By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog

TAMPA — Billed as a national gathering of passionate Republicans unified to support their nominee for president and vice president, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, the Republican National Convention has, of late, shed that image, playing host to a high-stakes rules battle that could change the future of the party itself.

The central conflict homes in on how individual delegates to the next convention will be chosen, the result of quick work by rule architects James Jopp Jr. and Ben Ginsberg.

Jopp is the vice chairman of the Republican National Committee and Ginsberg is a delegate from the District of Columbia, as well as a top lawyer for the Mitt Romney campaign.

What concerns many conservative grassroots activists are the proposed rule changes and amendments that would give the power to select those national delegates to the remaining nominee, who has had a majority of the vote until that point.

This is been labeled a “power grab” by grassroots activists both at the RNC in Tampa and across the conservative blogosphere.

At contention are Rules No. 12 and 15 of the Republican Party. Rule 12 focuses on how the rules will be crafted before the next convention and Rule 15 details the delegate selection process for the national convention.

The current process to nominate a candidate for president includes primaries and caucuses in local counties, elected proportionally based upon how many votes a candidate received. These local delegates then attend the state party conventions later in the year. This is where the national delegates, those now voting at the RNC in Tampa for example, are to be chosen.

A change to that effect would cut off the momentum of candidates with more grassroots support across a variety of states in favor of candidates that can win handy majorities.

Furthermore, a proposed amendment to Rule 12 would allow the RNC Committee to override the rules put in place with only a three-fourths majority — putting aside the wishes of the local and state parties.

Read more: Florida Watchdog