Is there enough room for dissent at political conventions?

Some members of the Minnesota delegation to the Republican National Convention have complained about their treatment in Tampa. They say rules are being rigged against insurgent candidates like Ron Paul, who most of them voted for. Today’s Question: Is there enough room for dissent at political conventions?

  • Rich

    The larger issue is that the GOP rule changes can work against any delegate for any candidate in any state in the future.

    Many grassroots Republicans, the kind who have worked for years or even decades in the trenches from the precinct level on up, realize that now the power is being centralized at the national level and they are being systematically disenfranchised.

    They are also concerned that rules can be changed so suddenly and valid calls from the floor are being ignored for voice votes v. tabulated votes, for floor nominations, etc.

    Many Romney and Santorum supporters, not just Paul delegates, are fuming. Why even bother doing all the hard work (for no pay, at much personal expense) of being a delegate if their main function is now hollowed out? Why is the GOP so insecure that it cannot tolerate a few differences (which in no way would have changed the outcome anyway)? Why is it resorting to autocratic rules that make the GOP even more brittle and even less adaptive to changes in its environment?

    Party supporters have every reason to fear the future of the GOP.

  • Gary F

    The Ron Paul folks need to earn their stripes. Sure, they dominated the Minnesota GOP caucuses this year. Now is where the rubber meets the road, they need get their people out trying to get local office holders elected and work at the grass roots level to get county commissioners, school board,state senators and reps elected, not just get their main people (e.g. Paul and Bills) to the premier spots.

    I welcome the Paul folks. Greece is the word….

    Distention? Will you folks at MPR be asking this same question about the so called “Pro life Democrats” and “Pro 2nd Amendment Democrats” next week? Or is it just a Republican thing?

  • Steve the Cynic

    Only if the party values truth.

    Hearing all the distortions and outright lies being spewed at this convention, even some that have previously been debunked by the fact checkers, I get the impression that the Goppers don’t. But then, we know from long experience that truth is irrelevant in American politics.

  • Kurt Nelson

    Apparently not, or at least not this year. This is curious because the Republicans have such a long and storied history of tolerating dissent, or anything that challenges their orthodoxy (like the truth).

  • John

    True freedom of speech including the press is gone in this country. Information control, propaganda generation is the name of the game.

    It matters NOT if its Republican or Democrat the results will be the same, the big banks still control the system and that is one of the big reasons that the Ron Paul groups are being silenced.

  • Jim G

    It is ironic but predictable that the very same GOP which consistently touts local decision making will rig the rules so that locally selected delegates can be replaced by the GOP national committee leaders. The old adage: “Watch what they do, not what they say.” applies here. If you watch what the GOP has done, and is doing and not the words they are using at this convention, you’ll see a particular unease with small “d” democratic traditions and more to do with consolidating power bases. Oligarchy, plutocracy… let the debate continue.

    When the GOP came to power in 2000, I told myself, “Give them a few years in power and the American people will catch on to their deceptive ways.” When the economic collapse began in 2008 under Bush’s lax administrative regulation of the Banking/Mortgage industry, I told myself, “Now we see the fruit of the GOP’s Trickle DOWN Theory. The entire economy goes DOWN when you play by the GOP’s rigged rules.” So is this unusual for the GOP? No, this how the GOP operates: the winners win…everything. You losers… har… har… har… are losers.

  • Bill

    The problem for the Republicans is that Ron Paul will not endorse Romney and he can’t because Romney doesn’t represent the same values of peace that Ron Paul represents. Romney represents war, Israeli support.

    Therefore the Ron Paul supporters will still vote for Ron and the election will go to Obama.

  • Gary F

    Mr. Cynic

    Could you provide some examples?

  • Steve the Cynic

    In addition to the cases pointed out in the coverage, Gary F, one that caught my attention was when Chris Christie presumed to define what “Democrats believe” and proceeded to describe opinions that no Democrat I know or have heard orate has ever espoused. It was a classic example of a straw man argument, consisting of mischaracterizing your opponent’s position and then attacking the mischaracterization. In other words, using lies to persuade people.

    BTW, I expect to see more of the same from the Dems when it’s their turn.

  • James

    The parties ignore dissenting voices at their own risk…in most countries.

    How the US has managed to get into the 2000’s with only 2 political parties is amazing and terrifying.

    They talk about “big tents.” Big tents are where dissenting voices get swallowed and stifled.

    1-party systems suck. 2-party systems aren’t much better.

