it. McCain won New Hampshire (37%-32%) and South Carolina (33%-30%), before winning Florida by 100,00 votes. You are literally making things up and then insulting those who are trying to speak factually. It’s pathetic.

          • catholicgal

            We’re talking about primaries here. Many democrats voted for McCain in state primaries because they knew he was the more liberal candidate. Here is a pet peeve. I can’t stand the way that word liberal has been co-opted like it has.

          • momsaid

            From cross-over voting in the 2008 Primary election. Look it up.

            Remember when Rush Limbaugh launched ‘Operation Chaos’, telling his listeners to vote for Hillary in primaries, so as to give Obama a run for his money? He said it was time to use their tactics against them. The Lefties screamed bloody murder over it. They can dish it out, but they sure can’t take it.

          • Stephen Spiker

            Most Democrats voted in the Democratic primary. They were far too concerned with the Hillary/Obama race to have an impact on our primary. You are absolutely delusional if you believe enough Democrats voted in the 2008 primaries to affect the results. John McCain was duly and properly nominated; the fact he was a terrible candidate notwithstanding.

          • sparkyva

            You have a terrible memory, or just slept through it.

          • catholicgal

            I understand what you are saying, but this last statement ” I want Republicans to win, regardless of whether they are new, old, young, or whatever” can be very misleading.

            Why would you want a Republican to win if he/she is no different than a democrat? I don’t care about the R after the name. I care about the person’s beliefs. I know this isn’t the “normal” stance in politics. But I don’t care as much about advancing the Republican Party itself, as I do about trying to advance conservative principles that are based on the Judeo-Christian ethic that our country was founded upon.

          • Because the idea that anybody with an R behind their name in Virginia is somehow “no different than a Democrat” isn’t reality. The Democrats have a completely different way of looking at the world than we do. Even the most moderate RINO out there is going to have more in common with you than a Democrat would.

            And as I noted before, I don’t care about beliefs because beliefs can change, and rarely are we given the chance in politics to make an easy choice that’s directly answered by someone’s beliefs. And I’m not concerned about advancing any kind of ideology – I want to see government run well, effectively, and with as little impact on the average person as possible.

          • catholicgal

            Whether you feel this way or not, beliefs do matter. For instance, I certainly am not going to vote for a candidate who advocates abortion. There are those things which people believe which are non negotiable. You are sharing your beliefs by saying you don’t have any. You will vote for the candidate who will help run the govenrment well and effectively – is that not a belief you have? Does this not drive you? You, sir, are defining belief on your own terms.

          • Let’s be honest, Brian. You personally have a lot more in common with your average Democrat than you do with the vast majority of Republicans who were at the convention on Saturday.

          • Welcome back, Alexis. I knew you were incapable of honoring your promise to not post here. I’m a Republican, period. Anybody saying different is just blowing smoke.

          • I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to mock BD’s bizarre post-convention attention-seeking.

        • pinecone321

          Yoohoo sparkyva, you are so correct. Either help us or get the hel1 out of the way. Number one, no one can doubt Jackson’s conservative credentials. Number two, he brings one of the elements to a campaign that many conservatives have complained about forever, he can give a damn fine speech, and get the crowds fired up. No doubt the three will do many campaign stops together, and I would suggest that EW be given the most speaking time. He will continue to fire up the base, and then some. Yes exactly, help us or get out of the way.

        • Bill D.

          Actually EW won because Stewart couldn’t convince Snyder to pay his extortion, and Jeanemarie is a sore loser and threw her support to EW out of spite.

          • sparkyva

            Wow, you really live in lala land. Stewart and EW have much in common and it was Snyder, the establishment candidate, that was pulling all the dirty tricks. Stewart, Jeanemarie, Stimpson,
            and EW were the only candidates with strong minority appeal. They stuck together and supported Jackson as they dropped out. Steward thought he could win through money, the establishment, and lying. Didn’t work. Your comment sounds like sour grapes. Only person that got a raw deal was Stimpson, when they didn’t announce her second place win in the first round until the second round voting was nearly complete. She might have been a stronger contender, but Jackson had it won from the very first – twice as many votes as second place Stimpson.

    • Bill D.

      If you could afford the ticket, hotel, meals etc.. you had equal opportunity.

      • sparkyva

        It cost me 75 for a room, and 30 for a tank of gas. We brought food and water with us. I would have slept in the car if I had to. What you couldn’t afford was due to your lack of passion, not money. Quite griping.

        • Stephen Spiker

          What about those in the military? What about those who own a small business that’s open on Saturday? What about those with small kids? What about those taking care of the sick or elderly? What about those with work schedules on Saturday.

          To assume that everybody has it as easy as you, and therefore lacks “passion” if they don’t show up, is the height of arrogance, selfishness, and ignorance. You are a terrible human being if you stand behind what you just said.

          • sparkyva

            You are confused, we do not live in a democracy. We live in a republic. Your confusion is to be expected, all your democrat friends think the same way.

          • Stephen Spiker

            I never said we lived in either. You are anti-military, anti-business, and anti-family, and arrogant and ignorant to boot. You’re the one that belongs with the liberals, not me.

          • sparkyva

            Obviously you are not listening. Sick of you liberals parading as republicans – Yes that is my arrogance. The other three you get a zero for for not paying attention. Your position is for “fairness” for everyone to have a chance to vote in Republican primaries. That is Liberal BS meant to open the floodgates to political machines to use independents and democrats to influence the republican choice. But then I have said that again and again and you still keep repeating your liberal drivel.

            I have 11 kids so of course I am anti-family. My dad and three of my kids are military so yes of course I am anti-military. I have had my own business for 32 years so of course I am anti-business. And you are an angel who never tells lies. Anyone stupid enough to fall for your accusations needs to move to Maryland. There is the land of Democrats. Or you could chose NY or Calf. Just leave Virginia to those who want to be free of the old time politics.

          • Stephen Spiker

            My position is for growing the party by entering in more people to the process. Which is fine if you don’t support that idea–but the justifications you’ve given for supporting a convention are absurdly hideous.

            You claimed–in response to someone serving our military in Germany–that he just doesn’t care.

            You’ve claimed that people who can’t make it (for instance, because they own a business) are lazy.

            You claimed people who vote in primaries but can’t vote in a convention–for instance because they have small children or are taking care of others–aren’t informed.

            I don’t care who you are–that makes you anti-military, anti-business, and anti-family. You are refusing to consider their needs because you simply do not care about them, and then turn around and attack them.

            In fact, at every single turn, in order to justify your cause, you denigrate, insult, attack, and act superior to anybody that can’t attend a convention.

            And you keep on repeating the complete fiction that primaries can’t produce conservative candidates (like Paul or Cruz), or are swayed by Democrats (has never happened).

            There are plenty of reasons to prefer a convention, and you’ve come up with zero of them. Instead, you’ve chosen childish attacks and immature judgments of other people. You’re the worst.

          • sparkyva

            Thanks for the complement, even if you still lie about me, the fact that you make false accusations makes me feel proud. If you need more reasons for conventions, please refer to the decisions of the supreme court about freedom of association.

            We as a political party have no right to have the state fund our means of choosing candidates – it is illegal and immoral, and allows government intrusion in the process. Nor should we want to give up our freedom of association to allow just anyone to choose our candidates – so much for democracy and fairness.

            We can’t vote when the labor unions decide whom to support – their freedom of association would be infringed if we did. You, on the other hand, want to include everyone in the process because you believe that will produce the best results and be fairer.

            I say NO as does the Virgina State Central Committee. It is time the Republicans stood for something, and this year they finally do across the top three positions. If you don’t like the message, then you have a clear choice – the other side. Virginia once more has the courage of the original Commonwealth to lead the way. (No primaries back then either.)

  • Fred Flynnestone

    You really think without speeches Jackson wouldn’t have won? The first roll call of candidates was BEFORE the speeches . . . and the roar for Jackson was 10x louder than any other candidate. He had the hall from before they banged the gavel and that’s coming from a delegate that voted for someone else on the initial ballots.

    But the powers of prognostication aren’t very accurate around here. Let’s recap the final Big LIne:

    • Your “Go-to” favorite finished 4th on the first ballot with less than half the vote you projected. He probably had the worst $ to vote ratio of any candidate.

    • Your #2 finished 5th and didn’t survive the 2nd ballot.

    • The #3 that you implied had a ceiling of 16, nearly doubled that in the first round! And grew it into the nomination.

    • Your #4 didn’t even survive the 1st ballot.

    • Your #5 finished 2nd on the first ballot and certainly would have made
    the final 2 of 3 had the first ballot results announced her as having
    finished second instead of implying she finished 5th.

    • Your #6 tripled your projected vote and survived ’till the final 3.

    • But hey, you nailed last place – well done!

