Opinion

Oklahoma GOP continues national trend of disenfranchising Paul supporters

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Adam Bates
Policy Analyst, Cato Institute Project on Criminal Justice
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      Adam Bates

      AAdam Bates is a policy analyst with Cato’s Project on Criminal Justice. His research interests include Constitutional law, the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, police militarization, and overcriminalization.

      Bates received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Miami (FL), where he also walked onto the Miami Hurricanes football team, and both an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies and a J.D. from the University of Michigan. He is a member of the Oklahoma bar.

That is by no means an exhaustive list of improprieties on the part of the Oklahoma Republican Party. The entire process was riddled with a pernicious mixture of corruption and incompetence. There were hundreds more votes cast and counted than there were delegates in the hall, and Pinnell repeatedly disregarded the most explicit rules, and the delegates were forced into the parking lot in order for any official business to be done properly.

Once Pinnell & Co. fled the scene, the convention continued civilly and within the rules. All official business was conducted and concluded in compliance with the rules, and dozens of people around the world watching the stream of the convention online even chipped in to have pizzas delivered to the now-starving delegates. The convention was finally adjourned by unanimous vote around 9:30 p.m., more than 12 hours after it began.

We in the liberty movement have come to expect a certain level of vitriol at Republican functions. After all, we represent a complete rejection of the abject authoritarianism that has come to control the discourse of both major parties in this country. Liberty and authoritarianism are mutually exclusive, and thus their respective adherents are destined for tension. We’ll take their catcalls and curses, we’ll take their thrown bottles and fists; all we ask is that they follow the rules (their rules). Matt Pinnell and the rest of the GOP brass in Oklahoma put their personal preferences before their principles, and the entire Republican Party was irreparably damaged as a result.

The most fundamental principles of our republic are threatened from within, but hey: at least there’s free pizza!

Adam Bates is an Oklahoma State Republican Convention delegate.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Oklahoma GOP Chair Matt Pinnell held a vote on how to resolve a controversy involving improprieties at the Congressional District 1 convention while many delegates from District 1 were behind a wall. In fact, that was Convention Chair Marc Nuttle, not Pinnell.