Conservatives Plot Last-Ditch Effort to Stop Trump

Republicans appalled by Donald Trump’s racism look for a way to deny him the presidential nomination after all.

Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, December 11, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, December 11, 2015 (Clay Masters)

After a week in which Donald Trump startled fellow Republicans with his blatant racism (claiming the judge in a court case against him is biased because of his “Mexican heritage”), some are plotting to take the presidential nomination away from the businessman at the convention in July.

Erick Erickson, a right-wing activist who was involved in the futile search for a third-party candidate to run against Trump, writes at his website, The Resurgent, that some are looking at Wisconsin governor Scott Walker to save the party from a Trump nomination.

Behind the scenes, it has not gone unnoticed that many of the major donors who are still opposed to Trump were also Scott Walker fans. There are rumors cropping up that Walker might be wiling to entertain being a dark horse candidate if we get to the convention and Trump has spiraled out of control.

Walker dropped out of the race before the primaries even got underway. When he did, in September of last year, I argued that he was a weak candidate: unversed in foreign policy and inexperienced at the national stage, he tried to please everybody and predictably ended up pleasing no one.

I have little doubt Walker would lose against Hillary Clinton in November. But at least he would lose as a Republican and spare the country the destructive and divisive campaign Trump is bound to conduct.

Changing the rules

Nominating Walker (or anyone) instead of Trump would require the 112 members of the rules committee of the Republican National Convention — two from every state plus party leaders — to rewrite the rules and free delegates to vote for whomever they want.

That is a tall order.

Erickson estimates that only around a quarter of the delegates on the committee themselves support Trump, but that doesn’t mean the rest will acquiescence in what many Trump voters will see as a coup.

In April, the rules committee of the Republican Party (separate from the rules committee of the convention) rejected a rules change that would have made it easier to nominate someone at the convention who didn’t participate in the primaries.

“We’re basically in the seventh inning of a ballgame and I don’t think it’s right to change the rules of the game in the middle of the game,” argued Randy Evans, a committeeman from Georgia, at the time.


Politico reports that only a minority of four out of ten party insiders are now sympathetic to the plan to take the nomination away from Trump.

“For many of them, it isn’t as much about winning this year’s election,” the political news website writes: “Trump as the nominee, they believe, represents an existential threat to the party.”

Still, a majority of those queried by Politico are hesitant, worrying about the consequences of overturning the will of the electorate.

Trump has won 1,447 bound delegates and has commitments from another 95, putting him well over the 1,237 needed to claim the nomination.

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