    You guys seem less in touch with the Republican Party than the Democrats. You might want to get out more.

    • You know, it would be nice to see even one post from you guys that doesn’t descend into name calling. Stop acting like Democrats.

      The Big Line was fairly accurate. Other than only having Jackson in the middle, it accurately portrayed the races, where support was and where it wasn’t. Our lowest ranked candidates went out earliest.

      But if you want to argue with Shaun about it, go ahead. I didn’t write the Big Line. He did.

      What does any of that got to do with primaries vs. conventions?

    • Despite my preference for primaries, all qualified candidates at a convention should have the opportunity to give a speech and if that wins the day, I congratulate them. Better than an 11th hour lie about endorsements.

    • Amen!

    • Truth be told, we had been predicting Snyder, Jackson, Stewart for weeks now — with Martin and JMDD going out first, despite the protestations from just about everywhere.

      Looks like we were more accurate than some, and we had the guts to step out and offer some insight. Critics never have that sort of intel or sand… but that’s why they’re on the outside (and pseudonymous as well).


  • ADS

    How did we win in 2009? Wasn’t that a convention?

    • That’s not the point.

      • Can you explain why not?

        (N.B., I was tempted to ask, “Because it doesn’t fit your thesis?”, but that really is far snarkier than what I meant, since I really do want to know why think it’s not relevant. Still, since it sounded funny when it passed through my mind, I wanted to at least say it parenthetically.)

        • Stephen Spiker

          There are many examples of candidates who were nominated at convention who have won and who have lost. There are many examples of candidates who were nominated by a primary who have won and who have lost.

          Making blanket statements one way or the other is a lazy, worthless argument, and is pointless and moronic.

          • Fair enough, and Brian’s response is also appreciated. Your post brings to mind an entirely unrelated question (for another type of forum entirely, but I’ll bring it up,anyway). The words idiot and moron (together with their various forms – you used moronic) are common. Those come from the old scale of intelligence which categorized the bottom three levels as idiot, imbecile and moron. I wonder why it isn’t more common to also use imbecile and imbecilic? Personally, I kind of like the way they sound.

          • Harder to spell.

          • John Galt

            Second the point!

        • It’s not the point because I’m not really making the argument that primaries always produce better candidates than conventions, or that convention candidates always lose. That’s obviously not true. My point about Jackson in general was that I think he was one of the weaker candidates in the field, even if he was the most popular at the convention. He could very well have won the primary, although I doubt it.

          My point is that primaries provide a greater opportunity for Republicans to participate in the choosing of the nominee, and they force candidates – especially first time candidates who have never run statewide – to take the time to create county and unit level organizations and a dry run at turning folks out that will benefit them in November, which conventions don’t do.

          Both conventions and primaries raise the specter of bad candidates getting nominated. As I originally said, that’s not the point.

          • catholicgal

            No, a convention forces a candidate to get votes from people in every single county. In a primary, they just need to get enough votes from certain pockets, you know like the cities. Primaries are not indicative of how people feel all over the state.

          • Quiet Cal

            Is this really true, though, because of the weighted voting system? As a candidate you’d be much better off with strong majorities in the delegations that voted most strongly GOP in the last two statewide elections, than in trying to amass pluralities all across the state. It’s better to get 70% of Harrisonburg, than 30% of Loudoun County, for example. In Virginia this would mean a rural- and exurban-focused campaign would be a winning convention strategy, but, as we’ve learned in the past few years, it’s a losing general election strategy.

          • The fact that Jackson nearly doubled anyone else’s support walking into the convention when pretty much nobody expected that proves that Jackson is a more formidable candidate than he has been popularly assessed to be. He beat a crowded field, soundly, leading from start to finish.

            I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t expect it. Once it happened I was forced to re-evaluate my opinion of his campaign skills, revising them upwards to match the reality of his accomplishment. Anyone wanting to stay consistent with reality ought to do the same.

    • MD Russ

      Do you remember a guy named Deeds and his campaign?

    • In 2009, the RPV was united.

      • catholicgal

        It was not united. I saw that firsthand.

        • Actually, you’re right, and it is even more disunited today.

  • catholicgal

    So, you would like a primary where any low to no information voter after watching sound bites on their time wasting television sets, get out and vote for the one who has the glitziest ad or the most to bribe people with. I am not surprised. You, sir, are the problem with the Republican party. I was for Jackson well before this convention and so were most of the people representing my county. I don’t feel disenfranchised in the least. I signed up to be a delegate and was elected as one in my county. And as for your over the top comment regarding our state central committee, they are far from establishment types. Last year there was a huge turnover and most of the committe members are now true conservatives, tea party types, etc… We all wanted a convention and our state central committee members ran on that premise as well. That is why they won. I was down on the floor all day and saw the nastiness of the establishment types, which I would guess include you. E.W. Jackson had no 50,000 decibal music playing or a video that took up half his speaking time. He didn’t trot out the obligatory endorsements to sing his praises beforehand. He is the only candidate that has ever discussed on a regular basis the importance of the 9th and 10th amendments to our Constitution. Yeah, that “stuff” is important to us radical right wingers. You sir are way off base and have no conception of what we the people really want. And I for one am glad that we nominated someone who has NO experience in political office!! We don’t want a primary – I still believe that we are a Constitutional Republic and not a total democracy. I don’t like mob rule. Not everyone should be able to vote – primaries are how we get Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and their ilk. And a primary got us George Allen as a nominee last year – we all know how that turned out. By the way, I am a young women, not some “out of touch” dinosaur.

    • Stephen Spiker

      “Not everyone should be able to vote.”

      Thank you for honestly representing your side.

      • catholicgal

        I knew that statement would be taken out of context. I am only stating what Thomas Jefferson said himself regarding an educated and informed electorate. If you want to take my statement and use it for your own purposes, go right ahead.

        • Kelley in virginia

          But unfortunately, those with TV presence or ” glitzy ads” might fare better in the general election. Generally, primaries select this candidate. & generally, this candidate fares better.

        • Stephen Spiker

          I didn’t take your statement out of context at all.

          But to your point, I like you prefer a more informed electorate. However, the ability to show up at a convention for 14 hours doesn’t mean those people are more informed. A more informed electorate is as much the responsibility of the voters as it is the candidates and the party.

          But even assuming they are more informed, how better to inform the public: by having a process that seeks to get as many people voting for a Republican as possible, or a process that by its very nature can only attract a miniscule fraction of Republicans?

          Roughly 2 million people voted for Lt. Governor in 2009, and 9,000 people showed up to Richmond this weekend. Even expanding it out to the 13,000 who filed (and thus were the only recipients of direct communications from campaigns), only 0.65% of the voting population could currently be considered even moderately “informed” about EW Jackson, and that’s a making a large assumption to get that high a number. Only 99.35% of the electorate to go!

          • sparkyva

            The party nominees are always selected by a small group – generally the party bosses or the monied interests. In this case the group was a little larger – 9,000 motivated people. The political battle is between ideologies: conservative vs liberal. To do that you must have candidates that offer those choices. The choices we have been offered in the past have been between very liberal and not so liberal. This time we have a real choice and Virginia can decide it’s future. If you are afraid of such a choice then you are indeed a Rino.

          • Stephen Spiker

            Please stop making baseless accusations against everybody who disagrees with you. You’re doing an incredibly bad job at making your point when you have to revert to such immature tactics.

            It’s irrational and ridiculous to believe that letting MORE voters into the process–by having a primary–results in a smaller group of people making the decision. It’s even worse to believe that any candidate chosen by a primary isn’t actually conservative.

            I understand the point you’re trying (and failing) to make. But when you use absolutes and blanket statements that are easily proven false, you do yourself no favors.

          • The political battle is between candidates. Ideologies aren’t on the ballot.

          • catholicgal

            So all candidates are empty suits? I would agree on that with a certain person on Pennsylvania Ave.

          • They’re not empty suits. They’re people. We don’t elect ideologies. We elect people. That’s the point. Just because someone says “this is what I think” doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t change their mind in the future.

          • catholicgal

            But people have to have some kind of belief system, an ideology, if you will. I can’t control it if a person will change their minds later on. I am not God and cannot read men’s hearts in that way. I have to do the best job I can to vote my conscience. But I can judge of what I see today. A person cannot just be a candidate. They have something that drives them. People should be looking to what drives that person and vote accordingly.

          • What if what drives them has nothing to do with ideology? Is that bad?

            My concern is that if you vote for someone simply because they have told you they agree with you, when they change their mind or have to vote on an issue that has multiple principles at stake, you’re going to feel let down and betrayed. That’s the path to cynicism. That’s why I strongly feel we need to move beyond ideology and recognize that government doesn’t need ideology to function well. It needs smart people making good decisions. And I know plenty of smart people who make good decisions who don’t share my personal ideology.

