Ron Paul got less than 10 percent of the vote in Oklahoma's Republican presidential primary. His supporters seemed to be the source of more than 90 percent of the rancor at Saturday's GOP state convention.
Call it growing pains or minority dissatisfaction or Pauline fervor. Whatever it was, the party is starting to resemble the old Democratic Party before its declining fortunes spelled the need for unity.
Unity hasn't turned things around for the Democrats. We could argue that the urban-rural split in the Donkey Party is as strong as the Ron Paul-Mitt Romney split among Republicans. Still, Democrats rocked by results of the 2010 election — a total GOP sweep of state government — must have found some amusement in reading about Saturday's raucous convention.
Reports of shouting and physical confrontations point to anything but unity in everything except the matter of denying Barack Obama a second term. Of course, Democrats have some disunity of their own: Obama's opponents in the March 6 Oklahoma presidential primary got 43 percent of the vote. That's a pathetic showing for an incumbent.
One thing that state Republicans have in their favor is leadership. Chairman Matt Pinnell is a smart and savvy steward. His Democratic counterpart is a political hack so caught up in vitriol that he can't think straight, much less mount a campaign strategy.
Pinnell had his hands full managing Saturday's events. He must go into the campaign season with a fractured party. Paul refuses to leave a presidential race he never had a chance of winning. By contrast, Rick Santorum, who won Oklahoma (Romney was second), saw the light.
He didn't go down without a fight, but at least his former supporters weren't slugging it out with the party establishment at the GOP state convention.