Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

King County GOP Convention

Posted by Warren Peterson on April 14, 2008

The King County Republican Party’s convention last Saturday approved the party platform without any amendments or a single word of debate. How did they pull off this miracle? Simple, it is called an absence of a quorum. You see the rules of the convention provide that if a quorum is not present, the platform as proposed by the Platform Committee, including adopted amendments up to the loss of quorum, will be considered approved. Of course, if no one challenges the presence of a quorum, the convention could have theoretically continued as long as a single delegate remained. Someone did though and the convention adjourned just after lunch leaving time to enjoy the globally warm, Western Washington day.

There were several incensed delegates, especially among the die-hard Ron Paul supporters, who lost the opportunity to offer amendments and resolutions. It is not unusual in long lasting conventions to have someone move to adopt the balance of the platform “so we can just go home.” The convention quorum rule merely makes it easier sooner.

Quorum would not be an issue if those elected at the precinct caucuses would take their office of delegate seriously. The party by-laws define a quorum as twenty percent of elected delegates. There were over 4,200 of them in King County of which less than a 1,000 bothered to show up. Over a hundred left early and the attendance fell below the 855 delegate threshold.

The end result was not all bad. Republicans got a platform developed by representatives of each legislative district in King County that is reasonably concise, inclusive and reflective of the Republican Party base. Still, some method needs to be found to allow a final voice from the elected convention delegates. The party should consider a system requiring the platform to published earlier and only allowing amendments submitted in writing prior to the convention. This has its drawbacks also but at least it would offer more opportunity to the grass roots. A delegate presented an even better solution when he excoriated those delegates who left early and the over 3000 that did not attend. Essentially he said show up and do your duty! Amen to that.

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4 Responses to “King County GOP Convention”

  1. DR King said

    Tocqueville feared democracy would become a “tyranny of the majority.” What we saw at the convention yesterday was tyranny of indifference. Having more than 80% of the delegates absent does not reflect well on the party. Although I am disappointed there was no party-discussion on the platform, I am satisified with it as it stands. Next time, however, could the platform be made available in advance (e.g., the internet) ahead of time? (Perhaps it was — I’m a new PCO and am still learning the ropes. But I saw the platform for the first time at the convention.) With blogs and wicki-technology, it seems we could do better than this.

  2. john vasko said

    the platform is published one week in advance of the convention on the KCGOP website. Additionally, anyone may pick one up at the office.
    Amendments or additional planks and Resolutions can be submitted to the county chair or any of the platform committee members at any time prior to 10 am the day of the convention. This was done by about fifty persons. The committee considered all of these and was prepared to present them to the convention.
    Unfortunately, debate was closed with loss of the quorum.
    The Resolutions which were to be recommended as “do pass” by the platform committee will be presented to the State Platform Committee for consideration.
    Regarding the Rules and Bylaws, some changes need to be considered; these will be brought to the leadership.
    John Vasko, Platform Chair.

  3. stephen said

    This was the first convention that I have attended. I stayed until the end. I know that 80% of the delegates were not absent, yes there was a lot of people who left after the cold hambugers were serve. I saw a few people who pack a sack lunch. I also saw a lot of people who were going out of thier way to disrupt the convention. I had the feeling that a few democrats were there just to cause trouble. I do not know if they were or not, just a feeling. There could of been a few signs around saying ‘This way to the GOP convetion’. There were a lot of people there and I do not know how long they plan for this. I do know that this convention went well and I am surprise there weren’t more problems. Overall I would say the convention went well.

  4. Brian Wren said

    I read this platform, and I am absolutely delighted with it. I am very disappointed at the lack of intensity that delegates showed though.

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