          • sparkyva

            Sounds like you are describing a politician, which ever way the wind blows… We don’t need an administrator, we need someone with Vision, the right Vision, what was once called a statesman, a leader.

          • I don’t need a politician to inspire me. I want somebody to make the trains run on time.

          • sparkyva

            See you are a democrat. You think just like one. It is all about the person and not the the ideas.

          • That’s not what Democrats think.

          • catholicgal

            I am sure that you feel you are right about thinking that all of the delegates that go to this convention have nothing better to do. But I will tell you otherwise. My husband and I have many things to do on a Saturday – shocking though that may sound.

            I am a homeschooling mom of 8 kids, and we just a little bit of a busy life. We rounded up babysitting in advance, and we drove to Richmond and 15 hours later we drove back. Before that convention we worked hard to get to know the candidates.

            Do you know what so many people told me who I had asked to become delegates? ” I don’t have time for that”, “you go ahead and represent me”, “I will just wait til election day” or “who cares?” So, stop denigrating people who work to get themselves to a convention.

            And unless you have proof, stop regurgitating the same old line that people that vote in primaries are just as informed and educated on their candidates as a delegate. Start doing exit polls to find out how much time a person spent getting to know the candidates and the whole process.

          • Stephen Spiker

            I never said anything of the sort. I think you’re responding to a different post or a different person.

            Either way, my point is that there’s nothing inherent in the convention process that makes its participants any more or less informed than a primary process. People can and did show up to the convention knowing very little about the candidates.

            All this to say, you believe in restricting the ability of some people to vote. To you, that means uninformed voters, who apparently are all liberals and Democrats who would otherwise vote in a Republican primary. To me, it means those in the military, those who can’t afford to travel to Richmond for a weekend, and those who own a business or otherwise have to work.

            And all this for a process that doesn’t guarantee producing a better result than a primary, and hinders us in a general election

            The fact that people support this line of thinking with arrogance and elitism is even worse.

          • Kblankenship7

            Asking for empirical proof makes a lot of sense. Where is the proof?

    • I will write this slowly so you can understand it.

      Low information voters do not vote in primaries. As for you, I wouldn’t go around accusing other folks of being low information voters.

      • catholicgal

        I am sorry if that came off as sounding harsh. But I have to ask. Are you admitting that an educated and intelligent electorate voted for Obama? He had to have won the primary first. Do you really believe that many voters of primaries aren’t influenced by tv commercials that are devoid of any real information? Then why are they used so much? Obviously, many people are swayed by soundbites and false personas. I am stating that I think this problem is much more prevalent in primaries then in conventions. And if there is no such thing as a low or no information voter, why do we have an electoral college? I realize we don’t really care about this anymore as a country. But why did the founding fathers think it so necessary to have an entity that protects voting integrity? Thomas Jefferson said that an informed and educated electorate was what was needed in a Republic. Are you saying that being well informed, (and by that I mean educating yourself on the whole electoral process and amassing information to make an informed choice) is not something that is necessary in an electorate? I say, let the informed voters pick the candidates for the party and then have everyone vote in the general election. It’s much easier for the party to manipulate a voter in a primary than in a convention. And this was proven yesterday.

        • Assuming that the voters who voted for the other guy only did so because they’re morons is a bad idea.

          We have an electoral college to ensure that the states remain a viable part of the election process of the President.

          What I’m saying is that I don’t believe for an instant that convention goers are somehow better educated on the issues and the candidates than primary voters. And vice versa. The point of primaries is to give as many Republicans as possible a say in who our nominee is.

          As for manipulation, do you honestly think that a convention run by the party leadership is going to be somehow more fair and transparent than a primary run by through the existing government process? I don’t think so.

          • sparkyva

            Again an argument using rhetoric instead of logic. Substituting moron for uninformed voter is a trick of rhetoric not of logic. Half the nation doesn’t care enough to bother to vote. If you want everyone to vote, then do it like Hussein did (vote or go to jail) or Australia does ($100 fine for not voting). Your suggestion limits the choices but broadens the electoral pool. In Iraq there was not many choices but 99% of the people voted. Here we have Liberals vs Moderates – again little to no choice. It is a fake election when there are not clear choices. Our current Lt Gov. would have won a primary in the governor’s race due to name recognition, and Pete Snyder would also have won based on name recognition – two moderate wishy-washy republicans. Thanks to the conservative movement taking over the State Central Committee last year, this year we get a real choice: conservative or liberal.

          • Whether I use the word moron or your “uninformed voter” my point is still the same: it is the height of arrogance and a sign of poor judgment to assume that folks vote for the other side because they are uninformed.

            Both Pete and Bill Bolling are conservatives. The only moderate in any of the races now or before Bill dropped out was JeanneMarie Davis.

          • Hahaha, Pete and Bill are conservatives! Bill has just come out forming his own ‘moderate’ PAC because republicans are too conservative. We have no idea what Pete might be since he’s never been involved in politics and after Saturday we know that he’s not honest or trustworthy.

          • Did Pete snub you are a meeting or something? You’ve got a lot of hate for him, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

          • catholicgal

            So now, those that disagree with you have poor judgment. At least arrogance assumes some sort of intelligence. But poor judgment, well, what can we say about that?

            Prove to me that we don’t have, in epidemic proportions, uninformed voters that come out for these elections? You say it many times using the words arrogance, poor judgment and the like. But I would like for you to prove to me right now with all the skills you have as a political analyst. Bring out the graphs, charts, comparison studies and let me decide for myself?

            Our country is in a shambles. We are in debt up to our eyeballs and more. We have a congress that facilitates this mess and a president who self proclaims “I don’t know anything about that”, but you say that we have an informed electorate. I say the onus of proof is on you. With 50 million people and counting on food stamps, family after family having lived in on the government dole generation after generation, you tell me. But I digress.

          • No, I’m trying to say that just because someone disagrees with you that doesn’t make them stupid. I think it demonstrates poor judgment to assume that people who disagree with you do so because they are uninformed.

            I am not persuaded by statistics when it comes to people’s attitudes, so I don’t use them.

            Our country is not in shambles. We have problems, yes, quite a few, and we need to address them, but hyperventilating about these problems doesn’t help anything. I am not claiming we have an informed electorate. I’m claiming that the assumption that people who voted for Obama did so because they are uninformed is a bad assumption – there are uninformed folks on both sides of the aisle. There are plenty of Democrats who are well informed and still voted for Obama. I know it’s in vogue to trash “low information voters” but that’s just a cop out. We can’t win elections without appealing to folks who don’t pay a lot of attention, so blasting them is counterproductive.

          • Stephen Spiker

            There’s no way Bolling would have beaten Cuccinelli in a primary.

            And we’ve elected plenty of conservatives through primaries. To suggest otherwise is really foolish.

          • catholicgal

            Alleluia. Someone who understands on this site. Thank you sparkyva!!

          • catholicgal

            And I am saying that if you are indeed right, then Jackson should have never won. Someone like Snyder or even Stewart would have won. They had all the money and endorsements. This is said in all respect – I think you need to breath the air in a county that is a little further south. Get out of the fog.

          • The air up here is no different than the air down south. Money and endorsements don’t always equal victory, even in a primary. Just ask Christine O’Donnell. Just because I’m right doesn’t mean Jackson couldn’t have won. He clearly could have.

          • catholicgal

            Spoken by someone who doesn’t live down south of Fairfax. You are right. Money and endorsements don’t always equal victory, but I would say it does more so in a primary. The party is going to have its favorite and it will put its power and money behind it. So, we have a defacto winner based on what the party wants. McCain and Romney were shoved down everyone’s throats even though they were not conservative. But they won the primaries because they were the favorites of the Republican party. They bombarded cities with more ads – you know, those 30 second flashes of exceptional thought.

          • My family is from southwest Virginia. McCain and Romney weren’t shoved down anybody’s throats. They won the process because they were, unfortunately, the best candidates from the choices we were given. The people are the party.

          • catholicgal

            Again, your opinion. Ergo, the opinion of the party itself. The money and support was on their sides from the party. I will stand by my comment. They indeed were shoved down our throats.

          • Stephen Spiker

            You can have your opinion that they were well-funded (though McCain was dramatically outspent in 2008). You cannot change the facts. Romney and McCain were the choice of most Republicans. That’s why they won the nomination. Stop trying to rewrite the past to fit your narrow-minded narrative. The only way to grow forward is to have an accurate view of how we got to where we are now.

          • They money and support didn’t come from the party apparatus – the party can’t choose sides. It came from folks in the party and folks who supported them. They weren’t shoved down anybody’s throats.

          • Kblankenship7

            I must have misread your bio. I thought you were born in Maryland and grew up in Pennsylvania. Is it your maternal relations who are long-time Virginians?

