BY KEITH ROLLMAN – Rules established by the Republican Party are meant to ensure a level playing field for all candidates in the party’s primary election.

The Republican Party is based, in part, on a long-held sense of fairness and trust in the democratic process. The Republican primary is a time to compare our candidates for higher office, debate the issues and make choices based on our own values and principles. At least, that is what is supposed to happen.

Rule 11 of the Republican Party was established to provide fairness for all qualified candidates and avoid insider political deals that circumvent and corrupt the primary election process.

Rule 11 of the Republican Party states, in part:

The Republican National Committee shall not, without the prior written and filed approval of all members of the Republican National Committee from the state involved, contribute money or in-kind aid to any candidate for any public or party office except the nominee of the Republican Party or a candidate who is unopposed in the Republican primary after the filing deadline for that office.

The problem is that Rule 11 contains a glaring loophole. It states that “with the approval of all members of the Republican National Committee from the state,” that these individuals can short circuit the process of fairly electing the party’s nominee, and simply anoint their choice. By allowing RNC and PAC money to pour into their chosen candidate’s campaign and starving off contributions to any opposing candidates they can unilaterally suppress any competition.

This is a rather underhanded and cowardly strategy considering the alternative is to openly and fairly discuss the issues concerning the voters and let them make an informed decision on whom they feel best represents them. It is, however, a convenient strategy for those who can’t stand real scrutiny of their ideas, principles and values.

In order to pull off this subversive power play, you must first remove any individuals within the state party leadership who might not go along. Once your ‘apparatchiks” are installed you have clear sailing to suppress any opposing candidates and change the rules without the formality of earning popular support.

Let’s all hope that Hawaii’s Republican Party never experiences such a moral calamity and grotesque forfeiture of its ideals.

Keith Rollman is Campaign Manager for John Carroll