  • inuit

    “..straw man argument, consisting of mischaracterizing your opponent’s position and then attacking the mischaracterization. In other words, using lies to persuade people.”

    No one need wait for the Democratic Party Convention to hear them use the Straw Man.

    Obama uses it everyday in his stump speech. The Republicans think this, Romney and Ryan will do this, the Republicans will take away your momma’s medicine, and on and on and on.

    It is the only thing Obama has to offer, poor thing. All he can do is lie about the Republicans, then try and make himself look better than the lie.

    Obama’s new slogan should be, “Hope and Change. I Hope the voters don’t notice that I haven’t Changed a damn thing.”

  • Steve the Cynic

    As I said, I expect to hear straw man arguments from the Democrats, too. Both parties lie. Thirty to forty years ago, my impression was that the Dems were lying more than the Goppers (Nixon’s behavior notwithstanding). These days, the Goppers seem slightly worse to me. The trouble is, lies work, because Americans are gullible. We get the politicians we deserve.

  • Emery

    If you are bitter with bitter people are you happy?

  • Ann

    I think the problem starts during the time when caucuses and primaries are held. We ended up with the bad candidates of Romney and McCain.Fellow Republicans just tell us to vote for Romney because he is the lesser of two evils. If we can’t get a better candidate than this, something is wrong with the whole process.Maybe the problem is that the competent leaders and communicators don’t want to run for President.I know a lot of people don’t want to discuss the religion aspect, but it really is difficult for Christians to get excited about a guy who gives $4 million to a group that believes that they can earn the right to become gods of their own planet–and that their god earned his way.

  • John P.

    Of course there is no room for dissent. These days, the purpose of conventions is not to decide anything, but to anoint the candidate as part of a four day infomercial.

  • Alison

    ‘Enough’ is the wrong word; it implies there is some room for dissent. ‘Any’ would be a more appropriate term to use for this question…and no, there’s not.

  • Paul

    Only if there was enough room in an elevator, could the speed of our culture’s descent be greater.

  • Leonard

    Dissent within each party is unavoidable. The Democrat Party was hijacked back in the 80’s by the Progressive movement, a/k/a had been called Liberals until that term became too divisve. The Old Repubs are still there howevver, the newly elected Tea Paty backed Representatives are the new way. They have shown the old GOP guard that the past ways of increasing spending and favoritism will no longer be tolerated. What we have now is the Progressives telling the more moderate Dems to be silent, the old GOP is biting their cheek as Ryan and others speak up. It is no different that the mainstream media and NPR that chose not_ to discuss Obama’s religion from being a Muslim as a kid to joining the radical Black Liberation Theology church of Reverand Wright, yet they spend hours discussing the impact of a candidate that is a Mormon while ignoring the fact that the Democrat Senate leader , Harry Reid, is also a Mormon yet no media discusses him. Romney’s history shows he is a problem solver, he saved the Olympics from corruption and waste, he built a huge business that saved thousands of jobs; Sports Authority is just one example. Romney has worked his whole life, Obama has not, other than handing out leaflets in Chicago and doing a little pro bono work for George Soros and Union funded ACCORN…..

    Romney reduced MA’s unemployment below 4.7% while Obama’s 4 years kept UE above 8.2%

    Romney balanced a budget and got his state to have a surplus. While Obama raised our debt 5 x higher than all prior presidents combined!

    Romney gives 20% to charity each year, Obama gave 2%? and Biden gave .05 % shameful millionair Biden is.

    And Obama said he’d cut the deficit in half his first year…didn’t make any_ effort to follow through.

    Dissent within parties is from their own corruption over the past decades. So_ Thank God_ the Tea Party made their voices known_ they were responsible for the conservative landslide elections of 2010…and will again for 2012.

  • jockamo

    There won’t be any dissent at the Democrat Party Convention…..

    Even those without their own bong will be mellowed out by the low hanging smoke cloud.


  • suestuben

    The Republicans are more conservative and don’t really put up with anyone stepping out of line, and the Dems are free spirits who welcome a different point of view, so you’re talking about two very different get-togethers. The first is not comfortable with emotions so they dislike dissent, the second expects someone else to express a different take on things so they welcome dissent. I wonder if its that we’re born that way, or perhaps we come from a home where other opinions are honored or repressed?

  • Octavia

    Not nearly enough.

    Occupy the heart mind.

  • Patrick

    No. Dissent within the US is pre-packaged homogenized synthesized politicized sterilized garbage, courtesy of the United States Department of Mindlessness.