          • Both my maternal and paternal relations. Maternal was in southwest Virginia. Paternal can trace back to Nansemond County in 1627. I lived in Baltimore for 10 years, lived in Pennsylvania for 8, DC for 3, and 15 years in Virginia.

          • Kblankenship7

            How can you make such a blanket statement? How long have you lived in Virginia?

          • My family has been in Virginia since the 1620s. I’ve lived here myself for about 15 years.

        • BrianKirwin

          Actually, Obama won a lot of caucuses. Hillary won a lot of primaries, but they weren’t enough.

      • pinecone321

        Way up above Brian you complained about someone name calling. I’ve seen you complain about that in the past. Now you decide it’s OK to name call catholicgal. In other words, it’s OK for you to do it, but no one else better do it.

      • sparkyva

        On the contrary, the democrats specialize in low information voting. I offer as proof the Buchanan vote in Florida where the paid masses voted based on the position of the name on the ballot. These people knew nothing about the election other than the promised $50 bill and the bus ride home. True that was the November election where that came to light. But the dems did it because they know it works. And to think there have been no repeats, well that is just naive. Elections are about name recognition. Those who showed up at the convention, who endured the 14 hours, who invested their own money to be there were not there because of name recognition. Your logic is illogical.

      • Yes, yes, they’re all very well informed by expensive television ads.

      • Kblankenship7

        “I will write this slowly so you can understand it.” That is a bit condescending, is it not?

        • Yes. I was trying to demonstrate the absurdity of her first post by being absurd.

    • MD Russ


      Can you name anyone who would have done better than George Allen last year? If so, how come they didn’t win a open primary. And don’t tell us that Democrats crossed over to defeat Jamie Radtke or Bob Marshall You really don’t strike me as that stupid.

      • catholicgal

        Jamie Radtke would have done better. I have been a delegate every year for many years now, and I see this time and time again. We get someone shoved in our faces via the media, semi conservative bloggers, and the party itself. George Allen was one of these cadidates. He was a go along to get along guy – plain and simple. He didn’t win because people knew he wasn’t going to fight for them. So, some of us voted in a primary that had four candidates – Allen being the defacto favorite of the party and the usual suspects of bloggers and here we are with Tim Kaine. The general population gets most of their information from a tv. commercial with a good soundbite. A convention gives someone the opportunity to run who might not have a money machine behind him or her getting the votes.

        • Kelley in vriginia

          Jamie radtke could not & would not have beat the Obama-Kaine juggernaut.

        • Nope. Jamie would have gotten beaten far worse than Allen did. There was no one we could have nominated except maybe John Warner that would have won this time around. Maybe not even him.

          • George from Cleveland

            I’m going to assume that Bill Bolling would have been marginally better than George Allen. Allen has been tarred as a racist since 2006, and once you get that tag in politics, it will drag you down if you don’t have a (D) after your name.

          • catholicgal

            I see that your whole world view is pretty much based on probabilities and hedging your bets. This is just an observation. All I really know about you is in your short bio up above. So, are you now telling me that we should not bother with anyone unless everyone thinks they can win? We need to just roll over and pick a John Warner? Will that get our country back on track? I candidates who actually believe what I do – morally, socially, politically, etc….

            BTW, could you give me a stats sheet or other references with how you came to your conclusions regarding Jamie Radtke? Did the party leaders tell you this or do you have information to back it up? I won’t accept the primary results, for reasons I have already stated. But then I am just a lowly homeschooling mom and not a political analyst 🙂 Truly I would like to know how you came to your conclusion.

          • I came to my conclusion by looking at the results of the general election. Tim Kaine outperformed Obama in a large number of places, especially in Northern Virginia. That means that those folks voted for Romney and Tim Kaine.

            There was no way we were going to win with that kind of crossover. We needed Obama/Republican voters. You weren’t going to get anybody who was going to vote for Obama for President and then downballot vote for Jamie Radtke, who stood opposed to everything the President had done and wanted to do. It just wasn’t going to happen. You would have to have found someone who would appeal to Obama voters, and there simply wasn’t anybody in our Senate field who could have mustered enough crossover votes to win, given Obama’s lead in turnout.

            I have long since given up trying to find candidates who believe what I believe because the reality is, unless you’re on the ballot yourself, you will never find someone who thinks exactly the same way you do. When I make my decision, I am looking for the person I believe will do the best job, who has demonstrated he/she has good judgment, and who has a proven ability to succeed in some kind of comparable job.

            Voting for someone because they tell you what you want to hear on your pet issues is just setting yourself up to be disappointed when the realities of governing slam headfirst into ideology. It’s the road to cynicism and disillusionment.

    • Great post! EW is the people’s candidate, not the candidate of the republican establishment! That’s a wonderful thing!

  • After the November general election results, a lot of people will be thinking “Brian Schoeneman was right.” Those people will never say that out loud, of course.

    • They never do. They just call me a RINO and call it a day.

      • Kelley in Virginia

        Brian, I agree with you now.

      • I’m with Brian! Pass it on!

      • Sticks and stones Brian…..and the words just give the libs another victory due to some conservatives lust for arrogance to pad their egos. After a few more defeats, Republican leaders and Tea Party organizers will see the need to be the party of inclusion and compassion or face extinction. Yes a mere 8 thousand showed up and less than 100 minorities I counted. Again you reap what you sow. Thank God Jackson is on the ticket. Attacks aside…he CAN win.

        • I hope so. There’s a lot counting on him winning.

        • Ted

          If we have to be like the Democrats in order to win, then I’d rather vote Democrat in order to get the collapse as fast as possible.

      • Stephen Spiker

        Apparently now they just straight up call you a Democrat. Where did these people come from?

        • That’s the new flavor of the month. I’m waiting for them to call me a Commie Nazi next.

    • catholicgal

      Did you say that in 2009 after the convention too? After all, that Cuccinelli was such an extremist. How would he ever win in a general election….. Cuccinelli did the same thing in 2009 that Jackson did this year. Cooch was everywhere, showing up at county meetings, meet and greets, coming to our homes, our special events, etc.. Jackson did this as well. I received only two mailers from him, no phone calls, and two e-mails total. He worked hard to get the votes he did. He went all around talking to people, showing them who he was. He didn’t rely on flashy mailers (some of which I received every single day) or on lollipops or light up fans at the convention. Those of us that were Jackson supporters studied all of the other candidates, read all about their backgrounds, voting records, strengths, weaknesses and so on. His speech was just the icing on the cake. So, for those of you who think that the people who vote in primaries are somehow so much more enlightened and discrimination about their candidates when they go to the voting booth, well then all I can say is that we must have the best possible choice in the White House, Senate, etc… I guess every person that voted in those primaries studied all of the candidates, read as much as they could about them and didn’t rely on tv. ads to make their decision. Why do I want a democrat voting in a republican primary and deciding who they think is the best Republican candidate? And I know this happens. I have relatives that admit to doing this to get a more liberal candidate or to pick one (like Allen) who they know will bomb in the general election. I want proof that primaries bring out a more informed electorate.

      • Kelley in virginia

        On Election Day, it is not the INFORMED electorate that elects. It is the plain old, horribly ill-informed. Just because you call yourself informed, that does not mean that you can predict a winner. & if you ain’t playing to win, why are you playing?

        • catholicgal

          Thank you. This is exactly what I am trying to say. So why would I want those same election day uninformed electorate voting in a primary? So your criteria in picking a nominee is to make sure they can win? It has nothing to do with your moral, social, political beliefs at all?

          McCain lost, Romney lost, Allen lost, etc….. And these were all done with primaries. The party committees chose the nominees for us by putting all of its money behind those candidates. So, those are who won the primaries. People didn’t research these candidates. And on election day, conservatives knew that these guys were weak candidates who really would not deliver what we wanted – and they didn’t bother coming out to vote. And here we are with 4 more years of Obama.

          • The arrogance here is just astounding. Your vote counts as much as anybody else’s. There is no point talking about informed vs. uninformed voters.

          • catholicgal

            I find it kind of funny that I am considered arrogant because I choose to be a delegate at a convention, and somehow am just a Republican insider. So many on this blog will dismiss me as just that. But you, on the other hand, are a political analyst by trade who has been a long time professional party activist, and somehow not an insider. I guess stay at home mom is now a political insider just because I wanted to have my small county well represented. In a primary or general election we aren’t represented well at all. All that needs to be done is to pick a big city in any state and campaign there – and so goes the rest of the state. Why is this better representation again? I guess I missed it. I haven’t cozied up with the party elites like you, so let’s just discount everything I say.

          • Stephen Spiker

            What are you talking about? No one has called you an “insider”. We call you arrogant because you continue to insist that people who are able to give up 14 hours on a Saturday are somehow more informed and better suited to have a say, and everyone who cannot doesn’t deserve to vote.

