Slating Is Evil

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The math on this is real simple.

In the 2nd District of Virginia, there is clearly a contest.  State Senator Frank Wagner thought he was going to be running against Gary Byler thinking he was going after Clark Kent.

Turns out, Superman arrived — and his name was Curtis Colgate.

Thus the battle for delegates shifted from what might have been a true contest into a practical tidal wave of support for Colgate, long known as a conservative stalwart and a bridge builder at that (and host of the 2012 RPV Advance at The Cavalier).

So what do the moderates do?  First, there is this particular dust up about the nature of the party call, which was claimed to be invalid by Republican Professionals Network chairman Bruce Meyer on RPV’s behalf, but then pointedly turned back by RPV general counsel Courtland Putbrese.

Then comes the slating…

For those unfamiliar with this, here’s how slating works.  200 people show up at a mass meeting as potential delegates for 100 seats at a convention.  One side rises and reads off a list of names — a slate — and the majority then elects those individuals as the only ones who can go to the convention.  As you can see, if one side in particular chose to slate their convention delegates, that candidate would then receive 100% of the votes for that locality, rather than a proportional number of votes based on actual numbers at the mass meeting.

Now is it per the bylaws?  Yes… anyone can slate.  Is it done? Rarely — as in, never.

Julian Walker (whom we seem to be quoting quite a bit at Bearing Drift, if only for the fine quality reporting) has the bloody details:

Successfully slating delegates means one candidate gets the advantage of sending just their supporters to the convention.

And Colgate is concerned about rumors Wagner is going to use that strategy to control delegate selection at a Beach GOP mass meeting Monday evening at Frank W. Cox High School when the local party is also set to pick a chairman.

He called slating an effort to remove “a person’s right to vote through an obscure procedural motion” whereby “a simple majority can enact a 100 percent outcome.”

Colgate urged Wagner to denounce that, but the senator declined to do so.

“It’s the will of the mass meeting,” he told The Virginian-Pilot last week. “There’s going to be 1,000 people there. If they decide that’s what they want to do, they’ll do it.”

…which is a polite way of saying that Wagner supporters intend to slate their convention delegates.

Folks, slating is evil — we’re not talking Dr. Evil, or Dr. Strangelove, or even the Dallas Cowboys.  We’re talking pure, straight-up, un-American, our-Founding-Fathers-didn’t-fight-a-costly-and-bloody-revolution-for-this sort of evil.  It’s unethical, it’s wrong, it’s stupid.  There is zero reason for slating short of the modern version of Trotsky or Stalin on the verge of getting the Republican nomination.  I hardly think we’re even on the horizon of something that outrageous that would require the zero-option of slating in Virginia nomination methods.

There’s a reason why RPV chairman Pat Mullins is angered and outraged at this tactic, and he’s right to express those feelings.  Wagner — were he honorable — ought to walk in and concede the election tonight.  I suspect he will not… but Virginia Beach voters ought to treat harshly any attempt by any faction of voters to slate.

Curtis Colgate is a fine conservative who deserves a fair hearing and a fair shot.  Moreover, Colgate’s supporters deserve to be heard at the 2nd District convention no matter where they hail from — disenfranchising supporters is a mistake without parallel.

Slating is evil.

UPDATE:  Justin Higgins over at JHPolitics comments on the fiasco:

If Wagner’s supporters are successful in executing a “quick snap” slate, it will set a dangerous precedent where candidates disallow split delegations in counties where they are strong. This could have huge ramifications for potential future statewide convention battles.

We will see if slating happens in Virginia Beach. While the process is legal, it is also counterproductive toward growing a vibrant political party.

Which is why slating is such a zero-event, beyond nuclear option.   You just… don’t… do… that…

UPDATE x2:  Steve Albertson over at The Bull Elephant calls BS on the whole slating affair:

When called out on this last week, Wagner was dismissive, and said that if the Virginia Beach mass meeting being held tonight decides to slate off people he doesn’t like that he’s just fine with that. In fact, it appears that his allies are maneuvering to try to jump the gun on delegate votes by turning out all their supporters early tonight so that they can slow down late registrations and have the vote to slate even before their opponents have been allowed to join the meeting!

Clearly, the whole “it’s the will of the mass meeting” line just doesn’t measure up.