March 18, 2012
Twosupporters were arrested Saturday as the caucusing process deteriorated into chaos and disorder in St. Charles County near St. Louis, adding more doubt to the validity of the Republican presidential nominating contest and turning the voting process into what one attendee described as “a joke, a complete joke.”
Police arrested Paul supporters Kenneth Sutter and Brent Stafford after a ban on videorecording was announced and caucus organizers asked police to help enforce it.
Jim Evans, another Paul supporter, said that caucus attendees began speaking about problems with the caucus and their constitutional rights.
"We started speaking about the Constitution. Where's our rights? Where are our votes? This is fascism," Evans told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (full story here).
Sutter and Stafford were arrested for trespassing before being released. Police said the pair were given “numerous warnings” to leave the property or face arrest.
Voting in Missouri has turned extremely convoluted this year, owing in part to a 2008 measure passed by Republican leaders who threatened states voting ahead of Super Tuesday with a loss of delegates. In Missouri, which has employed a presidential primary since 1996, the changes have lead to both a primary and split-date caucusing, with more caucuses set for St. Louis, Kansas City and elsewhere in the state.
Actual results of the caucuses may not be known until congressional district meetings on April 21, when the party will choose its representatives to the national convention in Tampa, scheduled for late August. But even then, the Missouri process will not be complete: On June 2, another batch of delegates to the convention will be selected at a gathering in Springfield.
Former U.S. Sen., a top-level Romney supporter in the Show Me State, told reporters he believed the Missouri results might eventually be contested. “"I think what everyone is going to do is point fingers at something or somebody else," Talent said. "It's just going to be a mess."
Big problems with the GOP process
Throughout the campaign, charges of voter suppression and inaccurate results have echoed from Maine to Washington State as the GOP attempts to retain some modicum of credibility in the public eye.
For a party that prides itself on efficiency and focus, the Republican nominating process has been one long exercise in absurdity and misdirection. From the very beginning, the deck was stacked against two fully qualified candidates, former New Mexico Gov.and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer. These conspicuous omissions may prove to be the ultimate undoing of GOP hopes in 2012.
GOP ineptitude ensures closer look at other candidates
Shut out of the debates by a combination of media manipulation of polling criteria and official GOP indifference to the candidates’ appeals for inclusion, both Johnson and Roemer are now seeking alternative paths to the presidency, and both men could be a factor in the November General Election.
Johnson is seeking the Libertarian nomination and is currently pursuing a crafty fundraising strategy in conjunction with the NCAA men’s basketball tourney, which could lead to an infusion of federal matching funds and enough visibility to merit his inclusion in presidential debates later this year. The GOP may well come to regret shunning Johnson as the 2012 campaign progresses; his socially liberal, fiscally conservative message will resonate with reasonable Republicans, independents and disaffected Democrats at an exponential level once the Republicans settle on a nominee. If radical conservative manages to wrest the nomination from Romney, a revolt within the GOP is likely, with Johnson actually winning more votes that Santorum and perhaps the presidency itself.
Roemer is tying his hopes to Americans Elect, an organization trying to put the first directly nominated non-partisan ticket on the ballot in all 50 states.
By following a pre-fabricated, style-over-substance approach to picking its presidential nominee, the Republican party is showing America and the world how utterly unrepresentative of “We the People” the GOP has become. That Americans deserve more than a choice between Obama and the GOP is undeniably obvious. The more American voters scrutinize the Republican nominating process, the more likely a viable third-party alternative will emerge. So rather than criticizing the GOP for its lack of coherence and focus, perhaps the fall campaign will find voters thanking Republicans for being so inept that they gave us not one but two better choices than the elephant or the donkey.
SOURCES & RESOURCES:
Conflict, strategy mark Missouri GOP caucuses, St. Louis Post Dispatch, March 18, 2012
Ron Paul hints at suspicion of election fraud, The New American, March 13, 2012
Additional sources & resources linked to in text.
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