            You’re saying the military doesn’t deserve to vote. You’re saying small business owners don’t deserve to vote. You’re saying parents of young children don’t deserve to vote. You’re saying people who don’t work 9-5, and may have a Saturday shift, don’t deserve to vote.

            You’re no insider. But you are definitely arrogant and elitist. You should reconsider how you speak about the rest of the electorate if you plan on being an effective volunteer for EW Jackson, because it’s no longer about the 5,000 people who voted in a convention anymore.

          • catholicgal

            You haven’t been reading the posts on here then. Convention goers are accused of being insiders. I don’t know you and you don’t know me. Why are you so free with your labels? Why am I arrogant? Because I aspire to what our founding fathers say regarding an electorate? So now I am an elitist?

            My family and I live in a podunk county (which I love very much by the way), we live on one income, don’t buy any extra anything, don’t go out to eat, don’t by big screen televisons to kill our brains, superintend our own children’s education to keep them from being indoctrinated with said elitists’ public school agendas; we raise our own chickens and feed ourselves on our vegetable gardens, mill our flour, sew our clothes, knit, crochet, chop and burn wood to heat our house, etc.. We make due with much less than a lot of people living in the cushy suburbs in “elitist” counties. I grew up in Fairfax, and I know of what I speak. So, you need to stop bandying about your “elitist” label.

            Maybe its because of the way you talk that your would be candidates didn’t make the cut. I think maybe you might be just arrogant and elitist and people don’t like it. I will not label you with those terms definitively, since I really don’t know you. This is just food for thought.

            This kind of irrational rhetoric just reinforces why I homeschool. My kids are learning to think for themselves with a classical education using original sources. They won’t have to rely on some flavor of the month ideology, the press or other mainstream media venues to dictate what talking points they will make. Maybe you should try to learn from some of the masters yourself. Plato, Aristotle, and especially some Cicero – he could help with the debating skills.

          • Convention goers aren’t being accused of being insiders. At least, I haven’t said that. I’ve said convention goers are activists, which is true, but that there are plenty of activists who didn’t get to the convention but would have voted in a primary if they had the chance.

            Having an elitist attitude doesn’t have to have anything to do with being rich. You have basically said over and over again that you know more than other people, thus your opinion should matter more. That’s an elitist attitude. You seem to think that your “podunk county” deserves more of a say in who are the party’s nominees than my “cushy suburbs” county. That’s an elitist attitude.

          • catholicgal

            An elitist attitude is one which thinks that a convention is useless because people work hard to be a part of that process. An elitist attitude is one in which a person willfully misunderstands the other to gain their point. I never said I was more intelligent then anyone else. I just said that just maybe some people might be more informed than other people. This has nothing to do with IQ.

            Why do you get so bent out of shape about the fact that some people are more well informed on a particular topic then another? This whole blog is here to remind people that you know better than everyone else. I am not as well informed on many many topics that others are. But it doesn’t bother me. And I never said that only a few thousand people should vote. I said that it is better to have people that are informed to vote. That requires us to use an act of the will. We have to make that happen on our own. There is a good point on here about some people not being able to get to the convention. That I understand. But why you feel you are the arbiter of who is an elitist and who isn’t, quite boggles the mind.

            But at this point, I think it might behoove you to do a full analysis, with all the graphs, charts, stats, etc… and present it here on your blog. Your opinion is just that, your opinion. But I guess because I don’t follow your creed, I am an elitist.

            I would also like to see references cited here from our founding fathers and the vision of how we would implement this Constitutional Republic. And again I am not saying this in an “elitist” way. I just would rather see actual evidence instead of the back and forth opinions.

            Ihave never said that I was smarter than anyone else. But if that is what you want to conclude to keep you happy, then so be it. I certainly have much more to learn, but I still think a convention is the better way to go.

          • I never said it had anything to do with IQ. You keep referring to well-informed voters and I keep trying to point out that convention goers are not any better informed or more ardent than primary voters. It’s simply not fair to claim that because you were able to take the time out to go to the convention that you are better informed than a primary voter who couldn’t go to the convention.

            We are all just talking opinions, and there’s no quantifiable way to determine who is “better informed” between convention and primary voters.

            What do the founding fathers have to do with the decision between conventions and primaries?

          • Stephen Spiker

            Please show me where you have been called an “insider”. Either way, neither Brian nor I have, so take your complaints elsewhere.

            And yes, if you believe that only people who can sacrifice to spend 14 hours in Richmond deserve a vote, and if you believe that those who are able to vote in a convention are always more informed than those who vote in a primary, then you are arrogant and elitist. It has NOTHING to do with where you live, how you live, or how you raise a family. It has everything to do with how you speak of other people, and the assumptions you make because you’re too self-satisfied to learn the facts.

          • Kblankenship7

            I encourage to stay active. Being a mom, you have a huge stake in the future of our Commonwealth.

          • You’re not considered arrogant because you choose to be a delegate at a convention. I’ve called your attitude arrogant because you seem to think that because you have taken the time to get to know the candidates that your vote should matter more than someone else’s and you also seem to think that primary voters are somehow less ardent Republicans than you are.

            You are asking for a larger say in the nominating process. Why? What makes you so special? Why should your vote count more than anyone else’s?

          • Stephen Spiker

            Ted Cruz won a primary. So did Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.

            There have been thousands of candidates chosen by both primaries and conventions. Trying to make blanket arguments that one process produces winners and the other produces losers is amazingly dumb.

      • Stephen Spiker

        First of all, the enter button is your friend. Use paragraph breaks.

        Second, of course anecdotal evidence exists of Democrats voting in a Republican primary. It’s never affected the outcome. Opposing primaries to try and prevent liberals from voting is perhaps the dumbest argument for conventions.

        And for good measure, I’ll point out that Democrats can vote at a convention as well. The only reason they’re less likely to do so is because the process is so cumbersome and arduous… but why are we pretending that that’s a *good* thing?

        • sparkyva

          You obviously don’t know about how Florida Democrats nominated McCain in 2008. Does that move you to the uninformed voter list?

          • pinecone321

            Not to speak of a so-called Republican Governor who is also now a proud member of the Democrat party.

          • Stephen Spiker

            For f’s sake, what are you even talking about?

        • catholicgal

          Read the rest of my posts. I certainly have not said that keeping liberals from voting in primaries is my main reason for opposing them. Stop cherry picking please.

          And thank you for your editing tips Spiker. They are duly noted but may be ignored due to time constraints.

          And thank you for making my point with a convention being “too cumbersome and arduous” for the rank and file democrat. I agree with you 100% on that. We wouldn’t want someone to explode their brains with too much information about a candidate who might be representing them.

          Was that enough paragraph breaks? Or should I indent too?

          • Stephen Spiker

            Indenting is unnecessary; in addition to the fact that Disqus doesn’t let you indent with the “tab” button, it would look weird in the current format. It is plenty sufficient just to stick with paragraph breaks; to answer your question, yes, your post contained a sufficient number of them.

            I never said it was your “main” reason. Stop misquoting me, please.

            Your contention appears to be that the average convention-goer is more informed than the average primary voter. Even if that’s true (and there’s no evidence to suggest it is), we still face the issue of having to win a general election with a candidate chosen by 58% of 0.35% of the electorate.

      • Ken was always the favorite going into the convention in 2009. I don’t think that the people who vote in primaries are more enlightened – I think they’re just as enlightened as folks who attend conventions. There just happen to be more of them. This is never about bringing out a more informed electorate. It’s about having a process that includes the most Republicans.

        And, if nobody read my comment about party registration in the penultimate paragraph, read it again. I’m not in favor of open primaries.

    • sparkyva

      Each year the party machine gives us candidates to vote for in the general election because only the machine can organize a state wide campaign effective enough (read money) to win a primary. The little guy with no money has no chance. Big money wins, or political tricks disfranchises candidates. Your arguments are those of the Grand OLD party. This time we had 7 candidates for Lt. Gov. Had it been a primary, only two would have had the money to run a decent campaign and Snyder the old style republican probably would have won as he had the most. Brian Prettyman is wrong.

      • Snyder isn’t an old style Republican. In a primary, where money mattered considerably, Corey Stewart would have had the advantage.

  • I am in the Army stationed in Germany. My wife is also with me and also denied the opportunity to vote at this convention. We vote via absentee ballot for primaries and general elections.

    • The best nominating method is primary with a runoff. The legislature could pass a law establishing party registration, but the current open process works and is also used in other states. I know of one case of cross overs impacting the result. In Alabama, Repiblicans voted in the runoff in 1986 and causes the democratic runnoff results to be invalidated, but the electorate retaliated and elected the Republican. Had the democrats accepted the conservative nominee, their candidate would have easily won that year. The point is that an open primary does serve a screening function. The nominee will probably still be someone who appeals to the party platform, but it will also be a nominee with a greater chance of victory in the general election.

