1. The first and best question is this – what IS the Republican Party?
The Republican Party is a deliberative association of individuals who choose to associate with like minded people to advocate for their shared political philosophy, and whose rights to do so are protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
The authority to manage the affairs of the Republican Party is assigned to the Republican National Committee when the REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION DELEGATES vote to adopt the Rules of the Republican Party; rules that are only effective until the next convention.
In like fashion, the authority to manage the affairs of the North Dakota Republican Party (NDGOP) between conventions should be assigned to the State Committee by authority given by the delegates to the State Convention. Also, the special rules of order adopted by the state convention, along with its parliamentary authority, Robert’s Rules of Order, constitute the complete and only authority of the NDGOP.
The Republican Party is not a permanent organization. There is only one Republican Party in the United States. The ultimate authority of the Republican Party is the quadrennial national convention of delegates. Each state and territory is a subordinate “state committee” and within North Dakota there are subordinate district committees. All such committees are subordinate to the parent association.
The Republican Party has no constitution or bylaws. The governing documents of the Republican Party are the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order and the Rules of the Republican Party adopted at the quadrennial national convention. In a similar fashion, subordinate state and district conventions adopt governing rules in their respective conventions.
2. What is the primary goal of these new Rules of the Ad Hoc Committee?
To reassert the delegate’s authority over the NDGOP. Our Rules package reinforces the idea that the delegates are in charge of the NDGOP – they make the Rules, determine the Platform, and decide who our candidates are. We maintain 90% of the current Rules under which we have been operating, but make some critically important changes to key components.
The Preamble to our Rules explains the intent and aim of this effort. Contrast the Preamble on this site with the Preamble on the NDGOP.org website, which claims that the NDGOP is a creation of the state – i.e. the government. It claims that state law is the basis for the existence of the NDGOP, rather than our rights as free people.
As a delegate, are you an agent of the state? Or are you a free thinking individual who has the right to deliberate with others of like mind and run a private organization? We believe it is the latter.
Protecting your rights as a delegate in this assembly from government coercion is literally the reason we have the First Amendment in the first place.
3. I’ve been a delegate before, and I don’t remember much discussion on Rules, why is this being done?
Delegates have always approved the Rules to govern their convention. Typically, this is done without much debate or fanfare. However, for many recent years, there has been an effort to reduce the power of the delegates, and put that power into the hands of a select group of people on the State Committee, and often, an even smaller group on the Executive Committee. For example, the power to make Rules at all should be squarely in the hands of the delegates themselves, but the State Committee, which is a small group of less than 60 people, has usurped this authority to make Rules.
In December, there was even an effort by some in party leadership to completely eliminate our convention, by rendering it null and void. The proposal was to move the state convention to take place after the June primary, thus completely destroying the NDGOP. Now, to be clear, we do not seek to micromanage our State Party Chair or the day to day operations of the state party. We only seek to approve the basic parameters under which they exist – i.e., the Rules of the Party, the Platform of the Party, and the candidates we wish to nominate. Our Rules still provide the State Committee the power to manage day to day party operations in the interim period between the end of this 2022 convention and the convening of the 2024 convention, at which point in time delegates to that convention will adopt new Rules.
For many years now, we have not given our delegates their full rights to determine the direction and destiny of the NDGOP. We will give that power back to you – the delegates and members of the party.
4. Why make these changes to the Rules now?
Why not now? In recent years and months, we have seen our rights under assault like never before from the Biden administration and corrupt politicians in DC. If the First Amendment means what it says, we should follow it. If the NDGOP states that we believe in individual rights and we mean what we say, we should fight for it. If not now, then how bad must things get for us to stand for our rights?
5. What if I don’t like something in these Rules?
That’s fine! If you are a delegate, you can amend any part of these Rules from the floor, or you can reject the entire package. That is your right and power as a delegate. Also, feel free to contact us with your suggestions! ndgoprules.org/suggestions
6. What if I see a spelling or grammatical error?
Please contact us with your suggestions! ndgoprules.org/suggestions
7. Are these Rules illegal?
No. The Supreme court has affirmed a broad right of voluntary association and protection of the right to peaceable assembly, which is the basis of all political parties. In essence, party rules trump state and federal law, except where states have constitutional authority to manage their own elections (i.e. ballot access requirements, filing deadlines, etc.).
A convention is an assembly, protected by the First Amendment. The individuals who choose to assemble in this case are the delegates. Our Preamble makes it clear that we have these rights. Any unjust laws that conflict with these Rules are a violation of the First and potentially Fourteenth Amendment.
8. Will it be too complicated or disruptive to have a discussion on Rules?
It should not be. A floor discussion led by the delegates of our assembly is in order. If such a discussion is ruled out of order by leadership, then that would create a disruption of our process. However, we are hopeful that leadership will not take such heavy-handed action. Delegates wishing to voice their opinion on matters of Rules are encouraged to prepare their thoughts, be brief, articulate, levelheaded and civil in making their points. That will help facilitate a floor discussion that will be uncomplicated.
9. The current NDGOP State Chair sent a message to delegates indicating that any such proposed Rules are out of order. What is going on with this?
We are uncertain why NDGOP leadership has failed to understand what a convention is. Once convened, the party is dissolved. The body of the convention then determines the Rules, Platform and Nominees of the party, and after adjournment, the Rules adopted govern the state party in the interim until the next state convention in 2024. We cannot have a party without Rules, and we cannot have Rules without the delegates deciding what those Rules are.
10. How can we make sure that the rights of the delegates to have a discussion on the Rules are protected?
The best way is to bring forward this discussion at the beginning of the state convention proceedings and clearly explain to the delegates that a discussion on Rules is in order. The delegates must elect a Permanent Chair of the Convention (not the same thing as the State Party Chair). It should be made clear to the convention that a candidate for this position is committed to following Robert’s Rules and allowing the convention process to occur properly.
11. Will these Rules eliminate the Republican party primary in North Dakota?
These Rules will provide a firm, legal basis for protecting the rights of association of party members in determining the business of their organization, including the nomination of candidates for statewide and local office.
Paid for by 2022 NDGOP Ad Hoc Committee on Rules. Use of the NDGOP State Convention logo does not imply ownership.