Texas GOP Convention Going Forward?
If a betting market exists for whether the GOP convention will take place in Houston or virtually, smart money at this point is on virtual.
This is bad news for the GOP.
On a town hall call, Chairman James Dickey stated that a virtual convention is not ideal for the majority of delegates. He’s right.
As a quick refresher.
The Texas GOP has planned for months to host an in-person convention in Houston. Now that hyped Marxist rioting has subsided and COVID19 case counts are on the rise, rancor for a second shutdown is ratcheting up.
Last week, GOP party leadership, months after it began furtively devising a virtual-only convention contingency plan, moved to adopt rules needed to implement the secretive solution.
An online-hostage-at-home convention is not popular with the party faithful, with love for the technological failsafe largely confined to eggheads overly concerned by derision from the cackling hordes on the left.
In addition to being overly responsive to whining, the party is poised to break with its party platform and use an electronic voting system similar to those it rightly condemns as insufficiently transparent and vulnerable to hacking.
To date, there has been no transparency when it comes to the system being used to participate and cast votes in the virtual convention crafted by the Chairman and his cabal, causing even more consternation among his constituents.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, Sylvester Turner, the Democrat Mayor of Houston has alternatively called on Texas Republicans to cancel their scheduled convention in Houston and instructed city attorney’s to explore canceling the event.
Turner before spinning up the attorneys said he would be deploying special forces to strictly monitor participants attending the convention. The tactics described were aggressive and he stated the slightest infraction would lead to immediate cancelation.
He was bluffing on Monday but the cancelation appears to be happening.
So, while the party has maintained the facade that a convention in Houston is viable, increasingly signs point to cancellation and a forced nomadic convention.
The triggered contingency, if it’s anything like the two virtual special meetings held in the past week, will be a complete dumpster fire.
Ahead of last week’s first special meeting, Direct Action Texas suggested a remote (formerly called a hybrid) convention be considered before an all virtual option.
It was a good-faith compromise.
Remote gatherings would allow the party to limit exposure to Houston and the hazards of 500+ member gatherings while maintaining a modicum of normalcy, especially when it comes to casting votes.
There’s no reason to suspect this idea wouldn’t have come from a member of the State Republican Executive Committee member. Indeed, with the prospect of an all-virtual convention (now provided for in the rules) looking likely, the idea is making the rounds on social media.
Anticipated from the start of this odyssey was the blocking tactic party leadership deployed, the corporate-speak “logistical issues” to which every delegate and alternate ought to reply, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
In truth, all options pose logistical problems but, “only one has a monopoly on transparency and trust issues, and it happens to be the choice the party is careening toward.”
An SD or CD based option is now called a remote convention because the term hybrid convention has been tainted by Dickey.
During last week’s first special meeting of the SREC, the Chairman set up the hybrid option as a bifurcated event with a hub in Houston and satellite events in Senate Districts. This type of virtual and in-person convention, which was not the suggested hybrid, would present unequal outcomes in participation.
The proposed remote contingency option of holding a dispersed convention (standard SD and CD meetings) and a virtual meeting for the entire body, would provide equal access and be more secure.
Plus, a remote networked in-person solution would lower disparities in internet service access and user capabilities to ensure equal participation in the convention.
One last item.
During a town hall this week, Dickey mentioned multiple times this year’s gathering in Houston would “lack pageantry.” This may have been a euphemistic reference to speeches and public appearances by statewide elected officials.
After the call, it was confirmed by multiple media outlets that all speakers at the convention would be giving video speeches, rather than in-person.
Conservative Republicans have used convention speeches in years past to direct displeasure at statewide officials like former Speaker Joe Straus, by booing. The same fate had been predicted ahead of this year’s gathering.