      • John Galt

        Open primaries violate freedom of association, much the same way that universities have instituted “all-comers” policies.

        • Nobody is talking about open primaries.

          • Stephen Spiker

            I am.

          • sparkyva

            If you are talking about Virginia, it is an open primary. If you are not talking about Virginia, then why bother posting.

          • I am talking about Virginia and I have long advocated for closed primaries and party registration.

          • Bill D.

            Statistically less than 3% of the voters in a Republican primary are democrats. That was proven last year when Allen got the nod. Hardly enough to sway the nomination one way or another.

        • So, JG, are you okay telling Frank that because he chooses to serve our nation overseas, he cannot participate?

          • pinecone321

            I’m sure you are not getting the guilt reaction from John Gault that you were hoping for. That was a low blow Tyler.

          • I wasn’t looking for a guilt reaction. Just asking JG to address the net effect of the policies they advocate. Policies are about balancing pros and cons. One of the cons of conventions is the issue of participation by our military and by folks who maybe cannot afford to come to Richmond. If JG and other convention supporters believe the perceived pros of a convention outweigh, so be it, we can agree to disagree. But asking them to acknowledge that, whether in the abstract, or in this case, the not so abstract, is not a low blow.

          • sparkyva

            Primary’s give us bad candidates. There were 7 in the Lt Gov race because 7 could afford it. Had it been a primary, perhaps only 2 could have afforded to run, and then you have the liberals and independents helping the wrong candidate win. Jackson, Stimpson, JeanMarie, and Lingenfelder certainly did not have well funded campaigns. Gripe all you want. If you really care enough you will find a way to take part. Even Military men get leave. You just have to care more than you actually did.

          • Stephen Spiker

            You are really doing a disservice to yourself here. I’m 100% confident you would never hear E.W. Jackson say something as galling as accusing an active duty member of the military as “not caring”, and as monumentally stupid and absurd of believing he could drop everything and arrange to have a leave to coincide with the RPV convention.

            You’re point has been well-made: You’re a terrible person who wants to limit the right of other people to vote, even those in the military.

            Anybody else who supports a convention may want to step in here and tell sparky to shut his mouth, because he’s representing the worst of what the Republican Party has to offer.

          • sparkyva

            My dad was military as was my daughter and two sons. My son’s ballot for 2012 arrived a month after the election – disenfranchised by this administration. The schedule of the convention was known well in advance. Your sob story belongs on MSNBC not Bering Drift. I don’t think you represent the editorial direction of this site. So why not make more money working for the opposition? You are the old republican – the rino. Virginia is disowning your kind. Move to Maryland. You think I am a terrible person? You are right. I am fed up with your kind. After the revolutionary war, many of those who sided with the Enemy as you do, moved to Canada. I am only suggesting you move to Maryland which is enemy held territory.

          • Stephen Spiker

            Then you should show more respect to the military that your father served in. My “sob story”, as you call it, is speaking out against the disenfranchisement of our military personnel–the very thing you support, when you’re not too busy accusing those in uniform of “not caring”. Bearing Drift is exactly the place I should be. Your brand of vitriolic, anti-military, and anti-fact rhetoric is exactly the type of politics rejected by conservatives, by the Tea Party, and by EW Jackson.

            You bring nothing to the table but lies and attacks, and you shame E.W. Jackson by calling yourself a supporter of his.

          • sparkyva

            Well I just exposed your lies and attacks so I guess I am guilty by association. BTW I just spoke with EW and shook his hand. I didn’t realize from your earlier posts that you supported him. My politics is called confrontational: we call liars liars – something that McCain and Romney couldn’t do. So if you want to lose again, just keep doing your thing and undermining our party with liberal democratic ideas.

          • Stephen Spiker

            Since when is supporting our military a liberal Democratic idea? You’re the worst.

          • sparkyva

            Your twisting of my words qualifies you as a top notch Democrat. You must have had training.

          • Yeah, I am sure it is very practical for folks like Frank can get leave and fly to the US from overseas.

          • sparkyva

            Again, we are not a democracy, we are a republic being brainwashed into wanting to be a mob ruled democracy by the democrats. We are ruled by the representatives that we hire and fire by elections.

            You want to be a part of selecting these representatives, well, just like those who run for office, it will take some work and sacrifice on your part. Get off your lazy bum, join the local Republican Committee (Party), file to be a delegate, learn everything you can about the candidates, take off two days, stay up to past midnight each night, and you have a taste of what those running for office must do almost every day. Then come home, sign up for yard signs, phone banking, and door knocking.

            That is what people who care about the direction of this country do. Getting to cast a ballot is what you get to do because of the work we active members of the Party do. It is kind of like the liberty we have because those who fought for our country. But without political activism, this country will be conquered by the enemies within.

      • Bill D.

        But when less that 5,000 people out of over 200,000 Republicans in Virginia cast the last vote how can that be a smart way to decide??

        • sparkyva

          A valid statistical sample?

          • David C.F. Ray

            I’m one of those convention supporters who ABSOLUTELY recognizes that the law does not allow active duty military personnel to be delegates to a political convention.

            Funny — no one seems to have a problem with active duty military personnel being forbidden to be delegates to a NATIONAL convention.

            Yes, delegates to a national convention are mostly (though not exclusively, as Iowa so effectively demonstrates) selected by primaries, in which active military personnel CAN vote, but that’s no different from active duty personnel voting at a local mass meeting to select delegates to a state convention.

            So the military issue is, while sincerely felt by many, a red herring.

            For those who think the military issue is the most important flaw facing conventions and their supporters, I urge them to push Congress to amend the military code to allow them to be delegates. If Congress could repeal something as monumental as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to push the military to recognize a truly non-existent right under the Constitution, Congress could surely expand First Amendment rights for the military.

            And for those who don’t already know, RPV actually has NO proscription on active duty personnel’s participation in ANY of our processes. If the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff showed up to vote at a convention in his UNIFORM, and he brought his picture I.D., and he was otherwise properly credentialed, RPV would HAVE to allow him to participate, under our own bylaws! So it is NOT RPV keeping the military out — it is Congress.

            The bottom line in the whole convention vs, primary debate is that there is no “right” to participate in a partisan nomination process.

            Brian and I have a very fundamentally deep divide of opinion over this, but I oppose primaries because they violate the First Amendment right to free association, and no amount of party registration run by government can cure that (in fact, party registration makes the First Amendment violation WORSE).

            We can argue about whether Bishop Jackson, or Corey, or Jeannemarie, or Pete Snyder, or Susan Stimpson, et alia, would be the most ELECTABLE. That’s fine. That’s integral to what politics is about. (As an aside, NO ONE but Jeannemarie believes she could have ever won either this convention or a primary — she has no constituency outside of Fairfax, and her base THERE is weak. She ended her statewide viability by campaigning for re-election with Michael Bloomberg.)

            But securing the most ELECTABLE candidate (however desirable that goal is amidst others — electing an effective advocate for the party’s agenda, for example), is NOT a compelling governmental interest, and so it can never be acceptable for government to dictate how a party goes about making the selection.

            This comment is already too long, so I will include a link to an extended debate in which Brian and I engaged on “Black Velvet Bruce Li” a year ago for anyone interested in understanding WHY people like me support and vote for conventions.


            And yes — I supported having a convention this year (twice), and I support having one next year (State Central approved next year’s U.S. Senate convention this past Friday). And, yes, as a convention supporter, I can tell you that various State Central members and other party leaders have already begun to look at what worked and didn’t work this year to make next year’s convention run even better.

            Despite my beliefs, I also recognize the convention took far longer than it should have, and I plan to fight for a tighter operation next year.

          • David, I’m glad we can at least agree that this convention wasn’t optimally run.

            The reason why no one gets upset about the military not participating in a national convention is because the national conventions are dog and pony shows where the outcome is already pre-arranged, and they have been for decades.

          • David C.F. Ray


            National conventions indeed have worked out that way for about 30 years or so, but that is an accident of politics, not a function of the structural method of selecting a Presidential nominee. That method is structurally the SAME as it was in the “bad” ol’ days of smoke-filled rooms.

            Contrary to popular myth, not all delegates to a National convention are bound on ANY ballot, so the outcome, however “pre-arranged,” can actually STILL change on site. This may be highly unlikely, but it is ABSOLUTELY possible.

            So the argument about the military stands on its own merits.

    • Not Harry F. Byrd

      Frank, you’re in the military. That sounds dangerously close to being an establishmentarian. I mean, the military is an appendage of…the government. How can YOU be trusted to nominate a PURE TrueCon?
      Snark aside, I’ve never understood why the “military voters get screwed” argument hasn’t garnered more weight. It’s profoundly unfair to the very people we should be bending over backwards to get participating.
      Conventions suck. Agree entirely, Brian.

