This weekend Virginia's Republican Party will continue its presidential selection process — with attention moving to congressional districts 5, 10, and 11 where meetings of Virginia Republican delegates residing in those districts will take place.
The goals of meetings like these are to decide on the delegates of the Republican Party, decide on the platform of the party, and decide on the rules of the party. However, GOP insiders on the ground claim that Romney supporters and Republican insiders in Virginia are seeking to stop that important business of the party from taking place.
"The Central Committee plans to block any moves to change the rules by Paul supporters at the Republican Central Committee meeting. They said they would do anything in order to block Paul supporters. They are not afraid of going to court and think that if they did, they would win," stated an unnamed Virginia GOP insider after a meeting of party officials.
Understandably, preventing the business of the meeting from taking place causes frustration among meeting goers who travel a distance to the convention at their own expense in order to conduct the business of a party that they want to see be a strong and effective champion of their shared Republican ideals.
This obfuscating behavior has been repeated in state after state as the process has played out. Reformers in the Republican Party have pushed for fairness and transparency and insiders have tried to railroad reformers in an attempt to maintain a hold on power. In some states such as Iowa, Nevada, Maine, Washington, and Louisiana, these results are playing out nicely for the coalition of reformers who are led by supporters of presidential candidate Ron Paul. In other states such as Oklahoma or Arizona, which took place just this past weekend, Ron Paul supporters were chased out of the convention halls prematurely.
Virginia, home to Thomas Jefferson, has a long history of rebellious behavior against insiders. It is also adjacent to the federal nexus of power, nearby Washington, D.C. It will be the scene of a conflict between the supporters of a greater concentration of power and supporters of a greater decentralization of power.
In 2012, the numbers appear to fall on the side of those seeking to decentralize power — as supporters of numerous other presidential candidates form coalitions built around topics of openness and transparency. Because dirty tricks can always be used by party insiders to stop a meeting following the will of the delegates in attendance, it remains unclear whether this weekend will bring change and transparency in the Republican Party of Virginia or a greater consolidation of power. As with most politics, this nomination process can't be accurately reported as a horse race — August at the RNC will be the indicator of how these ideas of delegates meeting today are starting to play out and years from now we will learn how effective these ideas were at trickling through the Republican Party.