Postmaster: If undeliverable, send Form 3579 to The Texas Observer, 600 W. 7th, Austin, Texas 78701 Dialogue GOP presidential primary Having been referred to in Ronnie Dugger’s article \(Obs., constrained to write and clarify some observations which he has presented. While Mr. Dugger can be expected to advance the cause of the Democratic Party, his convoluted reasoning in praising the SDEC’s decision on the presidential primary issue brings into challenge his own credibility as a political commentator. Truly, reality has been turned upside down. It was the SREC and, more specifically, our state convention, which forced the primary issue onto the state’s political agenda. Our party acted; certain Democratic leaders in the Legislature reacted and tried to prevent our presidential primary from being held. It is the Republican Party rules which guarantee that the votes of primary voters will determine which presidential candidates win delegates to Detroit as well as the number they receive. Ours is anything but a “winner-take-all” primary unless one candidate trounces all others in every one of the state’s 24 congressional districts. It is the SDEC whichvoted not to hold a binding primary and has yet to determine whether it will even have a “beauty contest.” Under no circumstances, however, can Democratic primary voters know that their presidential preferences will be reflected in the composition of the state’s delegation to New York City. The issue is not some academic definition of proportional representation \(there is none in the Democratic formula of is the issue one of determining which local politicos will become delegates \(the Republican voters will determine the number of delegates pledged to presidential candidates, a much more meaningful voters of Texas to determine their support for a presidential nominee, a decision guaranteed under the Republican rules and denied to Democratic voters. To believe that the Republican rules are rigged for Connally is incredulous. Representatives of all three major candidates played crucial roles in developing these rules. It is the Democrats who structured primary laws to benefit first Johnson and then Bentsen. We were not in the business of prognosticating which candidate might possibly benefit most 18 months down the road. Ask the Reagan and Bush people whether they share Dugger’s appraisal of the situation. Dugger began our conversation, to which he refers in his article, with a totally erroneous understanding of the mechanics of our rules. It is apparent that this was not the only inaccuracy on which he based his article. I expect Mr. Dugger to be critical of our party and our conservative positions. But let’s at least keep it at a level of fair and accurate expositions of differences of opinion, not convenient distortions of reality. Wayne Thorburn, Executive Director Republican Party of Texas Austin Ronnie Dugger replies: The energy of Mr. Thorburn’s obfuscatory rhetoric is one more sign that a two-party system is arriving in Texas. Mr. Thorburn quite rightly commends the Republican Party for having a binding primary and for forcing the issue onto the attention of recalcitrant Democrats. Perhaps he is right that the GOP’s state rules are not rigged for Connally; to me, obviously they are, as the Democrats’ national rules are for Carter. However, Mr. Thorburn quite oddly turns my inquiry to him concerning the GOP rules into some sort of a fault. When I telephoned him for an authoritative description of the rules, I was checking with him an account of them I had been given that was generally correct, but wrong in some aspects. This was of course ordinary journalistic procedure. As for the passing reference to “some academic definition of proportional representation,” Mr. Thorburn is here reluctantly conceding, while shifting attention away from, the accuracy of the Observer’s explanation that the GOP rules provide for winner-take-all or, depending on the distribution of the votes, the recipient of 20-percent-plus-one taking two-thirds. The Observer appreciated, and still appreciates, Mr. Thorburn’s cooperation in helping us correctly apprehend these rules. To wit: the text of Rule 38a, Section 9, of the Republican Party of Texas reads: District Delegate and Alternate Entitlements. For the purpose of determining the entitlement to district delegates and alternates by candidates, the provisions of this Section shall apply, as follows: 50% of the votes in any Congressional gates and alternates from that Congressional district. If no candidate receives a rnajority of the votes in any Congressional district, the plurality winner is entitled to that district and the candidate receiving the next highest number of votes realternate; provided, however, that if the plurality winner receives more than 20% and the number of votes received by the next highest candidate is less than 20%, the delegates and alternates. If no candidate receives more than 20%, each of the three candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall reDeflowering the yellow rose When John Connally’s forerunners were methodically trying to sabotage the Texas Democratic Party, Ralph Yarborough inspired the faithful by describing the abuse the poor old Democratic donkey had received at their hands, and how he had taken it in and fed it and groomed it. We cheered, and cheered and cheered. The musical background for Ralph’s campaigns became “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” and soon it began to symbolize the spirit of those who had fought the disgraceful display of Eisenhower banners from their headquarters by local Democratic Party committees in 1952. Although not removed from the public domain, the song became the chant of the undefiled Democrats. On September 28, Texas’ leading political transvestite had the poor taste to have this Democratic anthem played as he marched into a convention of the National Federation of Republican Women in Indianapolis. His only possible prior connection with the song might have been that he has possibly been called the yellow something or other of Texas, but certainly he has never been thought of as the yellow rose of Texas. If he whom Ralph has called a turncoat must have roller skaters and music for his triumphant entries to other Republican festivities, I would suggest that he enter standing on the bed of a milk truck with a bevy of dairy maids skating ahead while singing “Down by the Old Watergate.” This would show a proper sentiment by the candidate for the Republican ex-president who welcomed him into the Republican Party and became his patron. Franklin Jones Sr. Marshall 16 NOVEMBER 30, 1979
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