      • Stephen Spiker

        It doesn’t garner more weight because those who argue for a convention never address it when you bring it up. You’d be lucky to even get a response, though that response is more than likely just going to call you a Democrat.

  • The only thing that I’m going to disagree with here, Brian, because I really like your article, is that it was not the Establishment members of the party who voted for the convention. Those of us who have been called Establishment voted for the primary. Ken is not an Establishment politician, outside of those times when it works to the advantage. Beyond that, Ken’s most ardent supporters have made it blatant that he is not Establishment; and those of us who have been called Establishment have all but been run out of different committees around the state right now, including State Central. So while I absolutely agree with you on having primaries and including all Republicans who want to vote for our nominees, I have to disagree with it being an Establishment vote that brought about the convention. We did not want a convention.

    But yes, your point is very true in favor of primaries.

    • Lynn, that’s the thing – the old establishment are the outsiders now and vice versa.

      • That is a bit of an overstatement.

        • Not really. Just look at the conventions vs. primaries vote from Friday in State Central. Look at who our gubernatorial nominee is.

          • I suppose, but it really seems to me more that the old establishment had a couple factions form and one is more ascendant than the other. It’s not like a bunch of people who were complete outsiders are now running things. The truly new people (never before active in politics outside of voting) at times have an uneasy alliance with the “new” establishment but not always. Now, I must admit I say this as an outsider who is looking through a pretty murky glass.

          • I would agree to a certain extent, but my point about the establishment, especially based on Lynn’s comment, is that it is can change. Folks who were outsiders get elected to unit chair and SCC roles and they become the establishment. The Ron Paul folks that swept in last year are now part of the establishment. The more moderate SCC and unit chairs who were the establishment are on the outside now.

            Then again, moderate is itself a shifting goalpost.

          • That’s a really good point and I get what you’re saying. My perception is somewhat colored by the fact that I was there as a delegate for Rob Bell. Now, frankly, both Mark and Rob are pretty good party guys. But I just got the sense that the old line establishment preferred Mark because it was his turn and he has a more established statewide organization, not because he was more conservative or likely to more aggressively fight against Federal encroachment on State sovereignty. Still, maybe the Ron Paul guys were simply indifferent to that race.

          • I would agree with that. Rob and Mark had very little substantive differences on the issues.

          • sparkyva

            Just what do you base that that they are good party guys statement on? I am looking at their voting records, and they didn’t vote the way the republican party leadership wanted. They voted conservative.

          • Both Mark and Rob are in the Republican Party leadership.

          • sparkyva

            The NEW republican leadership, not your stodgy old RINO republican leadership – notice their votes. They are with us, not with you. Go join the democrats, you will be happier. We have a new republican party as soon as we get rid of a few more rinos. Got a couple of good primaries coming up to replace tax and spend and regulate republicans.

          • Stephen Spiker

            The RPV Building is named the Obenshain Building for Christ’s sake. Mark’s a great guy, and a great conservative, and he’s clearly connected to what you call the “stodgy old” leadership. Stop using easily disprovable arguments to try and throw people out of the party. You’re embarrassing yourself.

          • catholicgal

            I feel I have to say this. Could you please refrain from taking our Lord’s name in vain? I feel like I have to stick up for God on this one.

          • Kblankenship7

            Stop blaspheming if you don’t mind.

          • No, I’ll be happier when we can quit the incessant infighting and actually fight real Democrats.

          • This is another problem with conventions. They are packed with a few returning activists and piles of the uninitiated in the first flush activism, who are coming to support a personality. When they see the rancor and futility of a convention, and their personal candidate loses, they leave, not to be seen again. For crying out loud, 3K out of 8K left before balloting was over. If they were originally dedicated activists, and not johnny-come-latelies with beginner’s zeal, they would’ve stayed to the finish, doing their part to nominate the best candidate. It is much likely that a candidate and the Party will build a grassroots campaign during a primary than leading up to a convention.

          • catholicgal

            But somehow it’s better for someone to just drop by and vote in a one time deal for a primary? So, those people that took time out to go vote one time only are somehow better then those who left after three ballots? I am not one of those and I wish they had stayed. I think you are right for a small percentage of those people that came. But I can sure bet you that there is much greater percentage of those fly by night voters participating in a primary.

          • This isn’t a question about who is better – it’s about opening the process up to the largest number of Republicans possible.

          • Stephen Spiker

            I don’t care to have a discussion on which voters are “better” or more educated or more deserving. I don’t feel that I’m qualified to pass such judgment on 5,000 convention-goers or 200,000 primary voters. I also don’t know what makes you think that you’re so high-and-mighty that you CAN make that judgment.

          • So, you’re saying conservative voting records somehow demonstrate they are not solid, long standing members of the party? Both of these guys have been active in the Party (volunteering during campaigns, etc.) since they were young. They’re not some new outsiders.

  • Darrell

    Head first or tail first? Does it really matter how your RPV political plane hits the ground? A primary gains you the incumbent protection team. A paid ticket convention alienates the votes you need. Either way the increasingly broke RPV is irrelevant to the outcome of Virginia elections. A result of ‘low information’ Republicans getting more educated about their state’s party.

  • John Galt

    Unpacking Brian W. Schoeneman’s rant. Part 1.

    Where to begin in dissecting this post?

    Setting aside the whining over costs, convention process, logistics, cell phone batteries, etc., let’s begin with a few remarks of relevance.

    1. “Those of us who want primaries are not the establishment in Virginia,”

    The ones who benefit most from open primaries are RINOs, who get the necessary lift from Democrats and so-called independents.

    2. “we’re the folks on the outside complaining about the outdated, discriminatory and elitist nominating process”

    Are you suggesting that somehow only establishment Republicans get to be picked as delegates? If that’s the case, they’ve done an absolutely horrible job of keeping out the grassroots.

    As far as “discriminatory and elitist,” I’d say that the nomination of E.W. Jackson contradicts that.

    And if you mean that conventions are “discriminatory” because they keep out those (Democrats and so-called independents) who don’t hold with the Republican creed, then what’s the problem?

    3. “where only people who have nothing better to do on a spring Saturday than sit in an arena covered in stickers for fifteen hours get to choose our nominees.”

    Your remark is outright offensive and insulting. You’re implying that the convention was only attended by either the idle rich or pathetic souls with no life.

    I’m sure nearly all delegates at the Coliseum had many other things they would rather be doing, but chose instead to make the personal sacrifice of time and money to engage in the political process. It’s called having some skin in the game.

    Of course, one could argue that some veteran political professionals, long-time Republican party activists and attorneys have nothing better to do on a Sunday than post blog rants and respond to comments all day.

    To be continued.

    • And one could argue that some people respond to those rants also have nothing better to do on a Sunday.

      The ones who benefit most from primaries (I never said open, did i?) are the voters.

      Conventions are discriminatory because they keep out the poor, parents with young kids, military voters, folks who don’t want to waste a Saturday sitting around while people count ballots, the aged, the infirm, and a variety of other folks who would vote in a primary if they were given the chance.

      • Stephen Spiker

        Oh but Brian, if they truly had any conservative principles, they’d do what it takes to get to Richmond. Didn’t you know, there’s only 8,000 actual Republicans in all of Virginia. Everyone else are RINOs and Democrats. Thank goodness we didn’t choose a process that let’s them have a say!

        • catholicgal

          And don’t you know, that in primaries, the only people that really matter live in big cities? Why do candidates spend a preponderance of their time campaigning in big cities? Have you looked at an electoral map lately?

          • Is that not true in general elections, as well?

          • Stephen Spiker

            First of all, yes, candidates tend to spend their time where there are a lot of voters. You make that sound like a bad thing. Second, that’s just patently not true. Most candidates will travel the state and go to every county of the state to meet people.

            Which is a good thing, because there’s a lot of people who live in rural counties who can’t take a full weekend away to pay to travel to Richmond to sit for 14 hours. I want those people to have a say. Why don’t you?

      • sparkyva

        You say it again and so I will say it again – hogwash or other suitable phrase. I sat beside common ordinary people who want to have a choice in the matter of who is nominated. One is a security guard, another runs the vegetable department in a grocery store, another a real estate salesperson, another a massage therapist – common ordinary people. These are taking part in nominating people who believe in the same things they do. Think of it as a representative government. Oh and there were several there who were infirm as well, limping or in wheelchairs willing to make the sacrifices necessary so we would have an actual choice this time instead of letting the establishment make them for us.

        • And those folks all could have taken part in a primary without the inconvenience and waste of time of a convention.

    • BrianKirwin

      This idiotic theory about Democrats voting in Republican primaries ignores the fact that there would be a Democratic Primary going on at the same time and assumes Democrats would skip their own primary to vote in ours. It’s silly to presume that.

