The Young Republican National Federation's election of Audra Shay as its leader has shocked many and left deep wounds in the organization. The wounds could easily be enough to cause the Young Republicans to split. How did it come to this? How did such a hateful candidate win over the YRNF delegates? The biggest reason is the rise in hatred amongst the right-wing since the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States. However, there were also some interesting tactics used.
John Avlon of the Daily Beast has been all over the YRNF election, and he's gathered a lot of interesting information regarding what happened leading up to and inside the closed-door meeting in Indianapolis.
Whisper Campaign. Audra Shay's opponent, Rachel Hoff, was victim to a whisper campaign. It was noble of Hoff to support civil unions, and it's all the more unfortunate that such support was used to question Hoff's sexuality. People were oh so "concerned" with what reason Hoff had to support gay-rights, and they were careful to note her preference of a business suit over a dress.
Intimidation. Shay went after as many pledges as possible before the meeting started. One delegate who was handing out fliers protesting Shay's hateful comments was physically removed. Fist-fights nearly broke out between the two camps, and as ought to be expected, the more fire-and-brimstone crowd of hate were the most vocal.
Card check. Ironically, Shay's "true conservative" camp blocked a motion that would have allowed the delegates to cast a secret ballot. Some of Hoff's supporters contend that the lack of a secret ballot did not allow all of the delegates to vote their conscience at risk of offending the crazy far-right.
The Meghan McCains and Jon Huntsmans of the Republican Party must be feeling a little down.
I still can't find any response to Shay's win from RNC Chairman Michael Steele. Is this silence deafening or what?