As unconventional as the 2016 Presidential nomination process was many of us didn’t expect it to become ugly.
The 2016 election year brought out the worst in some people, for example, many of Donald Trump’s supporters used violence to shut down protesters, but also the supporters of the Democratic Party resorted to violence at the GOP’s nominee rallies. However, no one anticipated the infighting within the GOP.
Last week, the Republican Party held their National Convention, where they chose the party’s nominee.
Emotions were high at this year’s Republican National Convention, and leading up to the RNC there were rumors of a delegate revolt. A minority of delegates sought to challenge the presumptive nominee by demanding a roll call vote. This action caused a lot of infighting at the RNC.
Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the delegates, Kera Birkeland, who fought for a roll call. Kera Birkeland experienced first hand the results of the GOP infighting.
LibertyBuzz: Hi, Kera Birkeland, thank you for taking the time to sit down with us for this interview. For those who don’t know you, can you give us a brief introduction about yourself?
Kera Birkeland: I’m the mother of 5. I have been married to my husband, Lars, for 15 years. My husband and I own two small businesses together. I am passionate about politics, and I always search for candidates who understand and value the cause of liberty.
LB: You are a pledged delegate for Ted Cruz. What inspired you to support Ted Cruz for President?
KB: I was first a supporter of Rand Paul. After he dropped out, I looked at the candidates still in the race. Ted Cruz was the best choice for me. I appreciate anyone who is willing to buck the political system for principles they believe in. Cruz showed his willingness to do this during his 2007 Medellin vs. Texas case.
LB: In a recent Facebook post you published, you mentioned that you are “not [a] Never Trump” supporter, and that “The role [sic] call vote was never about Trump. It was about the National Republican Party showing transparency.” After witnessing what happened at the RNC, how do you feel about the Republican Party’s tactics to shut down the voice of the delegates?
KB: I think it was flat out wrong. What is the point of having a convention if the voice of the delegates won’t be heard? On top of my moral feelings on the subject, you had thousands of delegates who took time away from work and family, spending large sums of money, under the assumption that they could voice their opinion and represent the people of their state. We were denied that opportunity.
LB: Why do you feel it was necessary for the GOP to accept the delegates’ request for a roll call vote? And if accepted, what would the roll call have accomplished?
KB: It was a fair request within the rules. It’s not always about winning and losing. Sometimes you just want your voice to be heard. Even if you know you won’t win, it is important to have the chance to show what you stand for. My biggest hope for the roll call was to close some of the open primaries and remove the RNC’s ability to make rule changes between conventions. Why have delegate conventions, where we vote on rules, if the RNC can change those rules anytime they want?
LB: In an article published by Cleveland Magazine, you said your favorite living politician is Ron Paul. Did you follow what happened to him during the 2012 RNC convention, and if so, what were your thoughts on the GOP shutting down Ron Paul’s delegates?
KB: In 2012 I was frustrated with the RNC. Not being at the convention that year, I relied on the media and first hand accounts from social media to understand what occurred. The truth was hard to determine. But I knew that transparency would be very important going forward.
LB: After two election cycles filled with controversies, and after all the chaos that went down on the first day of the 2016 RNC convention, do you feel there is still hope of uniting the GOP?
KB: No matter what happens, I will never lose hope. If you look back at our history we have had political opponents killing each other in gun duels. At least we have gotten past that point. Passion is good, but we certainly need to improve our civility and respect toward one another.
LB: LibertyViral.com published an article with the headline “Trump Supporters Threaten to Kill Utah RNC #NeverTrump Delegate.” In your post, you dismissed the killing part; however, you did mention you were threatened. During that horrible moment, at the RNC bathroom, did you ever feel your life was in danger?
KB: You have to realize that the situation was very intense, very contentious. I think in the heat of the moment those women said some things that hopefully they regret. At least that is what I would like to think.
LB: Did you say anything back to the “two women?” Was this the first time you experienced something like this from your own party’s members?
KB: I tried to explain the reasons behind our call for a role call vote. I have been involved in the GOP for about 8 years. And this was the first time I felt so much hate and anger.
LB: You are not the only person who has been threatened by Pro-Trump delegates and supporters. Do you feel they are making it harder for you and others to support Donald Trump for President?
KB: Absolutely. No one likes to be, or truly can be pushed into support. I can’t understand why any candidate would want votes that came from coercion.
LB: What advice would you give to those Trump supporters who use intimidation and threats to spread their message?
KB: If you want our support, give us something to get excited about. Give us something to believe in.
LB: In your post, you also mentioned, “I’ll stay involved [with the GOP] and keep fighting for what I believe.” What exactly is your game plan now, and have you considered voting for a Third Party?
KB: Sure, I have thought about it. But there are several areas where I don’t agree with the third party candidate. I understand that you rarely find a candidate that you agree with on everything–so I will continue to look for candidates who represent me in the best way possible.
LB: What advice could you give to those delegates and Never Trump supporters who find it hard to support this election cycle’s GOP nominee?
KB: Vote your conscience. 😉
LB: Thank you, Kera Birkeland, for taking some time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions and set the record straight on what happened at the RNC convention. Anything else you would like our readers to know?
KB: While there were some regrettable moments, I am grateful for the experience. I definitely learned a lot about the political process.
Thank you, Kera Birkeland for your time.