  • John Galt

    Unpacking Brian W. Schoeneman’s rant. Part 2.

    1. “And the establishment got their wish – two of their candidates were nominated. Both Ken Cuccinelli and Mark Obenshain are solid establishment candidates.”

    This must be a tongue-in-cheek remark about Cuccinelli, right? In case you missed the memo, Bolling was the establishment pick.

    Of course he might have had a shot if he’d been willing to roll up his sleeves, prove his conservative credentials and work for the nomination. Instead, he packed up his marbles and went home because he knew he couldn’t win without RINOs and “independents” voting in an open primary.

    2. “Mark had the overwhelming backing of most of the unit chairs and State Central members out there.”

    What if he did? You’re saying he wouldn’t have won in the primary. Really? Obenshain is well liked and respected in all corners. As the favorite son of a Virginia favorite son who died in a plane crash, he had the sentimental vote going into this.

    Obenshain and Bell were both fine candidates, behaved as classic gentlemen during the campaign, and either would be a tremendous AG.

    To be continued.

    • No, it was reality. I’ve already written elsewhere that after the SCC move, Cuccinelli is the leader of the establishment now. Bolling didn’t run, thus he was nobody’s choice. There’s nothing wrong with Ken being the leader of the establishment.

      I’m not saying Mark wouldn’t have won the primary. I’m saying that he’s part of the establishment. Come on – nobody named Obenshain isn’t part of the establishment.

      Here may be where you’re making the mistake – I don’t consider “establishment” to be a slam. It’s just an adjective. Mark had the support of the majority of the leadership of the party, not Rob. That’s just how it was.

      • momsaid

        Winning in spite of the Establishment does not make you ‘Establishment’ by default. It makes you a new leader in a new venue. The ‘E’ word connotes entrenched, archaic or non-responsive elites. Cuccinelli does not fit that mold.

        • The establishment = the existing leadership of the organization. You’re using the “e” word as if it has some negative connotation. It doesn’t. It simply is what it is.

          • George from Cleveland

            Establishment is often correlated with $$$$. That’s why it has a negative connotation. This isn’t always the case, after 2012, the Ron Paul movement became the Iowa GOP establishment, and that wasn’t the only state party apparatus they took over.

  • Grassroots insurrectionist

    If open primaries are made in to closed primaries the need for conventions disappears. And to all the whining that the independents put forth over such a proposal i sa too bad so sad. Want to participate in a primary? Choose a side. Otherwise, shut it.

    • George from Cleveland

      People don’t like being talked down to. Part of the reason why people don’t like closed primaries is that a third of the population doesn’t operate from an ideological mindset, and then there are those who are not conservatives or progressives, that follow a different ideology. It’s the drawback of the two-party system which is an inevitability of the winner-take all system, a system of mixed-member proportional representation as used in Germany would satisfy both the partisans by strengthening the party and also the independents by allowing multiple parties the chance for representation. Executives could be elected by supplementary vote. Of course, this is mostly a pipe dream.

  • Tommy Valentine

    The butthurt in this post is palpable.

    • That’s all you’ve got? I’m disappointed.

      • Tommy Valentine

        You didn’t get your way, now you’re whining. When Romney was forced upon us, conservatives sucked it up and went to work; now that the shoe is on the other foot, it’s different.

        • Tommy, did you miss the part in the article when I said “This is usually the part of the conversation where the convention crowd starts complaining about “the establishment” and how my comments are just complaints from another establishment Republican complaining because my candidate didn’t win.” You just did exactly what I said folks would do. I could care less who won the nomination. My issue is about the process, not the outcome. Romney wasn’t forced on anybody.

  • Olyphaunt

    I went into yesterday’s convention a strong Stimpson support, and a big believer in the conservative bona fides of a nominating convention. I came out even more strongly convinced that conventions are a bad way to choose nominees. First, I agree with everything that’s been said here about how conventions make it difficult for all but a small, highly motivated, group to have a voice in choosing the nominees. If we’re going to keep having conventions, they should rotate around the state-Roanoke, Richmond, Newport News, Fairfax, Bristol, Harrisonburg- think of the benefits to each area in tourist cash! Second, the party couldn’t make the day go smoothly. Four hours between rounds with no knowledge of what was happening was deadly, and rumors spread all over the place about what was happening. Get electronic voting machines already. And invite, oh, I don’t know, three food trucks next time? Third, and this is the ugly elephant in the room, that room yesterday was whiter than a polar bear in a blizzard. I know Jackson is black, and he’ll talk conservative to black people just like he will white people, but it’s neither pandering nor is it racist to note that none of the candidates running yesterday had to consider how to tailor a conservative message to minorities in order to win, because there were hardly any there. Thank goodness Ken has obviously been thinking about it.

    • catholicgal

      How do you know that a candidate on the floor this past weekend won’t be able to tailor their message to minorities? They didn’t need to talk about it in that venue. Why waste your 7 minutes to speak on that if you don’t need it yet? And as an aside, I was not impressed with Susan Stimpson at the convention. Admittedly I already wasn’t going to vote for her, but I gues I didn’t like the way she was pointed at us while she spoke. Just a personal thing.

  • catholicgal

    I just wanted to thank you Mr. Schoeneman for allowing this debate on primary vs. convention. While I don’t agree with you as a whole on this subject, I appreciate your responses and the venue for us to express our thoughts.

  • Jesse

    The biggest problem with a primary is it USES TAXPAYER MONEY! I am all for them if the parties want to pay the bill to have them. The convention process is not perfect, but it is the “fiscally conservative” and “Republican” way to pick candidates. I expect to hear Democrats advocating for the unnecessary spending of tax money on their candidates, but it always makes me cringe when I see self proclaimed Republicans ask for the the same.

  • Brian, I was just checking in to see new comments on my iPad and I think I inadvertently flagged a comment as inappropriate. If so, please ignore it. It was purely a mistake of mine to fat finger it like that. Cheers, Will

    • Don’t worry about it. We rarely delete comments anyway.

      • Tanks. I doubted it would be deleted, but if I had intentionally flagged it, it would definitely have called my mental abilities into question or else made me look like an Internet troll. It was not an offensive post.

  • old_redneck

    E. W. Jackson has a “way with words?”

    Only if the listener is a nutcase to begin with.

    That’s what Jackson does . . . he says stupid s*** to stupid people who proclaim him to be brilliant.

  • Before you write the final conclusion, perhaps you ought to wait to see how the actual election turns out. That lovely primary you wanted got us spanked in the general last year – this year the party has decided it wants to put up candidates who stand for something besides their own personal advancement and/or the failed status quo.

    • The method of nomination wasn’t why we lost the general election last year.

      • How do you know that while simultaneously knowing that if we do lose this year, the convention will be the cause?

        Primaries led to our losses in 2012, producing candidates of high name recognition and good fundraising ability, but very dubious appeal (and as it turned out, not nearly enough appeal to win). We chose to nominate by convention this year in order to apply criteria other than name recognition and fundraising ability to the selection process for nominees.

        It may turn out that our convention-nominated candidates also lose (I don’t think they will, but let’s say for argument’s purpose here). How are we any worse off than after the primary? At least this way we get a candidate who will actually advocate for what the party wants and get that message out to the electorate – producing future converts – rather than someone who doesn’t even believe in the party’s main message and won’t promote it.

        This would be easier to explain if you also actually believed in the party’s message. From the thoughts you express here regularly, I would suggest an exercise – go through the party platform and check off what you actually agree with vs. what you disagree with. If you hit a better score than 50% I’ll be quite surprised.

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  • Kblankenship7

    Practical Convention thoughts:
    My first one in years. Critique:
    1) Whose idea was it to keep us off the floor? Floor demonstrations used to be a fun part of these things. Coliseum staff seemed to relish their role as gatekeepers, glaring at us as we tried to get onto the floor. RPV’s idea? Aspiring TSA workers?
    2) I begrudgingly paid a “guest’ fee for my son. He was asked to provide photo ID. He is a child, and has no such ID. RPV? Homeland Security?
    3) Segregation. My son had to “sneak” into our delegation. Absurd. happily segregation of guests was being violated all across the venue.
    4) No announcment by unit chairs of total votes on first ballot. This used to be great fun in the old days. Added to the excitement, and gave us something to do other than send down paper airplanes.
    5) I have never before seen the gubernatorial nominee endorse someone before a vote. Bad form.
    1) Paper airplanes!!! With so much paper strewn about, it was absurd to announce “please stop flying airplanes”. Happily this command was ignored.
    2) EW Jackson’s speech. Wow!
    3)Those little fans that Pete Snyder distributed. Neat. Davis’ retro fans. I saved mine.
    4) Planned Parenthood’s weak demonstration. Old boomer women without a clue. Were they paid to be there?

  • Kblankenship7

    where did the rest of the comments go?

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