Republicans won’t propose Robert’s Rules for convention

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Democratic donkey & Republican elephantThe news that the Republican National Committee voted down a proposal to substitute Robert’s Rules of Order for the RNC standard rules at their national convention in Cleveland this July comes as no surprise. As a committee member from Georgia said, “We’re basically in the seventh inning of a ballgame, and I don’t think it’s right to change the rules in the middle of the game.”

The convention standard rules, based on the House of Representatives rules, are apparently 1500 pages long. And they include arcane provisions like this: the rules can be suspended only on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Say what?! That seems like Alice in Wonderland to me, though it probably has its own logic in the House.

One net effect of the controversy has been to focus attention on Robert’s Rules. That can only be a good thing, in our view. The current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised is over 800 pages long and is pretty arcane in its own right. Nevertheless, we believe that the thoughtful use of Robert’s Rules of Order creates the best structure for board and council work available.

Master the basic principles and a few simple guidelines, and your meetings will be effective and powerful. You can read more about those principles and guidelines here, or write to us with your questions. We’re always happy to hear from our readers!